Cadenza staff picks the songs of the summer
Summer may almost be over, but the sweet tunes that we curated during the summer will continue to warm our hearts through the fall. Here are the songs that Cadenza jammed to this summer.
“Yesterday” by Noname Gypsy
I like the song because it sounds like a complicated nursery rhyme, soothing both in melody and lyrical content. Noname reflects on what drives her to keep living and on the vices that hold her back. She talks about faith in Christianity—I think it’s really interesting how much gospel music and Christian themes have appeared in rap this year. And she talks a lot about loss—killing of black men all over, and death within her personal circle. I read an article about how there’s no song of the summer because what’s been revealed in the news and on social media regarding police brutality against black people, the political climate, etc. can’t really be captured by a happy pop single. Still, I think Noname does a really good job of capturing the times with this song. She hits on societal problems and the self-work that seems to inevitably go alongside watching a society in turmoil. It’s only her first full mixtape, and it’s really good.
“Move” by Saint Motel
The upstart band best known for their single “My Type” is about to go on tour with their major label debut, Saint Motelevision. The pre-release single, “Move,” has the same blaring horns as “My Type,” a great hook line and an indie pop vibe best fit for the summer days.
“3am” by HONNE
If you haven’t heard of HONNE before, go listen to their funky, jazzy debut album, “Gone Are The Days.” Their sound is fresh, bluesy and relaxing. “3am” is a particularly vibey song, with great synthesizer action and a crooning lead voice.
“Casual Party” by Band of Horses
A LouFest 2016 artist, Band of Horses recently released their fifth studio album, “Why Are You OK.” “Casual Party” is by far the best rock song on the album, complete with a catchy guitar hook and Ben Bridwell’s iconic twang we came to love on “The Funeral.”
“FDT (F— Donald Trump) (Parts 1 and 2)” by YG
By far my favorite political anthem of the summer. YG may be marketed as a gangster rapper from Compton, Calif., but he’s way more than his hit singles you may have heard (like “Who Do You Love?”). With great beats, a combination of bangers and introspective hits on his life, YG is a rapper on the rise. On his newest album, YG called out Donald Trump, and on “FDT pt. 2,” he enlists G-Eazy and Macklemore to bring the heat once again on the Republican’s presidential candidate.
“Lot To Learn” by Luke Christopher
An upbeat, kind of rap-like vibe, with what I think is a pretty great message. This kind of music has proven to be really in this summer, so listening to it means you are grooving with the times.
“Blessings” by Chance The Rapper
While collaborations with superstars like Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber and Kanye West will get more attention, the heart of Chance The Rapper’s gospel-inspired mixtape “Coloring Book” can be found on this piece featuring soul artist Jamila Woods and gospel singer Byron Cage. The track features improvisational trumpet flutters, a lethargic kick drum and Chance’s infectiously joyous vocals, all of which combine to produce a sound of sheer contented ecstasy. For Chance, this ecstasy is found in his faith, as the lyrics make clear, but the song transcends its religious message to serve as a soundtrack to utterly carefree summer days spent lying under the sun, cruising with windows down and no destination and otherwise feeling blessed to be alive.
“We Don’t Have To Dance” by Andy Black
This emo-pop, social anxiety hook-up anthem, written by Andy Biersack/Six/Black (Black Veil Brides), Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) and Quinn Allman (The Used) sounds like it came straight from a Hot Topic in 2007. Depending on the person, that will either be an extremely unappealing thing or a fun nostalgic thing and with bands like Boys Like Girls going on 10-year anniversary tours and My Chemical Romance scaring everyone into thinking they might reunite, this summer has been a good one for “emo” (a dubious term) nostalgia. The best part of this track, though, is undoubtedly a lyric from its chorus: “It’s so nice to meet you, let’s never meet again.”
“Day Ones” by Baauer
Featured in a kickin’ Budweiser commercial this summer, “Day Ones” is a fast-paced electro-rap mesh. The Baauer song, mixed by the man who brought you “One Touch,” “Harlem Shake” and “Clang,” is the ultimate pump-up song to add to workout, party and driving-around-town playlists. “Day Ones” was released in the spring with the album “Aa” and features lesser-known artists Novelist and Leikeli47.
“Waves” by Kanye West
I was skeptical when “The Life of Pablo” made its large splash, if you will, in June. Though most of Kanye’s album is a little too Kanye-cestuous for me, “Waves,” which features the smooth voice of Chris Brown, quickly made its way onto my summer playlist. There’s something more relaxed and confident about “Waves” that makes it a song that can fit a range of moods and contexts.
“Smoke & Retribution” by Flume
Released in late May, Flume’s album “Skin” began its rise right as I was making summer playlists. Spotlighting a variety of artists—Kai, Tove Lo, Beck, MNDR, AlunaGeorge—“Skin” splays across genres, moods and feelings, each song a unique but familiar gem. “Smoke & Retribution” is one of the most rap-centric of the album, featuring Kucka and LouFest 2016 performer Vince Staples. The song blends together metallic electronic beats with Staples’ insistent, melodic rapping. The entirety of “Skin” is worth a listen, but “Smoke & Retribution” in particular will be on my playlists throughout the fall.
“Strive” by A$AP Ferg
At first it may be hard to identify A$AP Ferg as the mastermind behind this empowering summer track, as it deviates from his distinctive heavy trap songs, but soon enough, you will find yourself submerged in this unlikely marriage between Ferg’s fast rap delivery and house-influenced sounds. Add Missy Elliott to the mix and you have the most energetic, genuine song of the summer.
“This Girl” by Kungs vs Cookin’
A perfectly crafted beach day song, “This Girl” quickly became one of the hottest summer songs in Europe, reaching the top spots of global charts. It’s easy to explain the song’s success, as it is vibrant, infectious, and impossible to resist to—exactly what we all want from a summer song.