Photo credit: Daniel Harris

Did everyone realize Thanksgiving is next week? Because there are five Thursdays in November, Thanksgiving is coming up on us quickly this year. I did not realize that until I sat down this weekend to schedule some work things, and realized I can’t schedule them for the end of next week. It feels like just last week I was writing the first Take 5 of 2018, and here we are approaching the last handful of Take 5s of the year. I hope you keep better track of your schedule than I do this week, and I hope you love this week’s selection of songs. Let’s get to it.

RUUMER – Gimme Some

I love pop with clever wordplay, so RUUMER’s “Gimme Some” is right up my alley. When pop music is used for a good social cause AND has clever wordplay, it’s even better. That’s what sisters Melis and Jess did on their latest single. As they discussed in the premiere for the track earlier this week, RUUMER went to Catholic school, and they’ve taken that background and incorporated it into the track in a number of interesting ways. Many of the lyrics from both RUUMER and Sammy Adams have religious imagery and language in them used to liberate their desires instead of suppress them. And while the music is definitely an indie-pop jam, it does contain a reverent feeling–especially in the chorus–that makes it unique. RUUMER have used their own history to make a point for all of us on “Gimme Some,” and that’s all you can ask for in music.

Anderson .Paak – Who R U?

It’s Monday morning and it’s cold. I don’t know about you, but on days like this I need a hype song to get my week started on the right foot. Anderson .Paak was kind enough to provide that song this week with his new single “Who R U?” .Paak wastes no time diving into the hyper-focused and breakneck beat to explain how far above everyone else he is. With lightning precision and a variety of different flows, he details how cool his life is (very cool) compared to everyone else’s lives (not cool). As the title of the song states, he’s on such a different planet that he doesn’t even know who the doubters are. Put “Who R U?” on repeat this morning and live this week with the confidence of Anderson .Paak.

Fickle Friends – San Francsico

Fickle Friends are tireless creatives. They released their debut album You Are Someone Else in March, have been on tour for long stretches of the year, and still found the time to release a new three song EP Broken Sleep last week. Of those three songs, “San Francisco stands out as an exceptionally incredible single from the band. There’s a jubilation in the usual synth filled rock sound here, as Natassja Shiner sings of liberation and moving out to the West Coast to enjoy life and soak in the sun. While it is about a relationship falling apart that leads to the life change, there’s so much optimism and warmth pouring out of “San Francisco” it’s hard not to let those good feelings wrap you up. “San Francisco” proves that no matter how busy they are, Fickle Friends always have time to wow us with new music.

Regina Spektor – Birdsong

New television can lead to fantastic new music. Case in point, ongoing Amazon Video series The Romanoffs has just gifted us with “Birdsong,” a new track from Regina Spektor. “Birdsong” is short and sweet, just under two minutes long. Spektor doesn’t need much time to impress though, and she is very impressive here. Backed by a pleasant acoustic guitar, Spektor delivers vivid imagery of birds and nature that is serene on its surface, but in pure Regina Spektor genius she incorporates just a few hints of something more mysterious and dark bubbling under the surface of the music. It’s a trait that she has perfected over the years (2016’s “Grand Hotel” comes to mind), and no matter how many times she does it, she moves me every time. No matter where it originates from, I will never complain about more Regina Spektor music. “Birdsong” is proof positive I’m not mistaken about that yet.

LÉON – Falling

It can be really tough to stay away from an ex. After months or even years together, moving on is hard, and the urge to get back together with them can be strong. LÉON makes that point beautifully and with a huge amount of catchiness on her new single “Falling.” There’s a funky, retro beat underpinning the whole song as she struggles with the loneliness. There’s a sense of leftover tenderness from the old relationship as she sings about how easy it is to cave and call up that ex. Both ends of LÉON’s range are superb, the emotion-packed lower register shining on the verses and her feathery upper range giving the chorus an extra kick. LÉON is singing about a tough situation on “Falling,” but the song itself is nothing but greatness.


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