Tag Archives: july

Monthly Playlist: Jul. 2022

8 Aug

We are back with our best tracks from the month that was. Read on to hear some great tracks from Billie Eilish, Beyonce and more. And let us know your thoughts in the comments!

“TV” by Billie Eilish

After her sophomore album in 2021, Billie Eilish is back with her first pair of new tracks from a short EP entitled Guitar Songs. “TV”, one of these two tracks, is a haunting ode to Billie’s disappointment and depression about the current state of political reality, particularly in the US. She doesn’t want to much beyond watching TV (which no doubt exacerbates the problem), and bemoans how the American people around her are focusing on the Depp-Heard trial and other trivial things rather than on fundamental rights being revoked. The depressive, guitar-driven “TV” continues the tonal shift transition away from the electro-pop of her debut album and further into the more introspective journey that she’s been on since Happier than Ever.

“Free Yourself” by Jessie Ware

Modern-day British disco queen Jessie Ware is back with another banger after 2020’s excellent What’s Your Pleasure? “Free Yourself” – the lead single from her upcoming fifth album – is a funky, synth-driven modern disco track, complete with dramatic violin-note accentuations. Jessie’s vocals are as powerful as ever, ranging from soul on the chorus bits to sweet and sultry on the verses. Catchy as ever from the London-based singer-songwriter.

“Bitch I’m Nice” by Doechii

July presented a double-whammy from the up-and-coming Florida rapper Doechii (real name Jaylah Hickmon) whose rap style runs somewhere between Nicki’s loudmouthed arrogance, Little Simz’s beat-heavy flow and Doja Cat’s ability to turn a melody anywhere. “Bitch I’m Nice” starts strong and doesn’t let down anywhere on its short one-and-a-half runtime. Doechii’s monotone chorus is vaguely menacing, especially when paired against the oscillating synth staccatos in the background. Then in the same month, there was also “Persuasive”, a track featuring none other than SZA. That track showcased her sweeter R&B style vibe interspersed with the rap chops displayed on “Bitch I’m Nice”. Overall, July 2022 proved that Doechii is one to keep an eye on for sure.

“2 Be Loved” by Lizzo

In July 2022, Lizzo released her fourth studio album Special to moderate fanfare. The lion’s share of attention from the album has of course been on the mega-hit “About Damn Time” (we challenge you to turn on a popular radio station without the song coming up within the hour), but second and final single “2 Be Loved” is another notable track from the new album. “2 Be Loved” is a fun, synth-pop track that belies a darker undertone – lyrically, it’s about Lizzo’s journey of self-love that runs through embarrassment, low self-worth, shyness and more. Interesting track and probably the second highlight from the largely mediocre Special.

“Hold the Girl” by Rina Sawayama

“Hold the Girl” is the third single from Rina Sawayama’s sophomore album, entitled Hold the Girl, set to release in September 2022. The track is trademark-Rina – a mix of 90s and 00s music trends paired with Rina’s powerful vocals. This song in particular pays homage to early 00s pop with recognizable elements like dramatic violin-and-piano interludes and a dance-pop break-down in the chorus. Rina sounds more confident in her own skin on this track, and even more skilled at melding her own style with the early aughts vibes that she seeks to emulate. Good signs for the upcoming album! 

Monthly Playlist: Jul. 2020

2 Aug

This month in music, we saw everything from surprise albums, to much-awaited sophomore albums, to some unexpectedly good remixes. Read on below for a quick breakdown of our top five songs this month – plus, a bonus track!

5. “SWAG” by YG

With its bouncy, summer-ready beats and the titular use of the 2010s-peak slang word, “SWAG” is almost a blissful blast-from-the-past, before the hellscape that is 2020. Compton-based rapper YG’s lyrics on this track are definitely nothing to write home about – the chorus is largely a repetition of the word “swag” – but damn, is it catchy. The best part about this song, however, is the music video. Aside from the 90s style visuals (think “Drop It Like It’s Hot”), the clip features an homage to Colin Kaepernick and cameos from two very special fellow Compton natives (check out around the 1:17 mark below).

