This week was absolutely stuffed with releases, more than I could ever hope to fit into just five songs. To that end, this week the Take 5 intro will be me running down some quick albums and singles that you should check out, even if they didn’t make the official list. Here we go: Florence + The Machine have a new album coming, and their single “Hunger” is great. Leon Bridges‘ album Good Thing is just as smooth and wonderful as all the singles would have you believe. Jimmy Eat World are still out here releasing new songs. Shawn Mendes and Khalid together on the same song on “Youth” is just as great as you would imagine. There are even more releases that I haven’t gotten around to yet, because this week was just that good. Let’s get to our list now.
Childish Gambino – This Is America
Donald Glover is unstoppable. You can already tell he’s going to steal the show in Solo this summer, his show Atlanta is about to wrap up another incredible season, and he’s going on tour soon. If charming everyone on SNL last night wasn’t enough, Glover also put out a new song as Childish Gambino, the gripping “This Is America.” The video (helmed by frequent Atlanta director Hiro Murai) is a surreal, disturbing, visually arresting examination of violence and gun culture in America, and the song perfectly fits with the video. Gambino creates a bright, happy hook with gospel elements and light guitar as a correlation to the rosy picture of America we’d like to be true. The verses take a dark, eerie turn in the same way the real America is not nearly as idyllic as some would have you believe. As always, Donald Glover is dominating the conversation and making art at the highest level.
Liis – Put It On, Show It Off
You could ask every single person who writes for Substream which Liis song should have gone in the column this week, and you’d probably get a different answer every time. Each track on Dana Cargioli and Lisa Haagen’s EP Put It On, Show It Off is that good. Personally, I’m partial to the title track. It’s the first song on the EP, and it’s such a great introduction to the duo and what they accomplish over the six songs they’ve laid out for us. Cargioloi and Haagen’s voice work wonders together, and the focus on percussion that comes in part way through the song is not only a unique approach to more acoustic music fare, but sounds damn good on its own merits as well. You’ve never heard anything quite like Liis, and not much will compare once you do listen.
Matt and Kim – Youngest I Will Be
As Substream’s Kate Scott laid out in her live review, Matt and Kim are just pure joy. Their new album ALMOST EVERYDAY is heartwarming, catchy, and will make you happy when you hear it, guaranteed. It’s clear the two share a special connection, and that can be felt on “Youngest I Will Be.” Matt and Kim sing about their adventures together and how you’ll never be as young as you are right now, so might as well enjoy it. The music they make is a bop, with lots of electric whizzes, whirls, and slides gradually coalescing into a joyful electronic ray of musical sunshine. Mondays are tough, but Matt and Kim have just made them a little bit brighter.
Peter Wise – Unattached
When I was writing up the premiere for Peter Wise’s album Unattached this week, one of my thoughts was “which of these awesome songs am I putting in Take 5?” There are a ton of great options, but eventually I decided upon the title track. Like I wrote in the premiere, “Unattached” is just such a great introduction to both Wise as a musician and Unattached as an album. The themes are clearly laid out, and Wise can play a guitar with the best of them. If you want a quick one song crash course on Peter Wise, “Unattached” is your best bet.
Céline Dion – Ashes
I really enjoyed Deadpool. It had a good sense of humor, Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool, and the action was still top notch. I also loved that while a lot of the humor was based on smart observations about blockbuster films, movie tropes, and comic knowledge, Deadpool was not afraid to be dumb at the right times to get a laugh. That brings me to “Ashes.” This is dumb. This is so dumb. Céline freaking Dion sat down and wrote a song for Deadpool 2 and then made a music video that includes her performing alongside a dancing Deadpool. There is absolutely no way that should ever work. But it’s just so dumb and doesn’t take itself too seriously and somehow pulls it off. “Ashes” is a parody of every big, grandiose, melodramatic movie ballad there is, but still pulls it off by being a decent song in its own right. I can’t believe “Ashes” worked, but here we are and I love it.
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