After the decidedly aggressive “yang” energy of April releases like “DAMN.” that dominated our musical worldview, May started off much more tepidly, as we enjoyed easygoing releases like that of Chris Stapleton’s phenomenal release From A Room: Volume 1. And just as the month of May starts out with pleasant weather and then takes off running full tilt towards summer at its end, it wrapped up a high energy get-the-summer-started track from Carly Rae Jepsen, Cut To The Feeling.
We’re always keeping the lookout for the best and brightest new tracks (and some that might have otherwise fallen through the cracks) and this month was no exception. We perused over 300 new releases, and what follows are our favorites, submitted in ranking order of most impactful just for fun. Our never-ending source is Spotify’s New Music Friday, and if you’d prefer to follow along in playlist form, the tracks can be found here.
There’s no lazier commentary of Imagine Dragons latest endeavor than saying they’re going through an ‘evolution,’ regarding the upcoming album EVOLVE. But, at the very least we can say that evolution takes its time, as it has been three months since the last single and no release date for the new album just yet. What to make of mid 2017 Imagine Dragons? Whatever It Takes finds them frenzied as ever, with a rapid fire dictation as fast as you can say whipwhip.
This month’s reigning underdog selection, Your Time is does its thing building and angsting and grooving, coming across like Billie Jean as the track goes on. Always in caps and forever producing, KAYTRANADA needs no introduction, but gentle reminder that the artist formerly known as Chet Faker now goes by strictly Nick Murphy. With every new project he takes on he shows us that there’s no point in tracking patterns, he’ll surprise us anyway, but nevertheless we love each new endeavor.
There’s an unfair (but with its merits) conclusion that one can make during the first 30 seconds of every new Lana Del Rey song, and that is “every LDR song sounds the same.” Truth be told we had our doubts, but in true Lana fashion we found the song winning us over by the line “I’d say it was hella cool to win them over, critics can be so mean sometimes.” Our bad. The perfect laid-back track for those hot summer nights.
Already well familiar with the original track as a part of the band’s 2016 album Farewell, Starlite!, on your first take you’re bound to wonder what a couple verses from Chance The Rapper would do to the soul of the song. The real game changer comes in the form of the song’s video, and leave it to Chance The Rapper to take a literal blank canvas and give you something uplifting, spiritual, and life affirming from something so simple. A must watch for full appreciation of the song.
Many have made much of Miley’s sudden re-emergence as a fully clothed and earnest gal laying about in a meadow, and while it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, style, and outlook, one only has to look as far as her previous album’s cover, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, to see what a departure this is. Sober is sexy, and on this wistful, easy breezy and sentimental track, Miley sounds truly content.
Representing two very different styles of hip hop, we were excited to hear Kendrick’s verses on the mask remix, especially considering Kendrick is sitting on the top of the world right now because of DAMN. And while the two have made appearances on the same track via Buy The World in 2014, the world has since changed some, and both rappers fame has grown exponentially. Unsurprising to anyone, Kendrick’s part fits in perfectly, and the track remains laid back as hell.
Since we got the first taste of Harry Styles solo debut, we had an inkling his self titled album would be as varied as the singer himself. And while we still can’t put our finger if Harry is the Earnest One, the Cheeky One, the Talented One, or the All Of The Above One, (as he poked fun at on the Late Late Show with James Corden) we’re so impressed with the range of selections. Sweet Creature is easily one of our favorites, as Harry grabbed an acoustic guitar to guide him as he wails about broken love, with the sweetness remaining.
One of our early May favorites album was Stapleton’s From A Room Volume 1, a country western album that doesn’t alienate non-country fans, by simply providing well written tracks backed by strong vocals. Even better, the artist announced that there will be TWO new albums in 2017, and we’re hoping Volume 2 is just around the corner. Broken Halos kicks off the album, and it’s comforting as a hug from an angel that’s lost their wings.
The energy and overall vibe of Paramore’s latest feels a little bit like a BuzzFeed article titled ’52 Gifs That Get Why Adulting Is So Hard.’ Enduring hard times is the crux of the song, but we’re certainly enjoying ourselves as they sort it all out. The track and album, After Laughter, seems to have struck a chord with fans and new recruits alike, with tracks like Rose Colored Boy, Grudges, and Idle Worship have them telling you like it is, but you never have to leave the dance floor.
The end of the month was approaching and we still didn’t feel as though we had our can’t-live-without, ride-or-die track for the month. Enter last minute savior and bringer of good vibes, Cut To The Feeling. We’re heard a lot from Carly in recent years, but nothing as earth shattering as Call Me Maybe…and CTTF feels like maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance for a Call Me Maybe renaissance. It has that uncanny ability to both make a celebration all the more better, AND cure a bad day.