Singles Roundup

April 2016

Nick Lotz

​"In the Morning" – Kaskade
 
“Touch me in the morning / I’ll tell you while you’re moaning / baby”
 
That sounds like a good thing. It’s gotta be a good thing.
 
“There’s something in this water / so drink it ‘til you’re fallin’ / for me”
 
Hmm. Never mind. Getting a little creepy now.
 
Regardless of Kaskade and ZHU’s romantic preferences (to each his own, yah know?), this beautiful, haunting, house song is right up there with the best of Kaskade that I’ve heard, with an eastern mysticism feel and lovely distorted vocals that evoke that hypnotic effect found so often in house/trance music.
 
Kaskade is from Chicago but hit it big in San Francisco in 2003 with ‘It’s You, It’s Me.’
 
ZHU attended college at the University of Southern California. His 2014 hit ‘Faded,’ blasted him from obscurity into stardom at lightning speed.
 
"Cool Papa Bell" – Paul Simon
 
How can you not like Paul Simon? The guy has the voice of an angel and the soul of an African tribal conga leader. His new song, “Cool Papa Bell,” holds true to his usual cryptic lyrics, and maintains the Paul Simon sound that has enchanted us all for generations.
 
“I don’t worry (And?) / I don’t think (Because?) / It’s not my job to worry or think”
 
It’s not terribly complex. I don’t mean it’s boring, it’s just not some crazy orchestral hodgepodge; just maracas, a guitar, a tuba, and freaking Paul Simon, the latter being enough in and of itself to cement any song into greatness.
 
“The fastest man on Earth did dwell as / cool papa bell”
 
I read the Rolling Stone article on the song. Apparently it’s about some famous baseball player or something. I don’t really watch baseball, but there are still some interesting lyrics in the song.
 
“It’s not like every rodent gets a birthday cake / no it’s ‘you’re a chipmunk, how cute is that?’”
 
As I said, cryptic, which I’ve heard (as a noobie Paul Simon fan) is fairly normal for him.
 
“Have you all heard the news / ‘HEAVEN FINALLY FOUND” / okay, it’s six trillion light years away / but we’re all gonna get there someday”
 
This is probably the verse that spoke to me the most. He has a good point. If this awesome place we all fight to get to is so far away, regardless of whether this place is your idea of an afterlife or some goal you hope to achieve, if it’s so far away and you lose yourself in the journey then what’s the point of getting there anyways?
 
Paul Simon is freaking Paul Simon (!!!). How the hell could you possibly not know who that is?
 
"Nobody Speak" (feat. Run the Jewels) – DJ Shadow
 
“Nobody speak / nobody get choked”
 
Run The Jewels blasted onto the hip hop scene quite recently, releasing two albums close together, both of which were so hard, so driving, so freaking slick and just alive as fuck that they quickly catapulted into one of the top all time greatest hip hop acts to which I have personally listened.
 
NOTE: For all you Bernie fans out there, Killer Mike, the front man for Run The Jewels, has been one of his most vocal supporters since the beginning of his campaign. When RTJ played at Coachella, they were actually introduced by a video message from the Saund-man himself. How freaking cool is that?
 
So, keeping that in mind, this song, which isn’t the best or most intelligent RTJ song I’ve heard (and I know, DJ Shadow produced the track, but I don’t really care, I’m writing about Run The Jewels or so help me I will find you, I have a very specific set of skills and I can find you, I swear to Christ), is without a doubt still fantastically awesome and has this awesome funky jazz beat in the background and lyrics that as I listen to while sitting in my parents basement, unshaven and un-showered in a provincial and privileged suburb of Akron, OH, I just go, “Goddamn, I’m so cool right now.”
 
Run the Jewelsis rapper-producer El-P and hip-hop superstar Killer Mike, and they freaking rock!
 
DJ Shadow is actually a guy named Josh Davis, and he’s pretty awesome also, so check him out if you get the chance.
 
"Take it From Me" – KONGOS
 
I like KONGOS. Keep in mind, I only know three of their songs, but I like them regardless (fuck what you think, mane). They blasted onto the scene with "Come With Me Now," a song which makes me feel like some kind of awesome secret agent soldier when I listen to it.
 
Their new single, “Take It From Me,” is driving, awesome and has a freaking accordion in it.
 
“Nothing will stop me / nothing holds me back”
 
Yes! That’s the kind of attitude we need. No more of this melancholy self-deprecation.  As Demi Lovato would say, “What’s wrong with being confident?”
 
KONGOS is from South Africa and are based out of Phoenix, Arizona.
 
"Fireflies" (feat. Grieves) – Atmosphere
 
I was (sort of) an Atmosphere fan my senior year of high school, in the sense that I knew three of his songs and would listen to them as I stood awkwardly next to the iPod choosing songs at house parties watching everyone but me have sex.
 
I like his new song ("Fireflies") quite a bit (sort of) in the sense that much as with the rest of his music, it is consistently chill and intelligent and it’s a good listen in almost any situation.
 
“It doesn’t matter who you are / just another superstar / everybody gets to shine at the hotel bar / with the fireflies that fell in the jar”
 
That’s pretty g-damn poignant, and I say this because that’s exactly how I feel when I’m lit in a nice club, and I know everyone feels the same way, which is why I always end up standing awkwardly next to the bar, Shazam-ing songs with my iPhone while I watch everyone but me have sex (not a whole lot has changed).
 
