Headphones: Rae Sremmurd Takes the Top Spot

At last! The day has finally come for The Chainsmokers hit ‘Closer’ to be unseated from the #1 spot on the charts.  Like Drake’s song ‘One Dance’ did earlier in the summer, ‘Closer’ had a record breaking run at the top, finishing up with a streak of 12 weeks at the #1 spot. It took a hit-making machine in Rae Sremmurd to finally end their run, with their latest single ‘Black Beatles.’ The song received a push when it became a viral hit, with a spin off being created by people videoing themselves for the ‘mannequin challenge.’  The challenge depicted people in a group all pretending to be frozen in place while ‘Black Beatles’ played in the background.  While it seems simple enough, it took the Internet by storm, as even former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton got in on the fun, recording her own ‘mannequin challenge’ with campaign staff, Bon Jovi, and former President Clinton on a plane.  The song will likely stay at the top as long as the ‘mannequin challenge’ stays viral, which at this point, looks like it may be around for awhile.

In other news, Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival is getting geared up for its second annual run.  Last March, the festival had its inaugural weekend, which was met with rave reviews.  Led by headliners, Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, and Bassnectar, the festival was one of the most beloved of the year.  So how were they going to follow it up?  Last Thursday, festival planners finally released the lineup for 2017’s weekend, and they didn’t disappoint.  The main headliners are set to be Kings of Leon, Usher & the Roots, Bassnectar, and the Lumineers.  If you look past the first few names, many of the acts set to play are artists that have been showcased by this column before.  Among them are Flume (2016’s Top DJ), Anderson .Paak (November’s Artist You Should Know), Rae Sremmurd (current #1), and SOJA, whose latest live album made our Album of the Week.  With this only being the first of three artist wave announcements, this Florida festival is surely a cant miss spring event. 

Album of the Week: Kings of Leon – WALLS: Disclaimer: This is not the Kings of Leon of old.  Back in 2008, Kings of Leon took the world by storm.  The gritty southern rockers were everything right in a world where Rock music is struggling to find its footing.  Where Rock music used to be the main appeal to the masses, EDM, Pop and Rap have now not only replaced it, but buried it.  New acts struggle to break the surface, and without new blood, it’s hard to create new generations of fans.  In 2008, Kings of Leon was the lone exception.  The gritty southern rockers emerged from their garage and began playing for their world off the strength of their album Only by the Night.  They helped renew a bond between Rock and the masses that had been so strong throughout much of the 20th century.  Fast forward to today, and we have a much different group.  As if 2016 hasn’t been odd enough (cough cough* Donald Trump), Kings of Leon has crossed the line of going commercial.  Like many rock/indie bands that have come up in the last decade or so, Kings of Leon’s sound has left its southern rock roots and moved towards a progressive alt rock sound that is led by yawn worthy synthes and over dramatic guitar waning. The album reads as a cry out for help from a band that continues to waste its once heralded ability to produce radio-worthy rock records.  Even the reliable vocals of frontman Caleb Followill are wasted here, as he finds himself mumbling through ballads or wasting them on cringe worthy attempts to reanimate 2008’s hit ‘Use Somebody.’  We can only hope that the group once heralded as saviors of Rock and Roll can go back to the drawing board with something other than a third tier U2 album.

Music Videos

Pop: Dangerously – Charlie Puth

EDM: My Way – Calvin Harris

Alternative: WALLS – Kings of Leon

Hip-Hop: Drug Dealer - Mackelmore

Honors: Leonard Cohen Passes: While last Thursday began with exciting announcements for music in the future, the music community received the crippling news that Singer-Songwriting legend Leonard Cohen had passed away at the age of 82.  His passing actually occurred on Monday the 7th, while the news was confirmed via his Facebook page on the 10th.  While the direct cause was not given, it is believed that his fight with cancer was a contributing factor.  Cohen, who began songwriting in the 1960’s, is talked about in the same breath as rock and roll legends Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. While he began his career as a published poet and author, he found a home in folk-rock.  He recorded his first album in 1967 titled Songs of Leonard Cohen.  His success left an impact throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and on generations of fans and artists alike.  His songs were unapologetically honest, never afraid to talk about love, war, sex or depression. 

This Week’s Playlist:

1.     Remember Me? – Kyle feat. Chance the Rapper: Remisicent of G-Eazy’s flow, Kyle has made a strong emergence as an up and coming rapper.  Adding Chance the Rapper as a feature is definitely a way to bump your profile.

2.     WALLS – Kings of Leon: WALLS seems like a much more tame, heartfelt Kings of Leon. The new album was the band leaning alternative.  The music sounds much like a U2 album or Mumford’s last Wilder Mind

3.     Me and Your Mama – Childish Gambino: We finally have our first single from Gambino’s upcoming album, which is due out in early December.  The song is… interesting to say the least, as we find the Atlanta based rapper going emo and not rapping.

4.     Tessellate – Ellie Goulding: Saxophone + Ellie Goulding’s voice = A good time

5.     Setting the World on Fire – Kenny Chesney feat. P!nk: Off of last week’s album of the week, Kenny Chesney finds himself back in the hunt for Country’s biggest star.