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“Rockin’” – The Weeknd
Jessica Whitesel: After all the hype, we finally have Starboy. And honestly, I’m still not fully convinced by this new version of the Weeknd but this song does capture some of the old Weeknd that we know and love. Out of all the song I’ve heard from it I probably like this one the best, but that could be because there’s no Daft Punk.
Sarah Finley: I love the old melancholy Weeknd and the new, upbeat, reinvented Weeknd. This track is a bit all over the place instrumental-wise, but honestly? It works.
Courtney Miller: For the first half, I was on board. Vocals blended well with the track, the track was original enough that I didn’t automatically confuse it with 16 other songs — I could live with that. During the second half, the song fell back into mediocrity for me.
Jessica Pickering: I’m done with the Weeknd’s shit. I feel like I’ve listened to his stuff every week I’ve done New Music Friday and I’m sick of it. I don’t care anymore.
“Helpless” – Ashanti feat. Ja Rule
JW: 2016 needs to stop. The word “shorty” died in 2002 with both of your careers. Please return to your respective rocks. People will probably like it because it’s from The Hamilton Mixtape, but I don’t. Also mixtapes died with the Walkman. I’m tired of 2016 being the zombie of 2002, somebody kill it with a chainsaw already.
SF: While I can appreciate the piano chord progression and soulful singing, I felt transported back to being seven years old and eavesdropping on my sister and her friends through her bedroom door. This track does not belong anywhere past the year 2008.
CM: YESSS! The Hamilton Mixtape is amazing. As a true mix, it has some elements of the original, but I really like how they revamped it. I mean, no one will be better singing this tune, no matter what iteration of it, than Phillipa Soo and Lin-Manuel Miranda, but this is perfectly good to jam to.
JP: HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS HAD COME OUT?!?! I’m so mad at myself right now. Love it. Always love it. Admittedly not the best from The Hamilton Mixtape, but the entire album has been fire so far.
“Trust” – Flume feat. Isabella Manfredi
JW: I have trust issues with this song. The main percussion has now given me two mini-heart attacks. The first when I thought my house was going to explode due to faulty wiring (it came on after I turned a light off, because that’s totally how electricity works) and the second when I thought the train that I was on was going to die (I don’t need to explain this one, because TransLink). But once you get over that, it’s an OK song.
SF: I’m fairly certain Flume can just do no wrong. This track follows his typical echoey instrumental and vocal vibe, and Isabella Manfredi’s voice flows seamlessly with their sound.
CM: The wind chimes are almost discordant right from the get-go and it’s hella distracting from the other elements in the song. Once you tune out the chimes though you kind of tune out the whole song. Skip.
JP: Is there a broken ice cream truck nearby? Cause that’s what it sounds like. I don’t want this.
“Daddy Lessons” – Beyoncé feat. Dixie Chicks
JW: I was apprehensive about this song. I mean Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks? There is no way this could be good. I was wrong — it actually is pretty alright. It’s still a little more country than I would like and the horns and the repeated Texas do make it sound like an odd reworking of Chicago. It also runs a little too long, but it’s still pretty alright.
SF: I’m in the same boat as Jess. I saw this was a Beyoncé and Dixie Chicks combo and felt a bit queasy. After all, Lemonade got me through the world’s worst breakup. This album has sentimental meaning to me. Honestly, just listen to the original track. Queen Bey doesn’t need anyone else on this track — or in any part of her life, if you listen to the whole album — and neither do you. Bey is enough. Dixie Chicks can take their things and go.
CM: I am such a sucker for horns, and the rhythm they open this song with is catchy as hell. Queen Bey can do anything, honestly, and even though the original was good, this one is too. Also, damn, they sound way better together than I thought.
JP: I hate that I have to put up with the Dixie Chicks just to listen to Beyoncé. This is really testing me and I don’t think I can do it. I hate country. I left Maple Ridge for a reason.
“Glorious” – Måns Zelmerlöw
JW: Mornings are the worst. This shitty electronic version of Muse and all other related rock bands from the ’00s (maybe Creed?) is the musical representation of mornings. I’d say mornings hate me but I also know myself well enough to know that I will always hate his song just as much as mornings. That last sentence made zero sense, much like this song so I’m going to leave it there. You can be just as confused as I am.
SF: I honestly thought this was Nickelback at first, and I think my heart stopped. The chorus sounds like something that would appear on a Disney movie — think Zac Efron’s HSM era — and later be turned into a much more popular cover by Coldplay. I’ll pass.
CM: I like how there’s almost no intro and we get right into it. It starts out with a rock-adjacent sound and then gets kinda pop/DJ/dancey. The vocals are really good, the track doesn’t hit a rut, I’m really digging this. Thanks Zelmerlöw.
JP: I swear I’ve heard this before. How sure are we that it’s new? Par for the course as far as pop music goes. Nothing to write home about.
“Hey Mama” – Galavant
JW: Nothing like a song that is probably supposed to be a club banger dedicated to mothers everywhere. But like the overprotective moms that provoke rebellion? Maybe? Or maybe music is just marketed to teenagers and I’m officially old now.
SF: The Nicki track by the same name was much better. Weak vocals run through its entirety, and electronic instrumentals not dissimilar to Crazy Frog illustrate the bass drops. It’s a hard pass from me.
CM: Two good tracks in a row, a cut from The Hamilton Mixtape — I don’t know what I did to deserve this as the final New Music Friday of the semester, but bless. An all-around solid song: lyrics, melody, beat, etc. I’m adding this to my library.
