Here's a new good song: "Stay" by Zedd f/ Alessia Cara. I hadn't yet cared for Cara's output and am still on the fence about whether I like her singing style, but this collaboration works well; I especially appreciate that Zedd keeps pushing his sound forward so that the audience gets something unexpected each time. Enjoy!
Sunday, June 4, 2017
Posted by John at 1:56 PM
Here's a new good song: "Dancing With The Other Girls" by Theme Park. It's got a nice Dance flavor that's blooming from Adult Alternative roots. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 1:53 PM
Here's a new good song: "Bread Alone" by Lorne. This is an emotional ballad that lays it on pretty thick but is still very touching and beautifully written. As a pianist, I'm a sucker for piano in general, especially in this style. Great vocal here, too. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 1:51 PM
Here's a new good song: "Swalla" by Jason Derulo f/ Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign. I choose to pretend he's not referring to his semen. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 1:48 PM
Here's a new good song: "Heavy" by Oh Wonder. This duo was responsible for one of my favorite songs of the year thus far, "Ultralife." Both that song and this latest, "Heavy," have absolutely beautiful and unexpected chord progressions and melodic turns, and I really enjoy the use of the male and female vocals simultaneously. I think they've found themselves a new fan in me. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 1:45 PM
Here's a new good song: "All Day All Night" by Sivik. This guy had a great track in 2015 called "U Got," which was my 33rd favorite song of that year. "All Day All Night" is similar in style; a sort of funky, Michael Jackson-inspired mishmash of Blue Eyed Soul and EDM. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 8:09 AM
Here's a new good song: "Forget Me Not" by Jennifer Paige, the person who sang that great song "Crush" 20 years ago. I was surprised then that her career didn't take off because she's a talented vocalist. "Forget Me Not" is more Alternative and edgy than "Crush" but succeeds on its own terms. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 8:03 AM
Here's a new good song: "Cold Hard Truth" by Nelly Furtado. This track is off Furtado's latest ignored flop The Ride, which I eagerly mined trying to find anything to get excited about, and "Cold Hard Truth" is the best in the bunch. Furtado released two of my favorite songs of 2001, and one of my favorite of 2006 (playlists below), but also has, over the years, released some aggressively grating garbage. Her voice is an acquired taste; when used on a good track, it's pleasant enough, but when on a bad track (like "Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)", it's unbearable. "Cold Hard Truth" seems to exist outside time and place; it's not really retro, but it's not really futuristic, and it's certainly not very contemporary. But it's a nice effort. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 8:01 AM
Here's a new good song: "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee f/ Justin Bieber. (The video below accompanies the original version of the song and doesn't feature Justin Bieber). I realize this isn't new; it's actually No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been for a few weeks. But I wanted to acknowledge it anyway. My soulmate in Love of '90s Music, LuisMa, publishes a countdown video of his 100 favorite songs every week, and this track (the original) has been on there for about four months and is currently sitting at No. 1. When I first heard it, pre-Justin, I sort of dismissed it as sounding too similar to other Spanish-language tracks and moved on. But I noticed that each week, when I'd watch LuisMa's countdown video, I kind of dug this song more than I thought I should. Eventually I started listening to the whole track, and looking up the translated lyrics, and thought, "You know, I actually like this song," even though I don't speak Spanish. Two milliseconds later, they released the Justin Bieber remix, and now it's a smash in the U.S. So clearly there's something special about this track. Also, Luis Fonsi's arms are fun to look at in the video. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 7:48 AM
