Talk about something I didn’t see coming. Somehow, April was a month that was overflowing with r & b, rap, and hip-hop influenced songs. Which are genres I enjoy, but not normally at the top of my faves list. To have 4/5 songs overwhelmingly fall in those categories is a new turn. The one thing I knew would be happening was that April would be a month where it was near impossible to select only five songs to feature.
1. Let Me – Zayn
Knowing Zayn would be releasing a new single had me PUMPED. Yet, when I first listened to “Let Me” I wasn’t hooked. It took me a few tries, but now I am FEELING IT. The juxtaposition of a delicate guitar and a plucking beat gives the song a soft and delicate feeling. In other words, it’s the perfect background to show off his beautiful falsetto. (Seriously, nobody does a male falsetto quite like him currently.) It’s a sweet ballad that has now left me excited to see what else is to come from Zayn’s upcoming sophomore album.
2. Story – ODIE
No… this is not Kid Cudi. I repeat this is NOT Kid Cudi. I could’ve sworn it was too. Odie features the same type of vocal style, chill sound, and poignant lyrics as his predecessor. The soft sing-rapping is full of syncopation that mimics the steady percussion throughout. “Story” is lush, sunny, and slightly magical. Meaning it’s the perfect song to add to your spring and summer playlists. I can already envision myself listening to this with my windows down.
3. Must’ve Been – Chromeo (FEAT. DRAM)
Every time Chromeo puts out a new song, I always think “Yes, this will be what FINALLY puts them on the map!” Yet, people keep snoozing on them. You’re missing out folks. I’ll say it again with “Must’ve Been” – they are going to finally hit the mainstream. The fun song is such an instant bop, I can’t imagine how it won’t find heavy rotation on radio play. With funky guitar licks and an infectious rhythm thanks to the track’s backing of bongo playing, it’s hard not to sing and dance along.
4. I Do – Cardi B (FEAT. SZA)
I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least one track from the record literally everyone is talking about. Cardi B is everywhere and for good reason. It was hard to chose a favorite song of her breakout album Invasion of Privacy, but “I Do” feat SZA might take the topper. Today at least. It’s defiant and basically a huge middle finger to all the guys not worth an ounce of your time. Between Cardi throwing the punch with her verses and SZA sliding in melodically with the chorus, its truly the best of both worlds.
5. Summer’s End – John Prine (FEAT. Sturgill Simpson and Brandi Carlile)
Hey look, it’s the one featured song this month that has no relation to R & B, hip-hop, or rap. Rather it’s a long-standing member of the music community: John Prine. He has a lyrical gift that will leave you stunned if you listen. “Summer’s End” is a cryptic and fragile, but ultimately beautiful ballad. On this track, Prine gets help from singer-songwriters Brandi Carlile and Sturgill Simpson. When you mix his weathered rasp with the soft harmonies that Carlile and Simpson provide, you get the perfect combination.
Honorable Mention: I’ve always been oddly obsessed with British music. Miles Kane is one of those. His latest single “Loaded” gets back to the roots of why I fell in love with Britpop. The airy and hypnotic song was co-written by Lana del Rey and Jamie T.
April’s playlist has 50 songs. (I think that’s a record since I’ve been doing these monthly!) As always, there’s a bit of something for everyone. You’ll find Green Day frontman Billie Jo Armstrong’s new side project The Longshot, an upcoming 16 year-old named Billie Eilish, and multiple contenders for songs of summer 2018.
What is a genre you’re surprised to find yourself digging music in sometimes?
P.S. It may already be almost May, but it’s just barely starting to feel warm in Minnesota. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to blast the classic Hello Spring! playlist.
Until next time,