@@@ Ayuune Sule: Don’t Be Lazy (Ayuune Sule, 2021) I got to this track via an email from one of the three labels that collaborated on this release. It contains elements from Ghanaian fra fra music and that brings me to my one of my favorite releases from the 2010’s, Guy One. Lots of energy here, lots of rhythm, lots of vocals, lots of everything. The sounds are very nice, the recording is good, but the arrangement is king here. Very sophisticated and complex. I will circle back on this full record when I get the chance and while I think it will not displace Guy One’s record as the king of fra fra for me this is good shit and folks should check it out. I’m on the fifth tune, Fighting Music, and there are a lot of references to Rastafari, which I find interesting, super interesting.
@@@ Hatchie: This Enchanted (Secretly Canadian, 2021) I got to this via a music publicist email and it’s being marketed as transportive, oh really? It’s very 1980’s which isn’t great for me, but after hinting she dives in with a storm of sounds for a bit before the pop vocals hit for that big hit. So big blast of sound and super huge-a-fied vocals and you get the formula. I think of Secretly Canadian as being one of the kings of indie and this is not indie at all, it’s pretty much pop money making. It’s arranged well, I shouldn’t go on for long on this, this is music for normies with a tad of shitstorm thrown in for the hipsters. Meh.
@@@ Maria Isabel: Baby (Warner, 2021) Both of today’s listens are off this week’s Line of Best Fit. It opens up mellow and a bit melancholy as the character in the track is protecting her lover. The lyrics revolve around this idea. A little vocalizing in Spanish at points. Her singing is mostly restrained though in the chorus she gets a very big and rich reverb where she sings baby and then ‘I will die for you’ coming after that. I like the synth that sounds like a guitar that opens the track and I don’t like the chorus that much. It’s musty dark cheese. I guess these major label tracks (I listened from bottom to top today) feel they have to really bring the Avenger style emotional drama to get attention — I just find it hollow. There are some real nice elements to the track, I think the chorus just got a bit out of hand.
@@@ YUNGLBUD: fleabag (Interscope, 2021) Here we have a major label pop punk punker complete with a droopy red schmohawk. I don’t know how the folks who made this track can sleep at night because they bit Nirvana in a shameful manner here. Bits of more than two of their big hits are up in heah, I can’t bother myself to list the instances but it’s true. Shameful. He’s a self-hating fleabag but the presentation is crunchy, Rolls Royce high end. Oy society can be so confusing. I guess some fans of Nirvana might feel this while I think many more would be horrified at the mugging that has occurred here.
@@@ Halsey: The Tradition (Capitol/UMG, 2021). Halsey’s new record is getting quite a bit of ink out there, is it a massive artistic statement? We shall see! HIstory would say it’s more of a marketing effort rather than a true statement. The opening track of her new record, it starts up with piano and Halsey singing. It grows with more vocal tracks, an understated string part and then back to the verse. Aargh, I don’t know if I should click to the next track cuz I’m not feeling this, it’s collapsing under the weight of its own whatevs. The second track Bells in Santa Fe, starts differently, oh not really it just takes out the piano, nope it doesn’t even do that. Yikes I could use some beats to distract from all the whatevs. It’s Sunday and maybe I just suck today but I will check out one more track tomorrow and see if it fits me any better but the first two tracks are not encouraging. It’s Monday and I promised a second listen so here we are! The production signals an epicness I don’t find in the track itself. The lyrics are interesting for a mainstream track, highlighting the mistreatment of women and how that’s just a tradition. I like the segue with about 90 seconds left but I could use more anger and less drama or something more sonically. In its way it’s very conservative and traditional.
@@@ Lorde: Solar Power (UMG New Zealand, 2021). It’s mainstream female musician day! I saw somebody on the Twatter taking down Lorde for her condescending to normal people. Oy, I can’t believe listen to this mainstream shit as real music, the vibe here is quite manipulative and so shallow as to trigger a depression. On the surface (and that’s about how deep it all goes) it’s a breezy ode to going to the beach. It’s 2/3s done by the time the drums kick in and at that point I want to drive my car into the ocean. The outro consists of stacks of vocals singing the word ‘solar’ over a rockin’ beat and a little melody at the end. It’s hard to convey how something put together in such a manner, so exquisitely manicured and groomed before release can still be trash but that’s the view from here. This is straight pop music trash. I’m not sure if Lorde is guilty of any condescending to normal people but she sure as shit took that three minutes and I’ll never get that back. Beware the zombie pop!
