By: Courtney Miller, Jessica Pickering, and Jessica Whitesel
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“I Feel it Coming” – The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk
Jessica Whitesel: The Weeknd is talented, Daft Punk is talented, but when you put the two together you get something that is not greater than the sum of its parts. “Starboy” was great, but this is just too clean and rounded. There isn’t any of the grit that made the Weeknd great in the first place and there is no edge to this. It will get lots of radio play, but I’m not in love with it.
Courtney Miller: I like the bass, the music’s fine, the vocals are fine. It was just fine overall. It wasn’t great. I expected more, but I’m also not surprised. Not a strong open to this week’s playlist.
Jessica Pickering: I hate that I like this. I feel like on principle I should hate this, but it’s unfortunately catchy. Whatever, at least it’s not a cover of “In the Air Tonight.” That would have been terrible.
“Comin’ Home” – Trey Songz
JW: OMFG this is a Christmas song. It’s like Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” but sad and R&B. I was expecting this to be a sad rip-off of “Bottoms Up” (because everyone should rip off their own song at least once) but I was clearly wrong. It’s no “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” but at least it’s original. The end is a hot mess, though.
CM: Awesome, Christmas songs, my favourite. The track is pretty minimal, and the song works like that, but I think some horns would’ve worked well in this. Also, if Songz showcased more of his range instead of staying in the small little box he kept in for most of the song, this song would be better.
JP: Just because you can make a Christmas song, doesn’t mean you should. Leave that shit to Michael Bublé. Stay in your own goddamn lane, Trey Songz.
“I Don’t Know My Name” – Grace VanderWaal
JW: I like female vocalists, and I like sparse guitar tracks. What I hate are female vocalists with voices that are too high (sorry sopranos, but altos are my home girls) and ukuleles. Is your name Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo`ole? No, it’s Grace VanderWaal, although to be fair you don’t know your name since you’re singing about not knowing it. Put the ukulele down and put some other instruments in. I might have liked this song otherwise.
CM: The strained, breathy vocals work well with the ukulele. That being said — as much as I like the music and the way it builds, and I love the lyrics — the vocals lose my interest.
JP: I like the ukulele. It really works with her vocals. Not a big fan of the lyrics though. I’m pretty sure she does know her name.
“Cold Heart” – TooManyLeftHands
JW: Sorry to everyone else this week for putting this song on the list, but I just couldn’t resist talking about the band name. Like, how many extra left hands makes it too many? Shouldn’t you also then have too many right hands? Are you just assholes shaming people who don’t have a right hand but a left one? Oh and if you care, I didn’t really like the song.
CM: I was lukewarm on this until halfway through. I like the lyrics and the vocals have their moments, but the beat was so generic that I wanted to check out. It improved the longer you listened, but I can’t imagine it being much more than music you can ignore while you do better things.
JP: I don’t know why but I’m getting Jonas Brothers vibes from this. Maybe the vocals? Either way, you’re about to hear this three times an hour on Virgin Radio.
“Housewife Spliffin’” – Ängie
JW: As one would expect, this song is about smoking dope — but there’s a twist! She’s single, and doesn’t own her house or care about housekeeping. She’s just getting high and drinking coffee in the bathtub. It’s a super chill song, obviously, but it’s hella repetitive. Like late-’90s/early-’00s pop kind of repetitive.
CM: While I can appreciate the sass in these lyrics, I can’t get over the fact that “housewife” is not the best term she could have used. She calls it “housewife spliffin’” and then proceeds to describe someone who is not at all a housewife: “I call it housewife spliifin’, just without a man and no housekeep mission.” The song’s alright — a bit too mellow for me.
JP: Oh great, a Lana Del Rey wannabe. Because we really need more of those. Skip.
“Penthouse Floor” – John Legend feat. Chance the Rapper
JW: Oh man that ’70s-inspired backing track sure is something else, and it doesn’t really work with Legend’s voice. Also, given the name and the backing track I was expecting this to be like suuuuuppppppeeeeerrrrr sexual, but it isn’t. Chance’s verse is the most redeeming part of this song. I guess it is an OK song, but I’m not in love with it and probably won’t listen to it again after this week.
