New Music Mondays | 11.27.17

Take a well-deserved study break with some rad tunes. #NMM


‘It’s Okay To Cry’ – SOPHIE

“Two years after the release of influential debut PRODUCT, electronic music producer SOPHIE has returned with single ‘It’s Okay To Cry.’ The single was released on October 23rd, accompanied with the announcement that SOPHIE identifies as a trans woman. Thus, the track has been widely interpreted as SOPHIE’s commentary on the stifling nature of masculinity during her time as a closeted trans woman. Sonically, ‘It’s Okay To Cry’ is a stark departure from the music of her first album, which, along with A.G. Cook and his affiliated PC Music label, popularized the genre of ‘bubblegum bass’: electronic music characterized by plastic-sounding synths playing off of pop music conventions and often pitched-up feminine voices. Here, however, SOPHIE maintains only somewhat of this aesthetic. Instead, she chooses to sing in a more realistic register, and ditches some of the more synthetic, (intentionally) over-produced elements of PRODUCT while retaining some of its hyper-feminine pop feel. Throughout her career, SOPHIE has been somewhat polarizing — the over-the-top nature of her music is bound to attract some naysayers. Love her or hate her, SOPHIE’s ear for production and knack for creating boundary-pushing pop music is worth a listen.” – Caroline Smith

‘No Peace’ – Sam Smith feat. YEBBA

“When Sam Smith released his sophomore album Thrill of it All, the last thing I expected to discover was a new singer that is just as vocally skilled as Smith himself. But that’s exactly what is found on the emotionally powerful ‘No Peace’ featuring newcomer, YEBBA. With only one solo single out, this feature seems to be the start of an amazing career for someone with a timeless voice. When mixed with Smith’s legendary vocals, ‘No Peace’ is a powerhouse that is sung just as well as it was written. It tells the story of someone unable to reconcile with struggles in their life. The references to cigarettes that are seen throughout Thrill of it All are especially seen in this song with lines like ‘so I’ll light up a cigarette / I’ll drink it down till there’s nothing left.’ In the Apple Music documentary on the making of Thrill of it All, YEBBA talks about the references in the lyrics to her mother’s recent death. It makes the emotion in both of their voices sound even more authentic. Although this is one of the simplest tracks on the album, it’s special because of the connection of these two voices.” – Emma Turney 

‘These 3 Things’ – Ought

“Montreal post-punk favorites Ought have taken a new turn with their latest single. Up until now, I could always trust the band to be defiantly lo-fi. Their edges were jagged, their production was simplistic. It was just four guys in what usually sounded like a basement, using a little to make a lot. Hell, their vocalist doesn’t even really sing that much. He mostly talks in his charmingly affected manner, stabbing you lovingly in the heart with disarming lyrical zingers so insightful that calling them ‘witty’ feels like an insult. So what’s going on with ‘These 3 Things?’ Well, as we’ve all probably figured out by now, the ’80s are coming back with a vengeance, and Ought seems to have joined the dark side and embraced that fact. This new song is immediately much glossier, much cleaner, and much more ‘new wave’ than anything else the band has released so far. Propelled by a heavily processed drumbeat that features triangles and woodblocks, the song rides a quick, steady groove glazed with synthesizers and the occasional dollop of strings. It’s almost austere in its construction. It builds to a great crescendo, but it does so through a careful pattern of tension-and-release that’s as much a product of the arrangement as the performance. And, get this, Tim Darcy sings. The whole time. And he’s actually got a great voice. I was upset at first. This was not the seething, back-alley philosophy lesson I expected… but it was really good. Apparently there’s a lot more to Ought than we thought. And I like that a lot. (Also watch the music video, it’s a gem.)” – Craig Short

‘Lookin’ Up’ – Barenaked Ladies

“‘Lookin’ Up’ is one of my new favorite Barenaked Ladies songs. Coming off their newest album, Fake Nudes, it is pure fun from start to finish. The Barenaked Ladies put their own twist on a modern-pop song with a flute for the beat and a soprano sax for the refrain. They exclaim, ‘I can see the donut / you can see the hole / I’m lookin’ Up!’ and I feel better about life. With this upbeat, joyful hit, the Barenaked Ladies remind their fans to look about the world in a positive manner, even if some people are trying to put up the ‘invisible fences’ that they talk about earlier in the album. Warning: If you listen to this song, you might accidentally end up listening to the whole album!” – Andrew Szendrey

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