We’re almost done with June and I have not been to the beach once yet. This is an outrage, as I’m sure you can imagine. Almost more than the beach itself, the part I really enjoy about beach days, and summer in general, is the trip there and back. A whole bunch of friends piled into a car on the way to the beach, full of excitement for the day ahead. Then after the day, everyone tired but happy, cruising through the summer night. And of course there’s the music both ways. On the way there, you have your upbeat party playlist. On the way back, mellow tunes to wind down the day come in handy. I just love playlists, is what I’m saying. Let’s dive into Take 5.
Kim Petras – Another One
No one has had a busier summer than Kim Petras. It seems every day I wake up to news that she’s dropped a new single on the way to her new project Clarity. They’ve all been good, but “Another One” might be my favorite so far. Like many of her other releases, the instrumental is sweet and serene. Chime-like synths fill out the sound that uses moments of silence and restraint instead of ratcheting up the sound to great effect. Petras starts off with a seemingly sweet request for her partner to let her know she’s the only one, but the track quickly turns tragic when it becomes clear she’s asking because there is infidelity in the mix. Petras switches back and forth between fury and sadness as the track requires, and both are felt keenly by the listener. Even amongst all of this emotion there’s time for clever lyricisim (“I only do main courses/ I don’t do the sides”), and Petras sounds as great as always. And while it’s more than likely a coincidence, I choose to believe the title of the song is a knowing wink towards her packed release schedule. This week, enjoy “Another One” from Kim Petras.
City and Colour – Strangers
City and Colour’s new album dropping this fall is one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Dallas Green is giving me good reason to be optimistic about that pick, especially with last week’s release “Strangers.” The track immediately grips listeners with a guitar riff full of longing. Although the tempo is quick, “Strangers” is a profoundly somber track. Green sings about the all too common pain of existing in a relationship where love has long left, and the crashing of said riffs together with the drums gives the music a feeling of deep loss and pain. Listeners can tell Green is aching as he sings the chorus, the heartbreak in his voice mingeling with a desperate plea that this love can be reclaimed. When love dies in a relationship, it can feel like suddenly living alongside a stranger, and Green does that feeling justice, and the abrupt ending to the track is a smart conclusion to a song longing for redemption or closure. It’s hard not to believe “Strangers” will be a highlight on City and Colour’s project later in the year.
Mark Ronson, Angel Olsen – True Blue
Mark Ronson and Angel Olsen occupy very different areas of the music landscape. Ronson is one of the most prolific, accomplished pop producers on the planet. Olsen is an icon in the indie scene. They are not a pairing I would have ever envisioned on my own, but it’s one that works on “True Blue.” Taken from Ronson’s new album Late Night Feelings, the song combines each artist’s strongest components into one stunning package. Olsen’s deliberate, thoughtful vocals wash over the opening of the song with minimal production, sounding very much like a track from one of her own albums. It’s after this intro that Ronson jumps in earnestly, building a pop-like bassline and throwing in a number of synths into the mix. Olsen still gets to jam on the guitar, and Ronson smartly balances what he does best with Olsen’s strengths so that neither overpowers the other. It might not be the most obvious pairing, but Mark Ronson and Angel Olsen have made a winner with “True Blue.”
Paper Lions – Rhythm & Gold
The ability to bring people together is one of its greatest features. Hearing stories about how that has happened always warm my heart. With that in mind, Paper Lions have me smiling this week with their first 2019 single, “Rhythm & Gold.” The song is a love story about both music and the connections it creates. It’s peppy and bright, with a fun little kick on the drums and swinging guitars providing even more joy. The story follows a traditional love story between two people, but also their shared love of music as they embark on a tour and musical career. It’s easy to tell the track is at least a bit autobiographical about the band’s relationship to music, which makes their evident joy performing the track even sweeter. Let Paper Lions connect with you when you hit play on “Rhythm & Gold.”
Girl Wilde – Probably Crying
Girl Wilde’s sound has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it. Her “bubblegum grunge,” as she puts it, always makes for a fascinating listen, and her new single “Probably Crying” is no exception. The grimy, distorted guitar riff combined with very pop-inspired melodies and harmonies here are captivating and nuanced. There’s new details tucked into the margins each time I listen that reveals the genius of Wilde to combine so many musical ideas into a track that not only functions, but excels. Lyrically, she’s as honest as she’s ever been on “Probably Crying.” She takes us deep into her mind and how she works, revealing all of the things she worries about and how the world affects her brain and her outlook. It’s powerful stuff to experience, and it perfectly fits the instrumental. Girl Wilde continues to put out songs I love with “Probably Crying.”
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