4. “Night Garden” by BENEE feat. Kenny Beats & Bakar)

20-year-old New Zealand singer-songwriter BENEE has been blowing up for a few months now. In 2019, she released not one but two EPs, Fire on Marzz and Stella & Steve, the latter of which featured the TikTok viral mega-hit “Supalonely”. Her laidback vocals and relaxed vibe – like a Kiwi Corinne Bailey Rae – prove especially alluring in today’s times. New track “Night Garden” features producer Kenny Beats’ slick arrangements, as well as a choice verse from young London singer Bakar, whose cool vocals fit quite well with the entire ethos. BENEE is surely one to watch, because “Night Garden” really does evoke a nocturnal, wistful stroll. Check out the animated music video below:

3. “Televised Mind” by Fontaines D.C.

We have yet to fully absorb Irish punk band Fontaines D.C.’s sophomore album A Hero’s Death – released just two days ago – but the single “Televised Mind” has been top-of-mind for us since its release at the start of July. Like many other of this band’s songs, the track features uneven guitar sounds, steady drums, and lead singer Grian Chatten’s magnetic, poetic Dublin-drawl vocals. “All your laughter pissed away / All your sadness pissed away / Now you don’t care what they say,” describes he of the ostensible televised mind, before ending with the kicker: “Nor do I”. We’re looking forward to taking in the rest of the album; let’s hope it lives up to their spectacular 2019 debut Dogrel.

2. “Psychonaut” by Mr. Gnome

The excellently named Mr. Gnome is a husband-wife duo with a floaty, psychedelic vibe to their tunes. Singer-songwriter Nicole Barille and drummer / pianist Sam Meister have released a quartet of albums over the past twelve years or so, followed by July’s single “Psychonaut”. The song’s pulsing, memorable intro section sounds a bit like the famous laser scene in Ocean’s Twelve, and the entire song does have a similar air of nonchalant coolness. Special props to Barille’s spindly, dreamy vocals here, for making the listener want to do nothing less than walk on the moon, as the lyrics suggest. “Psychonaut” will be featured on the band’s upcoming double-LP The Day You Flew Away, out in October.

1. “Pac-Man” by Gorillaz feat. ScHoolboy Q

Since the start of the year, Gorillaz have released a song every month or so as part of the Song Machine series – a deconstructed take on the traditional album format that, to be honest, better fits today’s social media-driven world. In July, the band released the series’ fifth song “Pac-Man” featuring LA rapper ScHoolboy Q.

The song starts off with a tinny, MIDI-esque riff, in line with the theme of being like Pac-Man stuck in his little maze. Damon Albarn’s mantra-like vocals (“I’m stressing out, I’m stressing out..”) mesmerize like a high with malignant undertones – until you’re shaken awake by ScHoolboy Q’s sharp flow. Incongruous as they may seem, the pieces fit; and the result is a track that you can’t help but replay. Also, if you are a fan of the classic “Feel Good Inc.”, you may be happy to know that “Pac-Man” is probably the closest that Gorillaz have sounded like that in a long time.

As with all Gorillaz songs, one is meant to enjoy the music in a complete multi-media sense through the music video – after all, it is at its core a collaboration between Damon Albarn and artist / illustrator Jamie Hewlett. So, without further ado, enjoy:

Bonus:

We typically don’t include remixes on our Monthly Playlist – there’s enough great music every month to not need repeats – but we must make special mention of the Tensnake remix of Dua Lipa’s “Hurricane” from this year’s astounding Future Nostalgia. The ramped up bassline and Giorgio Moroder-esque synth breaks give the song a decidedly Daft Punk edge to the already-flamboyant disco vibes.

Listen to these songs along with all of our other 2020 Monthly Playlists on Spotify:

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