I have yet to get any debate on any of my Take 5 choices. This is not a good or bad thing, but I will say it surprises me a little. People have a lot of opinions, and discussing what music we like is a big part of why we all do this. Ranking things and picking out lists and everything in that vein are all fun things to do! On that note, my colleague Logan White released his top 30 “Punk Goes” songs on Friday. I know how much work he poured into those rankings, and there are a lot of gems in his rankings. If you’re feeling feisty, head over to the list and (respectfully) let your opinion shine. In the meantime, let’s dig into this week’s Take 5.
The Black Keys – Lo/Hi
It took all of two seconds for “Lo/Hi” to make me smile. As soon as that fuzzy guitar riff came on and Dan Auerbach gave a “woo!” to kick things off, I was hooked. Auerbach and Patrick Carney are as good as ever in their return to The Black Keys after all these years. Carney’s drums set the tempo for this exhilarating ride, and Auerbach goes from simple, pleasant riffs to some out of this world solo bits. The chorus backing up Auerbach on the chorus exalting the highs and lows is a nice touch, but at the end of the day this is about Auerbach and Carney. The pair have been making music together for close to two decades, and there’s a comforting sense of their familiarity in how they play off each other, even after a long separation. “Lo/Hi” is everything you could ever want from The Black Keys.
Sabrina Carpenter – Pushing 20
I remember the energy of youth. I might only be 25, but there’s a big difference between my energy now and the seemingly boundless power and joy of youth. Sabrina Carpenter captures that power on her new single “Pushing 20.” The track flies at a quick pace and you can feel her drive and determination. Lyrics like “you’re trying to paint a picture but you’re running out of paint” are incredibly fun, and it’s clear Carpenter is laser-focused on her music. The main message of “Pushing 20” is one of determination, as she will not allow anyone to get in the way of her goals as she grows up. In this way “Pushing 20” is quite inspirational, so when it gets stuck in your head you’ll be feeling confidant at the same time. Sabrina Carpenter may only be “Pushing 20,” but she’s got a long, bright future in music ahead of her.
RUUMER – Downtown
What I love about RUUMER’s music is all the layers you can find in it. Melis and Jess craft intricate pop tunes, and “Downtown” is no different. The sisters’ voices play off each other perfectly, taking turns taking the melodic spotlight and providing harmonies. No matter which one is taking the lead, the dense, synthy music compliments them perfectly in creating a song that sounds like a lovely night out on the own. There’s a sweetness in the lyrics about the joys of discovering who you really are and loving yourself and the people who accept you and love you as well. There are layers in the lyrics as well, as there’s some playful double meanings to a lot of the words that embodies the fun RUMMER have in creating their music. “Downtown” will put a smile on your face in no time, which is just what RUMMER are aiming for.
Sigrid – Level Up
Sigrid’s debut album Sucker Punch is really good. While there’s a lot of material in there that shows off what the singer can do when getting complex, some of the album’s best moments are its simplest. “Level Up” is the perfect example of this. Sigrid has written a straightforward tale of persevering through the tough parts of life in order to “level up,” an optimistic little tale that we could all stand to hear. Th simplicity extends to the music, which happily plucks along underneath her voice with minimal other sounds getting in the way. There’s just enough production filtering through to give “Level Up” atmosphere without preserving the storytelling nature and coziness established. The sort of mastery Sigrid shows on “Level Up” is what makes Sucker Punch great on the whole.
Jerry Williams – Gameshow
Jerry Williams released her EP Gameshow last week, and it’s cemented her as one of my new favorite acts. The titular track in particular won me over. While a game show is normally a bombastic affair, Williams takes the memory of watching them and turns them into an introspective track concerning loss, caring, and love. She plays the piano with great skill, and all of her writing is focused on small, relatable human moments. “She said ‘I love you always, and nothing about that phrase is going to change” is delivered in such a way that you can almost hear the other person say it, and the feeling behind it shines through. Jerry Williams is putting out high-quality music left and right, so give Gameshow a spin.
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