Welcome to the first December edition of Take 5. We’re officially into the last month of the year. 2017 has been a wild ride, and we hope you’ve managed to find happiness and professional advancement and any other thing you might have desired. We’re sure 2018 is going to be great, but until then there’s still a whole month of great features for you. As you’ll see in the songs this week, there are still albums coming out every Friday. In addition, our year-end lists and features will be coming soon, so stay tuned for those. Onto the music.

Chris Stapleton- Hard Livin’

Chris Stapleton has fast emerged as one of the faces of the new generation of country artists, and it’s not hard to see why. With great writing, talent out the ears, and a little bit of grit, Stapleton flat out makes great music. He’s well worth checking out even if country isn’t your preferred genre. His third album From A Room: Volume 2 just came out, and “Hard Livin'” is one of its best tracks. A nice, heavy riff anchors the whole thing, and Stapleton sings with just the right amount of vinegar and angst to sell this tale of woe.

Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Jamie Scott, Romy Dya – So Far Away

In Garrix and Guetta‘s “So Far Away” we have one of the fresh young faces in DJing pairing up with one of its elder statesmen. Both of their talents shine through, with a mournful twinge added into the verses and the more expressive, youthful energy of Garrix coming through on the drops. Jamie Scott and Romy Dya both handle the singing admirably, and while a sad pop song is nothing new, the pieces of this one are all as good as you can get.

Miguel, Rick Ross – Criminal

It’s no secret that Miguel is at his best when he gets let loose and use his ability to croon with the best of them as much as he wants. Thankfully, his fourth album War & Leisure lets him run wild with it. No need to wait, either, as opener “Criminal” finds him showing off his entire range. The instrumental reverberates and echoes into infinity as Miguel does what he does best. Rick Ross delivers a typically exquisite verse, included a much deserved shoutout to Colin Kaepernick.

DJDS, Empress Of – Love

This isn’t the first time DJDS and Empress Of have graced this list together. In the first week of September they, along with Khalid, appeared with the excellent jam “Why Don’t You Come On.” Now the production duo and Empress Of singer Lorely Rodriguez are back together. This time around the collaboration is a cover of Lana Del Rey‘s “Love” from this summer, and it’s a cover that definitely works. Instead of the slower, more introspective tint of the original, this version picks the tempo up a bit and infuses it with a bit more outwards joy. Like any good cover, “Love” maintains the integrity of the original while adding a little something to it.

DMX – Rudolph The Rednose Reindeer

You’ve seen the original viral video by now. 5 years ago DMX did an interview with New York radio station Power 105.1. During the interview DMX was asked to perform a Christmas song. He happily obliged. A half decade later, Spotify and DMX have released an official version of “Rudolph The Rednose Reindeer,” and it’s just as fantastic as the original. It’s all perfect: the sleigh-bell infused beat, DMX’s ad-libs, DMX in general. If your holiday playlist was getting stale before, now it has some life to it.


Subscribe to our ‘Songs you need to know’ playlist on Spotify!