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“Living Single” – Big Sean feat. Chance the Rapper and Jeremih

Jessica Whitesel: I honestly don’t know what to say about this song. Like, the beat is good and the rapping is on point, but I don’t really know if this song is actually about living single, or if it’s about being in relationship, or if it’s about just sleeping with as many women as possible. I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND THE THEME OF THIS SONG.

Jessica Pickering: …what? The intro makes me so uncomfortable. Actually, all of it makes me uncomfortable. I’m scared and confused and I want to go home.

Rita Ovis: This song posits some truth about modern dating. It’s the grooviest way to weigh the pros and cons of being a relationship. Chance the Rapper also makes a very solid guest appearance which can make any song 35% better.

“StraitJacket” – Raleigh Ritchie

JW: I still can’t get over that this is Greyworm from Game of Thrones. I loved his first album and this song does not disappoin. It might be unexpected given the content of that album, but like, I’m down for this.

JP: It’s not the worst song I’ve heard on the NMF playlist (which isn’t saying much if you listened to the first song), but it’s not my favourite either. Huge improvement from last week’s ENTIRE playlist though.

RO: This guy has a James Blake-y/Frank Ocean-y vibe and I’m feeling it! There are some points where there is definitely too much going on in this though, like way too many instruments at one moment, but you can get past it to enjoy this smooth R&B ballad.

“Text From Your Ex” – Tinie Tempah feat. Tinashé

JW: What? Who was the text from? I don’t know if it actually comes through with the song. JK, it totally does and I’m not loving this at all. You think it might get better, but it doesn’t. If anything, it gets worse. Much, much worse.

JP: This could low-key be Carly Rae Jepsen. But like, a shitty version of Carly Rae. The voice sounds similar to her, but the rest is terrible. I’m going to go listen to E•MO•TION to make myself feel better.

RO: This song made me laugh out loud a little. They get really deep into a text from your ex. But also, girl, are you really going to steal your friend’s ex-boyfriend? C’mon.

“You Look Good” – Lady Antebellum

JW: Is it a country song if beer and trucks aren’t mentioned? Maybe or maybe not. We’ll never find out since this song mentions both about five seconds in.

JP: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooope.

RO: This is pretty much a classic pop country song. That is all.

“High for Hours” – J. Cole

JW: Woke AF. However, he did spend a good chunk of time rapping about why this song is called “High for Hours.” But, still woke and that’s when rap is at its best.

JP: The dude just explained why his song was called “High for Hours.” I could be wrong, but isn’t that like explaining the punchline of a joke? If I don’t get it on my own, it’s not that good. There’s a great message in this song, but I’m just focusing on the fact that he explained his title to me.

RO: Oh man, this song is intense. J. Cole is basically explaining that American politics are messed up and it makes him want to get really high to try to forget about it. This could be appropriate for our current political climate — J. Cole in general has been super political lately, so I’m not surprised.

“Så så så säg” – Thomas Stenström

JW: What year is it? I feel like I should be surfing in the early 1960s before going to malt shop. But in Sweden! Do with that information what you will.

JP: Beach Boys meets techno. This might be what they play in Hawaiian night clubs. Also, is it in English? Is it in Swedish? Who knows! It’s all very confusing.

RO: No idea what language the bulk of this song is in, but it doesn’t matter because this song is extremely peppy and danceable! It’s in the language of music. Ha. Ha. Ha.

“Doomsday” – Ryan Adams

JW: I always think that there should be more harmonica solos to open songs. Actually, that’s a lie. If you are going to do a harmonica solo do it in the middle of a song and not one that sounds like a Bruce Springsteen B-side.

JP: Ah, harmonica; played well by few, played often by others. This is like a weird U2/Neil Young/Bruce Springsteen vibe. I feel like my mom’s CDs all fused together and this is what came out. Also, harmonica at the beginning is a Springsteen thing and you can’t pull it off, so fuck you.

RO: Honestly, I think this is just a really cheesy song pleading for love, he sounds desperate and dude, you could seriously do better.

“Over the Edge” – Borgeous tyDi Dia

JW: What is up with the group’s name? Why are there so many fake words and weird capitalizations. I do not like. It also sounds like country techno, and it makes me uncomfortable.

JP: Are they from X-Factor? They always seem to be from X-Factor. Sorry, by them I mean shitty high pitched “trendy” singers/band. Is it a singer or is it a band? I don’t know.

RO: I would describe this as Lana Del Rey at a rave in space.

“Broken Dreams” – Anti Pony

JW: What is an Anti Pony? Is it like a tiny cow? I really want to know what an Anti Pony is. But I’m scared to Google it because the internet can be a dark and scary place. This song is scarily bad enough that I don’t want to go further down the rabbit hole.

JP: This is probably not true, but I’m hoping this name came about because someone was really upset about the Ginuwine song. “Ride your pony? No! I will not! I will. . . Anti pony. Oh shit! What a great band name!” — how that conversation went, probably (hopefully).

RO: This song is actually quite unique in a lot of ways — the girl’s voice is unlike anything I’ve heard before it’s rich and wispy at the same time. The instrumental part is kind of electronic-psychedelic-rock-y which is also very interesting.

“Crying on the Bathroom Floor” – MUNA

JW: The ’80s are over. Maybe that was when the last calendar was put up in the studio. Who knows? I just know that I want to cry on the bathroom floor after hearing this, because that sounds like it would be more fun than listening to this.

JP: If I made music this bad, I would also be crying on the bathroom floor. If everyone could stop trying to be Lana del Rey, that’d be great.

RO: Ooh this has some ’80s vibes, that’s a good thing! It’s kind of a sad song though, she has a lot of feelings. I’m sending my good vibes her way. I hope the ’80s can help save her!

“Boys Like You” – Whitehorse

JW: I saw Whitehorse at Calgary Folk Fest this summer and they are a husband-wife duo with talent to spare. I think that they might have played this as a teaser for their new album, I don’t really remember; I may or may not have been drinking. However, it falls flat without their stage presence (which is amazing by the way).

JP: Holy shit did Beck get a band? Like, not actually, but basically. Either way, I don’t care for it. Their website is shit, too.

RO: This is cool! Reminds me a bit of Beck actually. I especially like the lyric: “Boys like you they live with their mothers for ever and ever.” I think I know what kind of boys they’re talking about.

“Swimming in Strange Waters” – The Wooden Sky

JW: It is so echoey!!!! Like when you put wax paper over a toilet paper roll to make a kazoo, that kind of echoey. Also don’t go swimming in strange waters. What if there is a riptide? Know before you go. Then swim to your heart’s content.

JP: I WANT TO GO SWIMMING SO BAD OMG. I know that’s not what we’re talking about, but I don’t care for this song and I love swimming. Why is winter here so cold? Someone take me to Mexico.

RO: I could imagine this song playing at an outdoor music festival and everyone bobbing their heads and smiling. It’s good, but it’s the kind of song that I think would be better live? Is that weird?

“Night Bus” – Gabrielle Aplin

JW: Piano! And then more electronic stuff. Why is everything electronic? But, like, Gene Belcher keyboard kind of electronic. However, this is actually not a bad song and having been on many night buses I would listen to this on one and not be sad about it.

JP: I like the background of the album artwork. Very pretty. The song matches the image. Best song I’ve heard on NMF for a while (like a 7/10, but that’s not bad).

RO: We all know that staring out the window on the bus moodily makes you realize things. This song captures that notion. The flow of the song makes me imagine a bus cruising through the city. This is just a solid song in general. I don’t usually like this style of electronic-pop music, but this song is an exception!