Photo Credit: Gabriella Aguirre

I know a lot of you come to Substream for our music coverage. Keep doing what you’re doing with that, because we are constantly growing our team and putting out the best music coverage we possibly can for all of you. While you’re here, we’ve got some other areas for you, too. You can check out some of our movie reviews, like MJ Rawls’s review of US, a movie I saw this weekend and was freaked out by. We’re also branching out into some television coverage, as one of our newest writers Beth Casteel told us about the return of Stranger Things and the end of Supernatural this week. No matter what you’re looking for, let our amazing team give you a hand. For now, let’s get into this week’s Take 5.

Glowie – Cruel

People can be dicks. This is not news. While it’s by no means an excuse, there are sometimes reasons behind it. They’re having a bad day or something like that. Other times, people are just dicks because that’s who they are. The latter case is the focus of Icelandic pop artist Glowie’s track “Cruel.” Through the mix of percussion, horns, and solid production work, Glowie crafts a track that’s catchy like any good pop song should be while revealing the hurt that comes from being on the receiving end of someone’s ill will. She pleads to know what she did to deserve this treatment, and the song is abrasive and intense at the right moments to demonstrate the impact this had on her. She eventually comes to realize she didn’t do anything at all to deserve such scorn and it says much more about the other person than her, a good lesson to learn. When people are being jerks, just pop on “Cruel” and tune them out with Glowie.

Peggy Gou – Starry Night

If you haven’t heard of Peggy Gou before today, now’s the perfect time to catch up. The South Korean artist is one of the most talented DJs on the planet, with an ability to craft a tune that’s rivaled by few. Take her new track “Starry Night” as an example. Over six minutes and forty seconds, Gou does more than make music. She makes an entire experience. “Starry Night” feels like a living entity. It morphs and evolves as it goes, incorporating new ideas and instruments onto a solid base. The keys are lively and vibrant, the vocal samples are placed right where they need to go, and there’s a sense of wonderment just like sitting outside and looking at all the stars. Everything is perfectly balanced. The intro spends just enough time establishing the track before adding things on, and the outro lingers just long enough to let the listener process everything they’ve heard. If you want to be taken on a journey, Peggy Gou is the artist for you.

Lizzo, Missy Elliott – Tempo

“Tempo” is fun. “Tempo” is the most fun. That’s the quick summary of Lizzo and Missy Elliott’s new track. An inspired guitar solo intro gives way to the coolest beat you’re going to hear this month. Elliott and Lizzo don’t lack for self-confidence, and “Tempo” is an ode to their powers. Both women get a chance to drop lyrics fast and furious, letting everyone who isn’t riding with them know just what they’re missing out on. Lizzo has long been the queen of loving yourself, and hearing her completely own her confidence is always going to be inspiring. The bridge where Lizzo and Missy take turns hyping each other up will have you out of your seat in an instant. Lizzo can do no wrong, Missy Elliott can do no wrong, and you can’t go wrong listening to “Tempo.”

Ra Ra Riot – Bad To Worse

It’s hard to believe, but Ra Ra Riot have been around for a minute now. Last year saw the ten year anniversary release of their first album The Rhumb Line. It’s fitting then that their new single “Bad To Worse” is one that finds the band in a particularly reflective mood. Simple production from Manny Marroquin pairs with a beautiful turn on the piano. Wes Miles belts for all he’s worth on those high notes, but it never sounds like he’s straining. Instead, there’s a gentleness in his words that is very affecting. There’s only so much we have control over in our lives, and “Bad To Worse” focuses on accepting that fact and coming to terms with the passage of time. It’s a big topic, but Ra Ra Riot give it their typically thoughtful and measured take here.

Anna Shoemaker – Home

Home should be a welcoming, loving place. When it’s not, it can hurt a lot. Anna Shoemaker walks us through that nightmare scenario on “Home.” The relationship she’s singing about is on and off, and the stress of that weighs on her. “Spilled malt liquor on my bed, Two drunk dials from where you at?” she sings on the chorus, and her words blur together accordingly. “Home” is a profoundly lonely track, and the music echos out into emptiness. There’s a nice blend of acoustic guitar hooks and synths to spice things up, and the way it just ceases at the end and lingers for a few seconds really drives in how isolated Shoemaker is feeling. Anna Shoemaker is skilled at creating a mood in her songs, and “Home” so totally envelopes the listener you’ll feel her loneliness, too.

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