Slide (feat. Frank Ocean & Migos) by Calvin Harris
Sweet Lord, this song is fantastic. With an instrumental that brings me back to the days when funk ruled all and with soulful vocals that send shivers down my spine, ‘Slide’ just might “slide” in as my new favorite song. Not quite sure if it dethrones ‘Trouble’ by The Knocks, but it comes close– and that’s saying something.
To be honest, I am a little surprised that I like this song so much. Calvin Harris has had a rather disappointing string of releases recently, and I expected this to be the same. Don’t get me wrong, he is one of the best producers to release music and has experienced some insane success, but even people at the top can fall every once in awhile. Recently, however, he has been talking about how he is going to change his music all over social media, tweeting things like, “All my songs in 2017 have been sonically designed to make you feel f*cking incredible,” and, “In 2017 I’m making music to make your soul happy !!!!” I think it goes without saying that he has turned things around with ‘Slide’.
All-in-all, this was an unexpected collaboration from Calvin Harris, but it works perfectly. I could have seen him working with Frank Ocean alone, but Migos took me by surprise. Regardless, I just can’t help dancing to this song. Turn it on and the stress will melt away. I can’t recommend ‘Slide’ enough, so make sure to go check it out.
American Teen by Khalid
Khalid is one of the hottest new artists that is breaking onto the scene right now. Hailing from El Paso, Texas, he is just 18, and I am so impressed by the immense vocal talent that he shows. He’s got an incredibly smooth voice and a range that usually takes years to perfect.
As I’m sure you can gather from the title, ’American Teen’ is a song about the life of being a teen in America, and it perfectly captures the essence of being young and chasing your dreams. At the start of the song, you can vaguely hear the sound of an alarm clock in the background, which I think is an awesome touch because that’s exactly what starts every teen’s day. Whether you are writing the next hit song or just getting up to go to class, it is the first thing you hear when you wake up, and it is the first thing you hear in this song. It’s a cool parallel that we all can definitely relate to.
That’s the one of the best things about this song: its relatability. Young people have gone through a lot of things that Khalid sings about in this one, and that makes it all the more popular. One of my favorite lines in is, “We don’t always say what we mean. It’s the lie of an American teen.” We have all had trouble saying exactly what we mean at one point or another, and it just makes this song all the more relatable.
On top of the fantastic vocals, the instrumental is incredibly put together. Dreamy synths drive the song along with a powerful, deep bass line. An arpeggiated synth melody carries on throughout the song as well, adding to the dreamy feel. I can’t speak highly enough about this song and about this young new artist in general. Keep your eye out for his next release, and be sure to listen to ‘American Teen.’
Bellyache by Billie Eilish
I first heard of Billie Eilish when Blackbear remixed her song ‘Ocean Eyes.’ Her voice is incredible, and it goes perfectly with the style of production that she uses. Some artists struggle to find the genre they excel in, but it seems that Billie Eilish has nailed it.
A very minimalistic, vocally driven record at first, ‘Bellyache’ quickly turns into an incredibly well produced and upbeat song at the chorus. Relying on vocal harmonization throughout the majority of the song, Eilish brings in strong bass accents and fast-paced percussion during the chorus that almost catch you by surprise. It is a great contrast that really sets the chorus apart from the rest of the song, which is sometimes hard for artists to accomplish. This song is great for studying, working, or just hanging out, so make sure you give it a listen.
Stay (feat. Alessia Cara) by Zedd
I’m not sure it’s possible for Zedd to release a bad song. Ranging from his earlier music, such as ‘Clarity’ and ‘Spectrum,’ to his most recent remix of ‘Let Me Love You,’ everything he touches is gold. ‘Stay’ is no exception.
Alessia Cara is a strong feature for Zedd – her voice is incredible – but it is Zedd’s production that really carries the bulk of this song. During the chorus, he uses a vocal effect that is reminiscent of the effect Daft Punk uses on ‘One More Time’ and ‘Digital Love,’ and while it is to a lesser degree, it is a cool compliment to Alessia Cara’s clear, crisp voice. While the entire song is fantastic, it is small things like this (of which there are many) that really make ‘Stay’ stand out, and in my opinion, that is part of Zedd’s identity as an artist: understated complexity that give the song its identity. Be sure to listen closely to this song, and you will understand what I am saying.
Losing It All by Imad Royal
Imad Royal, in my mind, is one of the most underrated artists there is right now. It is hard for me to pinpoint his exact genre; his music is just very unique. ‘Losing It All’ is a very laid back song that has a simple guitar melody laid over a complex percussion line. Throw it all over some deep 808 bass and you can’t go wrong. It is a rather short song that will have you hitting the repeat button multiple times in a row because you just can’t get enough. If you haven’t listened to any of Imad Royal’s earlier work, be sure to go back and check it out, but only after you listen to ‘Losing It All.’