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“24K Magic” – Bruno Mars
Jessica Whitesel: OMG whyyyyyyyy? I’m 10 seconds in, and I’m just like nope, not the autotune. Also it’s this weird mix of like modern music but I also feel like it wouldn’t be out of place in a movie or TV show about the ‘70s since I’m getting a kind of disco vibe from it. It’s weird and doesn’t make sense.
Jessica Pickering: I hate Bruno Mars so much. If you think you like him, listen to Donald Glover’s cover of “Marry You” and try to tell me Mars’ version is better. Can’t wait for a good artist to cover this and make it decent.
Tegan Gallilee-Lang: Near the beginning of this song I was not ready to accept that this was in fact Bruno Mars singing, because surely Bruno Mars is the last person who needs autotune. Later I had to admit that despite electronic influences this song definitely has a distinctly uptown funk.
Courtney Miller: The beginning had me worried because of all the vocal effects, but they dissipated quickly and it was easier to enjoy the song. It’s not Mars’ best work, but it’s decent enough that I won’t complain when it comes on someone’s mix.
“Surfin’” – Kid Cudi feat. Pharrell Williams
JW: I want to like this song, but I also want to hate this song. It’s one of the ones where you need to listen more than once to get a feel for it. Lyrically though it’s not Cudi’s strongest so there’s that.
JP: I give this song a loud and resounding NOPE. There’s too much going on, I feel so attacked right now. Y’all need to chill.
TGL: This song had a lot of potential because of that groovy (excuse the word — I promise I’m not 50) beat, but then it went absolutely nowhere! Cudi, probably: “Wow that intro was really great! Song finished amirite?”
CM: The introduction is too long and not dynamic. Coupled with an immediately overly repetitive chorus, I’m basically over this before it’s begun. I was hopeful when I saw Pharrell’s name on this song, but I’m decidedly disappointed. There are some good verses once you get into the song, but overall this song isn’t worth the time.
“Peace of Mind” – The Killers
JW: I knew that the Killers were on this playlist since I made it, but in the beginning it sounds like Muse. I was like no, there was no Muse on this list when I made it, so why is it here now? Then halfway through, it starts to sound more like the Killers, but honestly it’s one of their weaker tracks — and that’s saying a lot, given their post-Hot Fuss career trajectory.
JP: Honestly, if it’s not “Mr. Brightside,” I just don’t give a shit. This is just sad in more ways than one. I officially have stopped caring about the Killers.
TGL: I really wanna love this song, but all I kept thinking was, “Are they really going to use the same three chords the whole song?” Would listen again though, due to smooth Killers vocals.
CM: I know Tumblr has an obsession with Brandon Flowers, and lyrically, I’m on board. Musically though, I think I’m just not in the mood for such a mellow, slow song with lightly strained vocals. The layers are good, and if I was in a laid-back and reflective state, snuggled up in blankets with hot chocolate, I might be more into this.
“Let’s Hurt Tonight” – OneRepublic
JW: This song is for teen love-related angst. Seeing as I’m not a teen, or in love, or in angst over love, this song is just so blargh. I guess musically it is classic OneRepublic, but I’m just waiting to see awkward middle school kids slow dance across my computer screen.
JP: This is miles better than last week’s OneRepublic song. That being said, it sounds like everything else they’ve ever done. I stand by my original opinion: it’s time for them to retire.
TGL: Wow, I really like this song! It just gets better and more epic. The echoey chorus is my favourite part and I like the ¾-folky feel.
CM: Strong acoustic guitar opening. Heartfelt, good range, and it builds into the first chorus. I actually really love this, there’s so much power and great rhythm — this is the OneRepublic I adore.
“Bloodmoon” – White Sea
JW: For some reason I was expecting this to be metal. I’m pleasantly surprised that this is more of an electronic indie song with some elements of pop and experimental thrown in. I would like to hear what the vocalist could do without being so committed to being kind of breathy.
JP: I don’t get the appeal of this weird slow techno whatever genre. This seems like it would be a really good final credits theme for a Tom Cruise movie or something. Hope the hipsters enjoy it.
TGL: Meh. There’s too much synth. I feel like I’m in a computer.
CM: This is a darker style of alt rock and I’m legit digging it. The two different vocal styles play off each other and enhance the overall listening experience — I’m all over that. It reeks of power even if it has a slower tempo. This is the jam you play to psyche yourself up for a sacrifice.
“We Stay Together” – Kaiser Chiefs
JW: This song is kind of just meh and would make great background music at an event like a casual millennial cocktail party or something. But the single art looks like a very ‘80s version of a doughnut so there’s that. Now I want a doughnut so FU Kaiser Chiefs.
JP: The opening reminds me of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight,” so like very ‘80s. Maybe you’re into that? But I am for sure not.
TGL: I’m in a disco! With Mika! And a lady’s there too! I say 10/10, would choose this as the song for the end of a movie celebration dance number.
CM: I really like “Love’s Not a Competition (But I’m Winning),” but this is not the same style as that song. The vocals are still that indie rock feel with a British twist, but there’s definitely more of a pop attempt with this new track. I don’t think it works for them very well; such an indie voice clashes with the overly produced — albeit groovy and a little funky — music, and it doesn’t end well.
