By: Edna Batengas, Sarah Kwan, and Neil MacAlister
“Don’t Quit” – DJ Khaled, Calvin Harris, Travis Scott, Jeremih
Edna Batengas: Very funky vibes, sounds like disco jams my mum would be listening to. I mean, the lyrics are kinda motivational I guess, but considering this collab had such talented artists, it’s disappointing. On another note, Jeremih’s voice is just something else: it could melt butter.
Sarah Kwan: Harris, Khaled, Scott, and Jeremih present an interesting blend of disco, autotune, and carefree beats for a feel-good summer song. With all these names, I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes out as the next hit.
Neil MacAlister: Travis Scott suits moody music so much more than Calvin Harris’ tropical sound. This has all the makings of a solid summer hit, but it just fails to connect. Honestly, I had higher hopes for this Khaled album in general, but Major Key was better.
“Start Over” – Imagine Dragons
EB: I feel like Imagine Dragons is really breaking out of their regular realm and with their new album, I feel like there’s something for everyone, including the tone deaf. I can confidently say that this song is way better than “Thunder” . . . But it’s really not my cup of tea. Sounds likes a whiny ex wanting another chance.
SK: It seems that Imagine Dragons is switching styles faster than you can switch majors. The beat is funky and not in a good way. The lyrics are a pathetic attempt at a pop song. This is the latest in the Dragons’ musical identity crisis. As an early listener of Imagine Dragons, I’m wishing for a hot tub time machine right about now.
NM: Another week, another boring Imagine Dragons song that fails to make any kind of emotional connection.
“Naughty Ride” – WizKid, Major Lazer
EB: It has such chilled and laid-back vibes. I feel like I should be hanging out on the beach with coke and rum. Even though half the time I can’t understand what he’s saying, it still seems legit to me. Sexual loving jams, summer ‘17, I see you.
SK: Sexual innuendo is balanced perfectly with a decent beat. The lyrics seem like they’re written with a third grader’s vocabulary, but it flows with the sensuality of a Brazilian summer day.
NM: I really like Wizkid, but I’d kill for him to make a song that doesn’t sound like everything else he’s done. Also, this is surprisingly mellow for a Major Lazer track.
“Crabs in a Bucket” – Vince Staples
EB: The title itself speaks for this track. Far too alternative for me. I felt like my speakers were picking up multiple radio signals at once. Although I must admit that once the vocals came in, the message got deep. Well, until some girl came on singing gibberish that sounded somewhat like French.
SK: I’m confused. This hipster alternative mishmash of soundbites is not what I’d call music. But if this is your spice of life, you’ll enjoy the random squawks, ominous background sounds of computer glitches, and disc scratches.
NM: I love this new Vince Staples album, the whole sound is profoundly original and Vince is at the top of his game. He and Kilo flow all over this beat, shoutout to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon for this laid-back, quasi-electronic production. One of the year’s best projects, I’ve had it on repeat all day.
“Moonlight” – Grace VanderWaal
EB: As soon as I heard this, I thought of Ellie Goulding. Such light and airy vocals. This is the summer anthem all those girls who love using the flower-head filter were waiting for.
SK: Enjoy light feminine vocals? You’ll love this. The acoustic background with pop vibes gives it a fun and whimsical feel. Break out your ukulele and prepare for some great YouTube covers. This is an absolute must for a summer road trip playlist.
NM: So this girl is 13? I’m really impressed, this has all the makings of a pop hit. The ukulele is a nice touch.
“Delete” – Story Untold
EB: Mmmm, sounds like another boy band to me. It does get a lot better, in the way that any boy band eventually grows on you.
SK: A coming-of-age love song for nostalgic band seekers. The sound is very Linkin Park meets Simple Plan.
NM: Are you trying to tell me this isn’t Simple Plan? Kids these days will never know real pop punk, this is so boring.
“Kill Your Love” – Jess Moskaluke
EB: I hate to admit this, but i’m just a sucker for country music. This song is definitely shaking me up. Never heard of this artist before, but I’d totally listen to more of her stuff.
SK: Folk country sounds and romantic lyrics. I love this feminine country pop song for sunny days and rolling down the car windows. Moskaluke has potential, I’d keep an eye out for her other songs.
NM: Hey, it’s a country pop song that sounds like every single other country pop song.
“In Cold Blood” – Alt-J
EB: Sounds kinda slimy. Like that song that ends up playing in that dingy bar downtown that has really cheap drinks, but gross toilets and sticky floors. The lyrics are a bit juvenile for me; if I have to hear multiple “la la la la’s” in a song, then I’m too old for it. Towards the end it starts to make sounds like an old arcade game, all that beeping and buzzing.
SK: Gritty with lots of tambourines and guitar. The lyrics could use some work, I’m sick of the “la la la’s” and I’m missing the point. The random video game sounds crush the initial indie mood.
NM: This is one of my favourites off their new album. I was hoping for more from a live performance, though, this sounds pretty identical to the studio version.
“Lift” – Radiohead
EB: This song was too slow. It didn’t get to the point. It just dragged on and on to the point where I still don’t even know what this song is about.
SK: In Radiohead’s latest song, “Lift,” they return with breathy vocals, a steady beat, and great guitar. The feel of the song is gentle but bland just like its name. The overall impression is lukewarm.
NM: Can’t go wrong with an unreleased ‘90s Radiohead song. Honestly, I get why they kept these tracks off OK Computer, they’d have clashed with the album’s whole aesthetic, but I’m so grateful we have them now.
“Drifting on a Summer’s Night” – The Deep Dark Woods
EB: Sounds like this track belongs on the soundtracks of the Cars animated films.
SK: This cacophony of sounds has the potential to make a cowboy nostalgic.
NM: Wow, these guys could not sound more like their band name. This has a moody, folky feel, but then it goes a little bluegrass? I’m not really feeling it.
“Where the Love Goes” – Anjulie, Oskar Flood
EB: Ooooh, I like this one. It has a great beat, I can totally see myself jamming to this in car rides this summer. I even fancy the EDM beats, this is perfect!
SK: This is a summer hit in the making. Contemporary beats mesh with a soothing voice to create a hot beat for any time of the day. It’s drop of the beat hits the sweet spot.
NM: This production sounds like a mix between Felix Snow and DJ Snake. In a good way.
“Supersize” – SonReal
EB: “Supersize” sounds like the name of a drink at a 7/11. What exactly are we supersizing here? Nah, not feeling this rap song. Plus, I found the chorus to be super annoying.
SK: “Supersize” starts off optimistically with a bad boy bassist. Unfortunately, its paired with a rapper who’s as confused as I am about what to order at 7/11. I have better things to spend my time on.
NM: BC doesn’t put out a lot of rappers. I can think of two (Kyprios and Snak the Ripper) that have achieved any kind of media attention, so shout-out to this guy for actually getting his name out there. He has potential.