Kids See Ghosts – Cudi Montage

These last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy listening to all kinds of different music, that I completely forgot to share it with the people!

Kanye West has been on fire these last couple of Fridays – and I’m not thinking about whatever “scandals” he stirred up with his Donald Trump and MAGA comments – It’s all about the music.

3 albums in a row: Pusha T’s Daytona, his own Ye, and lastly Kids See Ghosts, his collaboration with Kid Cudi. All these albums are only 7 songs long, but I hope that this trend catches on. We need less filler and more quality! Way to go Kanye for showing that it’s possible in this streaming era.

I’m not going talk about every album individually, the only comment I’m gonna give is: IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD THEM YET, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? (That did come out a bit aggressive, but you should really check it out). It’s some of Kanye’s best production and that says a lot considering his earlier work.

Every single song is something special, but the reason I chose this particular one is very simple. It’s the best one!

Kid Cudi and Kanye have a great chemistry here, and Kanye’s verse is some of the most heartfelt I’ve heard from him in a while. Kid Cudi’s moans are something of a meme at this point, but there is a reason for this. Just like clichés are a thing because there’s a universal truth to them, Cudi’s moans are perhaps the most truthful thing you will ever hear this year (This comparison somehow sounded better in my head – the point being that Kid Cudi is back, better than ever).

The guitar is sampled from Nirvana and gives the song a gloomy sound – not very surprising given that it was produced by Kid Cudi, his long time collaborate, Dot Da Genius and another genius among them, Mike Dean. In the last part of the song, Mr. Hudson joins in on the chorus and from there on, I was already in heaven. The song really left me feeling a certain way after the first listen and now I can’t stop listening!

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
YouTube
Apple Music

 

 

A$AP Rocky – Tony Tone

TESTING 123 – TESTING 123 – TESTING 123

A$AP Rocky has finally released his album, Testing, after several delays throughout last year. So the big question; Was it worth the wait?

I have to admit that I actually wasn’t very hype for the release. I only really liked the single A$AP Forever as Above, Bad Company, and 5IVE $TAR$ weren’t really up to whatever standard I had for Rocky songs. As it turns out, A$AP Forever is actually the only single from the album as the other songs were just Rocky testing out different sounds.

I have to say though, that based on this song alone, It’s definitely worth the wait! Rocky is back with what he does best – flow, delivery, and bravado. I am convinced he can take any beat and make his flow work with it. That make all the songs on the album very enjoyable, even the ones where he is experimenting with his sound as he did on At. Long. Last. A$AP.

Even though I only chose one song from the album, I recommend listening to the whole thing from start to back. There are a lot of great tracks on here that has already been added to my playlist.

Childish Gambino – This Is America

Everything this man does right now becomes gold!

I have to admit that I’m perhaps a bit biased when it comes to Childish Gambino/Donald Glover. I was sold on him from the first moment I heard and saw the music video for Freaks and Geeks As soon as I finished it, I had to find out who this guy was. Soon after, I discovered the tv-show Community where he plays one of the characters, his standup comedy special Weirdo, 30 Rock where he was a writer. Everything Donald Glover chose to put his heart into, he did succesfully.

Or did he?

Even though I was absolutely loved his earlier music, he had a hard time getting respect from some fans of hiphop. Being nerdy and coming from comedy doesn’t mesh well with the usual rap-image. He wasn’t rapping about lambo’s and champagne. He wasn’t rapping about growing up in the trap. He wasn’t rapping about how he had to sell drugs to get by. He was simply telling a different story – his story! And I loved that. Authenticity has always been a major theme in Childish Gambino’s music, and I feel like him staying true to himself and his work has finally paid off in every way possible – I like to believe he is one of the most respected artists alive right now. Who else can say they are on top of their music career, star in the next Star Wars movie Solo (pun intended), and be the voice of Simba in the upcoming remake of Disney’s Lion King, all while you have created one of the most succesful tv-shows in Atlanta (You have to watch Atlanta if you haven’t yet!).

I know this became more about Childish Gambino or Donald Glover as a person than the song, but he is truly one of my greatest inspirations. This song shows why he is the best doing it right now. The social commentary can’t be escaped with everything happening in the US right – talks about Donald Trump, gun control, racism, identity and patrionism. The music video itself is a piece of art and fits the song perfectly as it helps expand on some of these topics I mentioned earlier.

I aspire to one day be half as talented as Donald Glover. Stop whatever you are doing right now and watch the video – you won’t regret it! (I’m already working on learning the dance moves right now).

