Scene Selections: New Singles
Summer is a time filled with sun, joy, freedom and a lot of music. To help fill out your endless summer playlist, Scene writers compiled a list of some of the best music that came out during that much-missed season.
LANY — “Thru These Tears/I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore”
By Dessi Gomez, Scene Writer
The three-man band LANY has released two singles that hint at their upcoming second album, “Malibu Nights.” Fans anticipate the sonic evolution that the trio has projected in these two songs alone. Both singles showcase a more polished sound that portrays LANY’s growth and development since the release of their eponymous album in June 2017.
“Thru These Tears” opens with a synthetic beat joined by percussive layers. Lead singer Paul Jason Klein sings about the aftermath of a break up and the assertion that it will get better, although this fact isn’t evident in the present moment. A climactic piano riff unites this heartbreaking anthem in a powerful expression of emotion that renders words unnecessary. Though melancholy in its lyrics, “Thru These Tears” evokes resilience at its conclusion.
“I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore” echoes sentiments from “Thru These Tears,” yet it exudes more self-awareness in the process of heartbreak recovery. Soft percussion, gentle guitar strums and smooth piano weave together a solid foundation that supports Klein’s airy vocals. The rhythm and instruments prove more consistent than their varied pattern in “Thru These Tears,” conveying a coming-to-terms with those initial raw emotions.
Klein and bandmates Leslie Priest and Jake Goss are on track for another great record.
Teyana Taylor — “Issues/Hold On”
By Brian Raab, Scene Writer
Teyana Taylor was robbed.
Not a single track of “KTSE,” her debut project, has cracked 10 million streams on Spotify. She was supposed to be the grand finale of Kanye’s five-album series, and truly could have been given the weight of one song: “Issues/Hold On.” This song feels like flying. The old-school sample that begins the track sounds like a plane slowly circling the planet. As space-age lasers pierce this landscape, a classic rhythm and blues groove picks up and filtered background vocals enter as if being beamed up from Earth.
Taylor, being largely new to music, has a limited range, but here makes the most of it. She channels old soul and pours it into her low notes. Her voice beautifully scrapes the upper edge of her range as she pleads for her lover to stay. In a truly tragic song, Taylor outlines a fragile relationship between two very broken people, the deepest of which is her. The song concludes with a gorgeous outro as violins flutter slowly upwards until they evaporate, as if the song itself disappears into the atmosphere.
Mac DeMarco — “Honey Moon”
By Ethan Utley, Scene Writer
The first time listening to “Mac Demarco’s” new single, “Honey Moon,” I immediately felt intoxicated. The warm strums of the guitar combined with the soft touch of the cymbals inspires bliss throughout. The song is very simple. A soft drumline accompanies Mac’s vocals and chords. A slow bass line walks along with the vocals, and really only strays near the end of the song. Mac’s unmistakable electric guitar introduces a sort of waviness to the song, but it is much toned down compared to previous albums.
The song is an epitomic replica of Mac’s music, so, upon first listen, I was pleased and unsurprised by “Honey Moon.” However, all the lyrics are in Japanese. This is not that weird for Mac — he has many quirky and outright weird songs within his catalog. When I continued research, I found out “Honey Moon” is actually a song from the 19070s, by Japanese musician Haruomi Hosono. The songs are almost identical. So, where is Mac heading with this? His last album, “This Old Dog,” was good, but awfully sad and nostalgic. “Honey Moon” is better. It’s beachy, affectionate and makes me very excited for whatever comes next.
Chance the Rapper — “I Might Need Some Security”
By Nick Ottone, Scene Writer
On the evening of July 18, Chance the Rapper released four singles. Every track felt different from his widely known “Coloring Book,” but perhaps the largest departure is “I Might Need Some Security.” From the start, anger pulses beneath the cheery surface, and the lyrics reveal a frustrated artist struggling for a future for the city he loves. Even the cover for the single is the Arthur fist meme, artfully rendered in geometric shapes.
Chance raps in fluent pop culture, referencing everything from “Boy Meets World” to the Joker. But more trenchantly, he addresses the distressing state of his beloved Chicago. He calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resignation and “an open investigation for all these paid vacations for murderers,” a reference to police brutality and the Laquan McDonald case. He calls out racist microaggressions and the Chicago public schools.
The most shocking revelation is when he says, “I bought the Chicagoist just to run you racist b—s out of business,” by far the most exciting media acquisition announcement I’ve ever heard. And somehow, Chance’s purchase, and its inclusion in “I Might Need Some Security,” makes complete sense. If you are frustrated with the state of your city, and you have the means to fix it, why not buy a failing independent local paper? From the beginning to its conclusion, the refrain, “F— you,” only emphasizes Chance’s frustration and anger. And after this song, he might actually need some security.
The Greeting Committee — “You’ve Got Me”
By Sara Schlect, Scene Writer
When a friend first introduced me to The Greeting Committee, I shook my head and declared myself not a fan. “They’re too intense for me,” I insisted. Weeks later, I found myself humming an energetic but unidentifiable tune. That’s when I remembered a certain raspy voice and had to hear that catchy chorus again.
The appeal of The Greeting Committee lies in their youthful exuberance. Their music captures a range of emotion, kinetic from heartbreak to frustration. Guitars buzz, voices scratch and crack and The Greeting Committee uses these seemingly imperfect occurrences to devise a raw resonance far from forgettable.
From its blithe, brassy opening, “You’ve Got Me” is a divergence from anything The Greeting Committee has released before. Soulful backing vocals follow frontwoman Addie Sartino’s uncharacteristically velvety lead, with the band’s ever-present electric guitar just barely distinguishable among more complex accompaniment. While this single has instrumentals and lyrics competing for attention, the effect is mesmerizing. When the two alternate, every beat houses endless anticipation. When they’re simultaneous, the satisfied peace is enveloping.
During the wait for The Greeting Committee’s first full-length album to (finally) be released before the end of 2018, I’ll be playing “You’ve Got Me” and their preceding single, “17,” whenever I need some extra ardor.
Jack Harlow — “SUNDOWN”
By Ryan Israel, Scene Writer
Every aspiring music artist dreams of the day that they make it big. That day came for the young Louisville rapper Jack Harlow in early August when he signed his first major record deal with Atlantic Records imprint Generation Now. To celebrate the occasion, Harlow released a hot new single “SUNDOWN” and an accompanying music video. The zany video shows the curly-haired Harlow riding around his city, partying on top of rooftops and car hoods, but more impressive than the video is the track itself.
“SUNDOWN” has an undeniable bounce yet a simple beat, carried by slapping bongos and understated ad libs. Every word Harlow speaks on the track is crisp and clear, far from the mumble rap scorned by many. The young rapper exhibits cunning wordplay with the simile, “I’m gon’ deliver every time just like a sent message,” and by including a reference to dungarees that hearkens back to Jay Rock’s exceptional verse on Kendrick Lamar’s “Money Trees.”
Soon after the release of “SUNDOWN,” Harlow dropped “Loose,” his third mixtape and most complete project to date. In the end, despite inking a record deal, Harlow still flies under the radar, but with his skills he won’t be there for long.