Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez

I’m back after a short break! You may have missed the column last week, but I still made sure to send out the Spotify playlist. This serves as a good reminder to remind you about the playlist. Every track I write about here gets put into the list. It’s a lot of music! Just this year we’re already up to 75 tracks. Listening to it can be an amusing experience, as I don’t structure the column based on playlist flow and there can be some big tonal and sonic shifts. That’s half the fun though! I plug it at the end of every column, but seriously: subscribe to the playlist so you never miss any of my choices. Onto this week’s Take 5!

Blake Rose – Best of Me

It hasn’t taken long for Australian artist Blake Rose to establish himself as a writer with some emotional heft behind his work. He’s only three songs deep into his discography, but each one is deeply moving. His latest work “Best of Me” is his most affecting yet. Over a pulse-pounding instrumental, Rose walks through the challenges of caring for someone suffering from addiction. Listening to him honestly detailing this person’s relapses and the pain both parties go through will bring a tear to your eye. Rose’s falsetto is put to ample use on the chorus, and the music contains the tenderness and love he brings to this relationship. While the lyrics make it clear going through this scenario isn’t easy, the reassurance and care Rose promises he’ll always give turns “Best of Me” into a hopeful track. That kind of multi-faceted writing and performance makes Blake Rose (who also produced the track) someone to keep watch of going forward.

Chloe – The Words You Wanted

Chloe, the mononymous identity of Chloe Lowery, is no musical slouch. She’s toured with Trans Siberian Orchestra and has performed across the world. Her debut solo album The In-Between dropped on Friday, and she’s got the chops to make it on her own too. Album closer “The Words You Wanted” is proof of that. The track takes an acoustic turn on an album full of pop production, and it uses it to great effect. “The Words You Wanted” takes place after a breakup, and it’s a search for the right words. Those words failed Chloe as the relationship was falling apart, and it’s only now after there’s no use for them that the words come to her. The lyrics are delivered with pinpoint sorrow and regret which will resonate with listeners, as everyone has gone through a situation where the right words won’t come out. Chloe is no stranger to the music industry, and soon she’ll be a household name for audiences.

SZA, The Weeknd, Travis Scott – Power is Power

If you have a computer or a phone or a television or a radio or a carrier pigeon, you know that Game of Thrones has returned for its final season. To coincide with this monumental event, multiple artists are creating tracks inspired by the show. If you’re dreaming up collaborations, you can’t go wrong with SZA, The Weeknd, and Travis Scott, which makes “Power is Power” a dream come true. Over an icy, droning beat, the trio go to work. All three incorporate fiery and chilly imagery into their lyrics, and the title should give you an idea of the theme of the track. All three argue that power isn’t given or found; power is innate, and they all have it. It’s a bold battle cry of a track, and each artist does their best to one up the others. There’s no weak link here, but The Weeknd’s work may be my favorite. I wonder if this trio watches the show together. I want a livestream of their thoughts on it.

TELYkast, Aly Ryan – Better

We’ve all gotten into situations where we know what we should do, but our brains get scrambled and we end up making mistakes we could have easily avoided. The effects of this can be amplified in the realm of dating. It’s the subject of production trio TELYkast’s new track “Better” with singer Aly Ryan, and all members involved do a great job selling the story. TELYkast’s production is always on point, and “Better” is no exception. The trio does a good job of baking the emotional journey into the music, as the song begins with alluring synths that mirror the allure of the situation that makes us ignore our reservations. The chorus–where Ryan shines–goes full on dance music, but with an edge that comes with knowing we should have known “better” about the relationship. That kind of emotional thought in the music is what makes TELYkast so good at what they do.

Great Good Fine Ok, Pell – Terrified

Give me all the spooky vibes in music. I will take every single one of them. Granted Great Good Fine Ok and New Orleans rapper Pell aren’t running from any monsters or killers on “Terrified,” but the music might lead you to believe otherwise. The real terror here is commitment and love, which is a natural reaction after years of heartbreak. The beginning instrumental strings together single notes like the best horror soundtracks, and the chorus brings out the full array of GGFO’s synths into a slick, delightfully wicked groove. Pell’s verse is fun, and giving his section its own instrumental themes and feel is a good way to make it stand out. “Terrified” will satisfy the horror fans and the dance fans in equal measure.

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