May 30 2014
5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To is making the leap from the minors to the big leagues this Monday! In addition to this weekly column there will be an audio component of one song each day, comprising 5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To. This column will also start going up on Monday instead of Friday so that you can listen all week long.
The beautiful aspect about music is that it is objective. Sure there is simply badly made music, but apart from that, no one can tell you what to listen to and what not to. This is what best describes 5 Songs this week. Whether you are Conor Oberst or 50 Cent, when you flip a sample in a really cool way or create a folksy tune with a simple but amazing formula, it's going to be recognized by us. But ultimately, the listener is the judge. So take a look below and let us know: is it terrible, is it amazing, or is it something in between?
Taylor McFerrin – Already There (feat. Robert Glasper & Thundercat)
Maybe I’m biased. Maybe I just thought this was nice based on the fact that it's a monster collaboration. But maybe, this track was just as cool as I thought it was on my first, second, third, and fourth listen. McFerrin is due with his proper debut in less then a week and each single he releases gives more and more reason to pay attention. Thundercat fans will understand why this track could be my favorite. There has been a signature sound that he's established on bass guitar throughout his last few releases that would make any fan of his freak out (in a good way) once his addition to the song hits. McFerrin adds his own unique style, setting the cosmic-like atmosphere for the aforementioned Thundercat along with the progressive jazz pianist Robert Glasper to do their thing. There is a certain raw energy to this song that you just can't shake; big name artists aside. Listening to the rest of Early Riser, I have to say that it might be one of my favorite projects of the year because of the continual moody / spacy energy brought with each piece. “Already There” is the big standout in my opinion, so go check it out below and see if you share the same enthusiasm.
McFerrin's debut Early Riser will be out June 3rd via Brainfeeder
Owen Pallett – On A Path
When multi-instrumentalist Owen Pallett isn’t doing string arrangements for bands like Arcade Fire, Beirut, or The Mountain Goats, I would suppose he is coming out with his own solo material. Going by his name for the first time, (formerly known as Final Fantasy), Pallett delivers a minimalistic, neo-classical vibe that sounds strictly self-inspired. That is intriguing in the musical aspect because Pallett made aware that “In Conflict” was a very personal record in general, specifically when it came to his songwriting. This can definitely be felt with the track “On A Path”. It begins as if it were an opening score for some really high budget epic. It then breaks down into a driving string arrangement as Pallett channels Zach Condon-like melodies on the bridge (if any comparisons were to be made). The clearness of Pallett’s distaste for city life is as apparent in the lyrics as it is in the overall tone of the arrangements. This is seen through the peaks and drops of the string arrangements and how it carries along something like the monotony of watching traffic out the window in the very city that Pallett could be referring to.
Owen Pallett's In Conflict is out now!
Down On My Luck – Vic Mensa
Vic Mensa has been taking interesting turns with his projects in the past several years. He went from the jam-like, organic-sounding Chicago group Kids These Days to creating the highly conceptual, futuristic, and at times thought-provoking Innanetape to then coming out with a couple of really trashy trap singles to lastly, his latest release “Down On My Luck”. Luckily, in reality, that has never been anything Vic has been short of. Besides getting severely electrocuted some time ago and falling off the mouth of a bridge and turning out---pretty okay---to making as petty of a list that the XXL Freshman has become, Mensa has been riding pretty high off the hype. Perhaps that’s what this latest single has been going for. It’s groovy, danceable, and it still has Vic giving his signature tongue-tieing rhymes. It’s not clear what he is actually doing with his music right now as he has also been in the studio with Irish rock band The Strypes as well as a multitude of other diverse artists, but this is for certain: he has never struggled with thinking out of any box that you might put him in and that is evident in his latest single.
Mensa's next EP Street Lights will be out July 6th.
50 Cent (feat. Schoolboy Q) – Flip On You
In 1972, the brother and sister soft rock duo The Carpenters came out with an LP called “A Song for You”. Before you go any further, I suggest you listen to the track “I Won’t Last A Day Without You”. What’s the significance of this particular song you may ask? Well, in 50 Cent’s latest song featuring Schoolboy Q, that very song was flipped to sound more Billie Holiday/Sarah Vaughn-like than what it was originally intended. Maybe that’s what the track title means: a sample flip, rather than just the generic “I’m going to flip on you” gangster connotations that 50 would probably have. Whatever it is, it’s no matter here. Being objective, this is a great hip-hop song. It’s high energy, (with Q adding a lot in that realm) and their verse trade-offs work great with the instrumental; working more like the ebb and flow of an ocean tide than your traditional hip-hop verse structures. Despite any feelings you may have about the name ’50 Cent’ or the fact that he cannot throw a baseball pitch to save his life, check out this track below---you may catch yourself bobbing your head to it even.
50's Animal Ambition will be out June 3rd via G-Unit Records
Conor Oberst – Night At Lake Unknown
Just as 50 Cent’s latest single isn’t groundbreaking in the realm of hip-hop, like Vic’s isn’t in the realm of electronic(?), neither is Conor Oberst’s latest project in the realm of his genre. That doesn’t stop any of these songs from being a great listen though. Music doesn’t need to be groundbreaking ALL THE TIME. Sometimes it can be as simple and comforting as a singer/songwriter such as Oberst talking about a tough break up. Sometimes there is a comfort in the familiar, and this is definitely no different with the track “Night At Lake Unknown”. It’s a song with a slow tempo, folksy guitar pattern, and xylophone chimes to add to the campfire-at-the-lake dusk setting that the title would lead you to believe. What does always stand about Oberst though is his sincerity as a songwriter. With something as cliché as writing about relationship difficulties or break ups in music, there is something always honest about the way Oberst describes it. See if you agree with all said sentiments below.
Oberst's new record Upside Down Mountain is out now!