Since its first appearance in The Panel almost four years ago, “The Playlist of the Issue” has become a customary article for the publication. Not only does it provide a great opportunity for Panel staffers to write about their favourite songs, but it also exposes Belmont Hill students to new music genres. For those reading The Panel for the first time, “The Playlist of the Issue” features two authors who each pick five songs which they feel deserve recognition and write about them. Henry Moses ‘21 and Jalen Walker ‘21 have taken on the job.
1.) “Dragonball Durag” [Remix] by Thudercat (feat. Smino & Guapdad 4000)
I’ve had this track on repeat for the last two weeks. Although I wasn’t a big fan of Thundercat’s newest album, It Is What It Is, the original mix of this song was one that stood out. The features of Smino, one of my favorite artists, and Guapdad 4000, really make this song one to love. Guapdad 4000’s, “I feel fire, I feel mystical, I’m fly, I’m like a durag dragon/That’s why I showed up to the Grammy’s with my durag draggin’” might be one of the best bars out of a rap song this year.
2.) “Smooth Operator” by Sade
Coming in at 5 minutes in length, one could say that Sade’s delivery quickly becomes disengaging and repetitive, but I think the opposite. The way she describes this man who has a cold heart and eyes like an angel perfectly paints the picture of what makes him a Smooth Operator. It makes perfect sense to me why this is one of Sade’s most famous songs, and I love it.
3.) “Lonely Diamond” by Ocean Alley
I must admit, I have a guilty pleasure for alternative artists from Australia and New Zealand. I don’t think Ocean Alley, Tash Sultana, or BENEE have ever missed. This song came midway through Ocean Alley’s newest and aptly titled album, Lonely Diamond. They have a knack for taking advantage of simple writing, gripping vocals, and well-placed instruments; to produce songs that speak to the soul and make your head nod. I liked every song on the album, but I give this track a true 10/10.
4.) “Roots” by Aminé (feat. JID & Charlie Wilson)
Firstly, I’ll say that Limbo is in my top ten albums of the year, and this song is part of the reason why. Aminé has released a lot of good music over the years, but this song is great; some could even say incredible. In this track, JID and Charlie Wilson team up with Aminé to expound upon their pasts and roots. All while they frequently juxtaposed that message to the imagery of a literal growing plant. The product is *chef’s kiss*, and this will continue to be a song that I revisit for a very long time.
5.) “Switch It Up” by Protoje (feat. Koffee)
If you’re familiar with the movie Cool Runnings, you should know the phrase “Feel the Riddim! Feel the Rhyme!” With this song, I urge you all to do just that. Appreciate the incredible vibes that Protoje and Koffee were able to produce throughout this track. Typical for a reggae song: it’s upbeat, it’s fun, and it reminds me of summer in Jamaica. As the first track on Protoje’s new album, In Search Of Lost Time, this was an excellent opener for a great album. I also loved how Koffee flexed her lyrical muscles using what she calls her “cerebral flow.”
1.) “Django” by Angel Baby
Who knew a song about a cat with a car would be my favorite song right now? Equal parts groovy and nostalgic, Taiwanese band Angel Baby crafts an unforgettable sound on “Django”. Switching between English and Chinese, the lead singer glides over a simple bass and synth track with ease. These elements match perfectly with the funny lyrics about a cat named Django who, despite having a criminal record, not only can drive a car, but also has a sixth sense. Really great stuff.
2.) “Cumbia, Eres La Cumbia” by Meridian Brothers
The Columbian outfit Meridian Brothers is hard to describe. They explore the traditional Columbian music style of Cumbia, while also pushing the boundaries of modern music. This blend creates something great, and “Cumbia, Eres La Cumbia” off their 2017 album exemplifies that. It’s noisy and disjointed, but also extremely refined. This seeming paradox is appealing in its own right, but what Meridian Brothers does with it is greater than what can be expected from a song shrouded in a combination that is seemingly impossible.
3.) “Millionaire” by Kelis, feat. Andre 3000
Bit of a throwback with this one. Known primarily by our generation for her song “Milkshake”, Kelis was a leading figure of the early 2000’s pop-R&B scene. This cut from her 2003 album Tasty matches her silky voice with the rap sensibilities of the great Andre 3000. They both meditate on the condition of their fame and wealth over a hypnotic and punchy high-hat driven beat. Neither one of them outshines the other, rather they complement each other, and in doing so, produce a banger.
4.) “The Mighty Tree” by Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Kamasi Washington
This collaboration sees all of the jazz-hop legends pursuing the same sound. The entire album is amazing, but this track is just too good. All of these artists are frequent collaborators of Kendrick Lamar, and it’s clear why Lamar champions them all so much. This track’s elements combine to create something that feels, as the title suggests, mighty.
5.) “Teen Scene” by Maeta, feat. Buddy & Kaytranada
This track was released just last week, and I’ve been listening to it non-stop. I discovered it because it was produced by Kaytranada, who’s easily one of my favorite artists, so going in, I knew the beat would be great. However, I didn’t really have any exposure to the other two artists, but I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. Maeta’s smooth voice pairs perfectly with the vocal loop that makes up most of the beat, while Buddy’s verse doesn’t clash with the beat in the same way rap verses usually do over dance beats.