“Drum” – MØ
JW: I’m sober. I can’t do this. Drunk me would be all over this, but sober me is screaming, “NO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE IT STOP.”
JP: OH GOD MAKE IT STOP. It’s so high-pitched my ears are bleeding. I hate this. Sorry, fam, I can’t even finish listening to this one. I’m bailing.
TGL: Well, they tried to churn out another top 40 hit but kinda missed the shot and ended up in a discarded pile along with a bunch of other songs you’ll hear in the club and not recognize.
CM: Well, the title is no lie. There are lots of drums and great rhythm throughout the song. I could see using this as one of the earlier songs on a playlist for a night with friends (it might even be good for dancing) but I feel no inclination to listen to this solo.
“Icarus” – R3hab
JW: Again, I am sober. See the above review of “Drum.” They are interchangeable in terms of nightclub music and fair, that’s great when you’re lit AF but when you are sober not so much.
JP: THIS ONE’S JUST AS BAD AS THE LAST ONE. What is happening?! I’m so sick of shitty New Music Friday playlists because famous people can’t do their goddamn jobs right. Somebody please make some good music.
TGL: The baby featured on this is really great at singing. Give that baby a record deal!
CM: My true “Icarus” love will always be Bastille’s, but this is pretty good. It’s got me bopping along and air-drumming, so couple that with lyrics and this is pretty solid. There are weird chipmunk-like sections in the song which I could do without, but they aren’t necessarily bad — they actually kind of work.
“You With Me” – Jimmy Eat World
JW: It’s Jimmy Eat World. I don’t really know what else to say about it. It sounds like them, it’s that special brand of pop/punk/rock that they got famous for, but like every song by them that isn’t “The Middle,” it’s just so forgettable.
JP: Far and away the best song on this week’s playlist. This is my type of music: chill pop. Upbeat but not in an “I need to dance right now” way. These are the songs I’m here for.
TGL: Harpsichord? HARPSICHORD? Is it? Someone tell me because I will like this song a lot more if I find out that this instrument is in fact the mystical, all-too-rarely used harpsichord.
CM: For whatever reason, I’ve always found Jimmy Eat World to be kind of hypnotic/trippy, so I feel like this would be even better stoned, if you’re into that kind of thing. However, it’s enjoyable as-is if you regularly like Jimmy Eat World’s stuff, or alt-rock/pop punk in general.
“What is Love 2016” – Lost Frequencies
JW: Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more. This song is hurting me. It’s one of the worst covers ever. It is just so bad. I’VE BEEN HURT AND OFFENDED.
JP: Why is the 2016 necessary? Has he put out others in previous years? After listening to this for a while, I now realize this is a cover of the Haddaway song. Because that’s the song that needed a resurgence. Whatever, at least I’m not getting rick-rolled (cause that trend needs to die forever).
TGL: NO!!! NO!!! NOT NECESSARY!! ORIGINAL SONG PERFECTLY FINE. Radio stations: please don’t play this so we can avoid a scenario in which kids today know this as the only “What is Love.”
CM: Loving the name right off the bat. The intro reminds me of earlier Paramore, but that doesn’t last long at all. It’d pretty clearly pop, but I really do love the guitar riff in this song. It’s not an obnoxious brand of pop, so I’d be super down to listen to this rhythmic song of my own volition.
“Phone Down” – Lost Kings feat. Emily Warren
JW: Don’t police my phone usage. Also, if your partner is more interested in their phone than you why are you still with them and bitching about it over a song? DUMP THEIR USELESS ASS. Find someone who loves you. If you did that I wouldn’t be forced to listen to this hot mess.
JP: I really wanted this to be a song about someone absolutely destroying their phone and them freaking out about it. Instead, it’s the much more obvious situation of someone wanting their significant other to get off their phone. The former would have been more entertaining.
TGL: Anthem for my yesterday. Is it that hard to pay attention to the people you are going out to specifically spend time with?? The anti-“Let Me Take A Selfie” song.
CM: Lyrically, it sounds like it was written by a baby boomer who’s dating a younger person and doesn’t understand mobile devices. I mean, I get the sentiment. You’re trying to sex up your partner and they’re too invested in their technology to notice, but like, try calmly talking to them instead of getting super indignant about it?
“In the Sky” – Ryan Hemsworth feat. Nebu Kiniza
JW: Hemsworth looks like a college library student staff member, not a DJ. Kiniza is mediocre at best. Also he references Juelz Santana, who even when he was “famous” was still super irrelevant. This just made me sad.
JP: Ending on a very low note. Who the fuck is this dude anyways? No wonder you need to say your name at the beginning of the song: no one knows who you are. Also, before you ask, he is not a Hemsworth brother. I checked.
TGL: I mean, yeah, I look up at the sky too. I feel you, man.
CM: I was super excited that there was going to be another hot Hemsworth brother in the universe’s eyes, but Hemsworth is actually a Canadian DJ, which is pretty cool too. I really like the track with the groovy rhythm that begs to be danced to. The vocals go well with the song, and I’d be fine with hearing this at a party.