Listen To This: Blu DeTiger dials up rhythm and funk on latest single ‘Elevator’

Read about this week’s most notable singles by Sarah Kinsley, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and more.

This week, we’ve got pop, funk, house and indie rock. Basically, we have a lot covered. Three of the artists this week also went to New York colleges — Blu DeTiger is a former NYU student, Sofia D’Angelo of MICHELLE is an alum and Sarah Kinsley is a graduate of our Morningside Heights neighbors.

“Elevator” by Blu DeTiger

Yas Akdag, Music Editor

On her latest single, “Elevator,” New York City’s favorite bass player Blu DeTiger raises the rhythm and funk. Like all of her music, the song is effortlessly catchy so that even the most clueless crowd could sing it back. Over her signature funky basslines, DeTiger explores quirkier, more playful lyrical territory — “Samurai sword to the chest right now / I got glitter in my teardrops, kisses on the ground,” she sings in the first verse — drawing from a Remi Wolf-esque style of writing. In the nursery rhyme-like chorus, she sings in her spoken delivery, “I go up, go down in my elevator / Don’t wanna talk right now, see you, alligator.” Boom bap drums fuse the track together to create a delightful R&B-pop hit, with its vocoder, pitch-shifted outro — à la Taylor Swift’s “Midnight Rain” — taking “Elevator” to the next level. 

“The Giver” by Sarah Kinsley

Ethan Beck, Contributing Writer

From her breakthrough single “The King” to this year’s “Cypress” EP and her pre-pandemic releases, Sarah Kinsley has proven that her songwriting can stand alongside indie pop icons like BØRNS and HAIM. With her latest single “The Giver,” Kinsley proves that she can write a ballad that’s both haunting and immediate, a song that gets under your skin and pokes around. By using double-tracked vocals and reverb-saturated acoustic guitars, Kinsley constructs an entire universe focused on the emptiness of heartbreak. In the second verse, Kinsley’s voice slides into the song’s most emotive moment with the line “‘I wanna love you like I’m raining / Like I don’t need saving.’” Quickly after, the song builds in texture, adding fuzzed-out electric guitars and swirling background vocals. When Kinsey arrives at the song’s conclusion, she belts the final lines, letting her voice make “The Giver” her best song to date.

“I Killed Captain Cook” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer, Arts Editor

Combining stretched-out verses with plucked strings, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s latest single makes for a wavy musical experience. As though subverting the rhythms associated with the SpongeBob SquarePants’ soundtrack, “I Killed Captain Cook” playfully runs through a series of chords that invoke the dreamy state of mind one might experience while sunbathing. Painting a fantastical picture in haiku-esque lyricism, singer-songwriter Ruban Nielson plays into his dreamiest configurations as he develops a kooky story about how he killed Captain Cook. Although his words aren’t always decipherable, they still fuse perfectly with the song’s relaxing vibe. Altogether, the single makes up for its short length in its mesmeric mood — a lovely flavor of music that Unknown Mortal Orchestra builds upon through compositional wizardry. 

“PULSE” by MICHELLE

Yas Akdag, Music Editor

R&B-pop collective MICHELLE turns up the BPM on their new single “PULSE,” opting for a more house sound than their previous releases. The song kicks off with a bright, piano-like synth played in the genre’s typical choppy rhythm, with producers Charlie Kilgore and Julian Kaufman layering a thick, funk bass line underneath as the group’s vocalists switch off verses. Here, the vocal melodies are tight and rhythmic — it feels like MICHELLE wanted to emphasize the sound of the words more than a particular meaning — but “PULSE” still has a clear story. “I feel your pulse through the sleeve of your suit / Through your collar and your shoes,” they sing in the chorus before going on to ask, “Can you feel my pulse too / Too, too, too, too.” The ’80s house influences remain clear throughout, with a scratched vinyl effect toward the end of the song that’s reminiscent of records from that era. With its infectious melody and relentless, bumping rhythm, “PULSE” is just itching to be spun at the club.

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