What I’m Listening To: Week 1

1. Hype – Drake:

Last week on SNL, Drake delivered what was, in my opinion, one of the best sounding rap performances in recent memory:

Combining his spit-fire delivery with an aggressive swagger, Drake leans into his soon-to-be hit single off of his most recent album, VIEWS. Just be quick to memorize the lyrics and practice your dismissive finger wagging before it hits the local airwaves.

2. Daydreaming – Radiohead:

If one ever tried to sonically define the word “dreamscape”, I’d imagine this song being the end product of such an attempt. Delicate yet firm, haunting but calming, “Daydreaming” was created for those fleeting moments of daily meditation; while walking down a semi-crowded street, packt in one’s local metro like a tin of sardines, or making the final descent in the office elevator after a long day at work.

3. Into You – Ariana Grande:

In her sophomore album, Dangerous Woman, Ariana Grande shows us how much she has mastered the craft of forging effortlessly addictive pop songs. A behemoth summer jam in the making, “Into You” digs just under one’s skin and begins firing up the synapses. Feet bounce, fingers snap and heads bob to the one-two combo of Ariana’s all-mighty vocals and the song’s electro-groovy beat.

4. Oblivion – David Bazan:

There’s a curious link between David Bazan’s new single and Grimes’ hit song that bears the exact same name. First, there’s the contrast between David Bazan’s throaty baritone growl and Claire Boucher’s impossibly high soprano vocals. Then its the way the electronic bloops and beeps pepper throughout both songs, dotting them in a wholly melancholy manner. Or maybe I’m just totally bullshitting you just to have something to write (which I admit, is the likelier option). Nonetheless, David Bazan’s “Oblivion” is reflective, a tad bit haunted and empowered in ways that Grimes’ version was. So maybe it’s those feelings that are just enough to help establish the relation.

5. Warning Call – CHVRCHES:

A callback single to The Bones of What You Believe era. CHVRCHES wrote this original song for the video game Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. A heavily synth laden, beseeching track that plays as an ode to the game’s female protagonist. This is not unfamiliar territory and fans of the band won’t have a complaint about that at all.

6. GOT IT GOOD – KAYTRANADA, Craig David:

Another heavily synth laden track, KAYTRANADA’s “GOT IT GOOD” is an immediate crowd pleaser off of his debut album, 99.9%. One immediately notices the effortless quality in which the song flows to its drum snares, hand claps and house beats. If there’s one way to describe KAYTRADNADA’s music, its vibrant. Synesthesia be damned, the colors force their way into one’s ears, making for a sonically produced experience that you can nearly see.

7. Dark Necessities – Red Hot Chili Peppers:

Ah, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are finally back. Like that uncle you forget you’re related to but always delighted to see. That all-too-familiar slap bass makes its welcomed presence right away, coupled with rhythmic hand claps and Anthony Kiedis’ staccato-like singing. Dark Necessities is a song that mixes the best of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ past sounds in a manner that somehow doesn’t come across as a re-tread. Produced by Danger Mouse and mixed by Nigel Godrich, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ eleventh studio album, The Getaway, drops on June 17th.

8. Always – Great Good Fine Ok:

Great Good Fine Ok, an American synth-pop group, has been steadily releasing singles after singles for the better part of the past two years. “Always” doesn’t offer anything new for its veteran listeners but is nonetheless a welcomed entry for the summer season.

9. Something To Believe In – Young the Giant:

A rollicking anthem that plays slightly overproduced. It’s another single from Young the Giant that would just as easily slip in as a soundtrack to those inspiring beer commercials. Still, a rip roaringly fun song to listen to, “Something to Believe In” shows slight hints of the groove found in the Arctic Monkeys’ AM combined with powerhouse vocals that are wholly reminiscent of Fall Out Boy or Imagine Dragons.

10. Couldn’t Believe – Broods:

Lots of synth this week. Mea culpa. Will try to differentiate the instrumentation in week two’s installation. Anyways, Broods, a New Zealand indie-pop duo, released the follow-up, “Couldn’t Believe”, to their first single “Free”. What you have is a high flying, airy track meant for heavy rotation on those long night drives. Their sophomore album, Conscious, will be released on June 24th.