Spotify link: Childish Gambino – This Is America

J. Cole – Kevin’s Heart

I’ve had some time to digest J. Cole’s (almost) surprise release KOD. His previous project, 4 Your Eyez Only, wasn’t close to being my favorite, but I think people are being way too harsh on it. This could be because 2014 Forest Hills Drive was such a good album that people expected 4YEO to be as good or better, but I believe 4YEO has some really great moments. This time, J. Cole came back with a new sound though, and it sounds like a mixture of the melodic beats from 2014 FHD and the more simple beats from 4YEO. 

The first song that really grabbed my attention was Kevin’s Heart. I liked the songs up until then, but I believe that Cole shines in songs like this. The message is easily understood as Cole builds up the perfect story of how temptation is always lurking. I think J. Cole’s storytelling is one of his main strengths – just how easy it is for him to paint a picture of a situation using metaphors and word plays.

The song got a well deserved video that stunned me the first time I saw it. He actually got Kevin Hart to star in it, which is crazy considering Kevin Hart’s recent cheating-situation (look it up on google if you want details). I can honestly respect that Kevin Hart agreed to do the part and it made me realise that the song is touching upon some very human things – ego stroking, temptations, lust, regrets, adultery, love, addiction. But the video showed me a different side to all these things that I wasn’t considering before: Forgiveness. J. Cole wants us to understand that we are only human – not good nor bad, just alive with feelings in whatever way they come.

Give the song a listen (watch the video as well) and get addicted to the song just like I am. I’ve been humming it for the past couple of days and It’s definitely going on my J. Cole playlist!

 

 

Anderson .Paak – ‘Til It’s Over

More of this, please? I know it’s been a while since this song came out, but I have to share it with everyone that maybe skipped it the first time around (Why would you ever skip an Andersoon .Paak song though?).

The song reminded me on why I became a huge fan of Andersoon .Paak in the first place. His voice has the perfect combination of being raspy and soft at the same time – I honestly can’t think of anyone that even come close to his sound. He has truly found his own lane and wow! – what a lane to have carved for yourself!

I saw Anderson .Paak (and The Free Nationals) live two times, two years ago. It has, hands down, been two of the greatest concerts I have ever been to. He is a true performer because he performs the truth (kinda corny, I know). What I actually mean, is that his presence on stage is so authentic that it has an mesmerizing way of making you step into his world. The world you step into is colorful, honest, but most of all so enjoyable that you don’t ever want to return to your own world which now seems all dull and boring.

When you’re listening to his music, it gives you the exact same feeling. This song teleported me right back to the concerts, and I just surrendered to Anderson Paak, his voice and his world. I believe a good artist makes you listen, but a great artist makes you feel – Anderson Paak is definitely in the latter category.

I hope there is a good balance of upbeat, chill and ‘in-your-feelings’-music on his upcoming project (dropping this summer, maybe?). No matter what, I know that it’s going to be an instant favorite.

Vancouver Sleep Clinic – Ayahuasca

Not too long ago, Vancouver Sleep Clinic released a short six song EP called Therapy Phase 01. I’ve never heard any of his music before, but it was in the recommended section for me on Google Play Music – so naturally, I had to listen to it.

The first two songs were both really good and I was just enjoying my morning while listening to it. But then the second track finished. And Ayahuasca started playing.

I still didn’t take further notice to the song as I was looking at my phone (social media). It was the perfect background music for scrolling through my Instagram when the music suddenly started to slow down (even slower than it already was). The vocals disappeared, the guitar disappeared, the beat disappeared – but not completely. The song just transitioned into a different sound – “Oh, a beat switch” I thought and I started to pay attention to the song now.

Soon after, I had forgotten about whatever I was doing before as the song slowly began to add different elements and sounds to the beat. The vocals came back with a distorted layer to them, and I was so intrigued by now that I had forgotten about space and time (Okay, a bit exaggerated, perhaps, but something like that) and the song kept on adding layers of sound on the ongoing beat – And then suddenly: silence.

4 seconds of complete silence – and the beat dropped again with added drums. I was in awe – I honestly didn’t know how to react to this. The song kept going – I kept listening. Some humming began and a bit later, the beat transitioned back into the guitar and keyboard as the sole instruments playing in the background while a high-pitch and a low-pitch vocal started singning simultaneously and the song slowly starts to fade out.

As soon as the song finished, I paused it.

I had to take a second to understand and take in everything I had just experienced. I looked at how long the song was – 8 minutes and 28 seconds. I realised that I hadn’t thought about anything outside of this moment. The song went by so fast – but at the same time, I was having this moment and it felt like a lifetime. I looked at the song name and everything just clicked:

Ayahuasca


TL;DR: Just listen to the song!

