With new albums from Kendrick Lamar and The Chainsmokers on the horizon, and offerings from Blink-182, Calvin Harris, Cheat Codes, and Logic, there were plenty of noteworthy songs out this past week from old artists and new ones alike. Check out the most noteworthy tunes in today’s Music Monday post and the Spotify playlist at the end.
1.) Heavy Hitter
Kendrick Lamar – On “HUMBLE.,” the bombastic lead single to his fourth record, Kendrick Lamar commands his contemporaries to take on a shade of modesty. In the associated music video, Lamar stacks allusions upon moving visuals, re-enacting the last supper, swinging a golf club on a car, setting his hair on fire, and giving a live lecture on photoshopped beauty standards. The sum of his efforts has landed him dozens of online thinkpieces and the number one spot on iTunes, where he still reigns today. With an aggressive Mike WiLL Made-It beat, expect Lamar’s latest to get some heavy play and coverage over the next few weeks, as his fourth album drops.
2.) On the Verge
Coming from a superstar producer and writer like Blackbear, “do re mi” seems pretty simple—a breakup hip-hop track with a hint of swagger. But beneath the surface lies a masterful understanding of pop—a jingle that ingrains that sing-song chorus, the echoing reverb of the word “ghost,” the interplay between the lyrics and production, and the moments where the accompaniment drops out entirely. It’s all subtle enough to keep things moving with a swagger more explicit than in the artist’s Bieber co-write, “Boyfriend.”
There’s an impish spirit to “Wraith,” a song that flits away just before you actually get to see it. TYSM’s vocals are chopped and re-mastered, a lone steel drum blips a few notes in the background, we catch glimpses of a scene that really shouldn’t be so lovingly described (“The way we move, so stable” comes slightly before “You fold me in like a switchblade”). “Wraith” is a reflection: a nearly two-minute sampler of bright sounds and experiences that hint at something much, much darker.
The rising star’s latest breakup track gently pulls for attention, but gestures towards a desire to be neglected. “Forget about it,” she coos, pushing away a lover–with a hint of anticipation for a response. As part of the Selena Gomez-produced Netflix series, 13 reasons why, a story about bullying and teen suicide, “Bored” takes on multiple meanings the more the singer insists upon her state, sounding exhausted by her own repetition.
3.) The Newcomer’s Debut
Taken down to an acoustic setting, “The Other” still sparkles based on the serene vocals of singer-songwriter, Lauv, and some well-placed guitar harmonies. “Who wrote the book on goodbye?” he asks, doubled by nostalgic falsetto, giving the track an emotional affect. To Lauv, ending a relationship is akin to a battle between the head and the heart, a constant tug-of-war between yearning and logic.