By Amy Hanna, Production/Radio Promo Coordinator
Welcome back to Mood Ring Music! Another week has flown by, Hanukkah has begun, we are now only a week away from Christmas, and the new music releases are aplenty. This is the last Mood Ring Music edition before all of us at 6/8 Music take a quick break for the holidays, so we’re going to leave you with five extra-vibrant new songs to listen to. As always on Mood Ring, we’ll assign each of this week’s selections a color and a mood, according to the flashes of color I associate with the music upon first listen (thank you, chromesthesia).
Let’s get started!
Meet Brockhampton: one of the biggest boybands of the moment, if not the biggest. To those who have not yet been introduced, Brockhampton is a group of creators who connected on a Kanye West fan forum and have been releasing some of the most ambitious music and visuals throughout all of 2017. Upon first listen to Brockhampton’s music, the “boyband” descriptor might feel a little off, as boybands usually embrace a clean, poppy sound where Brockhampton rap with a kind of attack that doesn’t really skew clean or poppy at all. However, the hype and fierce loyalty Brockhampton have built up amongst their fans can only be compared to boyband crazes like Beatlemania, the BSB/NSYNC fever of the 2000s… the list goes on. “Boogie” is the first single from Saturation III, the third and final album in Brockhampton’s Saturation series. The song bursts with color, bombast, and personality, allowing each rapper and vocalist to shine, flex confidence, and introduce listeners to their personalities, as shiny brass booms in the background. “Boogie” echoes the massiveness of Brockhampton’s impact, proving that they are, as they claim, “the best boyband since One Direction.”
Brockhampton’s “Boogie” is cyan for courageous.
Fifteen-year-old Billie Eilish has absolutely exploded this year, enchanting the masses with her shockingly well-developed sound and tender vocals. Eilish surprised fans this week with “&burn”–a stinging, minimal gem of a track that feels light as air while simultaneously evoking the heavy weight of heartache. The song features Long Beach-based rapper Vince Staples, whose verse cuts with more straight-forwardness and less irony than we tend to hear from him on his own music. Staples’ bars give the song an extra push, locking in the emotion Eilish created throughout the track. Sometimes the youngest voices are the most honest, the most valuable. Eilish proves that and more; she is a force to be reckoned with, a shooting star that is sure to only pick up steam in the coming new year.
Billie Eilish’s “&burn” featuring Vince Staples is red for hurt.
As a North Carolina native, there’s a certain pride I feel whenever I listen to the gorgeous work of Durham-based indie synth-pop outfit Sylvan Esso. The band released their stunning, forward-moving sophomore album What Now earlier this year, and have come back with more beautiful music this week. “There Are Many Ways To Say I Love You”, a Mister Roger’s Neighborhood original that’s warmer than words, has received the Sylvan Esso treatment, and it’s absolutely heart-melting. The duo keep things simple with this cover, using just vocals and guitar, letting the simple, poignant words of Fred Rogers speak volumes. Press play, and give your soul a warm hug.
Sylvan Esso’s “There Are Many Ways To Say I Love You” is rose red for affectionate.
N.E.R.D already received a feature on Mood Ring Music with their comeback track “Lemon” last month, but since their newest album, No One Ever Really Dies, has just dropped, and it’s absolutely killer, I will be highlighting another vibrant offering from the group. N.E.R.D is one of Pharrell Williams’ musical outlets, and as an artist and producer with a keen ear for style as well as a strong voice for justice and affecting real change, this new album is a real feat in the name of politically charged music. “Don’t Don’t Do It!”, perhaps one of the most star-studded tracks with a Frank Ocean-penned intro and a Kendrick Lamar feature, recounts the shooting of 43-year-old Keith Scott. The song traverses through lush, laid-back instrumentals into a more charged, manic delivery, aided by Kendrick’s trademark frenetic flow. “Don’t Don’t Do It!”, deeply relevant on an artistic and social scale, is one of the most special song releases of the year.
N.E.R.D’s “Don’t Don’t Do It!” featuring Kendrick Lamar is yellow for outspoken.
Over the past few weeks on Mood Ring, we’ve been featuring one fresh holiday track in each post, to keep things festive for this time of year. Our final festive addition to the Mood Ring repertoire comes from California rock band Wavves in the form of a fuzzy cover of the Charlie Brown classic “Christmas Time is Here”. Wavves’ take on the classic carol originally by Vince Guaraldi is fully original, offering signature California warmth and distortion to this otherwise sharp, shrill carol. Still, all the musical choices, however unique, feel very apt for the song: the guitars swirl like snow, and the vocals feel far off and melancholy, in the very same way that makes the original so special. With this cover, Wavves gives us a taste of a California Christmas that still feels appropriately chilly.
Wavves’ “Christmas Time is Here” is grey for distant.
Listen to all Mood Ring Music selections below or by clicking here. *
* The song “Christmas Time is Here” by Wavves is not available on Spotify, so it will not be included in our Spotify playlist. Please listen to the song on YouTube above.