Photo Credit: Jennica Abrams

Welcome back to Take 5! This week’s Take 5 marks a year since I started doing this column. I’ll save you most of the sentimental feelings I felt about that this week, and instead just thank you for reading this for a full 52 weeks. It really does mean a lot to me. I also hope you enjoyed your long weekend for Labor Day, but let’s remember what Labor Day is about: support the laborers in your life. Whether it’s family members, friends, or the cashier or waiter at your favorite spot, we’re all trying to make a living and do the best we can. Thank them for what they do and be nice to them, it’s the least they deserve. Let’s just all be good to each other, cool? Cool. Let’s listen to some music.

Shungudzo – Paper

I love when I hear a song from an artist that’s new to me and it grabs me immediately. Nothing is more rewarding as a music listener. Shungudzo–an LA musician originally from Zimbabwe–is the latest to give me that thrill with her new single “Paper.” There’s a hugely satisfying urgency right from the jump that immediately had my full attention. With Labor Day just past, this is also the perfect week to include “Paper.” Shugudzo sings about the balance between chasing wealth, but not wanting to lose herself in that pursuit. It’s a difficult balance to walk, and Shugudzo’s lyricism makes listeners feel that struggle viscerally. “Paper” is an unrelenting ride of a song, and Shugudzo now will be major player in my music listening.

Lauv – Superhero

When I saw that Lauv had a new song out, I was expecting something similar to what appeared on I met you when I was 18. from earlier this year. Namely, I was expecting something dance-y and electronic. Lauv whet the opposite direction on new single “Superhero,” and I am incredibly into it. “Superhero” contains almost no hints of the elaborate productions Lauv is capable of, with only a small embellishment here and there. Instead, “Superhero” is mostly just Lauv, a guitar, and a broken heart. It’s simple in its sadness, and Lauv still creates a rich listen, with the escalating vocal harmonies serving as a particularly nice touch. “Superhero” was not what I thought it was going to be when I pressed play, but it’s always a good idea to trust that Lauv knows what he’s doing.

Great Good Fine Ok – Touch

I’m a fan of anything sci-fi, so watching the video for duo Great Good Fine Ok’s video for “Touch” was a treat. Give me those cool B-Movie astronaut suits and wild technology and I’m set. The song itself is similarly inspired, with blasts of interstellar electronics and whirling synths creating a colorful listening experience. The hints of physical drums and the startlingly clear strum of a guitar during “Touch” grounds the track and gives it a nice nuance that I immediately latched onto. Those moments Jon Sandler and Luke Moellman know when to pull one instrument back to let something else shine through, or let everything meld together into one big musical blast makes “Touch” special. And seriously, the video for “Touch” is super cool and spacey. It’s like Great Good Fine Ok made all this just for me.

Chris Jobe – Backwards

Chris Jobe‘s brand of pop has me hooked. The chorus on “Backwards” remains one of my favorite musical moments of August, with Jobe delivering the lyrics with lightning fast speed and unbelievable charisma. And not that his ability with instruments isn’t spectacular, but Jobe putting his voice front and center on “Backwards” was a brilliant decision. The emotion, range, and passion in his words is undeniable, and shaping the music to compliment that fact just makes Jobe’s voice pop even more. I also love the into and outro for “Backwards,” where Jobe introduces and then resolves the musical ideas that occur in unexpected ways that are wonderful to listen to and make you really pay attention. “Backwards” works on all levels, and Chris Jobe has himself a hit.

Cody Simpson & The Tide – Don’t Let Me Go

You do not need a partner to dance, let’s be clear about that. You can dance all by yourself and it’ll be amazing. That being said, sometimes it is fun to find someone whose into dancing with you and have a good time. That feeling is the basis for Cody Simpson & The Tide’s new single “Don’t Let Me Go.” Even as the instruments and lyrics change and shift throughout the runtime, the fun and lively beat in “Don’t Let Me Go” remains a constant. This is a song designed for dance, plain and simple. From Simpson’s lyrics down to the smallest note, “Don’t Let Me Go” is equal parts playful and tender, flirtatious and devoted. It’s everything you’d ever want in a dance partner and in a dance song, and Cody Simpson & The Tide have delivered it to your ears. Now find yourself a partner and get to moving.


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