Playlist #9: Nobody, Nobody, Nobody But Me

Happy Frank Ocean week! We’ve been waiting for his album for years… and since Frank took his sweet time releasing it, we’re going to do the same with our reviews. Over the next two weeks, we’ll dig deep and pick our favorite tracks for the playlist (hopefully it’s on Spotify by then). But in the meantime, other amazing music is still being released and like always, we write about it:

Mirage

Lindsey Stirling / Brave Enough

Lindsey Stirling made an incredible jump from the obscure world of violin covers to become a Billboard Music Awards winner, platinum selling artist, and Forbes 30 under 30. So many YouTubers out there who have made it big aren’t just musicians — they’re entrepreneurs. In Stirling’s case, she has cornered the niche of electronic violin music. Her delicate playing is juxtaposed with intense moments where the beat drops, creating a truly modern classical interpretation of both classics and popular songs. She recently has started to venture into original work (receiving widespread acclaim already), and her track “Mirage” is a fascinating glimpse into exploring South and East Asian sounds with her arsenal of violins and electronic production. The track utilizes a double harmonic (Gypsy/Arabic) scale which isn’t as common as many might think in certain flavors of South/East Asian music, but there are so many textures here to marvel at: the Indian percussive elements, the finesse Stirling has when gliding from note to note, Raja Kumari’s konnakol, or the dozens of others sprinkled throughout the song. This may not be a track to listen to every day, but I’ve definitely got it on my playlist this week so I can explore it further. — Anil

Truth

Chris Jamison / I Am Chris Jamison EP

I’ve been following Chris Jamison since he was robbed during Season 7 of The Voice (runner-up Matt McAndrew was equally good but they both split the vote — leaving a slightly above average country singer to seize the win). Unlike America’s voters during that season finale, Jamison’s new EP doesn’t disappoint. “Guilty” packages his crooning vocals as a typical Nick Jonas style ballad, ready for top 40 radio. But the real sleeper here is “Truth” — the vocals oscillate between a passionate power and a soothing gentleness that displays a degree of soul and emotional wisdom far beyond his age. Combining this impeccable singing with a hypnotic piano line, Truth reaches a Brian McKnight or Maxwell level of R&B. And if you know your R&B, you’ll know that’s one of the biggest compliments Chris Jamison could receive, especially this early in his career. — Dilip

All I Wanna Do

Jordan Fisher / Jordan Fisher EP

Though the beginning of this song sounds like it’s going to be the Kidz Bop remix of Drake’s Controlla, the rest of the song proves itself to be a great modern R&B track by Mr. Jordan Fisher. His voice is smooth and filled with emotion; the doubling of higher and lower vocals on the chorus is also a great touch that really rounds out the song overall. I’m also a big fan of the chill beat that he’s put down underneath it all — kind of pays a subtle homage to Ride Wit Me by Nelly, but still keeping it fresh and different. I’ve already found myself singing this hook over and over again, and I’ve no doubt you will too. Fun fact: this dude plays the piano, guitar, bass, harmonica, French horn and drums! Shoutout to the probing investigative journalism that got us this juicy info there, Glitter magazine. — Anil

Nobody But Me

Michael Bublé / Single

Michael Bublé has always had one foot in classics & jazz standards and the other in modern, easy listening style pop. When those two feet come together (continuing this trite metaphor) he scores his biggest wins and Nobody But Me follows suit. Everything from the charming delivery to the catchy plucked bassline is Michael Bublé is sticking to his bread & butter and well, it works! The rap in the bridge (yes you read that right) is tastefully delivered by none other than Black Thought from The Roots (a natural choice — but what if it were Tyler the Creator or Desiigner or… so many hilarious possibilities that we’ll never realize so I’ll just stop now). Some critics might make a case that Bublé borrowed a bit from Meghan Trainor with this track. But let’s avoid that comparison here since he’s been doing the “old school influenced pop hits” since she was in elementary school and he’s clearly much better at it. — Dilip

Holding Back

SG Lewis, Gallant / Yours EP

A YouTube comment summed up both Dilip and my thoughts towards the artist featured in this track: “I’m a simple man. I see the name Gallant, I click like.” Deep. But seriously, Holding Back is a summer pop track that has enough added depth to ensure it will please both light and heavy listeners alike. The distorted guitars, great production on behalf of SG Lewis, and the catchy lyrics all lend themselves to a warm weather hit that is graced by the presence of Gallant himself. If you don’t know much about him, we’d highly recommend you take a listen to Weight in Gold or Talking to Myself. He’s that good. So enjoy the heavier electronic influences or the vocals here, because we don’t have much summer left — so best to relax and enjoy summer music while we can. — Anil

Get Low

James Vincent McMorrow / Single

This is one of the most upbeat songs James Vincent McMorrow has ever released. And that’s not saying much — the Irish singer-songwriter is known best for his soft vocals and acoustic accompaniment. In “Get Low” (not to be confused with the way more hype Dillon Francis song), Nineteen85 (the OVO producer behind Drake’s Hotline Bling) pairs guitar lines with subtle 808’s to create the perfect balance of drive and restraint. McMorrow’s signature otherworldly falsetto is in full form and gives the track the magic that frankly none of the tracks on Views had. — Dilip

Bonus Tracks

Stuff we just couldn’t keep off our list.

  • All Night / Crystal Fighters / Single / Spotify
  • Send It (feat. Rich Homie Quan) / Austin Mahone / Single / Spotify
  • Tru / Lloyd / Single / Spotify

We hope that you enjoyed the music and commentary! Please send any feedback our way — for example, if you’d prefer us to use Soundcloud, Spotify, YouTube, etc. This is definitely a work in progress, and we’d love to hear from our readers. Lastly, if you have any song suggestions, don’t be shy — we love listening to new tracks! Reach us on Twitter at @dilipsrajan and @anilchitrapu

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