Single Roundup: Week of Nov. 26

Story posted 5 days ago in CommRadio by Arts Staff

With new music emerging every week, the CommRadio Arts department will be taking a look at a handful of singles released each week. Here are our thoughts on three of the biggest tracks from the week of Nov. 26.

Joyner Lucas – “I’m Not Racist”

Joyner Lucas, a rapper notorious for his deep subject matter and crisp lyricism, has just gone viral. In just six days, the music video for Lucas’ I’m Not Racist has amassed nearly 9 million views. The song is a conversation between a white trump supporter and a young black man. As both seek to explain their frustration and tell their own side of the “same building split into two floors,” Lucas narrates each man’s story, From Black Lives Matter, Colin Kaepernick and Donald Trump to welfare, black on black crime, white privilege and culture theft, Lucas tackles every end of the modern racial dichotomy.

Despite the polar opposite opinions both men share, Lucas brilliantly presents their words in a way that show how similar both men are.

In both men’s verses, they share the same exact line of words, “blame it on everybody, except for your own race.” Here Lucas is arguing the point that both sides believe neither takes enough responsibility and both sides aren’t so different in that their hatred both stems from misunderstanding. It’s a subtle artistic choice, but never the less an important one.

The video raises some thought provoking questions like why should those who are oppressed have to fight for their oppression to be recognized and why should a group of people sympathize with another group that’s arguably contributed in some way or another to its own stagnation? Why should both sides make an effort at all?

He hits on almost every major issue that’s divided blacks and whites in the past decade. With dual perspectives, he makes a lot of points even those who disagree with whose talking can sympathize with. - Sam McQuillan

Ed Sheeran – “Perfect” feat. Beyoncé

Ed Sheeran has somehow managed to swoon his fans and melt their hearts once again with a remix of his romantic single “Perfect,” which was released on his latest record Divide (÷). On this rendition, Sheeran teams up with Beyoncé to create a simple, yet passionate version of the ballad. Although the rhythm and lyrics are not changed, the song is slowed to an acoustic guitar. The addition of Beyoncé gives the track the ability to see both sides of this heartwarming love story. The remix relies heavily on incorporating soulful harmonies into the music, which is not a prominent feature on the original track. Unsurprisingly, Beyoncé is a master of soul and her fierce harmonies on this track have the ability to perfectly complement Sheeran’s voice. It is difficult not to enjoy the pairing of the two voices on this sweet duet. - Jenna Minnig

N.E.R.D. – “1000” feat. Future

Throughout the 2000s, N.E.R.D was pretty consistent with their release schedule, offering a project every two to four years. Their last album, Nothing, was released in 2010. On Nov. 1, 2017, N.E.R.D released their first new single in seven years. Their most recent single “1000” was released about a month later. This newest track sees N.E.R.D recognizing what worked musically in the past to get them famous. “1000” is a boastful track through and through, declaring that they go “1000 percent” when making music and that, “The prophecy is here.” While Pharell’s lyrics are focused on the success of their music, Future’s autotune infused verse focuses on wealth. Because of this, the overall idea of “1000” feels disjointed, jumping back and forth between two different interpretations of the song title. It sounds as if Future’s verse could have been placed anywhere in his discography and it would have fit better. Production wise, “1000” feels barren and repetitive. For a large majority of the song, the beat consists of a basic drum pattern and a looped synth pattern that quickly becomes redundant. The beat is only switched up towards the end of the song, with the only real switch up being the sound and pattern of the synth sample. This section of the beat sounds the most alive in comparison to the more bland sections that came before it. “1000” is a missed opportunity to get fans hyped up about the album and a fairly forgettable track for any newcomers of N.E.R.D. – Zach Hall

Bahamas – “Way With Words”

“Way With Words” is the second tease from Bahamas upcoming album Earthtones. The quality of this song makes the wait for a full-length album from the singer completely worth it. It is an enjoyable track thanks to the relaxing guitar riffs and high-pitched female background vocals that work smoothly with the dominant male voice that leads the track. After recent discussions regarding the sound of new album, the man behind Bahamas, Afie Jurvanen, revealed that the songs on the record have many hip hop influences. With his inspirations being Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak, it will be interesting to hear what direction the folk singer takes on the rest of the album. - Jenna Minnig

 

Jenna Minnig is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email at jkm5756@psu.edu.

Zach Hall is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.