Here's a new good song: "Mic Jack" by Big Boi f/ Adam Levine. Big Boi is half of Outkast, and on his own he had a great song a few years ago featuring Kelly Rowland called "Mama Told Me." This new one, "Mic Jack," is similar in its throwback vibe, which is to say it harkens to a time when Hip-Hop was catchy and comfortable with Pop influences, as opposed to now, when it's an unbearable auto-tuned mish-mash of drug references against unpleasant Trip-Hop instrumentals. "Mic Jack" is tremendously refreshing by comparison. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 7:29 AM
Friday, May 5, 2017
Here's a new good song: "Bloodstain" by Wrabel, the fellow who brought us "Ten Feet Tall," my 23rd favorite new good song of 2014. This track is a vulnerable, transparent, confessional, woe-is-me EDM-type Pop song, with compelling production flairs. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 10:17 AM
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Here's a new good song: "Leave The Light On" by Overcoats. This is a very weird little track, but for some reason I'm drawn to it and find myself listening to it over and over again, and always bobbing my head and, now, singing along. I think it would work even as an instrumental. Overcoats' delivery makes it seem like these women are saying something important, but I'm not sure what that is. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 5:57 PM
Here's a new good song: "High Ticket Attractions" by The New Pornographers. I remember the first time I was aware of this group was eons ago (2003), when a high school kid I judged at a speech and debate tournament told me to listen to the song "End Of Medicine." I did, and it was not my taste. So I've maintained not a grudge per se, but more like an assumption I wouldn't like their music. However, here's "High Ticket Attractions," a terrific piece of songwriting with a blast-of-air video that all works together nicely. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 5:53 PM
Here's a new good song: "I Feel It Coming" by The Weeknd f/ Daft Punk. I realize I'm quite late to the party on this one, but I'm compelled to include it because only recently did I actually listen to the whole thing from start to finish, and suddenly a track I'd been lukewarm about is now one of my favorite songs out at the moment. It's ever-so-Michael Jackson and, compared to The Weeknd's other output, relatively tasteful. Really beautiful songwriting here, and pitch-perfect production. And great vocal performance, I have to admit. He's starting to win my over. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 5:48 PM
Here's a new good song: "Trouble" by The Knocks f/ Absofacto. It's a happy-sounding ditty with dark content, addressing the struggles faced by someone trapped in a prison of his own making. The Knocks were responsible for my 13th favorite song of 2014, "Classic" f/ Powers, a song they still play all the time at my gym even though I never hear it anywhere else. Both tracks are great; "Trouble" is sparser in its production and very effective in its own way. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 5:45 PM
Here's a new good song: "December Nights" by Saskwatch. There's something very '90s about it, which I love. Reminds me a bit of Sneaker Pimps meets Lucious Jackson, or something? Anyway, it's all very cool., and not structurally formulaic at all, so it's a fun ride that's full of surprises. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 5:36 PM
Here's a new good song: "Ultralife" by Oh Wonder, a British duo. Man, I love this. It's so charming and affirming, but not corny at all. The richer instrumentals in the second verse are absolutely tremendous. The part of this track from 1:01 to 1:36 (the basketball sequence in the video, which also is lovely) is my favorite. This is easily one of the best songs I've heard so far this year. Also, here's a kind of cool drum cover. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 5:34 PM
Here's a new good song: "Halfway There" by Sheryl Crow. I love her, and this track hearkens back to her Tuesday Night Music Club days 20+ years ago. It has a timely message about creating open lines of communication and understanding between the Right and the Left. (Which will never, ever happen, because we're heading toward Civil War, but it's sweet that Crow thinks it's possible.) Enjoy!