 

 

 

The Weeknd – Call Out My Name

My Dear Melancholy, a surprise EP from The Weeknd just dropped today!

I did not expect this at all, but what a welcome surprise! When you are as talented as The Weeknd, it’s really hard to do wrong musically and this EP is an excellent example of this. There are only six songs on the EP, but they all hold their own especially if you are a fan of The Weeknd’s earlier material (The mixtapes/Trilogy, Kiss Land).

The opening song quickly became my favorite after the first couple of listens as it has everything I love about The Weekend – A slow tempo, dark sounding beat Abel singing out his frustration and pain over the breakup with Selena Gomez. This theme is a reccuring one throughout the whole EP, but on Call Out My Name, he truly goes all-out and it feels like an one-to-one “transfemotion” [Transfer Emotion] which is a pretty remarkable feat! (There is an ACTUAL description for this phenomenon though: Emotional Contagion)

I will always be a bit biased towards The Weeknd’s older stuff as I absolutely loved House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence and listened to the mixtapes way too much back in the day. Because of this, everytime Abel does anything that even resembles this sound, I can’t help it but love it. This song (and EP) is everything I hoped for and more!

 

XXXTENTACION – Moonlight

XXXTENTACION surprised everyone last friday when he dropped his second album, ? (Question mark) less than a year from his first album, 17.

I listened to 17 back when it released and while I didn’t enjoy it all that much, I don’t think anyone can deny that XXXTENTACION has the raw talent to deliver something great. Now, after listening to ?, I definitely feel like he is improving in all areas of his music, even though I still find some of them lacking – his lyrics are a bit too superficial for me and some of the songs don’t feel fully fleshed out.

With that said though, Moonlight hooked me in right away and didn’t let go until it finished. The beat is a big reason for this as it’s one of the most creative beats I heard in a while. XXXTENTACION utilizes the beat in a great way with his hook and his flow fits the beat perfectly. It’s one of those songs that gets stuck in your head way too easy, all due to the infectious flow and vibe rather than some catchy lyrics.

If you have been following XXXTENTACION at all, you already know some of the things from his past that still haunts him. I have always been very ambivalent about supporting artists that have done things I don’t agree with in their personal life (Why Chris, Why!?), but considering XXXTENTACION’s age, I believe he can turn his wrongdoings around and mainly focus on his music where he, at times at least, is able to deliver something truly unique!

Vince Staples – Get The Fuck Off My Dick

Vince Staples is back with a new song and he announced it in the best way possible: A GoFundMe campaign where he promises that he’ll never be heard from again in media or with songs if he manages to raise 2 million dollars.

Check out the campaign for yourself here!

I really enjoy Vince Staples’ personality and it makes me like his music even more when you can feel that he’s stays true to himself which makes it authentic (or at least it feels authentic) – especially when he’s operating in a world where many artists feel pressured to act a certain way to sell records and sign record deals.

In the song, Vince Staples addresses stuff such as how he feels he was snubbed at the Grammys, how people don’t like the direction of his music and other similar topics – I guess this is his way to get something of his chest, which is very welcomed by me as new Vince Staples never disappoints. Just keep this stuff up Vince and you’ll get a Grammy soon enough!

Oh, and what a cover picture for a single – I love it!

 

 

Top 20 songs in 2017

Whoooa… I’m finally back to deliver music to all of you from all of me! The last couple of months, I’ve been working on my master thesis and it’s the reason why I haven’t been posting much at all. Now that I finally got my master’s degree, I’m looking for a job within my field, but until then, I’ll have more time to focus on making posts for the blog.

And the first post is going to be a 2017 top 20 song list. Overall, I think 2017 have been a very solid year music-wise and it pretty much continued the trend of 2016. Some pretty big artists dropped albums this year, so there is a lot to choose from. This time around I’ll drop a few comments as to why I liked and picked the song. I expanded the list a bit to a top 20 this time, cause there are so many songs I want to include. I originally made a document with 62 songs that were “nominated” – if you want the whole list, just send me a request on my email at Arijan13@gmail.com and I’ll send it to you.

(Every song title will lead to the song on Spotify)

I have been very excited about making this list, so let’s get to it:

20. Droeloe – Sunburn
This song really surprised me when I first heard it. The song isn’t unique in its structure, but the small details make it stand out from similar songs, which is why it deserves 20th spot on the list.

