Headphones: A Time for Experimental Collaborations

Rarely are we let down by the creative visions of U.K. band Coldplay; their new short EP is no different. Lana Del Rey leaked another two singles off her upcoming album "Lust for Life," both of which feature A$AP Rocky. You'll be pleasantly surprised to find their styles suit each other quite well. Jay Z's "4:44" album title track now has a controversial music video to illustrate some of Jay's thoughts. Alt-J released a video for "Deadcrush," an abstract track from their new album "Relaxer." 

Album of the Week: Kaleidoscope – Coldplay: Ah classic Coldplay, with their experimental genius. "Kaleidoscope," the band's 13th EP release serves as a continuation of their 2015 EP, "A Head Full of Dreams." In this short compilation, the group reverts to their typical rock/alternative sound, while preserving their new pop-EDM sound that’s in such high demand. "A L I E N S," an early released single, perfectly combines characteristics from the classic alternative rock band Coldplay and the futuristic alternative-EDM connoisseurs they are becoming. Electronic synths interject with Coldplay’s creatively assembled flow as Martin sings about refugees metaphorically being aliens.  

Their first track "All I Can Think About Is You," is psychedelic and sweet, nostalgic and moving. It takes you to another place in your mind only you have access to. Chris Martin’s role is essential with his soothing and distinct vocals. A simple, but loud piano tune is combined with several layers of acoustic and electric guitar/bass licks and uplifting noise to create a great explosion and hook for the five-track album.

Coldplay tranforms with the music scene on their second track, "Miracles," featuring an unexpected verse by Big Sean. The band involves funk, EDM, dance, and rap in these four and a half minutes. The catchy, groovy guitar loop is surrounded by disco/funk and pop music. The lyrics are touching and inspiring and we are truly satisfied with the meaning of the song. Then, Big Sean’s arbitrary appearance adds even more to the track and proceeds Martin’s personal lyrics with his own experiences in seeing "miracles" and never giving up.

"Something Just like This," featuring the popular Chainsmokers duo, is one of the more brilliant collaborations I’ve heard in a while. Those people who enjoy the duo's sound can now listen to their energizing music while having Martin’s great, soft voice in the same song. An electric guitar sonically swallows the pop-EDM drops added by The Chainsmokers at just the right moments.

The final track gives us something completely new with light, imaginative piano and xylophone-like sounds, accompanied by touching lyrics. “Now I'm hyp, hypnotized/Yeah I trip, when I look in your eyes.” The album comes full circle encompassing that same nostalgic, sad-and-happy-at-the-same-time feeling.

Single of the Week: Summer Bummer – Lana Del Rey featuring A$AP Rocky & Playboi Carti: An unsuspectedly successful collaboration drives Lana, A$AP and Playboi in this performance. The slowed, haunted sultry beat is powerful behind these three individual artists. Lana really stepped up her game with this single on her upcoming album "Lust for Life," to be released July 21. The single is an incredibly rhythmic hip hop beat coated with a downbeat piano melody and Lana’s delicate, sexy tone. A$AP’s verses echo and stick, sounding unusually good with Lana’s vocal. Playboi gets nothing but “yeahs” and “ums” in the background; facilitating the rhythm but fundamentally not adding much.

Music Videos

Hip-Hop/Rap: 4:44 – Jay Z: A heavy collection of meaningful videos and snippets to again try paint a picture of Black America. Jay Z has reached the point in his career where he is fully aware of his powerful voice and influence on others, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be using that platform to make a statement. The video features a young boy beautifully singing Nina Simone’s "Feeling Good," concert footage of Beyoncé and Jay, emotional dancing, fist fights and so much more.

Alternative: Alt-J – Deadcrush: This is the perfect way to depict how complex Alt-J’s music really is. Every miniscule drum strike is so important in establishing their identity. The interpretive music video was choreographed by Darcy Wallace and directed by Young Replicant. The visual representation of "Deadcrush," explores the literal sense of the word — what famous dead person is your crush? Lead singer Joe Newman selected American photographer Lee Miller, Alt J’s drummer Thom Sonny selected famous writer Sylvia Path and finally keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton selected Anne Boleyn, previously known as the Queen of England. The band’s deadcrushes, Sylva Path, Anne Boleyn and Lee Miller are all featured dancing around a creepy, deserted building.

 Update: Daddy Yankee reflects on being the first Latin artists to reach number 1 on Spotify.

Listen to Tyler, The Creator’s new track "Boredom" featuring Rex Orange County, Anna Of The North and Corinne Bailey Rae. Another hit resonated with the public; "Who Dat Boy" is Tyler’s first ever Billboard-charting single

The Foo Fighters got Boyz II Men singer Shawn Stockman to feature on their “heaviest” track on their upcoming album 'Concrete and Gold."