By: Courtney Miller, Jessica Pickering, and Jessica Whitesel
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“Friends” – Francis and the Lights feat. Bon Iver
Jessica Whitesel: I’m really loving this. The mix of Justin Vernon’s vocals over a more bass heavy track is surprisingly good. Also when it picks up and gets more layers? Dayum.👌 I think I’ve found my new jam. Sorry not sorry to everyone around me.
Courtney Miller: It’s a rhythmic, sultry little number. I could easily jam to this, but I think they’re overdoing the vocal effects by a lot because it at least halves the enjoyment of the song.
Jessica Pickering: I love the music — it had so much promise! — but the auto-tuned vocals leave a lot to be desired. This song would have been so good if they hadn’t messed with the singing. As is, the whole mood of the song feels off. Oh well, they can’t all be winners.
“Rising Water” – James Vincent McMorrow
JW: If there ever was, like, an indie-folk-rock-dance track, this would be it. It still has the laid-back vibes that are expected of the genre but the drums and bass kick it up a notch. It’s not going to be a club banger by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t care. You can see yourself out while I’m dancing around the room.
CM: The intro sounds like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” After that, I find it to be pretty repetitive and monotonous. It’d be fine for background, easy-to-ignore music, but I feel no need to seek it out to listen to it.
JP: I like this song but there’s something about the intro that feels out of sync with the rest of the music. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s definitely hindering how often I would listen to this song. It’s not even like I could just skip it either; it repeats throughout the song, too.
“Hang Out With You” – Mary Lambert
JW: Mary Lambert being featured on that Macklemore track back in the day was the best thing that happened to music. Not because of Macklemore, but because the world finally was introduced to how great Lambert is as an artist. This song is a little more poppy than her usual work and doesn’t really feature her super strong vocals as much as it could, but she makes it work, and it’s pretty great.
CM: This is a pretty cute song, and I get a little Owl City from the music-not the vocals. I think it drags out a little much at the end, but I’d listen to it again without complaint.
JP: This song starts out with a list of things Lambert doesn’t want to do and on the one hand, same, but on the other, is this how annoying I sound when I complain? Because if so, I will stop immediately. This song is very repetitive and, in all honesty, a little boring. You’d think a song with such an upbeat back track would be more interesting.
“Falling” – RIVRS
JW: I love the backing track to this one. It’s got enough drops to be a roller coaster but it’s leveled out by the drums and the way it was produced. The vocals are also pretty great if not a bit generic. I might not seek this one out but if it came one again I wouldn’t complain about it either.
CM: I can get down with this. It’s catchy, more of a laid back rhythm than relentlessly upbeat. The vocals work really well with the track and they actually seem to go together which is great.
JP: I don’t think I’m feeling the electro-pop vibe today. This song isn’t bad; I just don’t want to be listening to it. I think on any other day I’d really like this song. Maybe this is just the type of song you have to be in the mood for. Or maybe it’s me. I’m willing to bet money it’s me.
“Fall” – Lisa Hanningan
JW: This sounds like the majority of the music that I listen to: restrained vocals, simple guitar, and pensive lyrics. I like this one. It has a sort of pretty quality to it which is very enjoyable. I’ll get this one on to some of my playlists.
CM: This has an indie-folk feel to it, particularly with just the lone guitar accompanying the gentle vocals. That being said, I could go for a little more power throughout the song, as Hannigan does have some few-and-far-between moments of it.
JP: This is more my speed today. Very relaxed, very mellow song; I can see myself falling asleep to this song — in a good way. God I would love to go to sleep right now. The ending is kind of weird but the song as a whole is pretty good. It’s not the worst song on this playlist.
“Go Ahead” – Pillow Person
JW: How much are arcades now? The backing track is sounds like one and it makes me want to relive my childhood and being bad at video games. When the bass line comes in it sounds like you are couple of consoles away from someone playing DDR. It’s a pretty distracting backing track but that’s OK since the vocals are pretty lacklustre.
CM: I get a video game feel with this, right off the bat. Is that a new trend, like why is this happening? Other than that, once you hit the first chorus it improves, but it stays pretty homogenous throughout.
JP: This is the worst song on this playlist. I hate the “music.” I’m putting quotes around music because I don’t know if it can really be called that; it’s so mismatched and disconcerting. After a couple minutes I started to think it was sounding good so I paused and started it again: nope, still bad.
“Get Mine” – Midas Hutch feat. Shakka
JW: “Har-dee, har, hard.” This is all you need to know about this song. It’s pretty boring, and lyrically it’s more of a fit for the mid-’00s when everyone was rapping about how many chains and how much money they had. If you pass this one you’re not really missing much other than that one line.
