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“What Lovers Do”
It seems when Adam Levine isn’t helping coach aspiring singers on NBC’s The Voice, he’s the pipes behind another smash hit for Maroon 5 with “What Lovers Do.” Reaching highs, literally, that few voices can, Levine teams up with R&B singer SZA for this indelibly catchy track that has a tropical feel in the same vein as 2016’s “Don’t Wanna Know” that featured Kendrick Lamar. Clearly Maroon 5 isn’t afraid to take risks and frankly, they’ve achieved the level of status where they’re afforded that luxury. “What Lovers Do” isn’t reinventing the wheel as much as it is sticking to a tried-and-true formula.
Thirty Seconds to Mars
“Walk On Water”
“Walk On Water” is the lead single off the fifth album from Thirty Seconds to Mars. The track picked up widespread play when it was performed at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. Despite the religiously tinged title, the song plays like a patriotic anthem. Indeed, the song was tapped by ESPN as one of its songs promoting college football with its rallying cry questioning if you “believe that you can walk on water?/Do you believe that you can win this fight tonight?” As the ever-present frontman, Jared Leto carries this tune though the vocal range isn’t necessarily on par with the band’s best-charting single, “The Kill.” But fans of the band and fans who aren’t numb to the song from ESPN’s serving will enjoy this tune.
O.T. Genasis is a Long Beach-based hip-hop artist whose biggest claim to fame (thus far) is probably the track “CoCo,” which isn’t talking about chocolate or beans. But O.T. Genasis is back with “Everybody Mad,” which features an indelibly catchy beat like “CoCo.” With a haunting keyboard in the background, O.T. Genasis raps about everyone being mad that he has become a success, despite naysayers from his earlier days. It’s hard to say this song will reach the heights that “CoCo” did, but for fans of the genre—especially the artist—this song will get the job more than done. As for clubs, this song is an easy sell to bump in the background. As stated previously, the subtle piano is the real hero in this song.
Granny 4 Barrel
Calling themselves a “Neo-Victorian steampunk shock rock nightmare,” Granny 4 Barrel conveys precisely that message with their single “Freak Flag.” The song comes out guns blazing with eponymous chants. Flying beneath the radar, but not to be ignored, is the fiddle that gives this rock anthem a unique and memorable sound. With a new band like this promoting this single, part of the appeal to the track is in the music video itself. The band’s name isn’t just a gimmick—the band is fronted by a grandmotherly character. And you get that in the first 30 seconds of the video. As the song’s title would suggest, this track is an anthem about letting your Freak Flag fly proudly.
“Gimme Some Lovin’”
Well, this is definitely a “new take” on a classic. SOiL, a Chicago-based hard rock band, covers The Spencer Davis Group’s iconic song “Gimme Some Lovin’”. Without knowing this is a cover, the song stands fine on its own. But once discovered, it’s hard not to hear SOiL’s version without letting your mind drift to the 1966 version. Having said that, SOiL does an admirable job with the heavier infusion of guitar play. For any rocker, this track will blend in seamlessly in their catalogue. And for those who have an old soul, this contemporary rock version is also worth the listen for the inevitable comparison and contrast.
Mozart La Para
Dominican-based Mozart La Para wasted no time in starting 2018 with a bang. As the first artist signed under the Roc Nation Latin division, eyes were certainly on Mozart La Para to see how he would fare as one Roc Nation’s—the entertainment company founded by JAY-Z—newer discoveries. “Al Capone” doesn’t disappoint and proves a foundation upon which to build as Mozart becomes more well known to American audiences serving as Dominican-infused trap music. One major caveat of this song is the lyrics are 99% in Spanish, so it lends itself more to be played in the background since depending on the audience, the song may be lost in translation.
“Make This Life”
With fleeting moments of hard pop, this hard rock track by Dallas group Messer is a precursor to the band’s album set to drop later this year. Featuring an anthemic chorus, “Make This Life” demands the listener to make their life worth fighting for. The chorus is a clean contrast to the grimier feel of the rest of the vocals. Fans of mainstream rock will eat this song up, as they have already which boosted the song to number 40 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs. Again, this song blends bits and pieces of a harder rock identity with a poppier undercurrent that gives it a more inclusive feel than some hard rock songs that may turn off non-listeners of the genre.
Indian Trap (feat. KresZenzia)
“Look Like Monayyy”
Jay Singh, professionally known as Indian Trap, has rubbed shoulders with some of the most renown DJs in the world, including Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold and David Guetta. Now, Indian Trap, a London-bred DJ, is carving out his own niche starting with “Look Like Monayyy,” with some help from female rapper KresZenzia. This song is quite unique in that it fuses elements of trap music with Singh’s familial musical background in Punjabi, Bhangra and Bollywood music—hence the moniker Indian Trap. While KresZenzia’s vocals complement the track and vibe of the single nicely, the star of this production is the exotic sounds of Indian Trap sound.
This song has heavy hitters Sean Paul and David Guetta and features a slugger in her own right, Becky G. All three leave their mark on this incredibly made-for-the-dance-floor track. Sean Paul brings his Jamaican tinge to the vocals, while Becky G provides the All-American vocals and of course David Guetta packs the EDM punch to make it club friendly. While the song is indelibly catchy, its 3:20 running time leaves something to be desired. It’s like a movie with too many stars that leaves a feeling of inadequate screen time for each.
“A Girl Is A Gun”
Country fans will probably know “A Girl Is A Gun” from Old Dominion’s Happy Endings album, which was released fall 2017. The five-piece band delivers a modern country ballad with “A Girl Is A Gun” with a drum opening bleeding into Matthew Ramsey’s vocals. The chorus is infectiously catchy and this is a great song for pretty much any setting—whether it’s blaring in your headphones as you reminisce on some past love or it’s coming out of the PA at your local watering hole as you’re shooting, no pun intended, the breeze with some friends.
“Mucho Pa Ti”
Farina joins Mozart La Para as a Roc Nation Latin signee. The Colombian-born rapper is showing women are every bit as capable of their male peers when it comes to the rap game—if that wasn’t clear already. Sure, the numbers may still be in favor of men, but more and more women are making a name for themselves in this genre. “Mucho Pa Ti,” which is Farina’s most mainstream hit thus far, is another Spanish-language number. “Mucho Pa Ti” translates to “too much for you” and following that translation, Farina crosses names off a list saying men can’t handle her and that she doesn’t need them. If she keeps the hits rolling out like this, it will be evident that the urban pop genre does need Farina.