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Scene Selections: New singles

, , , and | Wednesday, April 11, 2018

With Spring finally coming to South Bend, and new life being breathed into the air, so too new singles are being released across every genre. Scene picked a few of our favorites making a far better list than Spotify’s “Newest Released” list.

“Nice for What” — Drake

By Nora McGreevy, Scene Editor

I’ll call it now, “Nice For What,” Drake’s newest single, might be the song of the summer for 2018. Produced by Murda Beatz and featuring samples from Lauren Hill’s 1998 “Ex-Factor” and bounce musician Big Freedia, the track is an exuberant, uplifting, danceable anthem to a self-assured woman. “Workin hard girl everything paid for / First, last phone bill paid for / With your phone out gotta hit them angles,” Drake sings. “That’s a real one in your reflection.”

And last Friday, with the release of her stunning music video, 22-year-old director Karena Evans took Drake’s songs to new feminist heights. The video is a sparkling, vibrant montage of 15 famous women having a great time – including Olivia Wilde jumping onto restaurant tables in a gorgeous tulle red dress, Rashida Jones flexing in the back of a limo and Tracee Ellis Ross dancing while the desert sun’s light dances off of her sequins with a blinding intensity. Misty Copeland, Yara Shadhidi, Syd, Michelle Rodriguez and many more talented female artists all make cameos, each woman in her own gorgeous mini-fantasy. Evans wrote on her Instagram post announcing the video, “A privilege and a blessing to have told this story with every. single. one. of you revolutionary women. BOTH IN FRONT OF AND BEHIND THE CAMERA. This month long journey together, I’ll never forget…This is a celebration of women.”

Is this Drake pandering to his supporters — making a cheery feminist video in the hopes of scoring with a sympathetic audience? Maybe. Yet compared to his other recent music video for “God’s Plan,” also directed by Evans, “Nice For What” reads as a bit less outwardly self-serving. “God’s Plan” Drake is the charitable, good-natured star of the show. “Nice For What” Drake barely shows up in his own music video — we get a rare glimpse of him dancing back and forth, but otherwise, his presence recedes into the background. In a way, it’s Evans’ music video — Drake is just providing the soundtrack.

“A$AP Forever” — A$AP Rocky

By Owen Lane, Scene Writer

Childish Gambino once described A$AP Rocky as “the apotheosis of the cool rapper that seems devoid of self-doubt.” Not only is that description pretty apt, but it has been reaffirmed once again by last week’s release of “A$AP Forever”. The music video’s editing is gorgeously complex as the camera continuously teleports to different shots of Rocky and his crew all around New York City. And, as for the lyrics, Rocky impressively enters his bid for consideration as the premier rapper of 2018. His flow effortlessly winds around smooth internal rhymes while maintaining and effortless simplicity. The track’s production, which is constructed from a heavy sample of Moby’s spacy song “Porcelain,” suits the bars perfectly. There are few rappers who integrate their delivery and production into their entire persona and aesthetic as perfectly as A$AP Rocky does.

On the track, Rocky shouts out Frank Ocean and the departed A$AP Mob founder Yams. He contextualizes himself and his music once again, in a marvelous warning shot that is bound to precede a terrific album. Kanye West has called himself a god. Kendrick Lamar has called himself both a prophet and a king. So what can Rocky say for himself? Well, he is smooth and handsome — the mischievous prince of the hip hop world. But he will also catch you off-guard with his depth and intelligence. There’s no use in disliking a person with so much going for them, so why not just watch in awe.

“Campfire” — Amine ft. Injury Reserve

By Ryan Israel, Scene Writer

From the artist that brought you the high-key and upbeat hit “Caroline,” comes “Campfire,” a much more reserved banger. On the new single, Portland-based rapper Amine takes on a bumping beat with the assistance of the alternative rap trio, Injury Reserve. After I first listened to “Campfire” on my cheap Apple headphones, I knew what I had to do — I connected to my Bose speaker and put the track on full blast. The song has a West Coast bounce that begs to be played on a quality speaker; it rattles your bones and leaves you wanting more.

On “Campfire,” Amine opts for a deeper, more hushed tone that differs from the one he used on his debut album “Good For You.” The track also features Injury Reserve, the increasingly-popular Arizona trio behind the 2017 EP “Drive It Like It’s Stolen.” While all three members of Injury Reserve appear in the song’s zany music video, only rapper Nathaniel Ritchie, known as Ritchie with a T, appears on the track. In his short verse, Ritchie delivers clever and playful lyricism, which includes references to Drew Barrymore, E.T. and Randy Moss. The only drawback to “Campfire” is its incredibly short 2 minute and 15 second run-time, which makes leaving the song on repeat irresistible.

“The Way Things Change” — Yellow Days

By Molly Chen

Ever since his most listened-to track, “Gap in the Clouds,” was heard in the “Atlanta” season two trailer, the up-and-coming soulful artist known as Yellow Days has received a new surge of attention, just in time for the release of his first single of the year. “The Way Things Change” is a tender song that tackles the imminent, sometimes challenging unpredictability of life and the transitory relationships that compose it. Contrary to some of George van den Broek’s previous aching tunes, “The Way Things Change” takes a more positive outlook on something that is often painful and difficult.

The track is driven by an almost retro groove that demands a bit more attention than his typical hypnotizing instrumentals. But as usual, van den Broek’s unmistakable, moving vocals are the strongest component of the song.  “We don’t like the way things change,” he croons, building up to a strong chorus that’s reinforced by its repetition – “You have to keep going.” At just 19 years old, van den Broek always sings honestly about learning to exist in a challenging world, and “The Way Things Change” is no exception. With a truly once-in-a-generation voice and his constant development of novel sounds, Yellow Days is an artist we’re sure to hear more from and about in the future.

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About Molly Chen

Molly is a senior anthropology major from Davenport, IA.

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About Nora McGreevy

Scene Editor.

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About Ryan Israel

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About Owen Lane

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About Charlie Kenney

Charlie writes about things with words.

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