19. Rone – Faster (feat. Saul Williams)
I’ve never heard of Rone before I listened to their album Mirapolis, but this song made me realize that was a mistake. Saul Williams and this production is a match made in heaven and should be listened to by everyone with even a remotely good sound setup, which is a prerequisite to get the most out of the song.

18. Vic Mensa – Say I Didn’t
The way “I Didn’t”, a song by Darondo, was sampled reminds me of Kanye West from his College Dropout days. It was by far my favorite song from Vic Mensa’s album and the soul-sound fits him really well. I hope his next project sounds more like this.

17. A.CHAL – Matrix
ON GAZ is a great follow up album from A.CHAL and Matrix is my favorite song from the project. A.CHAL is still pretty unknow in the mainstream, but I feel like he has the potential to reach a wider audience – especially if he continues making songs like Matrix. The song’s vibe is perfect when you are just chilling and the hook is infectious which makes it a pretty great song overall.

16. The xx – On Hold (Jamie xx Remix)
The original is pretty awesome by itself, but as soon as I heard this remix, I knew it would become one of my favorites. The song has that Jamie xx’ signature sound, and he really has an ear for great melodies. It’s one of those songs that doesn’t tire me at all, and I could just listen to it forever.

15. N.E.R.D. – Kites
This is a song that came out pretty late in 2017 and I had a debate with myself if it’s even possible to rate a song so fast. I decided to include because of how blown away I was when I first heard the song. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! How the hell do you come up with a song like this? And then just include both Kendrick and M.I.A. who both does a wonderful job. The song shouldn’t even be sounding this good, but Pharrell Williams somehow made it work, and that deserves a spot on the 15th place.

14. Young Thug – Killed Before
Super Slimey was a project I really liked. Both Young Thug and Future were great and made some really good songs. But the best song on the project goes to the only solo Young Thug song. It was all the best things about Young Thug combined – His singing, his weird accent, the crazy way he vibrates his voice in the chorus. Everything about this song is weird and I love it!

13. Lil Uzi Vert – Neon Guts (Pharrell Williams)
When XO Tour Llif3 came out, I jumped on the Lil Uzi Vert wave immediately. The song completely blew me away as I couldn’t believe that Lil Uzi Vert could sound so good on a song. This made me quite hype about his debut album. The album didn’t live up to my expectations, but this song most certainly did. The result of Pharrell Williams working together with the weirdness of Lil Uzi Vert is the match I never knew I wanted. The song is just filled with the energy of both artists and now I’m secretly wishing for more of those two together.

12. Sorrow – Frumoasa
I randomly came by this song while listening to the “Try your luck”-feature in Google Play Music. The way it’s put together with the use of a sampled vocal and even the use of what appears to be a violin is so good it’s something that can’t be explained in text. It’s music that puts you in a certain mood right away and makes you reflect on life. I love music that does that, and that is why I had to include this song on the list.

11. Rostam – Bike Dream
The dreamy indie pop song Bike Dream is exactly what it says it is. I can imagine myself driving on my bike, dreaming myself away to where ever my bike can take me. The dream-like vibe it brings is really awesome, and after a while the melody will be stuck in your head throughout the whole day, but you will be glad it did just cause it’s so good. The lyrics are pretty abstract, but that just makes the song intriguing and all this combined makes it a really unique song that I love to put on whenever I’m traveling somewhere.

SMALL BREAK – “Insert ad here”

If you scrolled down to only get the ten best songs, I have to say:
GO BACK AND LISTEN TO THE OTHER SONGS AS WELL!

Oh, and welcome! Here are my favorite ten songs of 2017:

10. Dave & J Hus – Samantha
I can’t begin to name all the reasons why this song works. The piano, the 808’s, the trap-snare all mixed with Dave & J Hus delivering perfect verses, and the way they differentiate between rapping and singing – WHOA! This song deserves some recognition and that’s why I included as my number 10.

9. Forest Swords – Panic
How do you describe this song? There is a smaller ferry operating the open ocean, but suddenly starts sinking. Mermaids move around the middle of the happening and begins chanting – something bad is about to happen! I’m just going to let that image speak for itself and hopefully you’ll see why it’s number 9 on my list.

8. GoldLink – Pray Everyday (Survivor’s Guilt)
This is GoldLink at his best! I can’t believe this song wasn’t a single from the album. It’s just so good on all the criteria I have for a great song. The way he delivers his verses and the chorus, in a lazy way is my favorite thing about the song as well as the way the choir is utilized. I want more songs like this which is why It’s ranked as number 8.

