Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist.
Take a deep breath … we have a sane president, a history-making veep, and “Individual-1” banned from Twitter … exhale.
That’s not to say that life is all good or that all the problems we face as a nation are suddenly solved. No, it takes a lot of work to undo a four-year con job. That said, it won’t hurt if we take a measly two minutes and sixteen seconds out of our stressful, cooped-up lives to relax and, in the parlance of my time, take a chill pill with, well, chillpill. For those unfamiliar, chillpill is the name of the 15-year collaboration between Slovak composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist Andrej Šeban and classical artist Martin Krampl. The project is usually depicted as a man in a tracksuit with an actual pill (might be a gel capsule) for a head. (Trippy, right?) But before you dismiss chillpill’s latest single, “LiLBiTcH”, as a bit of gimmickry or silliness (and, yes, it is silly), we’re here to vouch for the fact that the song is the most fun we’ve had listening to music so far in 2021.
Joining chillpill in what might be the dopest alliance of 2021 thus far are Danish singer-songwriter Soleima and blazing-hot Maryland rapper Rico Nasty. The song itself features both a soft-voiced Soleima and an in-your-face Rico Nasty trading notes and bars about the “little bitches” in their lives over video game-style percussion and winds. The song is a fun, little putdown in its own right, but it’s taken next-level by its video game-themed music video, where a pixilated Soleima and Rico invite chillpill (a slacker gamer) into the game to join them in smacking down little bitches in the form of evil duckies and kitties. What’s even cooler is fans can scan an in-video QR code or go here to download the app and play along. It’s being billed as the world’s first-ever “Music Video Game”. At a time when collaborating on music or just hanging out with friends over games has become a dangerous proposition, you have to hand it to the trio of chillpill, Soleima, and Rico Nasty for both joining forces on a whacky song and bringing others together in a way that’s pandemic-friendly.
Typhoon – “Empire Builder”
Oregon indie rockers Typhoon returned this week with a brand-new album called Sympathetic Magic. Its songs, including “Empire Builder”, were all written and recorded during the pandemic, the 14-piece band recording remotely or in shifts to avoid creating super-spreader events. It’s very much of the moment in that sense and grows even more so when you hear the band describe a building mid-tempo rocker like “Empire Builder” as their “version of Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer — a microcosm of the world contained on a single train.” Few songs have thus far been able to encapsulate the chaos of the last few years so well, including our continued need for solidarity and hope. It’s a song that knocks you down but picks you up afterwards.
Joey Bada$$ – “Let It Breathe”
Brooklyn native Joey Bada$$ makes his lauded return, dollar signs and all, after a couple years spent more on features and guest spots than doing his own thing. “Let It Breathe” finds the rapper-actor back in the rap game and taking stock of his place (“Put my picture in the dictionary next to legendary”). But it’s more than just pure braggadocio. It’s Bada$$ reflecting on what it truly takes to stay on top in an industry where everyone is vying for the same throne (“I don’t wanna waste no time/ I just wanna take what’s mine/ Gonna take what’s yours”). And judging by the streams he’s racking up, Joey Bada$$ is all set to once again get his.
Katy Kirby – “Juniper”
If you haven’t heard of singer-songwriter Katy Kirby yet, it’s time to sit down, read, and get yourself a clue. The Texas-based singer-songwriter has a distinct knack for metaphor wrapped in glistening, organic melodies. In the case of “Juniper”, she uses nature to reflect on her relationship with her own mother and also to express her own fears about becoming a mother herself. It’s poignant, relatable, and, perhaps most importantly, instantly hummable. Her debut, Cool Dry Place, will be out Feb. 19th via Keeled Scales.
Angel Haze – “Weight”
It’s been far longer than a New York minute since we last heard from Brooklyn rapper-singer Angel Haze. In fact, it’s been six years since she released her sophomore album, Back to the Woods, or even popped onto our televisions as the co-host of Catfish: The TV Show. That time away has clearly done nothing to diminish her fire or skills, though, and with lyrics hinting at both a spiritual awakening and time spent working on her mental well-being, Haze appears to be stronger than ever and ready to take over the game all over again.
Deb Never – “Someone Else”
Deb Never is probably still best known for featuring on the BROCKHAMPTON song “NO HALO” a few years ago, and she continues to keep a little, whispering devil on her shoulder on new single “Someone Else”. The brooding pop song finds Never in a position many of us have been in post-breakup: learning to be okay with having an ex, but not okay yet with that ex finding love elsewhere. It’s hopefully a phase that we soon move on from, but Never reminds us of just how painful that in-between time can be as we separate from someone we don’t totally want to see walk out the door … and, worse yet, don’t quite wish them well.
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