By Amy Hanna, Production Coordinator
And we’re back! Welcome to this week’s edition of Mood Ring Music. In this series, we focus on five brand new tracks that have come out within the last seven days and ascribe those tracks to a color and mood. Like a mood ring. Hence the name.
Let’s do it.
Yaeji is really, really cool. With all the curiosity this New York-based artist sparks with her unique music and visuals, her coolness through it all is absolutely indisputable. After a stellar debut EP, and a string of singles and music videos released throughout the summer, Yaeji has announced her second EP, led by the single “Drink I’m Sippin On.” This song is laid-back and hazy, flitting between Korean and English-sung lyrics, punctuated by the kind of chorus that sits in the back of your brain and haunts, but never in an intrusive way. For all of Yaeji’s surface nonchalance, her unique approach to house music covers a lot of ground, like anxiety and individualism, and she manages soundscapes that are shockingly grounding for being so light and airy.
Yaeji’s “Drink I’m Sippin On” is green for relaxed.
After Kehlani‘s first full-length release SweetSexySavage at the beginning of this year, and the subsequent splash it made in the pop/R&B world, fans weren’t expecting anything new from Kehlani so soon. Enter “Honey”, the stripped back one-off track that Kehlani dropped with very little warning, and fans of the singer are (rightfully) going nuts. Kehlani’s voice rings romantic and sweet on a simple acoustic guitar, and the song settles slow in the soul as she croons, “I like my girls just like I like my honey/Sweet, a little selfish.” A light-hearted confessional, “Honey” feels like the perfect soundtrack to the end of summer, with its waning warmth and wholesomeness.
Kehlani’s “Honey” is pink for innocent.
Meghan Remy, the creative mind behind U.S. Girls, has never been one to shy away from tough subject matter. In fact, she embraces it, taking bold stances and wrapping them up in interesting, poppy packages.”Mad As Hell”, aside from its title, may sound like an easy listen at face-value, a shiny, clean 70’s disco number, but listening closers proves the track to be anything but. Looking deeper, Remy’s lyics portray her in the role of First Lady to a heartless president. The juxtaposition between the buoyant, hooky track and the music video is stark–the video features Remy green-screened in front of damning imagery of America’s dark history and present. Blatant, unabashed, angry pop music critiquing our current state of affairs is truly welcome right now, and U.S. Girls accomplishes this perfectly.
U.S. Girls’ “Mad As Hell” is red for bold.
Sabrina Claudio has been on a roll this year, but her latest release, About Time, is a brand new feat. This is Claudio’s first full-length effort, but the soulful pop/R&B singer has been putting out tracks on Soundcloud for years, and released the EP Confidently Lost this spring, all the while generating buzz until finally putting out About Time this past Friday. And what an apt title About Time is, since it truly is about time we’ve heard music like this. The final track of the project, “Wait”, traverses through sections that lay slow and sultry, sounds that would feel at home playing softly in a Parisian cafe, and sections that reach stellar heights through Claudio’s impressive vocal range. So About Time isn’t really a debut, but for what it’s worth, with all the range and the sexiness she shows, it’s a multilayered impression that sticks.
Sabrina Claudio’s “Wait” is wine for sensual.
Kelela‘s debut album, Take Me Apart, just dropped this past Friday, and it may be one of my favorite releases of the year already. Kelela’s been on the scene for a while, short-form projects, features, and accolades from some of the world’s best artists under her belt (looking at you, Björk). Still, quite like Sabrina Claudio’s About Time, Kelela’s album feels somewhat like a first impression, and a stellar one at that. Rarely can music accomplish a marriage of old and new sounds so perfectly without being cheesy or contrived. It was difficult to decide which track from the album to focus on, but “Blue Light” felt so tangible, with its visual lyrics, rich interspersed harmonies and almost metallic vocal treatments. Kelela sings, “My chains, they come falling down,” and everything about the music surrounding her words feels like abandon. Take Me Apart is full of moments like this: untampered musical mastery that captures the soul and the senses.
Kelela’s “Blue Light” is black for fearless.
Listen to all Mood Ring Music selections below or by clicking here.