@@@ Kacey Musgraves: star-crossed (Interscope, 2021) Folks just love motherfuckin’ Kacey Musgraves. I have nothing against her, I just haven’t witnessed the genius quite yet. I keep an open mind and peep this pre-release track from a full length coming out in September. It opens with a nylon string harp type thing and a huge vocal sound before a kick drum comes, then a shushing type shaker and an outstanding synth bass which is my favorite element of the track, it fits like a key in a lock!. It’s a love track burger with plenty of cheesy epic-ness. Don’t love the arpeggiated synth sound that approximates a guitar. I hate to be a finicky prick (not really) but that harp-y sound and the arpeggiated synth aren’t the most creative things I’ve heard. Still a big fan of the bass. It’s all manicured and arranged professionally, I just don’t encounter that much passion in it.
@@@ Meek Mill: Sharing Locations (Maybach/Atlantic, 2021) I don’t have the greatest view of the hip hop that appears up on the hot tracks section of Apple Music but I remain open minded. Three MCs, a brisk tempo, a fairly generic trap beat that sounds a bit toy like as it comes out of my monitors. I like the bass and the bounce. I’m paying all the lawyers for the murderers, there’s a lot of murderers up in this track, that’s the vocal hook. Not sure on that, not sure if I dig that or even understand that. I know folks love Meek Mill and I have nothing against him but this sounds kinda disposable. The all vocal arrangement (meaning the sounds outside of drum, bass and rhymes) sounds a bit cheap.
@@@ $uicideboy$: Long Term Effects of Suffering (G59, 2021) Off the Twatter! Super dark hip hop I got to via the Pitchfork Twatter feed. The whole 25 minute record is attached below but I will be peeping the first three tunes. Lots of opioid America type titles like If Self Destruction was an Olympic Sport I’d Be Tonya Harding, Degeneration in the key of A minor. Trap beats lend an ominous feel to the opening track, the arrangements are pretty standard trippy focused. Lots of cloudy synths and plucked sounds. The rhyming is team style, usually two dudes at the same time with individual breakouts. Super fat assed bass sounds in this second track Self Destruction. I thought the most fleshed out track was the fourth one 5 grand at 8 to 1. I love the idea of these tracks and what they’re trying to do but I wish they were more exciting and dynamic.
@@@ Chorusing: Watching the Beams (Western Vinyl, 2021) Last week’s All Music notable release email! Slotted as alternative, this is the third track on the record and it opens up fully electronic. Oh no, a rock style singer, that changes things quite a bit. The combination of the vocal delay and the sci-fi-ish electro backing gives moderate to medium Pink Floyd feels. I like one of the synth sounds and I don’t love the arpeggiated synth. There are three at least going here with a drum machine beat. I love the electronic music and I guess this is why I gravitate towards the African electronic music as it tends to be wilder and more imaginative. This isn’t full Republican but it’s kinda staid.
@@@ The Bronx: Curb Feelers (Cooking Vinyl, 2021) This full length banger is out in 5 days and this track rocks a hybrid, quasi-mainstream rawk/punk combo platter. More melody and less thrash but plenty of energy, the sounds here are polished and modern. Very riffy with a singer, not a metal orc or a classic metal opera singer, just a normal rock singer. Rock is so out of favor something that’s decent and not fully shopping malled out that’s not metal seems like a strange animal walking across the street. I checked another track and it’s big rawk energy as well.
@@@ Willow Kayne: Two Seater (Sony Music, 2021) A single from a major label and this might be a Sony music arm that’s not located in the U.S. because this is too odd and not in line with the steady diet of garbage coming out of major labels heah. The chorus does indeed straighten out into a pretty tuneful section but hold up, let me google this Willow Kayne and indeed she be from Bristol in the UK. I like the bass sound and arrangement is quite sophisto, the lyrics are pretty shallow with reasons why she’s gonna buy a two seater but whatevs. Interesting feels in the verse, grabs you when it opens up, not sure it follows through.
@@@ Tkay Maidza: Cashmere (4AD, 2021) Pitchfork 10 Best reviewed albums of the week a few weeks ago. I heard Ms. Maidza a few years ago when she was an Aussie only indigenous pop singer but I could hear then that she might end up in the mighty Pitchfork at some point. It opens just a wee bit below midtempo with a plain beat that doesn’t really signify a particular style. The arrangement is pretty minimal, tucked under the voice/voices and spacious with some guitar arranged as a synth might be arranged. Lyrically, she’s soft as cashmere and the rest of the lyrics support that vibe which is interesting because a lot of American singers are hard, they’re hard as shit and they’re coming for you. I’m checking the first tune and the vibe on this record is pretty chill with some really nice bass parts and spacious sounds. I’m feeling the opener, Eden, much more than Cashmere. Her rhyming is odd and very engaging.
