As you may or may not be aware, I’m leaving Substream soon. After three and a half years as a writer and editor here, I’ll be moving on. I have a lot of thoughts about it and how it ties into this column, but that’s not for today. I’ve still got one more of these to do after this week, so we’ll save it until then. For now, we’ve still got songs to discover. Every year I joke that I could fill the first column of November with Christmas music because I start listening so early, and that’s true again this year. But I won’t do that to you. Let’s get into our totally normal Take 5.
Dua Lipa – Don’t Start Now
If you need someone to lay down the law while simultaneously putting out the best pop music, you can’t go wrong with Dua Lipa. If you’ve forgotten that, just give a listen to her new single “Don’t Start Now.” The music is full of glitz and glamour, with sporadic strings and a killer beat combine to give the track its groove. The tempo changes between the verses and chorus work well to transition listeners from a dancing mood to really paying attention to what Dua Lipa has to say. In this case, it’s a reminder that you can’t suddenly decide to care what someone does with their life once you let them go. She is having none of it, and the ferocity of her emotions combined with the groove of the song make for a perfect combo. “Don’t Start Now” is more proof you should never, ever mess with Dua Lipa.
Peach Pit – Feelin’ Low (F*ckboy Blues)
It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Vancouver group Peach Pit. After their 2017 debut Being So Normal, they’ve laid low. Now they’re back, and they have not lost a step with their music or their incredible personality with new track “Feelin’ Low (F*ckboy Blues).” Besides having an incredible name, the track showcases the best of the group’s visceral, earthy sound. Producer John Congleton has helped them tighten that sound up here, and the result is a track that feels fresh and lived-in at the same time. Neil Smith’s vocals are great, delivering on the lowness the title implies with a weariness to them that’s really moving. And I am a fan of any backyard wrestling, so the video for “Feelin’ Low” gets points for Peach Pit from me, too.
Vince Staples – Sheet Music – Episode 2
Vince Staples is a man whose always innovating. Take his recent endeavor, The Vince Staples Show. Staples is tying his music into a series of episodic story videos, which follows a version of himself through various daily tasks and challenges. His latest episode “Sheet Music” finds him running from a woman he’s wronged, and the track of the same name follows a similar story. LeKen Taylor’s production is fun and lively, and Staples is always a delight when he’s bragging in some form or fashion. The hook is going to be in your head forever, and it’s amazing how many quality lines Staples can pack into just a little over two minutes. As long as Vince Staples keeps experimenting and trying new things to create songs like “Sheet Music,” you should be paying attention to his every move.
Boy in Space, SHY Martin – On A Prayer
Boy In Space continues to grow on me as we start to approach the end of 2019. Every time he releases a single I like it more than the last one (all of which I’ve liked, to be clear). He’s topped himself yet again with “On A Prayer,” this time with an assist from SHY Martin. All of the gentleness the two are known for is there, from the acoustic guitar Boy In Space plays so well to the delicacy of the pair’s vocals. But they’re also diving into slightly more production, with synths and a radio-ready chorus elevating the track even further. All of these aspects are balanced expertly, letting the best elements of each branch come together into something special. At this rate, Boy In Space is going to be everybody’s favorite artist in short order.
Sigrid – Home To You
You might not think an upcoming movie about a 19th century weatherman and balloon pilot would be the source of one of the best songs of the week, but the best music can come from anywhere. In this case it’s coming from the always incredible Sigrid with “Home To You,” a track from The Aeronauts. This is the best ballad you’re going to hear this week. Sigrid absolutely nails every part of the track. The piano is light and welcoming, the production is done with the carefullest of touches to maintain the fragility and tenderness of the track, and Sigrid gives her all in the lyrics. A lot of “Home To You” is travel-based in its imagery, and the idea of coming home to love is one that will warm your art. I will probably not be seeing The Aeronauts, but I’ll have “Home To You” on repeat for the foreseeable future.
Subscribe to our ‘Take 5’ playlist on Spotify!