Photo Credit: Ryan Nolan
Okay, so last week didn’t really work out for all of us with getting a Take 5 out. That’s our bad. But now I’m back, and so is Take 5! Last weekend I spent a few days in a cabin with some friends, and I was put in charge of the music for the trip. Isn’t that the best feeling in the world? It’s an honor to select music you think will make people happy or that they’ll enjoy. I was strongly tempted to play “Africa” by ToTo followed by “Africa” by Weezer on a loop through the whole weekend, but I relented and curated an actual playlist. Speaking of curating playlists, let’s talk this week’s tunes.
Nick Ferrio – I Don’t Know How Long
While I premiered Nick Ferrio’s new track “I Don’t Know How Long” last week, I had actually heard it for the first time a week prior (that’s some behind the scenes workings for you). I thought about it a lot over that weekend. The cabin I stayed in is close to a city I lived in for two years, and that city currently has a huge problem with providing affordable housing to anyone outside the wealthiest citizens. That story is playing out all over the country, and it needs to be fixed. That’s why I love the bluntness of “I Don’t Know How Long.” Ferrio doesn’t sugarcoat the problem, instead cutting through any pretenses to the fear and anger of those that gentrification displaces. “I Don’t Know How Long” is a necessary song in 2016, and I’m grateful that Nick Ferrio wrote it.
Lindsay Latimer – I Blame You (Bodytalkr Remix)
Lindsay Latimer’s 2017 track “I Blame You” is a subdued, but powerful track. Latimer sings about accepting that a person who wronged her was actually in the wrong, and owning and acknowledging that feeling. It’s a grounded track with just a bit of electronics and synths to spruce things up. A year later, and the emotion remains the same, but the synths have been dialed up thanks to producer Bodytalkr’s remix of “I Blame You.” Latimer’s voice remains the constant, and is strong enough to carry the emotion of her words no matter what the backing. The dance-heavy, bouncing synths that underpin this new version are an intriguing change of pace from Latimer’s normal musical output. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Latimer trying new things in this vein.
Maggie Rogers – Give A Little
If Maggie Rogers released a new song every week, I would put said songs on this list every week. In May I included “Fallingwater” on Take 5. Two months later, and there’s a new Maggie Rogers song in the form of “Give A Little,” so here we are. This time around Rogers builds around a bevy of forms of percussion, with an emphasis on creating a nuanced, calming rhythm more than rattling all the walls. Throw in some of the vocal harmonies that Rogers does so well, and you have yourself a song to love. All of this takes place with Rogers extolling the virtues of letting your guard down a bit and opening yourself up to good feelings and positive connections, a message that never hurts to hear again. If these singles are working up to a new Maggie Rogers album, expect to see a lot more of Rogers on this list going forward.
Alan Walker, Au/Ra, Tomine Harket – Darkside
Alan Walker is one of the most talented young producers working right now, and I’m not the only one who thinks that. In recent times he’s worked with Noah Cyrus, Gavin James, and been enlisted to “relift” music from The Greatest Showman. The breathtaking and talent-packed collaborations continue with “Darkside,” which finds Walker enlisting Tomine Harket and Substream favorite Au/Ra to sing vocals. True to it’s name, “Darkside” has a bit of a dark, brooding edge to go with the mountain of synths and electronic flair that Walker normally brings to his music. The song never wallows in that darkness but instead uses it as a musical counterbalance, and Harket and Au/Ra both bring their A-game when it comes to delivering vocals that match the energy and range of the music. These three are some of the faces of the future in music, and “Darkside” shows music is in great hands going forward.
Kinnie Starr – I’m Ready
Let’s end on some positivity to enter the week, shall we? I’ve been jamming on Kinnie Starr’s new single “I’m Ready” all weekend since we premiered it on Thursday. Musically it’s phenomenal, the culmination of over two decades of knowledge and talent that Starr has cultivated in her career. Knowing everything that Starr went through that built up to the writing of “I’m Ready” makes it an even better listen. “I’m Ready” is proof that you can move beyond toxic relationships and live your best life, and that with the right people and a strong base of support you can be as happy as you deserve to be. That’s an important thing to remember when the going gets rough, so hopefully “I’m Ready” helps serve as that reminder this week.
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