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“33 ‘God’” – Bon Iver
Jessica Whitesel: I am the first to admit that I am a huge Bon Iver fan and this song doesn’t change that. It is a little more uptempo than say “Skinny Love,” but that is not a bad thing. Neither are the smaller electronic flourishes that help to break up the backing track.
Jessica Pickering: I never really got the Bon Iver hype. Maybe I’m too high-strung to understand why anyone would want to listen to this. I honestly feel like I’m going to fall asleep because this song is too chill (which is a weird thing to complain about but here we are).
Sarah Finley: Bon Iver has a permanent place in my heart, perfect for autumnal cool breezes and falling brown leaves. Major piano chords combine with a more electronic-y vibe in this track to create a much more upbeat vibe than anything on For Emma, Forever Ago or his self-titled 2011 album.
Justin Stevens: If you can get over the chilling little voices that interject throughout the track, you get a curious masterwork on your hands. It’s unsettling but at the same time very beautiful. It feels like the best kind of dream: the one you can continue to find meaning from.
“Freedun” – M.I.A. feat. Zayn
JW: The song is pretty mediocre. While it is nice having a female rapper and male singer, it is not her best song. The rhymes feel forced, and her flow just feels off. It’s not so bad that it makes me want to scream, “Make it stop!” I don’t really want to seek it out to listen to either, though.
JP: M.I.A., I expected so much more from you! The rhymes aren’t bad but the delivery is weak. Also, why the hell is Zayn on this? He sounds so out of place with his whisper-singing. Both artists seem to have very different ideas of what this song is about and how it should sound.
SF: M.I.A. is perf for your female empowerment playlist, and this track is no different. Zayn’s backup vocals provide a nice complementary touch, combining with catchy percussion.
JS: I’ll give this song credit where it’s due: it actually made me laugh out loud. “I’m a swagger man rolling in my swagger van from the People’s Republic of Swagistan.” Ten points to Gryffindor for those lyrics.
“3 Wayz”– Ty Dolla $ign feat. Travis Scott
JW: “Z” is not how you pluralize things. “Z” is for the beginning of words like zoo and zebras. Aside from the “Z,” this is your typical Ty Dolla $ign and Travis Scott song. But it also sounds like it might have been a rejected T-Pain and Wiz Khalifa song so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
JP: It physically pained me to use a dollar sign as an “S.” The only people I have ever known to pull shit like that were in the seventh grade at the time. Grow up and make better music.
SF: This track is just . . . boring. We get it, you’re rich with an affinity for codeine, Henny, and three-ways. The lyrics are unoriginal, blurring together with every other marginally famous rapper’s.
JS: I get the feeling you have to be high to appreciate this track. Seeing as I’m not high, I just don’t get it. Those last 10 seconds were pretty good, though.
“Jesus Alone” – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
JW: This is not a song for everyone. It feels dark, foreboding, and like it is building to the first killing in a horror movie. But I like it. It takes a certain type of confidence to embrace a sound like this one and that is pretty great.
JP: I love creepy talking at the beginning of songs. No, really, it’s my favourite. And, as it turns out, it’s a reoccurring theme in this song. Fantastic. The line “You’re an African doctor harvesting tear ducts” is just a really fun addition as well. Bless the fire truck that just drove by and drowned out this song for a moment.
SF: Is this song on a soundtrack for a weird sci-fi movie? Coming in at just under six minutes long, this track is a time investment, and quite frankly, not a worthwhile one.
JS: Mix the voice of Johnny Cash with the otherworldliness of David Bowie and “Jesus Alone” is what you get. A nightmarish western-style tune that will leave you petrified forever.
“Make You Feel Good” – Fetty Wap
JW: I know it is 2016, but like I am beyond tired and I felt like it was 2006. This is when it sounds like this song was recorded. While the backing track feels a little modern the uncredited female singer and auto-tuning just is a little bit old and overdone. Pass this one and listen to any song that survived your memory from 10 years ago.
JP: Yesterday I saw a gif on The Peak’s Twitter page that perfectly summarizes this song. I don’t even want to say anything else, I just want to link the tweet and have everyone go look at it so here it is, folks! Too lazy to click the link? It’s a dumpster on fire.
SF: The structure of this track leaves me entirely confused, with Fetty Wap only having one real verse in this track, sandwiched between two 30-second sections that I suppose could be described as choruses.
JS: I can remember a time when making fun of generic rap songs was fun. Now, it’s just downright depressing. Did I secretly become old and out-of-touch overnight? Is this what rap is now? By God, I think the hip-hop genre just had a fucking stroke.
“Timeless” – James Blake feat. Vince Staples
JW: I was all prepared to like this song until the weird noise in the backing track came in and it made me want to turn my alarm off. Once it stops it is OK again, but you are just waiting for it to start over again and then it just sucks.
JP: What is this nonsense? I thought the goal of music was to be enjoyable. Apparently these two would beg to differ. I’m just trying to picture what type of person willingly puts themselves through this.
SF: Complete with what sounds like a car alarm going off in the background, this track seems like nothing more than noise. It’s like James Blake and Vince Staples are trying to do an impression of Kendrick, but painfully and dramatically failed.
JS: Timeless? HA. I can’t decide if this is rejected cellphone alarm or someone trying to make a song out of a tornado warning siren.
