Over the end of last week and the weekend, we here in the Midwest received our first substantial snow. A bunch of other parts of the country that normally don’t get snow also got some snow. What we’re saying is that winter is here for real and we’re all very cold. That being said, music hasn’t slowed down from the snow at all. There were a bevy of new releases last week, included some we had no idea were coming until they were here. We’ll dig into those releases in a second, but first a programming note. Seeing as how Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are both on Mondays this go around, next week’s Take 5 will be the last of 2017. After December 18, you’ll have to fend for yourselves until January 8. We believe in you.
Big Sean, Metro Boomin, 2 Chainz – Big Bidness
Big Sean had himself a busy weekend. On Friday he released Double Or Nothing, a brand new album with Metro Boomin. On Sunday night he put on a free show in Detroit. That’s a whirlwind few days. Double or Nothing is largely solid, and after spinning it a few times “Big Bidness” serves as a standout. Metro Boomin provides a beat that actually fits the holiday season we’re in, Big Sean is at his best bragging about his business acumen, and 2 Chainz doesn’t overstay his welcome with a short but impactful guest verse.
Camila Cabello – Real Friends
A year after leaving Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello is only weeks away from releasing Camila, her debut solo album. From everything we’ve heard from her this year, she’s more than capable of carrying an album on her own. Last week saw the release of two more songs from the record. While we love both, “Real Friends” is our favorite. It’s a remarkably laid back track, a lament about how how many fake friends are in Cabello’s life and the quest for some more genuine companions. It’s no secret that Cabello can belt, but “Real Friends” proves she can carry a song that’s more low-key as well.
Charli XCX, Tove Lo, ALMA – Out Of My Head
She’s given us slightly more of a heads up than Big Sean did, but Charli XCX is also dropping an album in December with little advanced warning. Pop 2 is out on Friday, and it’s a star-studded album. This whole section could be spent listing all the guests appearing on the album, but you get the gist from lead single “Out Of My Head.” Charli has collected the best talent from around the world, with the Swedish Tove Lo and Finnish ALMA guesting here. It’s hard to think of a collection of artists who have had better 2017s, and their powers together make for the best form of the fun, biting pop that Charli XCX deals in.
Marshmello, Migos – Danger
“Danger” is a song by 2017’s breakout DJ Marshmello, who is silent, and rap trio Migos. It’s part of the soundtrack for the Netflix movie Bright, a fantasy cop drama on Netflix with Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, who plays an orc. 2017 is weird. The weirdness of the circumstances around “Danger” don’t make it any less of a spectacular song, though. Migos rap over an instrumental that mixes the best of what was found on Culture alongside Marshmello’s skills. Considering it’s for a movie about fighting bad guys, many of the lyrics relate to vanquishing wickedness and serving as a protector. It could be corny if done wrong, but Migos sell it well.
The Wombats – Turn
First of all, the name of The Wombat’s upcoming 2018 album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is an early contender for best album title of the year. The effect would be lessoned if the music weren’t up to par, but if “Turn” is anything to go on, we don’t have to worry about that either. A healthy layering of keys create a jubilant chorus, which fits with Matthew Murphy’s lyrics full of admiration. “I like the way your brain works,” he sings on the chorus. We like how The Wombats’ brains work when they make music.
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