What I’m Listening To: Week 6

by Stephen

1. Augustine – Blood Orange

There’s a beautiful subtlety to “Augustine” by Blood Orange. Maybe its the bare bones rendition of the instrumental tracks, the whispering delivery by Dev Hynes or the echoing chorus reminiscent of a church choir. It’s hard to pinpoint all of these varying factors when listening to “Augustine” for the first time. The track plays with such a light and liberated quality that it glides through your headspace with such effortless ease. And the thematic vision of the song partners up with feelings of inevitable passage or ancient self-campaign (see St. Augustine, who inspired the song’s title). Lyrics such as, “My father was a young man/My mother off the boat/My eyes were fresh at 21/Bruised but still afloat” further cement those visuals of idealistic and youthful wandering while showing that they come at a cost.

Freetown Sound, Blood Orange’s new album is available to listen to now. Watch the music video for “Augustine” below: 

2. You – Brika

The first thing that strikes you about Brika’s new single “You” is the elliptical quality of her vocals. They elevate and descend without betraying any effort in their motion. The electronica tunes and sound effects that outline this single are kept simple to a fault. It’s a deliberate act, so as to emphasize the weaving passage of her singing voice. It guides you, and tries to convinces you to move with the beat, whether it be a beating finger, a head bop or a foot tap. Simple and seductive, “You” by Brika avoids the error of complicating things for its audience and leaves you with a fleeting zephyr of a song.

3. Second Nature – Stalking Gia

By far the most addictive song on this week’s list: “Second Nature” by Stalking Gia uses its pulsating beat and sultry vocals to hook its listeners in immediately. There’s a nightlife quality to this song. It’s something you’d want to listen to while cruising through the emptied streets of a vast metropolis. It’s a quieted anthem, if you will, that keeps pushing its head bobbing tunes until the very end.

4. Imad Royal – Bad 4 U

With a light touch of the tropical, Imad Royal has crafted a summer single in “Bad 4 u” that’ll remain under the mainstream radar but shouldn’t. The song has all the trappings of a hit radio song. From the text abbreviations in its title to its repetitiously simple chorus and the trendy use of its brass horns. There’s nothing to be said here other than “Bad 4 U” is exactly what you’d hear on the local radio, perfectly crafted for seasonal use and long forgotten about after the warmth fades away.

5. Bad Suns – Disappear Here

Is there such a thing as post-pop punk? As in the shattered musical remnants of my teenage years reanimated for the succeeding generation? Just recently, bands such as Sum 41, Blink 182 and Yellowcard have released new singles or albums. It seems like they’re catching onto a new trend that I’m just not seeing. But I’m willing to chalk it up to “being out of touch”. It’s the easy way out I suppose. Anyways, “Disappear Here”, the new single by Bad Suns, is what I’d categorize under that newly coined genre. The sound is undeniably reminiscent of my high-school glory days. The catchy hooks, guitar riffs and shouting vocals in “Disappear Here” are timeless in the sense that they bring me back to my Walkman-CD-player-in-my-cargo-pants-pocket era.

6. Melt – JONES

Digital soul. (I’ll admit, I found that term on JONES’ Spotify artist page) These two words perfectly summarize the sound “Melt” provides for its listeners. Cherie Jones’ vocals here are powerful without ever over-staying its welcome. There’s an aurally resonant quality to the single, a vocal warmth in the song’s delivery. “Melt” provides not only a lush overflow of sound but also a synesthesic quality of colors that fill in each note and tune.

7. Come with Me – ISLAND

Easily my favorite track from this week. Like being caught in a cool undercurrent, “Come With Me” by Island courses through your ears in refreshing fashion. It’s a short song, clocking in at just under three minutes. But I’ve always preferred the Irish goodbye over overstaying your welcome. Overall, “Come With Me” is moody, breezy and non-committal in tone. You can’t really grasp what it’s really saying because it doesn’t want to be understood. Moreover, the guitar interlude with the ringing tremelo is a nice touch. A simple yet alluring tune for the extended holiday weekend.