Headphones: "We the Best Music"
Album of the Week: Grateful – DJ Khaled:Grateful is one of the more diverse and complex of albums I have tuned into. DJ Khaled’s 10th studio album is one to remember, and one explore for the rest of the summer. The DJ included quality artists on almost every track, and produced the tangible chemistry we can hear between them. Khaled pairs Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj, Nas and Travis Scott, Justin Beiber and Quavo. We must give credit to the grateful producer and his imagination; creating memorable songs with artists we wouldn’t normally think to collaborate.
The album begins with a touching, chill-inducing introduction thanking his son and G-d for getting him to where he is today. From the very beginning, you can really feel the intense and careful care DJ Khaled put into Grateful, how he really is grateful for this blessed life. The track begins with majestic sounds surrounding the chirping birds. Khaled thanks his enemies for making him stronger in between Sizzla’s powerful, unique voice.
Last week’s single of the week, ‘Wild Thoughts.’ This song is still so noteworthy; Rihanna and Bryson Tiller add such flare to the already amazing beat coated by a sampling of Carlos Santana’s ‘Maria Maria.’
Beyoncé and Jay Z sure do shine on the second track they’re featured on, ‘Shinning.’ Bey holds the rhythm and truly takes ownership of it. All of the sudden Jay-Z steals the greatly produced beat and spits a flawless verse. Not only is the beat buoyant, but the melody and chorus are incredibly catchy—it’s no wonder this song was an instant hit after its early release on February 13 after the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.
Followed by another already released track, ‘On Everything,’ brings us to the stereotypical music video many famous rappers master. The video sends few messages other than, “Yeah I have tons of money, can’t you tell by the the two huge tigers and old Cathedral/Castle I’m standing in?”
The track itself is more exciting than the visual representation. Travis Scott takes this song, as he recites the simple two words, “On Everything,” and utterly brings the entire song back to organization and cohesiveness. Be ready—this song gets right into the hard hitting rap we would expect of Travis Scott, Rock Ross and sometimes Big Sean.
Several songs are dedicated to executive producer of Grateful, Khaled’s son Asahd. One in particular features another dedicated father and talented artist, Chance The Rapper. Both fathers sing a beautifully cheerful, playful, and soulful song to their children. The song is uplifting and encouraging assuring their children they are indeed invincible. A play on childhood songs such as the “ABC’s,” in the background make the intent of the song very clear.
Another interesting collaboration allows funky dance music into the album with ‘Don’t Quit,’ featuring Calvin Harris, Jeremih and Travis Scott. This song is a great break from the impatient nature of the songs that proceeded it. There are several significant moments on the 23-track record. Overall, good work by Khaled and his eight-month old son.
DJ Khaled certainly has an ear for talent, selecting great contributors and bringing their strengths forward. However, his personal presence in certain songs were almost unnecessary, repeatedly shouting the same sentences such as “We the best music.” I’m happy for the DJ being so thankful, and Grateful he has put together a record with such great artists; some who haven’t released music for many years.
Single of the Week: Feels – Calvin Harris featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean: Holy groovy. The hot track begins in an ominous build up to what you think would be a rap song. Then BOOM! A melodious funky pop song begins. The music video is directed by Emil Nava, and just as electric as the song itself! We’re all of the sudden on a deserted island of virtual reality. The setting appears as a modern play on hippie culture of the 60s and 70s by using vivid imagery like the imaginative colors, and abstract outfits.
Sometimes we forget how awesome Pharrell Williams is because he doesn’t usually appear on the front lines. He’s featured in the video on a boat singing his own incredible lyrics co-written with Katy Perry, Adam Wiles, Brittany Hazzard and Sean Anderson. Katy Perry’s role and chorus to the song are so vital, being the glue that holds all of these powerful elements coming at you in one three-minute song. Her feminine voice is a beautiful addition to Pharrell and Big Sean. Sean’s verse is very natural and one of the best I’ve heard from him. Every person featured in ‘Feels,’ is essential in making this song the impressive three minutes it is. However, it definitely wouldn’t be ‘Feels,’ without Calvin Harris’s electric guitar playing and help in producing the fun track.
The Man -- The Killers: Newly leaked single ‘The Man,’ is an exciting song from The Killers upcoming fifth studio album Wonderful, and explores what it means to be “the man,” meaning “the shit,” essentially. The music video and lyrics are truly alluring against the fun and rebellious sound brought together by the band and skilled producing.
‘The Man,’ played by Brandon Flowers, is filmed roaming through Vegas, indulging in his rich lifestyle and sense of self-confidence. “When it comes to Friday, I always earn/Don’t try to teach me, I got nothing to learn.” There’s something to say about what The Killers are trying to point out here. ‘The Man,’ who considers himself “the man” has a certain arrogance about him. He brags about his material possessions of wealth and is portrayed as very masculine, as he is shown hitting on women and gambling throughout the music video.