By: Yuri Nesen
Photo by: Mikko Castano
As we trek through the last stretch of 2018 into the new year, I thought it would be the right time to create a playlist featuring new and classic songs from a variety of genres (everything from hip-hop to French house) to get you in the feels during this season of endings and beginnings. Though you can find the entire playlist here, I’ve highlighted some of my personal favorites below.
“No Place” – RÜFÜS DU SOL
Graced with breezy vocals to accompany the slick and melancholic electro instrumental, “No Place” is the EDM anthem you never knew you needed. The reason I love RUFUS is their ability to convey raw emotion by keeping things simple and creating trance music without any gimmicks or unnecessary elements. This track, which comes straight off their latest album, does just that. It’s definitely an essential for your playlist this season.
“Checklist” – Calvin Harris, Normani, & WizKid
Much like a good sweater, music keeps you warm when it gets cold out. “Checklist,” a Calvin Harris-produced tropical R&B bop, definitely warms the air with its soft, yet bouncy steel drums paired with Normani and WizKid’s flirtatious rapping.
“BBIBBI” – IU
Any fan of Korean pop surely knows IU, who rose to fame as one of the leading female soloists in South Korea. Her fans have seen her grow as a person, and her latest track BBI-BBI is a testament to that growth and desire for independence. The R&B-inflected beat brings out the best of IU’s soft and airy vocals as the singer belts lyrics with subtle references to social issues.
“Bad Bad News” – Leon Bridges
Leon Bridges’ crooning, Sam Cooke-esque vocals effortlessly fill any room with soulful energy. With motivational lyrics like, “They tell me I was born to lose / But I made a good good thing out of bad bad news,” atop a thumping bass-line, “Bad Bad News” will be the go-to pick-me-up song for the start of the year.
Better Not” – Louis the Child & Wafia
This song really got me into Louis The Child. I came for Wafia’s pure vocals, having heard her collaborations with Ta-ku, and stayed for the Chicago-based group’s playful, fresh, and tropical future bass production. This song builds up beautifully towards the riveting drop with varying vocal and instrumental layers, making for a certified bop.
“The Way Life Goes (Remix)” – Lil Uzi Vert & Nicki Minaj
This is an older one, but I find myself coming back to it time and time again. This remix of “The Way Life Goes” featuring Nicki Minaj brings together disparate elements in the best way possible. Lil Uzi’s trademark glitchy, auto-tuned bars based on moving on after a failed relationship, Nicki’s self-assured bars on “being the queen for eight summers,” and alt-pop group Oh Wonder’s dreamy vocals in the chorus come together in the strangest yet most organic way possible and I am here for it.
“La Boheme” – Charles Aznavour
After his recent passing, I find myself listening and re-listening to French legend Charles Aznavour’s music, especially his signature song “La Boheme.” In “La Boheme,” the crooner reminisces on the days of bohemian Montmartre, a neighborhood in Paris, as he sings about a young painter who looks back on his happy days in the neighborhood despite his hunger.
“Miami (feat. BIA)” – Kali Uchis
A track off her latest release “Isolation,” “Miami” reveals Kali Uchis’ knack for storytelling as she narrates a girl’s decision to buy a Visa and “catch flights to where the grass is greener,” a.k.a. Miami, “the land of opportunity and palm trees.” This genre-defying track showcases Kali Uchis’ smooth vocals, effectively brings her story of going rogue to life, and has a surprisingly warm vibe, which makes it worth listening to when you find yourself dreaming about longer and hotter days.
“Hide Away (feat. Holly)” – Synapson
If you’re a fan of Daft Punk, then definitely check out French electro-house duo Synapson’s music. Their single “Hide Away,” which came out earlier this year, features sleek production with nice, urban and French funk vibes.