By: Alex Bloom, Neil MacAlister, Courtney Miller, and Natasha Tar
“44 More” – Logic
Neil MacAlister: Of his recent singles this is probably the best, but Logic is just so completely uninteresting lately. He’s still rapping well, but I couldn’t care less about his content. Also, it just struck me that he’s rapping exactly like Lil Dicky on this song. Not a good sign.
Courtney Miller: No… No, no, no.
Natasha Tar: Here we go again.
Alex Bloom: On first listen, I was impressed, but after paying attention to the lyrics, not so much.
“Gone” – Bazzi
NM: That “woo!” at the beginning was energizing. I wish the whole song lived up to that intro, but it’s not awful, the production is actually kinda captivating. I don’t hate it.
CM: I don’t dislike it as much as I could, but it does peter out. Surprisingly, the production is kind of the best part, which is a new discovery.
NT: It’s meh, but there was a V for Vendetta reference so that was cool.
AB: I agree with Neil, the beginning of the song set a tone that the rest of the track didn’t match. The only reason I haven’t removed this from my iTunes is because of the V for Vendetta reference.
“Django Jane” – Janelle Monáe
NM: I’m so glad Janelle is back. She’s seriously one of the most forward-thinking pop artists of all time. She’s rapping like Jidenna, but she’s doing his flow so much better, I love it. Very excited for this album.
CM: I’ve already heard a lot about this song, and I love Janelle Monáe, so I have hopes. I think if I was more into rap and stuff I’d be super into this, but I’m not, and so as much as I’d like to love it, I don’t. Lyrics are good, though.
NT: I don’t know, it’s nothing special yet. It still isn’t. Waiting . . . Buffering . . . Nope.
AB: This is everything I hoped for from this album. Janelle Monáe is a great singer, but I’ve wanted to hear more of her rapping since her powerful verse on “Q.U.E.E.N.”
“Sway Daisy” – Little Dragon
NM: Wow, I didn’t even know there was new Little Dragon music coming out. They’re seriously one of the most interesting groups ever. Their production is always immaculate, and I love the lead singer’s voice. This is a beautiful song, there’s something inherently calm about it.
CM: Not into this nasally female vocalist. The rest is interesting, I guess, but I can’t decide if it’s in a good way or not.
NT: The lead singer’s voice is interesting, but I feel like they could do more with it. This song is a bit too similar to other stuff I’ve heard, unfortunately.
AB: I loved Little Dragon’s vocals on Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach. This doesn’t quite deliver that same quality, but I like it.
“Stand Your Ground” – Joshua Hyslop
NM: I mean, the piano’s kind of nice, but this is such a sleeper. There’s nothing interesting here.
CM: Oh, those soulful notes . . . definitely a slowburn, little boring, but nice nevertheless. Not much more than nice though. It’s got the new-age gospel feel to it, whatever that means to you.
NT: It’s cute. The least offensive thing I’ve heard this morning.
AB: Not really sure what to say here. It’s OK, and he has a good voice, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to this.
“Afrikan Star” – Sauti Sol, Burna Boy
NM: Any time you see Burna Boy’s name on something, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a good time. This is pretty low-key but it’s still enjoyable.
CM: “I wanna graduate from your stalker to your lover” is a bit problematic, tbh, but the beat and melody are rhythmic. Not, like, amazingly rhythmic wherein I forget the problematic aspects, but, you know.
NT: ^ Reminds me of Passenger’s “Night Vision Binoculars.” Except this is mellow creep, rather than intense creep?
AB: I agree with Courtney, definitely problematic; I’m disappointed Sauti Sol. I’m normally a fan of their work, but I can’t get past the creepiness of the lyrics on this one.
“Bad Timing” – Rhys Lewis
NM: I really expected to hate this, but I actually don’t. I really like the energetic vocals on the chorus, this is a fairly solid indie rock song.
CM: I actually dig this, lowkey. I’m, like, actually debating adding it to my Spotify? This is a new feeling.
NT: This is OK, but it doesn’t seem to be going in the exciting direction I anticipated.
AB: I hadn’t heard of this guy until last week, but Rhys Lewis is growing on me. Fantastic vocals, and he always does something slightly unexpected.
“Sheevita Juice” – Olamide, Skepta
NM: This is actually really cool. It’s not at all what I expected, this Olamide is really strange — in a good way. And this Skepta verse is fantastic, he’s seriously such a feature killer. I’m going to return to this.
CM: Oh, sorry.
NT: This is terrible. I can’t even. Courtney, please write something so we can skip this.
AB: Sorry, Skepta, but I’m feeling a little skeptical of this one.
“Don’t You Know I’m In A Band” – Confidence Man
NM: This sounds like War trying to make a quirky dance song. It’s horrific.
CM: Hell no. Neil is right. Skip, for your own sanity. We’re sacrifices at this point.
NT: NEIL YOU’RE RIGHT. This is so similar to War.
AB: I’m genuinely sorry for putting this in the playlist.
“On est des milliards” – Laurent Lamarca
NM: Honestly, I’ve always enjoyed French pop music. I really liked this at the beginning, but the sudden shift into the chorus really didn’t work for me. I feel like this had a lot of potential and then kinda lost it, it’s a shame.
NT: Omg. It’s a nice song.
AB: I do agree with Neil that this could have been better, but still a beautiful, uplifting song.
“Magenta Riddim” – DJ Snake
NM: I’m not totally sure what DJ Snake thinks a riddim is, but it isn’t this. I’ve always found him to be one of the better high-profile EDM producers, but this is awful. It’s just a boring iteration of his typical sound.
CM: I know we already died for Confidence Man, but someone resurrected us and we’ve died again for you lot.
NT: I can imagine a snake slithering to this though? So it works in a weird way? Or maybe it’s a hardcore snake-charming song.
AB: Definitely don’t listen to this song with your headphones turned up. In fact, just don’t listen to this song at all.
“Aklım Hep Firarda” – Canozan, Dolu Kadehi Ters Tut
NM: I love the guitars. This is actually a lot of fun. I have no idea what they’re saying but it sounds cheerfully mischievous.
CM: I’m so into this as an instrumental, it hurts. It’s not as great with the vocals, but still palatable.
NT: I agree with Neil that this sounds like a fun song. I’m not sure what else to say, it’s pretty standard.
AB: I can really see this being part of the soundtrack of a Wes Anderson movie, especially with the anthropomorphic animals on the album cover.