By: Edna Batengas, Lyz Boyd, Neil MacAlister, Courtney Miller, and Natasha Tar
“Pray for me” – Kendrick Lamar, the Weeknd
Edna Batengas: I was so excited to see these two artists on the same track. Like come on, how can anyone complain about this song. Die hard Kendrick fan!
Neil MacAlister: This song is fantastic: the Weeknd’s just doing what he does best, but Kendrick’s writing here is really something special. This soundtrack is shaping up beautifully.
Courtney Miller: I’m going to assume the part I like is the Weeknd which is the first bit (until 1:14ish). After that, meh, it’s OK, but I’d rather have it sans Lamar.
Natasha Tar: This isn’t bad, but I’m not really enjoying the rap.
Lyz Boyd: I was enjoying it until the rapping started, but I didn’t hate the rap as much as I usually do. The Weeknd’s hook is catchy, but with a bit too much autotune at times.
“Man of the Woods” – Justin Timberlake
EB: Dang JT. Not retiring yet I see. Meh. Am I the only one tired of this man?
NM: God, I’m just so absolutely disappointed by this Timberlake comeback. He sounds like he’s trapped between pandering to his old sound and branching into some awful new direction of country homeliness. This feels like the kind of track that should have a ukulele on it, and that’s not a compliment.
CM: What the actual fuck. It gets bearable a little past halfway, but honestly, not worth the first two minutes.
NT: Ew. What is Justin trying to do. This is like an intro to a kid’s TV show.
LB: I actually liked the harmonies and unique drum beat in the intro, but it got old really quickly.
“Azukita” – Steve Aoki, Daddy Yankee, Play-N-Skillz, Elvis Crespo
EB: Eyy, this one is such a jam. I can already imagine it playing at the Cambie on a Tuesday evening. It’s lit!
NM: I swear I’ve heard this exact drum beat intro before. Aoki’s so absolutely generic at this point, his music just doesn’t inspire any excitement at all.
CM: Yeah the drums are pretty standard. It’s upbeat, but that’s about the only thing it’s got going for it.
NT: It’s fine as a jam but there’s really nothing new here.
LB: This one is much too aggressive for the hour of the morning when I first listened to it. It’s missing contrast between sounds, and it’s mostly just loud.
“Yağmur” – İlyas Yalçıntaş, Aytaç Kart
EB: Oh wow, I really like this one. It just screams positive vibes.
NM: I could see Enrique Iglesias murdering this beat. I’m digging these tender violin riffs.
CM: The violin is the real star here.
NT: I’m confused. This sounds just like another song and I don’t know which one. Violin is good though.
LB: Not super engaging, but nice to listen to in the background. Probably my favourite on the playlist so far.
“Calm Down” – Burna Boy
EB: Oh damn, I’m getting some Chance the Rapper vibes from this track. Always a pleasure, Burna Boy. It’s so chilled, definitely got me calmed down.
NM: I’ve been meaning to get around to this Burna Boy album. This a cappella backing beat is quaint in all the right ways, I kind of love this song.
CM: . . . It’s not fair to use my affinity for a cappella against me. Overall, I don’t hate it.
NT: Am I calmed down by this song or bored? That’s the real question.
LB: I definitely feel what NT is saying here. I have no strong feelings about this one, it’s all just lukewarm.
“Come and See My Moda” – MzVee, Yemi Alade
EB: Meh, it’s alright. To be honest, all Yemi Alade songs kind of sound the same
NM: This backing beat is ridiculous, it sounds like something out of an RPG, but this song is lots of fun regardless.
CM: This sounds like a Mario video game track.
NT: Such a cute video game intro. It’s New Super Mario Bros. World 3!
LB: Not my usual thing, but it’s alright.
“Savior” – Iggy Azalea, Quavo
EB: Never really been much of an Iggy Azalea fan, but this track is actually alright.
NM: Alright, I understand Quavo will do anything for a cheque, but he’d better have made a lot by hopping on this. I really thought this woman was out of our lives forever but she’s popping up again like a bad rash.
CM: I’m not a fan of Quavo as both a person and a rapper, and ditto for Iggy Azalea.
NT: I’ve never agreed with Neil more.
LB: I wonder if Quavo has an identity crisis when he hears his voice without autotune.
“Roll With It” – Massari, Mohammed Assaf
EB: Woohoo, I didn’t even know that Massari still sings! Habibi indeed.
NM: This is fine, not really my thing but it’s enjoyable.
CM: It’s low-key enjoyable as something you can zone in and out to.
NT: I feel like Ed Sheeran transplanted his consciousness into the first part of this song.
LB: I must admit that this one had me dancing in my seat a little bit.
“Real Good Life” – The Mowgli’s
EB: NOPE. Sounds like every other boy band out there. Next
NM: This started out OK, but it really fell into typical pop algorithm territory. This feels like 2013 radio indie/pop. Nothing interesting here.
CM: I’ve liked the Mowgli’s in a live setting, haven’t so much listened to them recorded. That being said, it’s a bit pop-rock generic, but still enjoyable. Vocals a little too breathy, but ignorable.
NT: Their band name is missing a third word. The Mowgli’s . . . what?
LB: I wanted to cry when I found out that this was the Mowgli’s. When did they become so boring and generic?
“Samurai” – Zeds Dead, Ganja White Night
EB: Oh my gosh, I’ve never been so bored while listening to a song before. I mean, I guess it would be OK as background music for a video game.
NM: Loving the piano, Zeds Dead always keeps things interesting. I was wondering where this buildup was going to go and it ended up going into early Skrillex territory, which was unexpected and somewhat disappointing. I don’t hate it but this could be better.
CM: If you’re looking for a banger, this is not it. I kind of like the calmer tempo and gentle piano. Then it goes downhill at 0:45.
NT: Study music? I don’t know.
LB: This one is all over the place. The piano intro was nice, but got a bit dull when the beat started. Later on it gets obnoxious and annoying with a weird sound that I don’t know how to describe.
“Bedroom Calling” – Chromeo, The-Dream
EB: Oooh, I’m digging this. It’s upbeat and I’m getting some funky vibes. *dances like a 45-year-old woman*
NM: Why aren’t more people talking about Chromeo coming back? It’s been four years. The-Dream really dominates this song but he kills it, I’m ready for Chromeo to take over radio again for a little while. They somehow manage to stick to a specific sound without getting too stale.
CM: Has that ‘90s feel, so it’s fine, but meh. Too feel-good for me this morning.
NT: Maybe no one is talking about his comeback because this is lame.
LB: Alright, but it doesn’t really stand out. Definitely a feel-good song with strong ‘90s vibes.
“BagBak” – Vince Staples
EB: I only recently started listening to Vince Staples and so far still loving it.
NM: Not too sure why this is here, it’s been out for over a year, but I still love it. This song is stellar, and Vince easily had one of last year’s best projects. Also, I’d highly recommend hearing it live, because it’s a crazy experience.
CM: All I know is this is in some Black Panther trailers. If I lose focus just enough, the vocals just kind of mush together and I don’t have to think about it. I’ll listen to it for the trailer, but not for anything else.
NT: Sure, it’s trailer music, but is it good for anything else? No.
LB: Nope, nope, nope. Super repetitive and annoying, being in Black Panther trailers does not change that.