Songs

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!

 

 

Choker – El Dorado

It’s been a while since I posted anything, but I’m currently very busy doing my master thesis in Corporate Communication. This means that I won’t have time to update with new music as much as I would like to – BUT it also means that when I hear something really good, I can’t help myself but to write a piece on it.

I will admit I am kind of late to the party with this one – Choker’s album was released back in May and I can figure why. The dreamy and sweet space sound fits so much better for spring/summer time than autumn, but this doesn’t make me appreciate the work any less. The whole album is still really good and could perhaps become one of my favorites this year! – I’ll need to listen to it for a bit longer before I jump to any conclusions, though.

It was hard for me to pick out a song from the project – I could tell right away that it would be hard, because the whole album flows in a way that almost make you feel bad for listening to a song on its own. It’s not very often I get this feeling from an album, but it witness to how beautiful the album is. The songs are great on their own – but in the context of the album, they are much more touching.

The reason that I did end up choosing El Dorado is simple – It’s one of the most accessible songs on the project. The songs in general don’t have simple structures – this very much reminds me of Frank Ocean (The comparison had to come at one point), but this couldn’t be a bigger compliment. As some may know, Frank Ocean is perhaps my favorite artist (right now at least) and when I read about this comparison, I just had to check Choker out – and it definitely played out better than I ever anticipated.

Choker will be really interesting to follow – what will he do next? He pretty much made this album all by himself – and if this is what he can come up with on his own, I can’t imagine what he can do if he starts collaborating with other greats artists in the industry (Please keep this non-structural format in your songs, though).

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
YouTube
Soundcloud

Baio – Sunburn Modern

In 2010, I went to my first big festival – Roskilde Festival. It was an awesome experience that I won’t forget anytime soon.

I initially bought a ticket cause Drake was supposed to be come, but he cancelled like a week before and I was so gutted. I decided to go anyway and I’m glad I did. I got to see Gorillaz for the first time and it really put me on to their music – I had only listened to their radio hits at the time, but after watching Damon perform live, I was so excited to listen to Plastic Beach (released that year) and it’s one of my favorite albums now.

Muse and The Prodigy were other great concerts that stand out from that year, but I did make one mistake, that I now regret! I went home a day earlier and didn’t get to see Prince because of it. Now, that’s a missed opportunity, but you live and you learn, I guess.

One artist that surprised me that year was Vampire Weekend. I had initially only heard the song Cousins and I liked how strange it sounded (at the time), so I decided to go check out their concert at the festival.

The settings were perfect for the concert. The sun was up high and it was really warm. I think there was something like 90% girls and 10% guys, but it was awesome how everyone was just having a good time. Good vibes all around and if anyone has ever listened to their album Contra (which they had released that year), it isn’t hard to imagine why everyone was radiating good vibes.

This experience really put me on to Vampire Weekend and I must have listened to Contra for the rest of the summer. And it’s still awesome to put on, if I want to force myself into a good mood – I dare you to try!

That was a long background story as to why I have chosen to post this song today. The other day, I was reading an article from Stereogum: What Have Vampire Weekend Been Up To Since Modern Vampires Of The City. This is where I discovered that Chris Baio, the bassist, went on to work on his solo project. I checked out some of his music and I really love the production on it. Especially his older stuff without vocals that’s just straight up electronic. You can hear some of the Vampire Weekend vibe in the tracks and I love that – It’s like he took the Vampire Weekend sound into a new genre and it ended up sounding just like you would expect.

It does remind me a bit of Jamie xx’ sound, so if you like that, you should definitely give this one a listen!

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
Youtube (Edit)
Soundcloud (Edit)

Majid Jordan – My Imagination (feat. DVSN)

I hope everyone is ready for the fall to be taken over by OVO. Both DVSN and Majid Jordan have albums coming out in October – the 14th and 28th respectively and Roy Woods should be dropping his album Say Less as well.

My Imagination was just released as an upcoming single and I have to say it’s one of the best songs Majid Jordan has released. I have to say that I haven’t been the biggest Majid Jordan fan, whereas I love DVSN – but this song combines the best of the two worlds. It’s an upbeat track, but at its core it’s still a sad love song that would be great as one of the last songs being played at the club. And in that way it kinda reminds me of a more upbeat Passionfruit.

When I imagined a Majid Jordan and DVSN song, this it what it would sound like. In that regard, they don’t bring anything new to the table, but that isn’t a bad thing. They both did their thing and they made a really good song that I really like. If the album is of this quality, I can see myself becoming a bigger fan of Majid Jordan than I was before.

Give this one a listen and be prepared to add a new song to your playlist!

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
YouTube