“Send Them Off!” – Bastille
JW: I like Bastille — well, at least I thought I did. But they are just sounding same-y. This song just sounds like a moodier version of their last single “Good Grief,” complete with the weird old-timey movie clip at the beginning. I honestly was expecting more and I’m disappointed.
JP: I would like to personally thank Bastille for the first good song on this playlist. I love this song, which is good because I just downloaded this song as part of my pre-order of their new album. Ending seems a bit abrupt but other than that it’s one dynamite track (I just re-watched Wreck-It Ralph, please forgive me).
SF: My middle school angsty self feels represented in the lyrics here. My adult, university self can’t help but giggle at lyrics that bemoan a desire for their minds to be liberated. Gag.
JS: The horn instrumentals on this track are utterly bodacious. It made me want to grab a cape and spandex and wreck some bad guys. Unfortunately, once the actual lyrics hit the scene you can’t help but feel the song takes a step back from the potential intensity it offers. I’d wait for the inevitable spin class remix instead.
“I Get it Now” – Fjord
JW: This is a pleasant, electronic-infused indie-type track that is pretty low-key. But even though it is a good song it just is kind of boring and not very memorable. If it came on though I would happily listen to it.
JP: Holy shit, two redeemable songs in a row? Christmas came early this year. Don’t get me wrong, this song isn’t the best I’ve ever heard, but compared to some of the other garbage this week it’s fantastic. A tad repetitive but overall it’s listenable.
SF: Melancholy chords introduce the song, soon followed by equally melancholy lyrics. Echoey vocals combined with electronic instrumentals make this track land somewhere between sad and hypnotic — but good all the same.
JS: I got a crisp $100-bill that says this song will be featured in the next trailer for the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel. It checks the box of every generic steamy romance trailer prereq: sultry voice? Check. Melancholy instrumentals? Check. Completely forgettable lyrics? Double check.
“Ain’t My Fault” – Zara Larsson
JW: This song sounds like a Rihanna reject. But like 2008 or 2010 Rihanna. It isn’t special and it has been done before, but we are probably going to be hearing a lot of it so just be prepared for that. I am not ready and honestly it makes me kind of sad.
JP: Listening to this song is like listening to a really drunk girl at a party trying to explain drama: I just want to give you a glass of water and a piece of bread. I don’t even know what she’s saying anymore, she just needs to sleep it off.
SF: Beginning with a literal school bell ringing, Zara Larsson’s new track has me chronically cringing. Grossly repetitive and severely auto-tuned with weak bass drops scattered here and there. I couldn’t wait for it to end. Forever.
JS: Hey Zara, Rihanna called. She wants you to stop trying to mack her style. This instrumental is less what I would expect on a hip-hop single and more in line with the start screen for a shitty Kickstarter RPG made in under an hour. But all in all, call your teenage cousin up and tell her you found a track that’s as basic as her hairstyle.
“Rivals” – Usher feat. Future
JW: Oh Usher, your abs are so good but your music is so boring. You should just dance, and dance. Maybe just take your shirt off too, but for the love of God stop making music. You even made Future sound boring.
JP: Usher I thought I left you in 2010 where you belong. Just accept that you peaked (which is a miracle in and of itself) and quietly fade into obscurity like everyone wants you to. You’re almost 40 for God’s sake. Go play golf or something.
SF: Usher and Future pair to make — surprise — a song about relationships! Slow-paced in what I can only assume is an attempt to sound more romantic than overtly sexual, this track failed to impress. On an unrelated note, how long until Usher retires?
JS: This feels less like a love song and more like a drunken freestyle of Usher and Future fighting over a microphone. It’s quite possibly the laziest serenade I have ever heard. This couldn’t enchant the pants off a plastered housewife.
“Tomorrow” – Shakey Graves
JW: I really like this one. It’s just a nice track. It might not be super memorable but I really want to listen to more of their music. It kind of has a nice sort of indie-folk vibe, but more indie than folk. Also on a side note, all portraits should have flowers in place of faces it’s more fun that way.
JP: I am severely neutral towards this song. I think normally I wouldn’t like it but I’ve been so negative with this week’s playlist and I desperately want to add some positivity. So this is definitely a song and some people might like it, others won’t, and that’s all I have to say about that.
SF: I’m always here for some Shakey Graves. Aside from simply having cute album artwork, the one-man-band never fails to impress with slightly gloomy lyrics sung to upbeat instrumentals.
JS: Oh great, another whiny acoustic singer! As if we didn’t have enough of these assholes to begin with. Pass!
“Get Low” – James Vincent McMorrow
JW: In the spirit of the early 2000s (since that’s apparently where my mind is today) I was fully expecting this to be a cover of Lil Jon’s “Get Low” and even though this is a really good song, I just really wanted to hear him sing “Awww skeet, skeet,” but like my mom says sometimes life just sucks.
JP: This song could be worse, but it could be way better too. The nicest thing I can say about it is that it is not the worst song on this week’s playlist which earns the week of September 2, 2016 a massive and resounding yikes.
SF: Calm head-voice vocals + romantic lyrics + slow percussion + soft piano chords = a perfectly relaxing rainy day track. Bless these songs to pieces.
JS: After myriad forgettable tracks, this doesn’t quite reach the heights of memorable but certainly comes close. The electric guitar in this track is poignantly simple and the chorus is hauntingly addictive. While the song didn’t grab me, the artist has definitely garnered my attention.