Posted by John at 5:18 PM
Here's a new good song: "Young Hearts" by Bunt, featuring Beginners. Bunt is a German duo specializing in what they call Folk House, an unlikely mix of Folk and EDM (electronic dance music). The unusual result of this blend hits you in the first few moments of "Young Hearts," which has a piano part reminiscent of a silent Western movie, a sax part that sounds like it belongs in Miami Vice, and a harmonica breaks fitting for a hoedown, all over a modern, pulsing beat. Bunt's collaborators here are an indie rock quartet called Beginners. This is a fun, somewhat wacky romp. And it's really grown on me over the past month or so. I love it. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 5:13 PM
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Here's a new good song: "Good Girls" by Lany. I don't think these guys are capable of doing a bad song. They have mastered the art of stripped down synth-fueled throwback pop. "ILYSB" was my third-favorite song of 2014 (although they apparently just finally released a video for it a couple weeks ago. "Walk Away" was my 80th favorite song of that year (2014). "Someone Else" was my 13th favorite song of 2015. "Where The Hell Are My Friends" was my 42nd favorite song of 2016. So that's a great track record, considering I'm song loyal and not band loyal. "Good Girls" is another great offering. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 1:16 PM
Here's a new good song: "You Won't Know Where You Stand" by Aquilo. These guys are just incredible songwriters; I'm consistently amazed by how likable their releases are. They have an exceptional sense of what's beautiful and catchy. Their haunting ballad "I Gave It All" was my 17th favorite song of 2014. Their faster song "Good Girl" was my 28th favorite song of 2015. And I very much enjoyed "So Close To Magic" earlier this year. All those videos are great, too. They should be huge. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 1:08 PM
Here's a new good song: "Stay My Love" by Una Healy f/ Sam Palladio. It's a simple but touching and well-executed acoustic guitar duet. Thank you to LuisMa for exposing me to it. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 1:00 PM
Here's a new good song: "Green Light" by Lorde. I liked her two big hits from a few years ago, "Royals" and "Team." They were my 63rd and 69th favorite songs of 2013 and 2014 respectively. But I think this new one is actually better. The piano arrangement is brave and effective. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 12:56 PM
Here's a new good song: "Kids On The Street" by Of Verona. It's very similar to "Cool Kids" by Echosmith, in both musical style and lyrical themes. It's good. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 12:52 PM
Here's a new good song: "I'm Betta" by Bell Biv DeVoe. This groundbreaking R&B trio resurfaced a few months ago with the decent "Run." I think "I'm Betta" is a little betta, but both are solid in a throwback kind of way. Whenever I see old-school R&B groups release new material, which happens quite a bit, I always wonder ... Why? There's a 0% chance these will be popular because the public's taste has changed. So I don't know why "I'm Betta" exists, but here it is. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 12:51 PM
Here's a new good song: "Some Kinda Wonderful" by Betty Who. This Australian singer, who for some reason doesn't seem to have an Australian accent during the speaking part of this video, has had one of the most consistent marketing pushes on iTunes I can recall. And yet she remains obscure and unknown in the United States. Her 2014 song "All Of You," which originally was credited to Peter Thomas featuring Betty Who but later was credited solely to her, was one of my favorite tracks of the year (but certainly not one of my favorite videos; yeesh). I haven't been particularly fond of her subsequent output, but "Some Kinda Wonderful" is a fun track. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 12:48 PM
Here's a new good song: "Crying On The Bathroom Floor" by Muna. This all-female "dark pop" trio is one of my favorite acts to emerge in the past 12 months. I loved their previous singles "Loudspeaker," "So Special" and "I Know A Place." This one is darker but also fantastic. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 12:40 PM
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Here's a new good song: "Chained To The Rhythm" by Katy Perry f/ Skip Marley. In the '90s, my taste was very mainstream. In the '00s, I didn't find much of anything I liked, but to the extent I did, it was generally mainstream. In the '10s, though, my taste has become more obscure, probably because it's easier to find non-mainstream music than it ever has been. But as mainstream acts go, Katy Perry is among my favorite. Her output is consistently solid, this included. I also appreciate the attempt to go at least somewhat deeper, lyrically, than what is typically on the radio. Great throwback production and vocal performance here as well. The synth on pre-chorus ("So put your rose-colored glasses on ...") is especially delicious. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 7:00 PM
