Looking at this week’s releases might transport you to a different era. Chromatics, Florence + the Machine and Jamie xx — like, seriously, what year is it? Anyways, nostalgia awards one the ability to escape, to retreat elsewhere, to look back joyously. It is our intention to elicit comfort with these tracks, to remind you of parties via Carti and of being a teenager by way of Car Seat Headrest. So, enjoy these tracks and recollect on those vibrant moments from your past that make your plans for the future all the more exciting.
“@ MEH” by Playboi Carti
Ian Reid, Staff Writer
The world is changing rapidly, but Playboi Carti is not. The unconventional Atlanta rapper has returned with “@ MEH,” a glittering carnival ride of a track that sees Carti as eccentric as ever, effortlessly spitting baby-voiced insults and flexes for two and a half minutes straight. The flashy, trap-cliche lyrics (very few of which I’d be allowed to put in print uncensored) are nothing new for Carti, whose focus is, and always has been, his giddy, mischievous, rap-as-play attitude on the mic. The most novel aspect of the song is the sparse (but excellent) beat, which features bright neon synths, thunderous 808s and the playful plinking of what sounds like an electric kalimba. It’s one for the fans, but it’s also one for Carti himself. He sounds like he’s having fun.
“Hollywood” by Car Seat Headrest
Charles Smith, Staff Writer
These teens are too ready for Hollywood. Just like complaining about the L train is code for true New Yorker status, a pop track about Hollywood’s excess signals that Car Seat Headrest is in the big leagues. I’m starting to think they can’t survive the success. I guess we should have seen this coming. On CSH’s most recent Fallon appearance, frontman Will Toledo ditched his stuffy suit and tie for a two-tone designer t-shirt. The band picked up a second drummer, a second guitarist and a first keyboarder for flair. Toledo ditched his guitar and danced the way a nervous young teen probably shouldn’t. That is to say, these guys have grown up and they’re making arena-rock money. CSH doesn’t have arena-rock chops yet, but the copy-paste lyrics are getting there. To take on Hollywood, they could have gone after the sexual predators a little more and the wide-eyed dreamers a little less. This band used to be real wide-eyed, too.
“Window” by Still Woozy
Izzy Salas, Staff Writer
Still Woozy’s new single is a total jam, if nothing else. It grooves right along with simple lyrics that allow for the actual sounds to take center stage. The song begins a bit abruptly, with an “Uh, okay” and some electric guitar sounds, but the smooth voice of Sven Gamsky sweeps in and brings cohesion to the song. “Window” also incorporates the squeaking of a bed, ending any confusion that the lyrics “But I go in through the window so nobody sees” bring. Still, Woozy harkens the excitement of a teenage romance full of sneaking around and simplicity. While this single lacks depth, it’s a solid listen for its light sound and easygoing melody, perfect for a summer hits playlist.
“Teacher” by Chromatics
Henry Carr, Contributing Writer
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right? Well … “Teacher” finds Chromatics doing what they do best: icy synth patterns, 4-on-the-floor kick drums, elusively chiling lyrics. The question becomes, at what point does consistency become redundancy? Other 21st-century dream-pop bands such as Beach House and Cigarettes After Sex have faced similar queries. This is largely due to the fact that the dream-pop sound exists within a formula. Ultimately this construct is a plus, an attempt to create a singular mood in which the listener meditatively falls into the music. However, Chromatics have been teasing their upcoming studio album “Dear Tommy” for six years now, releasing multiple signature-sound singles, each one practically perfect, before removing them from the supposed tracklist. Has the anticipation turned this formula into frustrating foreplay? Maybe therein lies the joke: just as it seems we may never reach the end of “Dear Tommy,” dream-pop music such as “Teacher” never finds a destination either; instead, it wanders through an endless loop of blissful monotony. Take it or leave it.
“Idontknow” by Jamie xx
Ian Reid, Staff Writer
Leave it to Jamie xx to make anxiety sound fun. While the London producer’s 2015 album “In Colour” perfectly distilled the warmth and vibrancy of a summer night’s clubbing, “Idontknow” is a decidedly more shadowy affair. The song begins in a flurry of percussion, as shuffling snares and tip-tapping hi-hats beckon us into a nocturnal world halfway between concrete jungle and actual jungle. But about a minute in, the drums grind to a halt as if the song itself is malfunctioning. For a moment, it’s chaos. Then the beat picks up at a drastically faster tempo, and everything snaps into place: deep, chrome, pulsing bass rises from below, while silvery, whining synths flit around the edges of the mix. A hypnotic chanting vocal chop takes center stage, endlessly repeating some unintelligible mantra. It’s nervous, jittery, cathartic dance music — perfect for blasting at loud volumes and flailing around your room to.
“I Contain Multitudes” by Bob Dylan
Charles Smith, Staff Writer
You often wonder why these classic-rock guys keep making songs. I don’t wonder about Bob Dylan. “I Contain Multitudes” has the patience and old-world class that’s come to define the (last?) era of Dylan’s music. He’s too dignified to be fast and obscure, so no more “Like a Rolling Stone.” But he’s not too old to be ironic. Lyrics are obvious and charming: “I paint landscapes, and I paint nudes / I contain multitudes.” If you like Walt Whitman, if you like classical guitar, if you’re pushing 60, you’ll like this track. It’s quite sweet.
“Light of Love” by Florence + the Machine
Ana Cubas, Contributing Writer
“Light of Love,” Florence + the Machine’s newly released song from the group’s 2018 “High As Hope” sessions reaches for the cosmic healing powers of optimism that Florence Welch leaves to a cheesy choir to concoct. Unlike the band’s signature whimsical theatricality and rhapsodic lyricism, this delicate, more stripped-down single does lack the potency fans have become accustomed to. It is in the introspective lines of “Don’t go blindly into the dark / In every one of us shines the light of love” that we get a taste of the cliche realizations of a young girl reflecting on her decisions upon returning from a party. These words are accompanied by piano and strings that outshine the bland lyrics that Welch hums without her volcanic vocals surfacing at all. Instead, the second half of the song drowns in a choir that bleeds positivity and hope, but does so in the least personal and exaggerated way. It seems like Welch chugged out all her creative juices in the first minute and then left the track to fend for itself. “Light of Love” lacks the thoughtful beauty of past Florence + the Machine tracks and leaves us with an artificial sense of assurance to create a mediocre, lackluster release.
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