Archive | July, 2022

Monthly Playlist: Jun. 2022

11 Jul

Hello, and welcome to the Monthly Playlist for June 2022! We are halfway through the year and have had some big album releases already. Kendrick Lamar dropped his much-awaited new album, as did Bad Bunny. There were big albums from Radiohead-side project The Smile, superstar The Weeknd and hyped newcomers Wet Leg. For now, read on for our top picks for the sixth month of the year – and look for a mid-year list soon!

“BRAND NEW BITCH” by COBRAH

COBRAH is a Swedish musician specializing in the genre of hyperpop. If that makes you think of Charli XCX (side note: check out our album review of Charli’s latest!), you’re spot-on – COBRAH’s music falls in the same vein of pulsing, club-ready bangers that blur the line between pop and EDM. “BRAND NEW BITCH” is a party track about COBRAH’s ability to switch between fashionable looks – whether it’s Mugler or Versace – but always looking new, shiny, polished and (use your imagination) slimy. Of course the lyrics don’t really matter because ultimately this song is about the beat and how COBRAH’s vocal-fry pronouncements add a layer of freneticism that perfectly suits the post-COVID club scene. 

“<maybe> it’s my fault” by WILLOW

We’ll be honest – we haven’t been giving WILLOW her musical due. The singer-songwriter (and daughter of a famous and dare we say infamous couple) has been steadily coming into her own, especially over the past year or so. She had a feature from resurgent pop-princess Avril Lavigne on last year’s Lately I Feel Everything, and also put together a great track (“psychofreak”) with Camila Cabello earlier this year. With “<maybe> it’s my fault”, WILLOW has expertly combined a few of those elements, and the result is a pop-punk track about the confusion and angst of early-adulthood relationships. “It’s all in my mind, it’s all in my mind, I try to rewind and all of the while / I’m hurtin’ inside, it’s your fault, Maybe it’s my fault,” she sings, in between surprisingly heavy guitar riffs. Definitely a track that will put WILLOW on your radar if she isn’t there already.

“BREAK MY SOUL” by Beyonce

From the first 10 seconds of “BREAK MY SOUL”, you can instantly tell that this isn’t your father’s (or mother’s) Beyonce track. Afropop house music segues smoothly into Queen Bey intoning the title phrase a few times – apparently with the intention of soundtracking the Great Resignation. “Now, I just fell in love and I just quit my job / I’m gonna find new drive, Damn, they work me so damn hard,” she says and honestly – same. It’s a surprising, new sound for Beyonce, and one that makes us excited for the July 29th release of her new album Renaissance.

“Cracker Island” by Gorillaz feat. Thundercat

After a fantastic album in 2020, Gorillaz are back with another track, just in time for the summer / fall leg of their worldwide tour (and hopefully the release of Song Machine Vol. 2). “Cracker Island” features the jazzy bassist Thundercat on a track seemingly about a cult that sets up shop on their own island (?). In true Gorillaz fashion, the famously multimedia band announced “Cracker Island” in a press release where they have also encouraged fans to join “The Last Cult” – whatever that may be. Mysterious lyrics aside, the song itself is pitch-perfect Gorillaz, with catchy synths, Damon Albarn’s filtered vocals, and beautifully crisp production – with the added bonus of Thundercat’s irresistibly funky bass. Here’s hoping for a lot more soon from everyone’s favorite virtual band.

“Betty (Get Money)” by Yung Gravy

Who knew that the old Internet meme-slash-80s-hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” would work so well as a rap track sample? Not us, but apparently Yung Gravy did. “Betty (Get Money)” is a ridiculously catchy track that starts off with the chorus and unmistakable synth-violins of Rick Astley’s iconic hit, and it only gets better from there. Yung Gravy shines throughout the whole fun track with cool verses and clever flipped lines (try it yourself: sing “Never take a L no more, never take a damn thing slow / All I know is chase this dough And get money” to the original chorus). We hadn’t heard of Yung Gravy until this track, but he’s certainly on our radar now!

The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention

10 Jul

Sometimes, a musician needs to take some space from their existing band to go and explore something new. Neither Thom Yorke nor Johnny Greenwood is that musician. Their new project with drummer Tom Skinner never strays that far from their Radiohead roots and sadly never quite lives up to the best of a band that admittedly is quite hard to live up to.

A Light For Attracting Attention has its fair share of interesting fragments and plays fairly decently overall. There’s nothing here that’s really objectionable. However, the sound really did need additional texturing. They’ve stripped it down, but lost some of the depth and complexity that made Radiohead and this is just not a compelling album in the way of their best. The album just evolves too slowly and doesn’t pack enough in what it does. It’s still decent Radiohead, I just wish it was more.

Bad Bunny – Un Verano Sin Ti

1 Jul

Un Verano Sin Ti was the most puzzling release of the year thus far. Bad Bunny’s mix of Caribbean musics was completely unexpected and constantly surprising. It was also just too good to deny.

“Party” could be pretty standard reggaeton but Bad Bunny’s crooning elevates it well beyond the regular just for it to go straight back to the dancefloor with the chorus. Similarly, the first half of “El Apagon” is conversational and feels intimate, as though you’re talking to someone in a bar, just for the bar to turn into a dancefloor and a Puerto Rico-pride one at that. You can see the flags unfurling from the rafters. You can hear the entire building jumping up and down and you can see the solo voice take command over the whole thing.

There are two pillars that make this album special. The first is the depth and texture of the sound. “Moscow Mule” opens as though this is a producer’s album with an extended instrumental-only section and wildlife sounds and as the song progresses, this remains true. There are quiet drum beats, little vocal hiccups, quiet moments and tiny, little fascinating subbeats.

Secondly, Bad Bunny just brings a ton of emotion to every track. There’s a quaver in his voice in “Dos Mil 16” that immediately just takes the whole song over. On top of that, these tracks are just bangers. Listen to something like “La Corriente” and no matter what you feel of Latin club music, you can’t help but enjoy it, and that’s really this album in a nutshell.

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