Atmosphere is a hip-hop group from Minneapolis, but it’s mainly just this guy called Slug.
 
Grieves is from Chicago, and was heavily influenced by Atmosphere when creating his style of music, so it’s pretty fitting they ended up on the same track.
 
"Wall Fuck" – Flume
 
There aren’t any lyrics in this song (if you haven’t noticed that’s kind of my shtick). It reminds me of an Amon Tobin-esque experimental electronic jam but with a little pop thrown in and a whole lot of feels. Because that’s why I listen to songs like this, the feels that I get, the feeling of being in a dream, yet living in a way that truly resonates, and is truly cathartic, and not just some synthetic high. And as I listen to "Wall Fuck" by Flume, I do feel this way, if only for a brief period of time, but maybe that’s all our consciousness is designed to experience and the feeling of yearning for more is just some kind of weird primal instinct, like, for example, we used to have tails and live in trees and now we have no tails, and maybe that’s what we all yearn for; some tail.
 
Wait a second . . .
 
Flume is the alias of an electronic DJ and producer named Harley Edward Streten, and was born in Australia.
 
"Amerika" – Young the Giant
 
“I was searching for something / as I watched you run”
 
Maybe they’re playing hide and go seek.
 
“I was sad / when you said / that you never really wanted / some”
 
Aw shucks. That sucks, guy.
 
“Were you looking for someone? / as I watched you go”
 
I see what you did there, Young the Giant. Very clever; the ole’ turnabout.
 
However, despite its somewhat lackluster lyrics, Young the Giant’s, "Amerika’’ is a pretty freaking awesome song. I’ve noticed ever since they came onto the scene in 2012 that Young the Giant can really hammer the nail in point first when it comes to feeling like a disenfranchised twenty something, and this song is no different.
 
Young the Giant originally formed in Irvine, California as The Jakes, and soon after changed their name much to the chagrin of every person named ‘Jake’ who listens to them.
 
"Blast Ya" (feat. Barrington Levy) – Borgore
 
It’s sort of just non-descript afro-beat / dub-step. I could see this song being played at a hard, electronica festival in Amsterdam, with flashing lights and sweaty people jumping around and dancing while intoxicated.
 
I could write down the lyrics. The centerpiece of the song is like:
 
“tick tock / blast ya! / wub wub / screeeech / wiggity wub wub”
 
That was probably the best part.
 
Borgore is named thusly because his real name is Asaf Borger. He’s from Israel.
 
"No Money" – Galantis
 
I heart Galantis so, so much, and by, "so, so much,” I mean I’ve loved all one of the other singles that I’ve heard, getting hooked on them in 2013 with “Smile,” an electronic ballad carrying a Taoist know-nothing philosophy that I earnestly try to apply to my own life.
 
“Sorry I ain’t got no money / I’m not trying to be funny / but I left it all at home today”
 
These lyrics remind me of when I would borrow lunch money from my friends in middle school.
 
“You can call it what you wanna / I ain’t giving you a dollah / this time I ain’t gonna run away”
 
I wish that excuse worked with my credit card company.
 
Galantis is a Swedish super-duo and apparently represent some kind of intersection between pop and EDM (whatever the hell that means).
 
Free – Broods
 
Broods. What’s in a name? Is it for those who brood?
 
“I have lived my life so perfectly / kept to all my lines so carefully / I’d lose everything so I can sing / Hallelujah I’m free”
 
“Gritting your teeth / you hold onto me / It’s never enough / I’m never complete / Tell me to prove / expect me to lose / I push it away / I’m trying to move / Hoping for more / and wishing for less / When I didn’t care / is when I did best / I’m desperate to run / I’m desperate to leave / If I lose it all / at least I’ll be free.”
 
WOW! This chorus. Just: this chorus. It starts and stops and drags, catching up to itself much in the way a tumultuous relationship does; with its starting and stopping and infidelities and make up sex and good god it’s been three months since I’ve gotten laid.
 
Broods is a pair of siblings from Auckland, New Zealand, with Georgia doing the vocals and Caleb playing the instruments (they’re last name is ‘Nott,’ as in “they’re ‘Nott’ bad at all).
 
"Just a Lil’ Thick (She Juicy)" – Trinidad James, Mystikal, Lil Dicky, DJ Mustard
 
I picked this song as my favorite of the month namely because it’s stupid and ridiculous and hilarious and I freaking love it.
 
“She ain fat bruh / just a lil thick / she juicy!”
 
That’s the chorus. If that doesn’t hook you, maybe the rambunctious, romping beats and smooth yet raunchy lyricists will. But either way, just remember:
 
“I’m talking cook, clean kids, man and swallow a dick /
You never see a big ho beggin’ for shit /
And if you fuck her good she might buy you a whip /
And if you say you love her she might pay yo’ rent”
 
Is Trinidad James the reincarnation of Shakespeare? With a love poem like this, I think we can all agree: no. But that doesn’t stop it from being a whole barrel o’ fun.
 
Trinidad James is a Def Jam signee who was born in Trinidad and raised in Atlanta.
 
Mystikal was once a leading rapper on Master P’s No Limit record label and is a New Orleans native.
 
Lil Dicky is David Burd, a rapper/comedian who grew up in Philadelphia and attended the Richmond Robins School of Business, so what the hell is he doing on this track?
 
DJ Mustard is apparently the self-proclaimed progenitor of ratchet music (i.e. what you hear when you’re in a ghetto ass strip club), and I freaking love him for it.