Photo Credit: Malia James

It’s me again, back with your regularly scheduled Take 5. I hope you enjoyed pronoun‘s turn taking the helm of Take 5 for an installment. It’s always exciting to check out what someone else is listening to, because you might find something new yourself. I also hope you managed to stock up on discount chocolate over the weekend. My personal favorites are the Reese’s hearts, and you know I bought way too many packages of those. I’ll be digging into those to satisfy my sweet tooth, and you can dig into this week’s Take 5 for your musical sweet tooth.

Donna Missal – Get Well

Heartbreak is a familiar topic in music. Many songs do a good job capturing the sorrow, the anger, and the pain of heartbreak. There are fewer songs that capture the overwhelming feeling of loss that comes with heartbreak. Donna Missal has entered that impressive group with her gut-wrenching, powerful new single “Get Well.” With a piano lingering between cords and an achingly drawn out melody, “Get Well” sounds like the daze after true love leaves our lives (this is a compliment). Missal barely raises her voice above a whisper throughout the whole track, and her lyrics land with devastating effect. The line “I’ve got a feeling it’s not good/that I love you more than myself” prompted a visceral emotional reaction when I heard it for the first time. There is hope for forgiveness and healing in “Get Well” too, which serves to balance the darker parts of the song. “Get Well” is going to make you feel a lot of emotions, which is exactly what Donna Missal excels at as a songwriter.

Hozier – Dinner & Diatribes

I constantly forget how short February is, which means I’m late preparing for most things in March. On the bright side, the brevity of February means it’s almost time for the release of Hozier’s new album Wasteland, Baby! already. All of the singles have been strong so far, including new release “Dinner & Diatribes.” The track is lively and driven, starting with the guitar riff that kicks the song off. Hozier excels when he delivers folksy, heady lyrics, and “Dinner & Diatribes” lives up to its title in that regard. There’s a lot of nuance underneath those belted lyrics, too. The guitar riff constantly shifts and evolves, there’s a million different cool things going on in the percussion and clapping sections, and Hozier uses a number of vocal loops to create intrigue and momentum. March 1 and Wasteland, Baby! are almost here, and “Dinner & Diatribe” serves as a good appetizer for their arrival.

Chandler Juliet – gravitational

Some people have a natural magnetism to them. The hope is they use that power for good, but alas that’s not always the case. Chandler Juliet’s new single “gravitational” finds her within the spell of one of these people. There’s a fascinating dichotomy taking place in the funky, string-driven track. For much of the song Juliet is trying to break free from this person, and the music reflects that attitude in a cold detachment. That iciness is played perfectly as she describes her attempts at a separation. But such a strong grip is not easy to escape from, and the bridge finds Juliet spinning back towards this person, and the music warms considerably as the magnetism takes hold. The snap back and forth between these moods is a perfect illustration of what being around a person with this power feels like. “gravitational” also has a snare drum prominently featured in it. Sign me up for any pop song with a snare drum. Chandler Juliet takes a complicated experience to explain and expresses it simply, clearly, and with quite the catchy sound on “gravitational.”

Brigetta – Sad Songs

I have effusively praised Brigetta’s knack for pop music on these pages before. I will continue to do so as long as she continues putting out tracks as good as “Sad Songs.” All of the writing and production here is perfect, a combination of emotional understanding and a melodic line that’ll get stuck in your head and allows Brigetta to show off her talents. What I love about “Sad Songs” is the embodiment of what I love about all of her music: the heart behind it. There’s a personable nature and heartfelt commitment shining through each and every moment. It feels like your best friend singing to you every time you press play. Brigetta has the talent, drive, and personality to be one of the queens of pop. “Sad Songs” is another step in her ascension.

Karina – My Skin

A crisp, simple idea can make the best music. Just ask singer Karina Fernandez and producer Jorge Guarch, who make up the duo Karina. Their new single “My Skin” doesn’t have a million complexities to it. Fernandez only sings a handful of lyrics, a harrowing expression of finding yourself in a big, cold world. The echoing repetition of “my skin” will send chills through your body with her haunting, affecting delivery. Guarch’s work on the production stays mellow throughout and also involves a lot of repeating synth loops that drop in and out when needed. Each element of the track is refined until its flawless, and when put together it creates a sizable impact that would be impossible with a more crowded number. Karina do a lot with just a few tricks on “My Skin,” and their skillful work definitely shows.

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