Wearing the charming mask of a worn-out songwriter, the Iguana embraces deepness and graveness as he escorts Matthew McConaughey’s character in his latest movie, Gold. The namesake song, which got him his first Grammy nomination, is a vision of exotic morbidness, but not a journey into it, as Iggy’s cynic detachment is evident and indispensable, seeing how much higher his throne remains; [LISTEN].
Skrillex’s clickbait reunion with his high school band is tasteless as expected. The new single of the post-hardcore group also features Travis Barker on the drums, and sounds as if it was released in the mid-aughts, in spite of all that happened in the past ten years. Sonny’s words ooze with partially updated Myspace aesthetics, while his anachronistic haughtiness gets very close to misogyny.
The title is slightly misleading but makes sense by song’s end. He’s ascending to new heights and while he’s reluctant to come back down to Earth he can’t help but feel responsible for those left behind. The temptation is to grandstand and be overtly didactic, but he comes with the realness, including a moment where he grills the POTUS. A glowing example of relentless patriotism.
Growth and identity intertweave their paths in the Québécois suburbs. Growing up is growing apart in the tribal rite that is adolescence. And while through the years some have betrayed the place where they were born, often under the promises of big city lights, Win Butler refuses to forget and romanticizes each and every street, no matter how distantly monotonous they have become.
The mighty one rears back and tackles gun violence head on; the perpetual cycle and a few of the key causes. He’s zeroing in on the culture of violence and the need to protect oneself in a so-called civilization. The funk slams in from the very beginning and doesn’t relent, bowling forward like a tidal wave. He’s an OG rapper, breaking down society’s ills with deft precision; [LISTEN].
In this electro-indie classic, Ben Gibbard manages to romantically confess his love without becoming too cheesy. It’s a love that reaches an almost scientific perfection — or even mechanic, like the video suggests — rather than a religious one. However, even when he vents about such love, he does it in such a catchy and tentalizing way that it’s something we’re willing to admire rather than envy.
Perhaps the most bleakly beautiful song ever written about heroin, and there are a lot of them! The sparse instrumentation — with just acoustic guitar fingerpicked with a slow-roll palpitating neurosis and Smith’s characteristic soft, near-whispered vocals — is the perfect vehicle to tell the story of a tortured soul who’s turned to heroin to fight the demons from their past; [LISTEN].
The Philly quartet have always favored the minutiae in the telling of their throaty, Against Me!-era stories rather than draw the whole picture. In the title-track off LP5, After the Party, they attempt to capture “the excitement of falling in love that language often misses,” in this case occasionally blurred out by alcohol, but always meaningful. It’s as personal and inclusive as punk should be.
Another classic angsty Nine Inch Nails track from comebacker EP Not the Actual Events. Just when you think it’s got no legs, it kicks in with the kind of satisfyingly stompy industrial rock chorus you’d expect from ever-evolving curmudgeon Trent Reznor, touching on how sometimes the idea that you have of someone in your head is different from — and possibly better than — the reality; [LISTEN].
The sound of the rich getting richer, a grisly ode to the iridescent rap lifestyle. Cash, drugs and women rain in from the sky leaving in its wake a trashed hotel room full of regrets and empty dreams. He’s reveling in the moment, inspired by commonplace ideas and themes. The shiny objects and plastic people are obstructing his vision, having him running in circles squawking about nothing at all.
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