By Amy Hanna, Production Coordinator
Welcome, one and all, to the first edition of Mood Ring Music. Every week, five brand new musical releases will be ascribed to a color and a mood. Why? Because music is both colorful and moody, and who isn’t a little nostalgic for niche 90’s accessories? No, but seriously, music really does have a stronger relationship with color than you’d think. For me, the two are practically married. I have chromesthesia, meaning when I hear sound, more often than not, that sound has a strong and unbreakable tie to a color, or more than color. These colors manifest themselves differently for many chromesthetes, but for me, it’s kind of like fuzzy blobs behind the eyes. I tend to be drawn to music where those fuzzy blobs are bigger, more unavoidable. But that’s enough about me for now, we’ve got music to get to!
Without further adieu, let’s start connecting those colorful dots.
Mackenzie Scott, better known as Torres, just dropped her music video for “Helen in the Woods”, her newest track off her third full-length album Three Futures, set to drop on September 29. “Helen in the Woods” is equal parts chilling and confident, shrill guitar arpeggiations swirling around Torres’ belting, throaty vocals. Torres appears wide-eyed in the video, her face bending and distorting under harsh light. The song taunts with a “Come out/Come out/Wherever you are,” and ends in a flash–a quick, haunting shock of a tune that’ll leave fans curious for what is in store for the rest of the album. The music video ends with as much surprise, but I’ll leave the plot points for you all to discover.
Mood Ring Verdict: Torres’ “Helen in the Woods” is grey for mysterious.
Björk is back, folks, and she’s back with a song and video so impossibly on-brand it’s ridiculous (but welcome. So, so welcome). Her comeback single, “the gate”, picks up where her last LP, Vulnicura, left off, with all of its mystery, complexity, and splendor. “the gate” feels light as air and encompasses the energy you’ve come to expect from a Björk song. However, the main difference from this and her past works is an almost a complete lack of darkness within this song. Sure, the song is haunting, but more than that, it is a crystal clear portrayal Björk’s personal concept of utopia (which, aptly, is the title of her forthcoming album). “the gate” is accompanied by a mind-blowing music video, featuring Björk adorned in an Alessandro Michele garment that took over 550 hours to make. With the kind of next-level artistry that went into the music as well as its visual component, the anticipation for Utopia is palpable, and ascribing it to just one color feels almost wrong (but it’s going to happen anyway).
Mood Ring Verdict: Björk’s “the gate” is pink for dreamy.
North Carolina MC Rapsody, whose name you may recognize from her scene-stealing verse on Kendrick Lamar’s “Complexion” from To Pimp a Butterfly, returns with a commanding new track that will appear on her first album with Roc Nation, Laila’s Wisdom. On “Power”, Rapsody explores the power structures she faces, cleverly weaving wit with blunt honesty, highlighting the duality of the power she has alongside the power her oppressors have against her. She invites Kendrick Lamar on the track as well, who dexterously offers context to his own relationship with power. With this track, Rapsody further proves she is a force to be reckoned with in the rap game, if her clever thoughtfulness wrapped up delicious old-school hooks have anything to say about it.
Mood Ring Verdict: Rapsody’s “Power” featuring Kendrick Lamar and Lance SkIIIWalker is red for daring.
Moses Sumney‘s debut album Aromanticism is finally out, and the anticipatory build-up of each single and EP prior to release was certainly worth the wait for this solid, shimmery LP. On “Don’t Bother Calling”, Sumney’s voice dances over fuzzy, lilting guitars, feeling absolutely dreamlike as he croons, “No grasp on reality/The world is a wonderland scene”. The whole album, this song included, feels otherworldly, floating somewhere above earth and out of grasp, but in a truly beautiful, coherent way. The corresponding visual to “Don’t Bother Calling” (which you can watch above), further adds to the disembodied quality of the music. Sumney truly draws the listener out of mind and into the sky, a welcome getaway from day-to-day madness.
Mood Ring Verdict: Moses Sumney’s “Don’t Bother Calling” is orange for healing.
Amongst the countless musical offerings about vulnerability that have captured (and broken) hearts in 2017, Phoebe Bridger‘s “Demi Moore” aches uniquely, setting itself apart from any other song this year. “Demi Moore”, from Phoebe Bridger’s debut LP Stranger in the Alps, begins extremely resolute in its longing longing with the line, “Take a dirty picture babe/I can’t sleep and I miss your face.” There’s something powerful in the demand, but with the slow drawl of vocals, the distant hum of the minimalist instrumentation, and the candid progression of the lyrics, the song unfurls into an aching confession of loneliness and insecurity. As Bridgers sings her refrain, “Don’t wanna be alone/Don’t wanna be alone anymore”, the weakness in the words is unmissable. “Demi Moore” is just one of the potently honest tracks on Stranger in the Alps, an absolute must-listen of an album.
Mood Ring Verdict: Phoebe Bridgers’s “Demi Moore” is nude for vulnerable.
Listen to all Mood Ring Music selections below or by clicking here.