@@@ Mariah the Scientist: 2 You (RCA, 2021) Same Pitchfork list! A different vibe, but not completely different. This is more of a sci fi arrangement with some deftly chopped and served up glitched and Ms. Scientist goes pretty mainstream and epic over the top. Outside of the vocal chop shop and her singing there’s not a ton of stuff going on the arrangement, it’s diva time. I like how the processed vocals de-cheese the whole tune but overall it’s pretty mainstream. Not horribly so, and it’s certainly not a cheese comet crossing the sky but it’s pretty straight, which is fine but not how I ultimately roll. I let the player click through and it’s the same move — they take a small nugget of something to support her vocal work and she just goes off.
@@@ Ike Palumbo & El Da Sensei: Blast Off! (Spacelab, 2021) Some retro indie hip hop I got to via a music publicist email. Opens up somewhat old school with a swinging piano part and a NY style drumbeat. The MCs rhyme off that piano riff, and while it’s not a straight boast track they are about to do like the title and blast off. I like the piano part though I think it gets repeated too much and the guitar part at the end is cool. Old school rhymin’.
@@@ Novacain: Shine on Me (Authentic Record, 2021) I think I saw this on the Twatter but I’m not a 100% on that. Rawk! Upbeat danceable rock that could be the soundtrack to a Friends sequel but it’s rawk. Oh boy, this is not my demographic for sure. There’s an interesting guitar melody that shows up at spots and a little drumbeat alternative that I dig but overall the vibe is one of perkiness. Alone I hide, I need a resurrection for my pride that’s the first half of the chorus hook, I’m like a treasure chest living at the bottom of the sea, so shine on me. That’s the whole kahuna right there, two slices and a piece of luncheon meat. Not sure what to make of that sentiment so I’ll just leave it at that.
@@@ Remi Wolf: Liquor Store (UMG, 2021) A saucy, pottymouth rock/funk/pop track I got to via a music publicist email. I always want more when I enter the liquor store, that’s the main vocal hook. It’s fully pimped out major label production with Prince style guitar shredding, stacks of vocals all swirled up with bright production. Most notable are the lyrics which are pretty raw for this kind of track. There are fragments about having sex like an animal and you got an ice cream on your leg motherfucker and you have two fish pressing on my clit (or some suchness). I’m not protesting what some evangelicals would call ‘obscenity’ it’s just notable for a pop track and frankly if the beat was swinging more I would be into it more. Nice guitar, tone down the singer, funkafy the beats, that’s my view.
@@@ Xenia Rubinos: Sacude (Anti-, 2021) I’m not fully a fanboy but I like the area where Rubinos works. Latin music with intricate electronic arrangements, sign me up! This I think is the fourth advance track off an upcoming full length banger and it’s a hand percussion, a janky half loop and Rubinos singing over that. The comes a guitar, then a synth bass swell and she switches to Spanish with some haunting synth sounds floating out there. I hope the rest of the record is as hot, she’s got it going on here as far as I’m concerned. I find a little bit of the epicness of the sounds to distract a little bit and think a bit of grit might make this more driving but that’s just me and I’m a freak. There are points where the Latin music pokes through more and I like how that comes and goes. It goes out on a pretty massive stack of vocals in Spanish. This is a what a creative musician sounds like, it’s not the only way a creative musician sounds but this has flow and shape and evolution.
@@@ Yola: Stand for Yourself (Easy Eye/Concord, 2021) I got to this track via a blurb/feature on USA Today. If it’s in USA Today it’s mainstream and this is a mainstream, update version of old school soul. Big rock guitar. drums high in the mix (I like that!), and to me this sounds like an attempt to draw the rock fans who don’t have to snack on these days. They compressed this track pretty hard to pump the rock feels. I like her voice, she’s got a really strong voice. Of course, I always prefer a little something something to set the track apart from its predecessors but that is not really the trend these days. So I will accept how things are while also stating that putting something unique in your track keeps shit fresh.
@@@ Leah Blevins: First Time Feeling (30 Tigers, 2021) I got to this country track from a music publicist email. This is the title track and the third track on the record and when it opens up it feels more like an indie/country blend as the drums are straight as hell and there are really no signifiers of country music here except a little in her voice. I like the organ while I don’t love how they placed her voice in the mix. I’m mostly wishing it was more country, the world doesn’t need more indie music, it needs less. I let the player click through and it’s much more country with fingerpicked guitar and a more classic country approach. I checked out a bunch of other songs as my wife loves the female country/rock business and overall I feel a bit mixed about it. Moments I like, others I don’t like as much so decide for yourself and shit.