CM: I’m not feeling this. The first like 10 seconds are a WTF moment, like honestly should I re-evaluate my life choices because they brought me here, kind of a moment. The bit at 2:30 is the best part of the song, but it can’t save the rest of the boring song.
JP: I think this song is good? Every time I start to get into it they do something to change that — usually it’s a change in the music. There’s a lot of conflicting music styles here; some of them work, some of them don’t. I wouldn’t seek this out to listen to again, but if a friend put it on I wouldn’t object.
“You Don’t Know Love” – Olly Murs
JW: It’s going to do great on the radio, but I’m not really feeling it. It’s just another electro-pop breakup dance track. Like, it’s OK but it’s just not really my thing. I also I don’t know if want to dance to something that basically says love is pain.
CM: This is fantastic. “You don’t know love til it tears up your heart,” is both accurate and forcefully sung. It’s got awesome rhythm, a reliable yet dynamic enough backtrack, and I would definitely seek this out to listen to again. No question.
JP: I was going to make a joke about how young Olly Murs is but then I googled him and he’s in his early thirties. Dude, now I’m just embarrassed for you. Like if he was Justin Bieber’s age I’d say this song was okay, good even, but at 32 you’re getting too old for this shit man. In all honesty, I do actually like this song, I’m just blown away that Olly Murs is an adult. Like a real adult.
“I Got the Keys” – DJ Khaled feat. Jay-Z and Future
JW: Future wasn’t really necessary. DJ Khaled being a walking meme factory at the beginning wasn’t really necessary. But the backing track and Jay-Z sounded great together. If anything, the backing track could have been toned down a bit to let Jay stand out more.
CM: I think I used my WTF critique too early. This one. This one deserves it the most, except the moment lasts all song, not ten seconds, and I’m now near tears because of how much I don’t want to listen to this.
JP: Two of the first sentences are “we the best music” and “another one.” I think the former is the lie DJ Khaled tells his reflection in the mirror every morning. The latter is what everyone is thinking to when there’s a new DJ Khaled song. They’re really just coasting on Jay-Z’s fame at this point.
“If You Want It” – Sam Roberts Band
JW: I don’t really know what I expected from this song, but it wasn’t this. I mean, it is classic Sam Roberts Band, but it just sounds like all their other releases. If it wasn’t on New Music Friday I would have thought Spotify broke and decided it was time to play old Sam Roberts Band. It will probably do well on rock radio, and it’s not bad, just really same-y.
CM: I feel like I’ve heard several songs very similar to this before. It’s not bad, it just isn’t amazing. Again, I think it gets dragged out too long, nothing is added to the song — it just repeats into oblivion and it’s unnecessary.
JP: So, as far as I know, this is the first Sam Roberts Band song I’ve ever listened to and I really like it. I can see myself listening to this song a lot. It’s the perfect tempo and everything seems to meld really well together. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the lyrics, but they sounded pretty alright. Probably my favourite song on this week’s playlist.
“Concrete” – Crystal Castles
JW: Oh man. This is suuuppppeeeerrrrrr EDM-y. Like, wow. If I were faded in the club this would be the best thing ever. But I’m sitting at my desk, at work, in the morning, trying to not fall asleep, so nope. This song has a time and place, but it’s not here and now.
CM: I can’t tell you what the sparse vocals are saying — I find it to be completely unintelligible. I feel like this would be apropos for a rave, complete with laser show, but for regular listening, I’ll pass.
JP: Well this is just noise, and not very good noise at that. I don’t even know what genre this is. Is it even in a genre? This is static and random noises and yelling and I do not care for it at all. I really wanted to just skip this song after the first 10 seconds but I stuck with it for you guys. You’re welcome.
“Love Me Better” – Love Thy Brother feat. Ariel Beesley
JW: This is a fun dance-feeling song, but also one that could work for road trips. I really want to know what Ariel Beesley is capable of vocally because it does feel like she is holding back, but all in all it’s not a bad song.
CM: I like her range in this. Other than that, it’s kind of meh. I zoned out during it, so I replayed it and zoned out again, and that might be the best review I can give.
JP: I don’t know how to describe this song. I’ll give it a shot, but it might be better to just listen to it yourself. The vocals are odd. Her pitch is kind of weird and doesn’t work well with the music during the verses. The vocals work better with the chorus, but it’s still not great. It’s not the best song, but it’s, tolerable I guess.