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“The Heart Part 4” – Kendrick Lamar
Neil MacAlister: I don’t even know where to begin, this is just too dope. The beat switches. The flow changeups. The takedown of Big Sean, who was getting far too big for his boots. Kendrick literally said the words “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I am the greatest rapper alive” and it’s still lit. Your fave could never.
Rita Ovis: At one point, he claims he’s such a good rapper that he is dead and it’s his paranormal vibes that are now rapping — which I personally don’t understand the science behind — but if Kendrick says it’s a thing, I’ll take his word.
Dana Foth: Interesting! This song is really nice, I really like the melody and flow in the beginning. Nonetheless, towards the end the likeability of the song significantly decreases as the vibe gets darker the further the song progresses, which remarkably causes my mood to drop. I’m definitely writing too many papers atm.
Sera Akdogan: I really liked this for the first minute and a half: super easy listening. But then it got too intense for me when the beat stopped and Kendrick just started spitting lines way too quickly: “You’re making them nervous the music is loud” (yup that’s kind of what happened).
“Light My Body Up” – David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne
NM: Every David Guetta song sounds the same, but this might be the best thing Nicki’s done in a while. I really wish Wayne wouldn’t use so much autotune though. It’s some weird trend he’s been on for the past couple years, but he’s proven he doesn’t need it.
RO: Someone bring Nicki a big ol’ bag of glow sticks.
DF: It’s always astonishing to me how popular artists can make up a song that literally does not have any meaning at all and make so much money with it. The song lives up to the expectations when looking at the artists. Nothing I’ve never heard before, a bit of trap influence to wiggle in da club, but nothing special.
SA: Is that Nicki Minaj singing? I didn’t know she could actually sing. I think I actually prefer her singing voice to her rapping voice — way less aggressive. Regardless, this song is a lot of fun and is a collaborative success in my books (Lil Wayne and David Guetta are killin’ it).
“Andromeda” – Gorillaz feat. D.R.A.M.
NM: It’s been six years since the last Gorillaz album, and honestly their new stuff is sounding fresher than ever. Shoutout to D.R.A.M. for getting on such a huge project, he totally fits the optimistic vibe of this track. I’m really digging the instrumental.
RO: I’m going gorillas for this one, it’s a smooooooth jam.
DF: I think I might be a bit biased here because Gorillaz was really big when I was in my teenage years, and you don’t even question anymore whether you like the artist or not just because you’ve known them for so long! I like this song a lot, the beat is a bit faster than what we’re used to from their older stuff, but they still got it!
SA: Happy about new Gorillaz, though saddened by this song/collaboration as a whole. I just feel like it’s missing something. Maybe it’s that classic, strange and funky Gorillaz beat. Who knows.
“Still Got Time” – Zayn feat. PND
NM: I suppose it was just a matter of time before Zayn hopped on the dancehall train. At least this isn’t too overt. Zayn and PND actually sound better together than I expected them to.
RO: They’re pretty much just convincing some girl that her ovaries aren’t drying out quite yet, but I mean in this day and age, it really doesn’t hurt to freeze your eggs.
DF: This is a good song with positive vibes. I think what Zayn sings about in this song is so representative for the attitude and mindset of Gen Y, and I think we should all follow his advice and stop looking for love ‘cause we still got time. Time which we can perfectly invest in studying for the final exams, right? RIGHT???
SA: This song is ridiculously catchy, oh my god. I have to admit that I picked my cat up and danced with him to this jam for a good two minutes. Summer 2017 anthem maybe? The solo career was a good call, Zayn — you are 10,000x better than One Direction.
“More of Me” – Natasha Bedingfield
NM: Why is Disney making a sequel to one of their worst movies? Why is Natasha Bedingfield making songs that aren’t “Pocket Full of Sunshine?”
RO: I was a big fan of Natasha Bedingfield when I was 11, so this is good in the context of Tangled. Niceeee.
DF: This song is so happy it almost makes me sick. I wouldn’t say I don’t like it, I’d say I probably won’t have many days where I really feel like listening to this in-your-face-be-fucking-happy-tune. It started to rain when I turned this on, oh, the irony in this!
SA: I’m more excited that there’s a new Tangled movie coming out than the song itself, honestly. This song will never match the greatness that is Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten.”
“Girl at Coachella” – Tore Bojsten
NM: So, this guy just makes acoustic covers of EDM songs? This is somehow less interesting than the original. But if a song about falling in love at Coachella doesn’t exemplify modern romance, I don’t know what does.
RO: I don’t pity this guy, that girl was clearly just trying to get VIP access by getting silly with Tore, a B-list celebrity likely in a porta-potty. He got played, but he should’ve seen it coming.
