Dog Years and Alaska by Maggie Rogers
I know most of these picks only include one song, but I just felt like I had to
highlight both records by the sensational artist Maggie Rogers. I have had these two
songs on repeat for the whole day, and I have a feeling that trend is going to continue
for the rest of the week. I first heard her song, ‘Dog Years’, on Spotify, and I was blown
away. Spotify also accompanied the song with a ‘Behind the Lyrics’ analysis, which gives
information about the artist and song. After reading through their notes, I was compelled
to do a little more research.
It turns out, Maggie Rogers was studying music at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and
was lucky enough to be a part of a masterclass taught by Pharrell. She got the chance to
play one of her songs, ‘Alaska’, for the artist, and he was blown away. There is a video of
Pharrell’s reaction to the song, and he is visually astounded. You could even go as far
to say that the song made him emotional. This video went viral, and Rogers has been
experiencing massive success since.
She has a unique voice, and I am having trouble finding a comparison. She’s that good.
Pharrell even went so far as to compare her to the Wu-Tang Clan in the sense that no one
has made or heard music like hers. As he says, her sound is “singular.” She mixes folk with
elements from dance music in a way I have never heard, and it works. It definitely works.
While I am just hearing about Maggie Rogers for the first time, you could definitely say
I’m a fan. Drop what you are doing and listen to these songs.
Some notable quotes from Pharrell about Maggie Rogers and her song ‘Alaska’:
“Wow…I have zero, zero, zero notes for that.”
“I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that. That’s a drug for me.”
“It’s like when the Wu-Tang Clan came out. No one could really judge it. You either liked
it, or you didn’t. But you couldn’t compare it to anything else.”
Shine by Buddy
Another artist that I haven’t really heard of before, Buddy makes a strong first
impression with his song ‘Shine’. He creates an old-school sort of feel with an incredible
baseline over a catchy percussion line. The drums he uses sound real, which is hard to
come by in modern rap. To top it all off, he crushes the verses, rapping about topics that
aren’t guns, drugs, and women. Instead, he sings about his strong belief in religion, how
lucky he is to live the life he has, and rising above the life of crime that he easily could’ve
fallen into. I think his refreshing message, combined with the old-school vibe he brings,
really sets this song apart from other rap songs that are coming out these days. This is a
great song, and I highly recommend you give it a listen.
Love And War (feat. Yade Lauren) by Yellow Claw
Yellow Claw puts out a great EDM powerhouse with his latest release ‘Love And
War’. Yellow Claw entered the EDM scene early, producing trap music when trap was at
its peak. During that period, they put out several quality records, but for the past several
years, I have not heard too much from them. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention,
but regardless, I’m glad ‘Love And War’ came on my Spotify. This is one of those songs
that you don’t have to seek out, it just finds you. It was a standout vocal performance by
Yade Lauren that first caught my attention, and from there I was hooked. I love the subtle
guitar line that plays throughout the verses, which then build into a massive drop with
driving synths that really get the heart beating. This is the kind of song that will get you
fi red up, whether it is at the gym, before a game, or late night at the club. If you’re looking
for a banger, this is it.
Before You (feat. Karra) by Th e Ready Set
Now you may have heard of The Ready Set before. In 2010, they released ‘Love
Like Woe’, which became a radio hit and the anthem to middle school dances. They
haven’t really had a big hit since then, but I think ‘Before You’ could be their next break
out. Their sound has definitely matured since ‘Love Like Woe’, going from a very poppy,
boy-band feel to a darker, more mysterious style. It seems like they put more emphasis
on their production and its quality, integrating deep moog synths that provide an unreal
low end to complement Karra’s higher vocals. Unlike ‘Love Like Woe’, we also get much
less vocals from The Ready Set’s lead singer, deferring to their featured artist to do the
majority of the singing. That being said, when he does sing, their voices work perfectly
together. The Ready Set has made some big changes in their musical style, and they all
seem to be for the better. You should definitely check this song out.
One Step At A Time (feat. Natalola) by Bearson
Th is song has the potential to be the next big radio hit that comes from the EDM
world. It seems to have all of the elements: a strong lead female vocalist, a drum line that
gets you moving, and a good melody to lay over the chorus. Bearson uses vocal sampling
to create that melody, which has been a popular trend in today’s music. Essentially, he
takes the singers voice, edits it, and turns it into an instrument that can be recorded into
the computer with a keyboard. This creates a unique sound that is nearly impossible to
recreate because each vocalist is unique, and each producer edits the vocals in a different
way. Bearson does a great job sampling the vocals, and it sounds great over the staccato
synth chords that play throughout the background. Overall, Bearson did a fantastic job
with this record, taking popular techniques and adding his own flavor to set it apart.
Next thing you know, this song might just be playing on every major radio station.