JP: Am I on a ship? Can we make this a fun pirate track? This song isn’t bad but I was looking for more of a sea shanty vibe. Don’t care for all the autotune. MOAR WHISTLING.
“The Operator” – Max Pope
JW: Remember when Franz Ferdinand and all other British bands that sounded vaguely similar were cool? Well these guys do, and they’ve brought it back in the dying days of 2016. Because if nothing else has been proved in this trash fire of a year it’s that going back in time to save all the shitty parts of the past is the greatest!
SF: I feel like I’m living in sepia, dressed in a 1920s ballgown, smoking long filtered cigarettes and drinking fancy cocktails at a speakeasy. It makes me feel fancy, but nothing exciting really ends up happening. Just a bit dull.
CM: This reminds me of Mother Mother, if Mother Mother were a little less individualistic. I like the snazzy guitar, and I like Mother Mother, so I’m down for this song. If you like the idea of Mother Mother but wished they were a little more chill, this might be good for you.
JP: Not feeling it. The song sounds like it’s in conflict with itself. That song makes me sound like garbage but I promise it makes sense if you listen to the song. I’m not just trying to sound pretentious.
“Dissolve” – Ronika
JW: I’m getting Estelle vibes from this. It does however have TV commercial written all over it. I could see this in a perfume, car, or top-shelf liquor commercial. But I could also see (hear?) this in a soap commercial too. Now I just want to buy expensive shit. Good job, capitalism.
SF: Whispery vocals that are almost sensual in tandem with background Flume-esque instrumentals make this track alright, but not great. This song is too long, IMO. Everyone else can make a song in three minutes. Why do you need five?
CM: This has like that ’80’s synth meets awkwardly seductive vocals thing going on. I like the lyrics, but the vocals are too weak and breathy and the twinkling noises around 3:15 are giving me bad Mario Kart flashbacks.
JP: I feel physically uncomfortable with this music. It’s terrible. It’s too bad, because the vocals are actually pretty good but I can’t handle the backing track.
“Hunk With a Hunch” – Velociraptor
JW: This song sounds like it would be in a mid-’00s TV show. Or something that would have been on a Warped Tour compilation. The 15-year-old me would have been eating this shit up, now I’m just sad that this song is associated with what is an otherwise pretty cool dinosaur.
SF: This reminds me of my Blink-182, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wayne’s World, etc. days and I could quite honestly do without that. Everything about this track screams unfortunate, from the name to the sound to the awful key changes halfway through. Please let me live in peace.
CM: First off, I really hope this is amazing because I am on board from the artist name already.
Damn it. I’m getting often-rejected pop-punk wannabes from this sound. I love pop-punk, but this is seriously lacking. Also I think he’s just tossing in “nonchalance” in there for shits and giggles.
JP: The cover art says ’80s and my heart says bad. Really not a fan of the useless (and terrible) key change at the end. Uncalled for.
“Spacesuit” – Matt and Sam’s Brother
JW: Well, shit this is dark, and also kind of Warped Tour-y sounding. And also weird off-off-brand “Major Tom.” But it actually works. It’s like it’s so off-brand that it’s actually cool? I clearly am not cool enough to understand cool and how it works. Also it’s the solo project of the lead singer of JPNSGRLS which is a local band so that’s neat.
SF: Honestly? Terrible. While the last track reminded me of Blink-182, RHCP, Wayne’s World, and others, this one reminds me of an emo cross between Owl City and Never Shout Never. Remember Never Shout Never? Didn’t want to? You’re welcome — neither did I.
CM: If I owned a dingy bar and had trouble booking music acts, I still wouldn’t book them. The vocals just aren’t my style of good. I like the lyrics, but I would rather read them as poetry than experience this song again.
JP: The album art is literally from The Jetsons. The lyrics are something 16-year-old me would have come up with. This song just seems to borrow from things everyone once thought were a good idea.
“Should’ve Been Me” – Naughty Boy
JW: This song sounds like the future “We’re going back in time” BoJack Horseman episode for 2016. “Generic 2016 pop song / repetitive lyrics about my broken heart / electronic sounds are rad / and hide our collective sadness.
PS My fake lyrics are way better than the real ones. You’re welcome.
SF: This song was easy to tune out and I feel like that’s not a good sign. We get it, it should’ve been you all along. I feel that way about a lot of things. For example, my classmate whose father won the literal lottery. That should’ve been me all along.
CM: The beat and rhythm are kind of average. This is one of those songs that sounds better the louder you play it. When I listen to it at near-deafening levels, I am all over this, grooving and everything in my office chair. When I listen to it as a normal person might, I’m bored. My kind of good music doesn’t need volume to make it good.
JP: This is reminding me of songs I use to warm up to in dance class. The nostalgia is real. I’m not even going to comment because I know I have rose-coloured glasses for this song.
“Shapes (Dual Point Remix)” – Fjord
JW: This song is shockingly chill. I could see this playing in a really cool office or coffee shop or bar where you know you don’t belong but by some weird twist in the time-space continuum you ended up there. Honestly, I’ll probably listen to this one again.
SF: This song begins with the same sort of light, echoing, bubble sound — literally the only way I can describe it is as bubbles — that “Tongues” by Joywave has. This track is quickly forgettable. Maybe good to have in the background while you get high? Otherwise, nah.
CM: Well it definitely sounds like a remix, except it’s super dull and monotonous. I got hopeful with the shift around the two-minute mark, but it turned out just to be a tease.
JP: I remember this band. They are often in New Music Friday and I often hate them. Seems like we’re sticking to the status quo this week.