Headphones: Drake Announces New Project, Calls Out Cudi

In this week’s Headphones column, we cover some familiar topics, concerts on Netflix and more!

Much like the last few weeks, Drake appears to be dominating the music news, for both the good and the bad.  On Sunday night, Drake announced on his OVO Sound Show that he would be debuting a new project in December titled More Life.  This news comes right before the rapper’s 30th birthday, which happened on Monday.  This is big news for the artist who’s album Views dominated the charts for much of 2016, despite the album only receiving moderate critic reviews.  Drake hinted that the project would be more like a mixtape, featuring music not only from himself but ‘others.’  With this announcement, Drake promptly released 3 new songs on the station titled “Two Birds, One Stone”, “Fake Love”, and “Sneakin’” feat. 21 Savage. 

The ‘bad’ news that got Drake in the headlines was the lyrics in his new songs.  ‘6 God’ took the time to call out Kid Cudi, who is currently in rehab for depression.  You may recall several weeks ago that Kid Cudi did an interview where he called out Drake for his alleged use of ghostwriters.  The Toronto native retaliated in his song ‘Two Birds, One Stone’ saying, “You were the Man on the Moon, now you just go through your phases,” referring to Kid Cudi’s ongoing bout with depression.  The feud has been going on for the better part of two months, so the timing is curious in this situation.  Taking shots at someone with depression is bad enough, but doing it while he is in rehab and unable to defend himself seems low. 

The music itself seems like a anticipated continuation from Drake.  The dismal, 40 production that was cool in 2015 has seem to stuck around.  Here’s to hoping Drake comes up with something new. 

In more cheery news, Madonna and Justin Timberlake have both found one last stop for their world tours… on different streaming services.  Fresh off her Rebel Hearts Tour, Showtime announced that they have made a film with footage from different stops on the tour, which ended in Sydney’s Olympic Park.  The special will air on December 9th.  Justin Timberlake spent the better part of 3 years touring in support of his 20/20 Experience album.  If you were bummed that you missed the N’Sync alumni, you’ll be glad to hear that his tour will be brought to your home, if you have Netflix that is.  The show was filmed at the last stop of his 134-stop tour in Las Vegas and is already available online.    

Album of the Week: Phase – Jack Garratt: The best way to describe Jack Garratt’s introduction to the music world is reflected in the opening track of this album, a song titled ‘Coalesce.’  The singer starts off with unsteady, hopeful plea to establish a connection.  The music is shaky and wavering as is your first impression of the singer’s vocal prowess.  A few lines later, he shakes off the trembling vocal opening, by growling he will ‘Open up your mind’, which he induces with a synth driven backing.  Jack Garratt goes on to do just that on this 19-song debut album.  The 25-year old native of Buckinghamshire, England embodies everything you love to see in music today.  He possesses the vocal chops to play the game, but does all the work behind the scenes as well. On the album credits, you won’t see many names, and for good reason.  Garratt writes, produces, mixes and plays all of the instruments on the album, which only adds to the initial awe he inspires on his professional debut.  The album has its highs and lows, but its most important role is serving as a building block for the young Brit’s career.  His voice has a hazy, blues inspired tone to it (he was first signed as a blue’s artist) while the backing is more of an electro-pop feel.  The combo has his genre floating somewhere in between soul, blues and pop, much like James Bay.

Music Videos

Pop: Don’t Wanna Know – Maroon 5: Adam Levine is back with his group as they attempt to once again be the band to beat in the pop world.  This video has the band dressed in mascot outfits and featuring Kendrick Lamar.

EDM: Closer (feat. Halsey) – The Chainsmokers: The song of the year finally has a video to accompany it, and of course The Chainsmokers side kick Halsey came along for the ride.  The video will be sure to breathe even more life into the track that has been dominating the charts and radio.

Country: It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To: With a voice like Billy Currington’s, its amazing that every song isn’t a hit.  In that, Billy has himself another country smash it in this track which finds himself getting over love.

Hip-Hop: False Alarm – The Weeknd: This song has my vote for coolest video of the year.  ‘False Alarm’ follows the Weeknd on a bank robbery gone wrong, while the camera switches from real life to video game graphics.  Definitely worth the watch.

This Week’s Playlist

1.     Surprise Yourself – Jack Garratt: My favorite song (so far) off our Album of the Week

2.     The Ends – Travis Scott: The opening track of one of this year’s top rap albums Bird in the Trap Sing McKnight.

3.     Jermaine’s Interlude feat. J. Cole – DJ Khaled: The recent news about J. Cole considering retirement almost guaranteed him a spot in my weekly playlists.  This is a fun J Cole feature off DJ Khaled’s album Major Key.

4.     Seigfried – Frank Ocean: Seigfried was my favorite off of Frank Ocean’s summer album Blonde.  It’s also one of the most intimate and emotional songs in recent memories.  The music behind it leaves Frank and the listener in a hazy dream world, where Frank’s voice carries in echoes.  He seems to come forward to the speaker when he drops into an introspective rap, before ending the song with vocals that will give you chills with their perceived pain and longing. 

5.     24K Magic – Bruno Mars: Can’t I just be excited Bruno Mars has a new album coming out?