DF: This acoustic cover song makes me wonder whether this love story at Coachella actually happened. People you meet at festivals can really blow you away in the careless and fun environment where nothing ever seems to be bad. I like the song a lot, his calm voice is great and it makes me think of festivals, which is never a bad thing! #NeverTrustAGirlAtCoachella
SA: “Never trust a girl at Coachella”: A Cautionary Tale by Tore Bojsten. Poor guy just wanted some hipster love, but was tricked by a girl who only wanted VIP. He should have known better — people don’t go to music festivals for love; it’s Coachella, not Woodstock.
“Truth is a Beautiful Thing” – London Grammar
NM: I’m very excited for the new London Grammar album. Hannah Reid has the most beautiful voice, and their stripped-back, piano-driven sound gets profoundly emotional. This will haunt you in all the best ways.
RO: A poor Adele knock-off.
DF: I think this is a really good song for when you’re a specific kind of sad. Like when you’re sad and you acknowledge that you’re feeling down, but you’re not hopeless yet. It’s beautiful, I think it can give a lot of strength. #goosebumps
SA: This song is the perfect track for reading over your professor’s comments on a paper you worked endlessly on, only to realize that your efforts were greatly wasted. In this case, truth is definitely not a beautiful thing. The truth hurts, professor!!
“4422” – Drake feat. Sampha
NM: This song is incredible. Drake helped introduce Sampha to the world back in 2013, and I’m glad they’re still collaborating. Sampha’s blown up, and his album Process might be the best project of 2017. This beat is perfect, and his vocals are absolutely elevating.
RO: 2, 4, 6, 8 this song is not too great. 4, 4, 2, 2 Maybe I’m quick to judge, just listen to it, too!
DF: Normally, I’m not the greatest Drake fan and can’t really understand the hype around him. In this song with Sampha, this kind of changed. I really like the meaning behind it and how he describes the difficulties you can face when you’re distancing yourself from a loved one. Thumbs up.
SA: Not sure what the numbers refer to, but I liked this strange song. I love the soul in Sampha’s unique voice, but I feel like this short track was a tease, though. It lured me in and then left me feeling unfulfilled somehow.
“Song Goes Off” – Trey Songz
NM: I never really got the appeal of Trey Songz, he’s far better as a featured artist, but he can make some pretty decent babymaking music.
RO: I used to have this thing as a kid where certain songs that played on the radio would actually make me nauseous and I’m pretty sure if I heard this one it would trigger some car sickness.
DF: Slow and nice beat, a song from Trey Songz that I enjoy quite much. It’s a very romantic song, really nice for some time together with your significant other, I’d say.
SA: Trey Songz never ceases to disappoint. I love the catchy beat blended with his smooth, silky voice. To be quite honest, this song makes me melt like butter. If a guy sang this to me, I would be swooning so hard.
“Miscarriage” – Said the Whale
NM: Hey, Said the Whale performed at my high school a bunch of years ago. I haven’t listened to them in a while, but this is a pretty big switch-up from their old sound. This song tackles an incredibly heavy topic, and it’s handled deftly. I’m impressed.
RO: I feel like they were going for a Hospice by The Antlers vibe, just sad music about sad things, but they took it a notch too dark and it’s just inappropriate. C’mon guys, don’t use a miscarriage to sell records.
DF: I really like the guitar setting, reminds me of the very present new wave of underground/garage/grungy music flooding over us at the moment. Although nobody sings in this song, it still manages to convey some sort of thoughtfulness and melancholy.
SA: I was wondering what Said the Whale had been up to these past couple of years. Their last album, Hawaii, had a couple decent tracks, but still didn’t meet my expectations from the earlier Howe Sounds/Taking Abalonia. This new debut track gives me high hopes for their upcoming album, though. I love the new, electronic sound, with their trademark warm lyrics and voices.
“Bryson Tiller” – Keshia Chanté
NM: Getting some Ciara vibes from this one. Shoutout to Bryson Tiller for getting a song written about him.
RO: Imagine being Bryson Tiller, and your bae writes a public song to prevent you from breaking up with her — like that sort of puts you in an awkward situation.
DF: A little bit like “Song Goes Off” from the vibe you get from it. It’s also very relaxed, very soft, and a pleasure to listen to.
SA: Not really my cup of tea, but Keshia Chanté is doing her thing so that’s respectable on her part. She should probably tone it down on that auto-tune, though, just saying. Her voice sounds whiny at times and it’s kind of off-putting.
“Whiteout Conditions” – The New Pornographers
NM: I’d be more excited if this wasn’t going to be the first New Pornographers album without Dan Bejar, but this song is great. They’ve been one of Vancouver’s best bands for almost 20 years, and they’ve maintained a consistent output of quality music. I’m going to be listening to this a lot.
RO: This is appropriate for our super snowy winter this year. The song isn’t half bad either!
DF: Sweeeeeet, gimme more of that synth-pop music! It’s energetic and has a super catchy melody, love it. Also, I really dig the name of the band.
SA: I’m not a huge fan of The New Pornographers as a musical group, but I love Neko Case (their most prominent member). With that being said, this song isn’t too bad, and I’m looking forward to hearing their new album, where Neko Case takes more of the lead.