Music Reviews, Week of 1/26 – 2/1

Well it’s Thursday and I’ve found the time to listen to nearly all of the songs that last week’s New Music Friday brought us.  Ahead of tomorrow’s new releases, I’m here to provide invaluable judgment on which songs you should listen to, which will become popular, and which should be sent to the Pit of Misery.

Album of the week:  Culture II – Migos

With a list of features including Drake, Cardi B, 21 Savage, and Post Malone, Migos returns in the highly-anticipated sequel to Culture and proves that they can diversify their sound. The beats sampled on the album are dynamic and a refreshing change from the stylings of their recent projects, which have been criticized for their cyclical beats and lyrics.  But some songs on the album, namely “Crown the Kings,” “Flooded,” and “Movin Too Fast,” still fall under the repetitive vibes characteristic of Migos’ pre-Culture-II days. These songs feel more like filler nonsense than good music, and Migos easily could have cut them to refine the album and make it more compact.  Nonetheless the true bangers on the album, “Walk It Talk It,” “Narcos,” “White Sand,” “Too Playa,” and “Made Men,” truly shine and make the album worth listening to at least twice. Rating: 7/10


“Say Something” ft. Chris Stapleton – Justin Timberlake

Academy country music darling Chris Stapleton shines with Justin Timberlake on “Say Something.” The pop beats and blues guitar blend to create an upbeat song with melancholy lyrics and convey a feeling with which we are all familiar: “Sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all, but I can’t help myself.” Stapleton’s verse stands out in a chorus of harmonizing Timberlake voices. Indeed, while it’s Timberlake’s song, Stapleton is the star. This is the newest of a group of promotional songs whose purpose is building hype for Timberlake’s upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show Performance.  And if “Say Something” is any indication, this show will be excellent and lighten the mood of a game in which the Patriots will ruthlessly demolish the Eagles and strip all semblance of life from the city of Philadelphia.  Rating: 8/10


“Heaven” – Julia Michaels

The Fifty Shades of Grey franchise has delivered us two horrible movies with two amazingly provocative soundtracks.  Former ghost writer and recent Grammy nominee, Julia Michaels, gives us a song about wanting hotter and better sex, even if it’s with a “bad” person: “All good boys go to heaven, but bad boys bring heaven to you,” she sings. This song is about the struggle in choosing between  someone beautiful and wild and someone smart and grounded. The beats underlie her effortless voice, allowing it to stand out on the track and really make this song what it is.  While it’s not a “banger,” I really enjoyed it and expect several more hits from the final Fifty Shades’ soundtrack. Rating: 7.5 / 10


“The Middle” ft. Maren Morris and Grey – Zedd

Electronic music star Zedd delivers a powerful electro-pop track with an unlikely team in country music star, Maren Morris, and electronic production duo Grey. The lyrics reflect a messy relationship that’s ultimately held together by passion. Morris sings about meeting each other halfway in the relationship to preserve it. It proves to be fairly basic lyrically, but it follows the formula of a solid EDM track and isn’t entirely terrible. Rating: 6.5 / 10


“Ven” ft. Archangel and Quimico Ultra Megai – Dillon Francis

This song is a banger. Dillon Francis produces an amazing beat over which Spanish-speaking rappers Archangel and Quimico Ultra Mega tell a girl to “Ven,” or come closer. The lyrics are primarily in Spanish so you might not understand them, but the beat is what really carries this song.  I was a fan.  Rating: 7/10


“Love and Hennessy (Remix)” ft. 2 Chainz and Nicky Jam – A.CHAL

This slow jam expresses the sentiments of living the fast party life while also falling for a girl with a beat that goes hard.  With a mix of 2 Chainz’ English lyrics and Nicky Jam’s Spanglish, the artists communicate the complications of falling for someone when they really just want to party with the boys. They try to woo the girl into following their lifestyle so they can get the best of both worlds.  Rating: 7/10


“Mix Up” – Mr Popular

It’s been awhile since we’ve gotten a new white rapper whose target audience is college kids–think Asher Roth and Hoodie Allen. Mr Popular, whom I’d never heard of, really impressed me on this track. The lyrics are pretty fucking piss-poor, but the artist seems to be aware of that. He’s more interested in  partying and talks about confusing himself while trying to impress a girl at the party.  It’s kind of hard to explain but listen to the song, it’s a fascinating concept. The song is a mixture of rapping, talking, and singing which merge to form pretty solid track with a catchy EDM beat. It’s worth a listen. Rating: 6.5/10


“Don’t Make Me Wait” ft. Shaggy – Sting

“Don’t Make Me Wait,” by an unlikely duo in Sting and Shaggy (Yes, the “It Wasn’t Me” Shaggy) blend the pair’s tropical-sounding voices and reggae dancehall styles over a solid beat with good backup instrumentals. This is the song that no one asked for, but that we all need in this dismal state of affairs which is the beginning of February.  It’s a song that reminds me of cracking a beer and sitting on the beach before a night out during spring break. It’s the calm before a great night. It’s a love song, and it is bound to become popular as soon as enough people allow themselves to party to Sting and Shaggy again.  Rating: 7/10


“BOOM” ft. Gucci Mane and Sevenn

This is an EDM house party banger that Gucci Mane raps over. With such lyrics as, “Bring that ass back like a Boom Boom Boom,” and “When the pussy splash like water, then it makes this dick get harder,” I believe the song epitomizes the height of artistic expression in which we find ourselves in 2018. This song should be played at any dance party.  Rating: 8.5/10


Avoid at all costs:

“Merengue” – Kent Jones

Kent Jones’ newest single “Merengue” has a great beat and may prove to gain some radio traction, but it largely follows the trend of other music from this week in that its lyrics are trash, relying almost entirely on references to Latin American music.  The song sounds like a guy’s narration of trying to pick up a girl in the worst way possible. The most cringe-worthy lyric is probably “Ain’t tryna Dave nothing but on my insurance. Tryna find a girl on her Progressive Flo.” Kent Jones’ voice is solid, but the lyrics are so grating that by the time this thing makes the radio, people will already be tired of it. Rating: 4/10

-Grantito (@GrantMarkwell),  Music Contributor

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