CM: I like the groovy rhythm that starts this off. John Legend is, of course, solid vocally. That being said, I expected better from him. I think this is supposed to be seductive, but I’m not feeling it in any part of the song. Also, Chance the Rapper, didn’t hate your style, but the knock-knock joke was completely unnecessary.
JP: I don’t care for John Legend and this song is not changing that. I aggressively don’t care about this song.
“Formidable” – The Big Moon
JW: It’s like an indie version of an uplifting pop song about surviving. It’s OK, but like maybe it’s because I’m on the bus, it’s not raining, and I can see snow in the mountains (like WTF is Vancouver weather, I’m from the land of winter), I’m just not feeling it.
CM: Kudos for using some real vocal range, instead of getting complacent in the same subsect of the register. It sounds kind of depressing from a music perspective, but the lyrics are empowering, and I love that they launch it to a bigger sound after about a minute. Approved.
JP: I’m so tired and the intro of this song almost put me to sleep. The middle definitely woke me up though, so thanks for that.
“Fire for Fire” – Poté feat. Kojey Radical
JW: This is like the weird love child of Christina Milian’s “Dip it Low” and Bastille’s “Pompeii.” But then that child when Vanessa Hudgens was at Coachella and smoked too much dope. I don’t know what this is. Maybe I am old and out of touch with the youths of today, but maybe that’s a good thing, because this song is kind of strange.
CM: This was how I might expect modern art to be translated into music. Simple elements where you’re like “You know what, I could’ve made this,” but skillfully done that you’re also like, “But I never would’ve thought of it.”
JP: I should have known this would be weird and indie. Not today. I don’t have time for this.
“Fvxk With You” – Angel feat. Rich Homie Quan
JW: If you are going to start your song with “fuck,” you better fucking put it in the song title. “Fuck” is just such a versatile word. It’s a noun, verb, adjective, and just fucking perfect. “Fvxk” isn’t a word. That’s what happens when your cat walks across your keyboard. But if you must disrespect fuck, you better make a good song. They didn’t, so just fucking pass.
CM: Honestly, I’ve listened to this song like five times trying to find something to say and I’ve got nothing. It’s the backgroundiest of background music.
JP: OK, if you’re going to say fuck in the song, just write it in the title. Don’t be that guy. Also if you have to put “Rich Homie” in your name, everyone will know that you’re not. Now disappear forever.
“No Lie” – Sean Paul feat. Dua Lipa
JW: I love how Sean Paul is making a comeback. This song is one of those songs that can go from pregame to club seamlessly. It’s chill enough that if you start dancing while doing your eyeliner you’re not going to look like a KISS reject, but banger-y enough that when you’re dancing at the club you can enjoy it.
CM: It’s catchy from the get-go, with stellar rhythm. The song is fun, and I won’t say anything bad about it. Spin it when you’re falling asleep to wake up or at a group hang.
JP: We, collectively as the human race, fucked up when we let “Temperature” become famous in 2005. We can never get rid of Sean Paul now. He will outlive all of us and it’s going to be terrible.
“Carry Me” – Matisyahu feat. Salt Cathedral
JW: I started doing something else and this song just melted into the background. I got about halfway through before I realized that it was actually playing, but at that point I just didn’t care. It sounds like so many other reggae/EDM/dancehall/electronic/I don’t even care what genre it is anymore/pop in 2016 tracks that I just decided to finish it out and take solace in the fact that I didn’t really lose any time listening to it since time just faded away.
CM: I feel like I’ve heard this melody a lot lately. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, I’m just so, so tired of hearing stuff that could be done by anybody else on the airwaves. I can’t even tell the songs apart these days.
JP: No. Be quiet. Forever.
“Watch it Burn” – Tasha the Amazon
JW: Oh man, I want to drive around and fuck shit up. This is like “Bad Girls” but for 2016. It’s fire AF. Sorry to anybody who might be driving with me long distances in the near future.
CM: Great lyrical speed and the sentiment resonates with me. All in all, something I’d listen to again. It helps fuel the low-key rage that motivates me in all aspects of my life. Just kidding. It does make me feel pretty badass, though.
JP: This playlist has been very disappointing so I would like to direct everyone to the songs from the Hamilton mixtape that Lin-Manuel Miranda has already dropped. The rest of the album is due on December 2. You’re welcome.