Gone – Kanye West
The closing track for Kanye West’s legendary album Last Registration, “Gone” is the forgotten gem of West’s collections. Blending an addictive drum beat with a unique sample and a chorus of string instruments, the song epitomizes Kanye’s freshness as an artist.
Purple, Yellow, Red, and Blue – Portugal. The Man
Featured in FIFA, Portugal. The Man’s “Purple, Yellow, Red, and Blue,” exists in a gray area. The song, like most of Portugal. The Man’s works do not identify with a single style or genre. The track benefits from strong guitar riffs and a catchy chorus.
BagBak – Vince Staples
In addition to a refreshing electric baseline, Vince Staples’ “BagBak” offers a contemporary message of empowerment and equity. The song highlights themes central to the 2016 election, specifically American poverty, racial strife, and social disconnects between the wealthy and poor.
Spirits – The Strumbellas
“Spirits” has a perfect story arc that opens with a confession of fear and ends with an attainable resolution. In a style that mirrors that of the Lumineers, the Canadian band has discovered a niche in a folk-rock subsection within pop music.
Lazy Song – Bruno Mars
You didn’t forget about Bruno Mars’ “Lazy Song,” did you? The track, which precedes recent singles “Finesse” and “24K Magic,” features a more simple array of acoustic instrumentation than Mars’ newer releases.
Moving On – Anna of the North
Anna of the North’s music is 1980s prom scene vibes: blue tuxedos, bad hair, and shiny silver balloons. Despite the nostalgia of awkwardness that “Moving On” invites, the song provokes a calming feeling every time I hear it.
Better – Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers is an awesome singer-songwriter whose talent was discovered by Pharrell Williams in a class at NYU last year. Since then, she released her EP, “Now That The Light is Fading.” There isn’t a track on the album I don’t like, and I especially love Rogers’ vocals production on “Better.”
Untitled – Rex Orange County
“Untitled” is quite a simple song, in which ROC analyzes his life through a very critical lens, as he does on many of his songs. The melodies aren’t particularly complex, but they are certainly beautiful, and they work well with the stripped down nature of the song.
Some – Steve Lacy
What’s crazy about Steve Lacy is that he makes most of his songs using GarageBand on his iPhone. And he produces for Kendrick Lamar on his phone too! Lacy’s basic production methods are reflected in his songs; nonetheless, all of his music rocks. “Some” features simple drum beats, a classic baseline, and Lacy’s masterful guitar and unique vocals.
GUMMY – BROCKHAMPTON
“Now I’m in Cali today, with the sun on my face.”