Mood Ring Music – January 8, 2018

By Amy Hanna, Production/Radio Promo Coordinator

And we’re back! Hello, 6/8 followers, and welcome back to another installment of Mood Ring Music. In case you forgot over our holiday break, Mood Ring is 6/8 Music’s weekly blog series in which team member Amy (that’s me) assigns a color and a mood to five of the freshest new songs of the week. Here at 6/8, we think music is colorful, and that embracing the joys of listening is much more fun when you take the rest of your senses into account. We encourage you to listen to these songs, close your eyes, and think of what colors, smells, and sights these songs evoke.

New year, new sensory overloads. Let’s dig in to some of the best new music of 2018 so far!

Top Dawg Entertainment fans, rejoice: the label’s trailblazers, Kendrick Lamar and SZA, have collaborated on what’s sure to be one of the first Top 40 powerhouses of the year, “All the Stars”. Both Lamar and SZA had an incredible 2017, and the success only continued as Lamar scored the opportunity to curate and produce the soundtrack for the new Black Panther film. “All the Stars” is the first song from this soundtrack, and it’s a shimmery hard-hitter that sees ferocity in Lamar’s rhymes and ethereal grandeur from vocalist SZA. “All the Stars” crashes and glows with heavy synth drums and rumbling bass, but the true magic lies in SZA’s glittery vocals. If this song is any indication, 2018 will be just as fruitful for Kendrick, SZA, and TDE as a whole.

Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars” is pale blue for dreamy.

MGMT‘s return to the scene feels like a rattling to life for the entire alt-rock genre. The duo hit major commercial success in 2013 with their self-titled LP, which included the Certified Slapper™ “Electric Feel” that dominated the year in music, and the entire sub-genre for years after. MGMT returned to the scene by releasing the title track of their forthcoming album, Little Dark Age, late last year. They followed up with the deeply trippy “When You Die”. “Hand It Over” is the band’s third offering: a dark, sludgy psych-rock song that feels delicately and relevantly lifeless. MGMT punctuate their sentiments with a singable hook, short and sweet and commanding. For a year as exhausting as 2017 was, the lethargy pervading this tune feels particularly appropriate and comforting.

MGMT’s “Hand It Over” is peach for melacholy.

2018 is the year of the supergroup: large groups of like-minded artists coming together and creating larger-than-life works, usually from perspectives that are sorely underrepresented in music. Superorganism is one of those supergroups, and they are absolutely bringing something new to the table with their newest track, “Everybody Wants To Be Famous”. This song is more than infectious–in fact, it hasn’t left my head since I first listened to it. The corresponding music video is just as iconic, with all its warping images and flashing colors (and the kittens. Look at all those kittens). Superorganism, with their eight-members-and-counting, are engaging listeners in a way that so many other artists and bands aren’t currently doing, and from this song alone, their debut album is already one of my most anticipated of 2018.

Superorganism’s “Everybody Wants To Be Famous” is electric blue for wild.

Synth-pop mastermind Francis and the Lights released a surprise album this week, his first release since his star-studded debut, Farewell, Starlite! The title track, “Just for Us”, is commanding and breezy in equal measure, relying on trademark crunchy synth sounds and Francis’ booming vocals to carry the song into dreamy, romantic territory. Though you may not see his name listed, Francis gets a little bit of help from Bon Iver on this track (the pair have worked on a few tracks together before, and the collaboration tends to be magic). “Just for Us” is earnest and clear, and rings out like the best kind of late Christmas present.

Francis and the Light’s “Just for Us” is bright purple for bold.

There’s something truly gripping about orchestral pop music: the marriage of quick, catching melodies with rich, complex instrumentation. Atlanta-based vocalist and composer Hanna Benn created absolute magic with her latest, “Unfasten”. As you journey through the song, through the world that Benn has formed, you get the best of both the simplicity of a pop melody and the added richness of composed chamber music. The song ebbs and flows through crescendos and stretches of silence, clear progressions and spine-chilling dissonance. “Unfasten” feels like a walk through forbidden wood, with all its combined intrigue and delight.

Hanna Benn’s “Unfasten” is green for mysterious.

Listen to all Mood Ring Music selections below or by clicking here.

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