7. Jaden Smith – Ninety
Ever since Jaden released his album, Syre, this song has been in my rotation. The first part of the song is really a great chill song, but what makes it stand out for me is the second part when the beat switches. I just LOVE the transition and Jaden’s singing in this part is so pleasing to my ears and I just have to sing along (almost moaning at this point). It makes me even more excited for whatever Jaden’s next move is music wise.

6. Drake – Passionfruit
Instant hit in my opinion. You know how there are just some songs you listen to once, and you connect with it somehow? That melody is just way too good. Criminally good actually. Can you actually put people in jail for making something that sounds this good? This is that “4am-the-club-is-closing-and-i’m-alone”-type of music and I love every single second of the song. Salute to Drake for making a soundtrack for every single mood!

5. Jidenna – Bambi
The sweet melody of Bambi. The great voice of Jidenna. The combination of hard trap snares and a sugar-sweet sound is really unique already, but Jidenna adds some lyrics about regret and just like the Powerpuff Girls, the results are this weird combination of sweet, powerful and badass all the way through. I don’t get blown away by many songs, but this definitely did!

4,5. Jay-Z – The Story of O.J. (Youtube)
So this is kinda awkward. I forgot consider Jay-Z’s newest contribution to the world (which I loved) only because I hadn’t added the songs to my original playlist where I took all my “nominated” songs from. This album surprised me in the best way possible and this song in particular was a standout. The video only enhanced this feeling and this is the reason why I must include it in my list (I just didn’t want to throw a song out and moving everything around). This is Jay-Z at his best, period.

4. Khalid – Therapy
My favorite Khalid song, hands down. The way he uses his own voice as a second voice in the last half of the song made me instantly hooked – It makes the song so much more enjoyable, especially if you love to sing along (that makes me the third voice actually). I always return to this song whenever I think of Khalid, and hopefully he can keep on delivering great songs and albums – I for one believe he will!

3. Kendrick Lamar – FEEL.
Kendrick proved with DAMN that he is one of the best artists (if not THE best) alive right now. There were so many great tracks to choose from, but in the end, I think FEEL. is the realest, most honest and at the same time, saddest song he has ever made. This is Kendrick pouring out his feelings and thoughts about his current situation regard fame, blackness, and love, and I feel priviliged to get inside the head of one of the greatest.

2. Daniel Caesar – We Find Love
Daniel Caesar put out one of the best albums in 2017 and I didn’t expect that at all. I mainly listened to him through his work with Sean Leon, but on this album, he takes it to a whole different level. The way he touches upon his feelings towards different subjects (mostly love) and translates it into a song is something that I can only applaud, and this is especially noticeable in this song. His voice does carry a lot of the song and I lowkey wish I could sing like that (I would sing in public everyday just to show off my voice and people would probably tell me to shut up, but I wouldn’t care and go on and on and on…) That was a bit of a sidetrack, but I honestly have nothing else to say about this. This song as well as his album, Freudian, has to be experienced. Your ears will thank me.

 

And the number one song of the year 2017 goes to…

 

1. Corbin – Giving Up
There are so many good things about this song that I don’t know where to begin – I wish that I could somehow translate whatever this song does to me, in to some kind of digital file that you could download and upload to your own brain. Shlohmo outdid himself on the production with this one – the way the song slowly builds up; Classic Shlohmo and I keep wanting more! There are so many small details to notice in the song, like the sound of a few electric guitar notes that fades as fast as it came – such details make me shiver as it makes the song sounds haunting, especially when combined with Corbin’s voice that sounds he’s been hurt by everyone on this world ever since he was born. The sounds perfectly match the lyrics and the themes of the song, and I always feel like I’m watching a movie, only the movie is pretty sad and compressed into a 4-minute song. This one goes down on my list of best songs created (which I should turn into a playlist soon).

Closing comments:
This list was quite the ride – It should have been released three weeks ago, but as I suddenly decided to expand the list from a top-10 list, I had to take some extra time.

Even though it took quite some time making this list, I really enjoyed it. I should’ve perhaps mixed up my language a bit, but I see this as a process where I’m learning what works and what doesn’t work. I will try to keep up my writing and posting new songs on the blog from here on. I wanted to finish this the list first, and now that it’s done, I can go back to deliver my favorite songs from week to week (or whatever format I’ll continue with).

As I said in the beginning of this post (I know you can’t remember that, because you probably read this list over the course of a few days), I have my full “nominated songs”-list on my computer and I can send it to you if you want it. Just send me an email at Arijan13@gmail.com.

Feel free to send me any feedback, thoughts or whatever in the comments. Anything is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading!