Hey guys! It’s me again and I’m back with another seasonal playlist. Unfortunately, this season has been a really stressful one for me, but luckily I’ve had some fire music to push me through (which you’ll soon find out for yourself!).
While I would love to take complete credit for this list of music, I can’t. My boyfriend, Hunter, helped me. Hunter and I are constantly cruising around a nearby lake and listening to great new music (when we’re not working) so this list is pretty lengthy. If you’ll just hang in there I think you’ll be really glad you did!
So, without further ado, here is a comprehensive list of what I listened to this Winter:
“Light On” by Maggie Rogers
I really connect to this song because the relationship it describes reminds me of my current relationship. The storyline is essentially that they both, independently, have their struggles, but that if the other will ‘leave the light on’ then they will ‘leave the light on’, too. This is really endearing to me since that phrase is known for being in a context where someone is supposed to be coming home and you leave the light on for them because you want them to be able to find you. It’s like a subtle way of saying that if you’re still willing to try then so I am I, and, honestly, isn’t that what relationships are all about?
“Snow in October” by Chelsea Cutler
The lyrics, in my opinion, are what make the song so special. This is my favorite line from the song: “I don’t think I’m tainted, but I don’t feel the same.” It’s really cool to see an artist write with such transparency and I think she did a great job expressing her feelings. I can really relate to how she feels…how about you?
“Who We Are” by Tep No
This song has a smooth, electronic beat balanced with a uniqueness exclusive to the ‘alternative’ music category. I think this balance is important because if it’s not just right then you end up with a cookie-cutter pop song that’s only moderately good, at best. This song goes above and beyond that to be truly entertaining and something completely it’s own. It’s great for relaxing and cruising in the car!
Not All Heroes Wear Capes by Metro Boomin
I’d recommend listening to this whole album if you can because the line-up is absolute fire, but if you only have time for the highlights then check out the tracks “10 Freaky Girls” and “No Complaints”. Other artists featured on this album are Travis Scott, 21 Savage, Swae Lee, Gunna, Young Thug, Wizkid, Offset, Kodak Black, and Drake. With a line-up that strong, it’s going to be hard to not like this album if you’re a true hip-hop fan.
Oxnard by Anderson .Paak
Okay, what to say about Oxnard….
It’s very different. It kind of reminds me of Bruno Mars if he was a rapper and I mean that in a good way! Take all the funk of Bruno Mars and blend it with a conscious rap style similar to Chance the Rapper and there you have Oxnard. Some of my favorite tracks on this album are “Mansa Musa” and “Cheers”. I also find the song “Sweet Chick” to be really entertaining to listen to, lyrically and melodically.
“Carrollton” by $uicideBoy$
This. Song. Goes. Hard. End of story.
“Yamborghini High” by A$AP Mob (feat. Juicy J)
I first heard this song when my boyfriend and I came across the music video on Youtube and, man, this song is smooth. If you can, I’d definitely recommend checking out the trippy music video, too!
“Sundress” by A$AP Rocky
A$AP Rocky is definitely on my Top 5 Favorite Rappers list, but when he released “Sundress” featuring Tame Impala, I started to like him even more! Tame Impala isn’t even mentioned as a feature on this track, but it’s definitely his voice singing the high, falsetto chorus. I love the blend of psychedelic, alternative music and hip-hop/rap they’ve created through this collaboration.
Some Rap Songs by Earl Sweatshirt
To be honest, I didn’t even know who Earl Sweatshirt was until last year when he released a single, “The Mint”, off his newest album. My boyfriend has been a fan of his for a while now, but Earl was a bit of a slow burn for me. “The Mint” really grew on me and by the time he released his new album Some Rap Songs I was very intrigued and ready to hear more. Earl didn’t disappoint. My favorite tracks on the album are “Nowhere2go”, “December 24”, “The Mint”, and “Riot!”. “Riot!” is the final track on the album and is a nice retreat from the heaviness/transparency of emotion of the rest of the album. Highly recommend!
The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story by Jaden Smith
This is a really interesting blend of hip-hop, pop, and electronic music. To be frank, I think most of the songs on this album are sub-par, but there are a few standouts that I could listen to all day. My favorite songs on this album are “SOHO”, “Yeah Yeah”, “Play This On A Mountain At Sunset”, and “FALLEN Part 2”, in that particular order. Give them a listen and let me know what you think!
“Goku” by Jaden Smith
Another Jaden Smith song, but this time it’s much more electronic than The Sunset Tapes. The experience of listening to this track reminded me of European festival music or EDM.
“Dagenham Dream” by Blood Orange
This song is so interesting because of its ethereal, dream-like quality. It may sound odd, but I really like how when I’m listening to it, it’s almost as if I’m fading away into the song–into a different world. This song is also unique because since the artist is so hard to understand, the listener is forced to put more focus on the flow and instrumentation, which is stellar.
“Zombie Bastards” by Weezer
I think most of you would agree that this track is a very different style than anything Weezer has ever done before. But does it work? Personally, I think it does! It’s got a cool mixture of punk, rock, and alternative sounds going for it, but the only downfall to me is it’s pretty pop.
“Faking It” by Sasha Sloan
I’d like to describe this song as a ‘melancholy anthem’. It’s got one of those pop/EDM beats behind it, but it’s not too overwhelming or happy-sounding because they made it sound faded out a bit in the production. Lyrically, the song consists of a powerfully relatable chorus, usually kind of dark and melancholy in nature.
Lately, I’ve really become a fan of Sasha Sloan’s music and was excited when this song came on a playlist I was listening to. If you haven’t heard of her, I’d definitely recommend you check her out!
“Foot Fungus” by Ski Mask and Slump God
This is just one of those songs that has you from the first time you hear it. It’s catchy, it’s got a great beat, and it honestly doesn’t get old. When I’m driving and listening to it, I can’t help but give a fantastic car performance to this track! (cue laughing crying emoji)
“Ralphie” by Post Animal
Very funky and very groovy- that’s how I’d describe this song. Clearly in the ‘indie/alternative’ category of music, “Ralphie” has a very light-sounding vocal with smooth, live instrumentals. This is a song that would probably be really great live because I can tell there hasn’t been a whole lot of production work put in to make it sound ‘perfect’. It sounds free and experimental and that’s what makes it so special.
i am > i was by 21 Savage
I LOVE THIS ALBUM. The transparency he shows lyrically, and the smooth, relaxing beats give this album a longevity I didn’t really see in most of the albums that released in the Summer/Fall of 2018. If you can, please listen to the whole album front to back because there’s so much greatness packed in there. But to give you the highlights, check out “a lot”, “gun smoke”, “all my friends”, and “monster”.
I have a lot of admiration for 21 Savage because of the honesty of the songs “a lot” and “all my friends”. In “a lot” he talks about his life experiences from an honest perspective, saying essentially that even though his life is good, it’s still bad sometimes, too. He also delves into his life before fame and what it took for him to get there.
“all my friends” has Post Malone in it, so it kind of depends if you like him as an artist whether or not you’ll like this song. It’s very melancholy and I think it kind of gets on the fringe of emo-rap. I’m a fan of that style and always have been, but if it’s not your cup of tea then I wouldn’t recommend you listen to this song.
“Freelance” and “Ordinary Pleasure” by Toro y Moi
Hunter, my boyfriend, introduced me to this artist not too long ago and I instantly liked him. It’s very alternative and groovy and leaves me feeling great every time I listen to it. “Freelance” was the first song by Toro y Moi that I heard, so that may have something to do with why it’s my favorite, but in addition, I think it’s very cool and experimental listening experience.
“November” by Lila Drew
This song is more pop than what I usually go for in music, but something about this song is just really intriguing to me. Maybe it’s the soft vocals by Lila Drew and the gentle flow of the music, or maybe it’s the fact she adds in a soft beat behind it that gives life to the song, pushing it forward. Many artists who are going in a similar style direction as Lila run into issues in popularity because their lyrics are gold, their aesthetic is good, their melodies are catchy, but there’s really no beat- there’s nothing to drive the song. For me, I think the beat is what gives this song an edge and makes it memorable.
“I Wonder” by Bay Ledges
Bay Ledges has created a really bright-sounding, catchy song with contrastingly sad lyrics. It highlights the feelings people often have after a break-up, wondering what the other person is doing and if they’ve moved on. It’s an interesting blend: meshing together relatability and genuine feelings with such a bright-sounding instrumental and melody, but it works! “I Wonder” is a great song all-around and is really, *really* catchy (you have been warned). Before long you’ll know all the words and won’t be able to get it out of your head! Enjoy!
“Cemetery” by Coin
If you’re into satire and sarcasm, this song is for you! It tells the story of a man who was wealthy, but that was it- that was all he had. He was a workaholic and he died alone, now leaving him only the title as the richest man in the cemetery. It sounds dark, and, lyrically, it is, but the music they’ve put behind it is bright and brassy. It’s something you want to hear on a sunny day in the Fall or the Spring.
“Neon Moon” by Cigarettes After Sex
I think this song is relaxation at its finest. There is no stress- no tension- in the vocals, giving way to this ethereal listening experience. Hunter was saying they have a very Velvet Underground-esque sound and after checking out the Velvet Underground myself, I definitely agree. Just for reference, the sound in this song is reminiscent of the 60s-early 70s.
“Feeling Lonely” by boy pablo
This song is very similar in style to Mac Demarco, except it’s a little more upbeat. I love the groovy feel of the song, and, particularly, that high note at the end- so good!
“Habit” by Still Woozy
Lately, I’ve been really taken with the song “Habit” by Still Woozy. In addition to the name of the song and artist being so ironic, the song itself is really captivating. Listening to it will get you stuck in the undercurrent of the beat and surrounded by a melancholy, lofi-inspired wall of sound that leaves you continually wanting more. It may be my new habit!
“Different Now” by Chastity Belt
Chastity Belt reminds me a lot of another group that I really like called Real Estate. There’s not a whole lot of depth to the song, but the guitar is nice and soothing. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re off work and just looking to chill out.
“Plug Walk” by Rich The Kids
This is another great hip-hop/rap song! It’s catchy and the beat is fantastic. Highly recommend!
“Mutombo” by Dwn2earth
I’m a sucker for smooth, flowing beats and vocals and this is no exception. I kid you not- I could listen to this song for 24 hours a day. It’s just so good! Something really cool about the song is a little over halfway through, they change the beat and sound to make it ethereal and echoey.
“When You Watch Me” by Poppy Ajudha
I find this song elegant and beautiful. Poppy has so much soul and the lyrics are just dripping with sweetness and romance. I also really like the depth of sound in this song; it completely envelops you.
“Deadass” by Kemba
This is pretty different than any rap music I’ve ever listened to since it’s so raw. There’s not a lot going on behind Kemba’s raps besides a drum beat and a bass and I wasn’t sure how to feel about that. I mean, that’s a lot of pressure on the artist to make a song like this because virtually the entire focus is on the vocals, meaning they better be straight fire. Yet, here the song is on this list because Kemba came through. It’s a fantastic song that hits hard and doesn’t even really need help from background music!
“1 Night” by Tee Grizzley (feat. Quavo)
I really like Quavo and that’s why I let this song play instead of skipping when it came on a playlist. With no idea who Tee Grizzley was, I was expecting to skip shortly after the beat dropped and the rapping started, but I was dead-ass wrong. Wow. This song is amazing, Exploring the classic hip-hop/rap themes of fortune, fame, drugs, violence, and women, “1 Night” goes hard and does a great job at getting you hype!
“Waves” by Kanye West
The thing that instantly captures my attention in this song is the ‘ah’ sounds in the background that have been distorted and made to sound like an electronically elevating experience, which it totally is. By the time you get to the end of the song and they let that sound take over completely, you almost feel as if you’re about to burst- in a good way, of course. It’s such a strange feeling that this song gives me, so I’m having trouble describing it, but check it out and maybe you’ll see what I mean!
If you survived that long list of music, I just want to say thank you for sticking it out and I hope you were able to add a bunch of new music to your library because of this article!
About the Author…
Mica Mackenzie is the founder and CEO of The Quiet Nonsense, LLC. She currently lives in Dallas with her boyfriend, Hunter, and their