New Music Friday: September 4

September has arrived and as the weather slowly transitions from seasonably hot into seasonably cool, the music on the other hand is still heating up! Summer 2020 has been amazing so far for the music industry and us, the fans/listeners all around the world. I’m really looking forward to what’s in store this month! This week we have all new music from indie pop band AJR, rising pop singer-songwriter Ava Max, a collaboration between British singer HRVY and DJ Matoma, Grammy-winning artist/producer, FINNEAS, and last but not least, Grammy-winning singer, Aloe Blacc.

“Bummerland” by AJR

Indie pop band AJR got a head start to New Music Friday this week by releasing their brand new song (1st during quarantine), “Bummerland” on Monday. As a hardcore AJR fan, I’m pleased to report it’s another earworm! I’ve already listened to it >10 times and it’s on my pandemic playlist as we speak. They simply cannot make a bad song! This whole entire song and it’s production values put a smile on my face. The band hopes it connects well with their fans considering how drastic life has taken this year in 2020. “You’re only going up from here!” Listen to this song if you want to be happy! Hear it for an instant pick-me-up for when you need to de-stress.

Recently, the trio of brothers filmed the song’s music video with their childhood friend, Edoardo Ranaboldo in Long Island at various farm locales like Lavender By The Bay, Browder’s Birds, and Shorecrest Bed & Breakfast. These places look lovely and feel refreshingly calm to roam in judging by the video’s visuals. I want to ride on an inflatable flamingo strapped on top of an SUV, stand within a huge lavender field and bang on over-sized drums in the middle of a tall field free from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

When I watched the video on the day it premiered, I was caught off guard (in a good way) by the bald caps they wore in relation to the lyrics in the first verse, “This month I got seven haircuts/And now my hair is all gone/It’s sad but I’ve been alone for too long/So I keep getting haircuts.” They “suffered” for their craft and I loved that!

I appreciate the song’s unique construction, the uptempo beats and soaring energy. Overall, my favorite part was the bridge (as illustrated by the single artwork) where it transitions from Ryan’s “daa, da, da’s” to the instrumental versions (ex: trumpet, keyboard) in rapid succession. Like what other contemporary artist does that!?! Simply genius!

I can’t wait to hear this live in person in concert when they launch their next major tour in support of their upcoming fourth album next year. I’m genuinely stoked to hear what a post-Neotheater album will sound like. How about you? 🙂

“OMG What’s Happening” by Ava Max

American singer-songwriter, Ava Max is counting down the days until her debut album, Heaven & Hell drops on September 18th! She just released another promotional single from said album called “OMG What’s Happening.” This track is for those who just dumped their boyfriend or girlfriend and subsequently having second thoughts and regrets. You are then in a state of confusion. Love is truly complicated for folks so what better way to channel that energy into song!

This track will appear on her album’s Side A: Heaven section. She provided another catchy upbeat song for her fans and I wanted to point out the cleverly written bridge section which goes, “Ugh, what have you done to me?/ Somethin’ about your face, I don’t know whether to kiss it, or punch it/ If you don’t get away from me right now/ I swear to God, I swear, uh!” I felt that scream by the way. I thought that was a nice added section to the song! Also, the magnet notion in the chorus perfectly illustrates this push and pull of a complicated relationship.

I enjoyed this song from Miss Max and if you’re a fan of her previously released songs like “Sweet But Psycho,” “Salt,” and or “Kings & Queens,” then you’ll likely love this new one as well. You can expect all of these songs plus more giving us a grand total of 15 songs off her first full-length album. What are your thoughts about this new song/lyrics? Voice them in the comments box down below.

“Good Vibes” by HRVY & Matoma

21-year-old British singer-songwriter, HRVY has teamed up with Norwegian DJ/record producer, Matoma for a feel good song called “Good Vibes.” I picked this song because the message is clear and simple, just have good vibes! Play this song when you want to rid of the negativity in your life. Dance along with your friends and family to this song and all of your worries and troubles will melt away!

Say no to the haters, the doubters and the critics. The power of positive thinking will inspire you to lead a healthier lifestyle with less stress and higher self-esteem. By staying cheerful, it will rub off on others when they see you, so feel free to share this jubilant song around!

Fun Fact: Fellow Brit singer, MNEK co-wrote and provided background vocals for this track.

Other chill songs like this that released earlier this year that will complement well with this track and vice versa include Surfaces’ “Sunday Best” and KENZIE’s “EXHALE” feat. Sia. Give those a listen too if you haven’t done so yet and let the happy playlists expand! 🙂

“What They’ll Say About Us” by FINNEAS

FINNEAS, the Grammy-winning artist and big brother to Billie Eilish (also a multi Grammy Award winner) just dropped a sweet and tender song called “What They’ll Say About Us.” The lyrics to this emotionally moving song were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement which emerged to the forefront in the news/media earlier this summer after the unjust murder of George Floyd. So much unrest, and worries on top of the scary bad news cycle of the pandemic that filled 2020 thus far!

In an ET Canada interview, he told them that he wrote it on a day of a BLM protest. He had just gone out to voice his support of the cause alongside his girlfriend and felt optimistic of the future that particular day. “I think being surrounded by people who also see the flaws in the system is a really positive experience ’cause you go, ‘Oh, my God, I’m not the only one.’”

Another part of the song was also inspired by the late Broadway actor, Nick Cordero, whom tragically succumbed to the deadly COVID-19 virus back in July, his wife, Amanda Kloots and 1-year-old son, Elvis. He never met them but he was so intrigued by the family that he stayed updated through Kloots’ Instagram posts/stories.

He definitely crafted such a special song about them. Kloots shared on her Instagram Story recently that it was a touching and beautiful ballad to hear. The last line of the song will really hit you in the feels which goes: “I wish you could see him/ He looks just like you.” 💔😭

FINNEAS also revealed in that same interview: “I kind of wrote this song as if you were singing to your loved one who was in a hospital bed while the world was protesting outside. I did make a point to keep the song fairly ambiguous because I know everybody’s sort of going through different circumstances of the same things right now.”

Hopefully, this song will provide some comfort for listeners out there who feel the pain of a lost loved one or anything in life that has taken a drastic turn this year that makes you feel lost, confused, hopeless, angry, upset, etc.

Hold On Tight” by Aloe Blacc

Capping off this week’s picks is Aloe Blacc’s new single, “Hold On Tight.” This feel good song from the Grammy-winning artist was made for those out there who could use some encouragement, compassion, and understanding when times are tough. Have a friend or family member that you really love who’s going through some pain either emotionally or physically? Then perhaps if you send them this song to listen, they can open up to you and tell you what’s wrong or why they feel sad, etc. You can be their emotional support during this time! 🤝

Sonically speaking, Blacc has produced another great jam that also contains an uplifting background choir and beating drums alongside his soulful voice. In terms of the lyrics, they speak for themselves. For example in the chorus where Blacc belts out, “When the rain come/ And the sky’s falling down/ In your darkest hour/ When there’s no one around/ It won’t be long/ Keep your head strong/ Hold on tight to me/ Hold on tight, hold on,” I felt the connection of human empathy. There will always be light at the end of the tunnel. Dark times will always lead to brighter days ahead.

As we all enter the unofficial ending of summer 2020 a.k.a. Labor Day Weekend, remember to stay safe, be kind to people, treat others how you want to be treated and happy listening! I hope you’ve enjoyed these selections this week. If you liked what you’ve read, please hit the follow button so you’ll be notified when future posts get published.


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