For those who appreciated our earlier such venture, and for those of you just joining us, we present to you a list of five songs that were on perpetual repeat this week. Here we go.
Constant Conversations, by Passion Pit
In one of the first articles on this site, we talked about Passion Pit’s “I’ll Be Alright”, a frantic pop song that slyly talked about self-loathing. This time, we shall hope to introduce you to “Constant Conversations”, which is quite removed from being a pop song: in fact, it’s an R&B jam.
“Constant Conversations” has measured R&B beats as the foundation (“constant”), layered with lead singer Michael Angelakos’ pained confessions of failure (“conversations”). While this is a pretty common theme on Passion Pit songs, one usually sees Angelakos restraining himself on the gloominess. Here, though, he goes all out.
These are the kind of confessions that come out when you’re inebriated, and Angelakos confirms this: “I never wanna hurt you baby, I’m just a mess with a name and the price/ And now I’m drunker then before they told me drinking doesn’t make me nice,” he says, and you know there’s no inhibitions here. While the vintage R&B layering is spectacular – Boyz II Men and Usher have got nothing on Passion Pit – what really steals the show is the heartbreaking chorus. Brilliant way to start your way into Gossamer.
Fineshrine, by Purity Ring
Purity Ring is an electronic band from Canada, composed of singer Megan James and instrumentalist Corin Roddick. Since April, when their astonishing debut Shrines released, they’ve become famous for dreamy, elegant, clean electro-pop with strange song titles– for example, “Ungirthed”, “Obedear” and “Amenamy”. The song we like best is “Fineshrine”, a graceful synth-pop song with slick beats and a voice like Elizabeth Fraser’s on “Teardrop”.
To describe any further would be to do no justice for the song: James’ peculiar phrasings and porcelain vocals need to be heard to be appreciated. Imagine if MGMT released a song featuring Norah Jones, and you’ll only be halfway to imagining “Fineshrine”.
Jumanji, by Azealia Banks
Azealia Banks is a 21-year-old rapper from Harlem, New York. She has a fascination with mermaids, and sounds like the biggest riot since MIA hit the scene. “Jumanji” is a single from her mixtape Fantasea, and featured on the single cover is a children’s-book-like image of Ms. Banks dancing with a very dapper elephant. Frankly, that image says all you need to know about “Jumanji”. The beats on this song sound half like a ferocious jungle and half like an children’s birthday party, but they anyway take a back seat to the mind-boggling flow of Azealia’s rhymes.
Ms. Banks has more swag than Nicki Minaj, better flow than Kanye, and enough braggadocio to rival Jay Z. Her beats include dramatic drums, plinky calypso, and gratuitous amounts of energy. She frequently chant-raps lines like “Real bitch, all day/ Uptown, Broadway” and “I do it ‘cause it’s my duty / Crazy and kinda spooky/ Yo boobie, step up ya coochie,” in a way that very few female rappers can pull off. If you think Nicki Minaj would do well to learn real swag like Lil’ Kim’s, then you’re going to like Azealia Banks.
Listen to it here.
Elephant, by Tame Impala
It’s easy to judge Tame Impala wrongly: to be fairly honest, their name sounds like hipster nonsense. But if ever a reason to not judge a book by its cover (or a band by its name), it is here: because Tame Impala is, in fact, a very good classic rock tribute band.
“Elephant”, the first single from the upcoming Lonerism album of the Perth, Australia band, starts off with heavy, stomping bass-and-drums and a voice that sounds like Mr. Mojo Risin’ himself. Seriously, we DARE you to listen to the first ten seconds of the song without being reminded of the Doors. And like any good stoner/psychedelic rock band, the lyrics are deliciously mystical and obtuse. “I bet he feels like an elephant, shaking his big grey trunk for the hell of it,” goes the opening line, over a beat that feels like, well, an entire line of elephants shaking their big grey trunks for the hell of it. Spiffy.
Looking at the YouTube comments section for the video, there seems to be legions of fans trying to classify the song’s sound using the trusted “This is like that one classic rock band, but with a front man from a different band” formula. So far, good ones we’ve read include “Josh Homme fronting the Beatles”, “Syd Barrett fronting Black Sabbath” and “Wolfmother lead singer fronting Deep Purple”, but our contribution would have to be “Jim Morrison fronting Cream”. What do you think?
Wut, by Le1f
We’ll cut right to the chase. Here are three reasons to listen to this song immediately:
1. It has the slickest beats you’ll hear all year: a mixture of alarm bells, vuvuzelas and handclaps that will (and I guarantee this) get stuck in your head.
2. Le1f is signed to Greedhead, the record label run by Himanshu Suri, who is one-half of Das Racist, who as we all know are the coolest people on the Internet.
3. Le1f is a ludicrously flamboyant gay black rapper who raps – or rather, brags – about being a ludicrously flamboyant gay black rapper.
“Wut” is the first song from his mixtape Dark York for which Le1f has released a music video, and good God, what a spectacular music video it is. At one point, Le1f grinds on the thigh of a male mannequin who just happens to be wearing a Pikachu mask. Shockingly, you hardly notice all of that, because your jaw is too busy dropping at Le1f’s flow: he spits out seventy (!) words of spectacular swagger in ten seconds (we counted).
Of course, like any self-respecting rap music video, “Wut” has a couple of busty women who are strutting their stuff for you, but it’s pretty ironic here, because Le1f struts his stuff along with them – plus he’s got way better moves than them anyway. Yes, he’s gay (understatement) but it’s amazing how he brags about it, brazenly, the same way 50 Cent brags about his cars and women or Snoop about his weed and women or Kanye about Louis Vuitton and women. “I’m the kind of jawn closet dudes wanna go steady on,” he boasts, before going on to explain, “I make a neo-Nazi kamikaze want to firebomb.” He’s right.
Agree with our list? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section!