Here's a new good song: "Collateral Damange" by Levv. This act is tremendous; they had my 6th favorite song of 2015, and dare I say I already think "Collateral Damage" is perhaps even better. Just jaw-droppingly beautiful, and goes in a dance direction midway that's a risk but works. Certainly will end up in a good spot on my 2017 year-end list, I'm sure of it. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 12:22 PM
Here's a new good song: "Ain't Love Strange" by Stanaj. This is definitely a slow-cooker; it's been on my playlist for a couple months but only recently did I start to really get into it. It's an earnest R&B waltz that asks an awfully good question. He's also sporting quite a sexy physique beneath this dorky-hipster exterior. See for yourself. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 12:18 PM
Friday, February 3, 2017
Here's a new good song: "Paris" by The Chainsmokers. This duo had tremendous breakout success in 2016, the best of their output being "Closer" f/ Halsey and "Roses" f/ Rozes, singles that landed at No. 29 and 52 on my year-end tally respectively. They also had a huge hit with "Don't Let Me Down" f/ Daya, but I don't happen to care for that one. "Paris" builds to a climax very similar to M83's "Midnight City," a song I love. I drew this comparison completely independently, Googled it just now and discovered others have noticed the same thing. In fact here's a mash-up of the two tracks. "Paris" features an un-credited vocal by Emily Warren. It's a good effort. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 11:04 AM
Here's a new good song: "City Of Stars" by Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone. This is, of course, from the highly lauded film La La Land. The tune is repeated a few times, including a scene with Gosling and Stone. This version, available on the soundtrack, apparently was recorded on set as opposed to in a studio. It's very catchy and moving, and I've enjoyed having it on my playlist to remind me of the movie, which was truly a treasure. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 10:58 AM
Here's a new good song: "Issues" by Julia Michaels. The background string plucks are cute, and the melody is pretty good. This is Michaels' first release after years of success writing songs for A-list acts like Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson and Selena Gomez. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 10:50 AM
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Here's a new good song: "Dancing On My Own (Tiesto Remix)" by Calum Scott. I loved Robyn's original version of this song and generally bristle at covers of great songs, especially when they're released just a few years after the original. That said, I have to admit I like what Calum Scott did with the track here; his vocal delivery transforms the song from an empowerment anthem to a self-pitying ballad with a bisexual twist. I've noticed a lot of degradation and backlash online about Scott's version, but I personally like it, and I'd say that if it creates even one new Robyn fan, then it was a success for that alone. The original version of Scott's cover is nice but I prefer what Tiesto has done on the remix. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 4:29 PM
Here's a new good song: "Don't Wanna Know" by Maroon 5 f/ Kendrick Lamar. I like some of Maroon 5's music but am not a devoted fan. This track is simple, understated and catchy. I'm also glad to see a pleasant song that's well-sung and contains notes cut through the clutter of an iTunes chart top-loaded with unbearable noise created by Migos, Rae Sremmurd and Drake. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 4:23 PM
Here's a new good song: "Starboy" by The Weeknd f/ Daft Punk. This is the first time I've featured a song by The Weeknd as a lead artist because I didn't particularly care for his releases from the 2015 album Beauty Behind The Madness. I'm not enamored with his voice, and I find the lyrical content's emphasis on "edgy" drug and sex talk to be an inauthentic and somewhat desperate plea for attention. But "Starboy" is a clever, slick pop song that's well-suited to his strengths, so I'm enjoying having it on my playlist. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 4:19 PM
Here's a new good song: "I Know A Place" by Muna. This group was perhaps my favorite find from 2016; they landed on my year-end list at Nos. 4 and 13. Now here they are with "I Know A Place," another alt-pop throwback song that fits in their ongoing theme of self-empowerment. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 4:10 PM
Here's a new good song: "Bitten By The Apple" by Big Black Delta f/ Kimbra. I've been enjoying Kimbra's efforts so consistently for the past five years that it's safe to call me a fan. She's a regular presence on my year-end lists of the best songs, and I love her voice, expressiveness, fashion and demeanor. Some of her work takes a few listens before I "get it," and this collaboration with Big Black Delta is an example. After hearing "Bitten By The Apple" enough times that I can sing along with it and anticipate what's coming, it's turning into one of my favorite tracks of the moment. And the video is a trip. Enjoy!
Posted by John at 4:05 PM