By Amy Hanna, Production Coordinator
Happy All Hallow’s Eve Eve, everyone, and welcome back to Mood Ring Music. Here on Mood Ring, we take a listen to five of the coolest song releases of the week, and we assign each song a color and mood. Despite the time of year, I decided not to go with a spooky theme for these selections, but maybe, maybe some songs will be. You have to read on to find out. So go on, then.
We’re used to hearing Danish singer MØ layered over dance beats crafted by superstar DJs, but with her newest project, MØ steps out on her own, on her own terms. Granted, the songs on MØ’s newest EP, which she dropped unexpectedly to fans this week, feel similar to the hits that broke her out to the mainstream over the past two years (DJ Snake’s “Lean On” and Major Lazer’s “Cold Water”, just to name a few), but perhaps a bit more personal and raw. However, her lead single, “When I Was Young”, feels familiar at first: MØ’s voice rings out like a siren, and the song builds up to an inevitable dancehall drop. But when the song does drop, you get a taste of the 20’s, with spastic big band horns and sweet punctuating vocal touches. With “When I Was Young”, and her new EP of the same name, fans get a deeper look into MØ’s soul, and it’s beautiful.
MØ’s “When I was Young is pink for unique.
Nick van Hofwegen is the musical mind and visual artist behind Young & Sick, an L.A.-based synth-pop project who just dropped a single this week, the first output for Young & Sick since the self-titled debut in 2014. “Ojai” feels like a kiss-off to summer with its bright piano and shimmery disco backbone. The song ebbs from a soulful, minimal intro to a full-bodied shaker of a track, with its cool harmonies and driving beat. The lyrics ache a bit too, Hofwegen’s refrain of “damn you, time” feeling like lost youth days slipping away too quickly. Interesting, and almost more poignant that a song this sonically summery comes out now, as the wind chills and summer dies away. Still, “Ojai” is an enjoyable shot of sweetness all the same.
Young & Sick’s “Ojai” is orange for easygoing.
2017 has been a banner year for Tennessee singer-songwriter Julien Baker, and it’s only going up from here. Her first release, Sprained Ankle, has only been increasing in notoriety, and now with her freshly released LP, Turn Out the Lights, Baker has bared her soul on sparse yet painfully intimate tracks across the board, and her honesty is being recognized, with accolade after accolade from press and fans alike rolling in with each new release. Of the new tracks on Turn Out the Lights, “Televangelist”, a bleak, hazy lament that feels doubly achy coming from an openly queer Christian, stands out among the rest. And to be honest, it might be the punch of her opening line, “My heart is gonna eat itself,” that seals the deal. Baker’s background in studying and loving hymns truly comes to light here, as her words are so active and purposeful like a hymn’s would be. “Televangelist” is a soul-crusher of a song, alongside many others on her latest.
Julien Baker’s “Televangelist” is maroon for hurt.
There’s something so irresistible about confidence, and Josephina‘s latest single proves that to a fault. Josephina’s “Woosah” utilizes the kind of plucky, lush, Caribbean synth sounds found in a lot of charting pop songs at the moment, but in this case, performance really sells. Her fluttery voice grounds the instrumentals with real personality and sexiness. Josephina sounds truly ethereal as she sings about “becoming Woosah”, which, judging from context, may refer to an alter ego, or at the very least, a confident state of mind. In the music video, she performs to herself in the mirror, and the way she’s feeling herself leaves the listener wanting a piece of whatever it is about being “Woosah” that’s made her this magnetic.
Josephina’s “Woosah” is red for confident.
The newest offering from Rhye is plucky, feel-good, and soft in all the right ways. This song arrives four years after Rhye’s last release, Woman, the duo’s critically acclaimed debut. “Taste” is pop, but not quite, R&B, but not quite. Despite this, its production and instrumentation are anything but vague. There’s a slight dissonance throughout, an edginess that creeps through the delicacy and the danceability of the track. The clarinets that pop in and carry the listener out of this world for a moment a welcome touch of delicacy, as well.
Rhye’s “Taste” is seafoam for content.
Listen to all Mood Ring Music selections below or by clicking here.