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[new] Buscabulla – “NTE” (94bpm)

Groovy wallpaper to put on while you do some house cleaning or invite friends over for chips and dip. “NTE” stands for “No Te Equivoques” which means, “Don’t get it wrong.” I like the video too. They’re performing right along the water. It reminds me of when I was in Cozumel watching a band play at this bar. Here’s a pic:

Turns out it was shot in Aquadilla, Puerto Rico, not far from Cozumel. I guess the warm waters of the Caribbean make a nice backdrop for a band.

[new] Chord OverStreet – “What You Need” (70bpm)

When done right, Vocoder harmony is a really great sound. Imogen Heap’s Hide & Seek is the quintessential example. Chord OverStreet’s implementation is different, but really well done. The dreamy guitar with the attack removed, (a la Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,”) creates a fantastic atmosphere. I appreciate that he leaves nice pauses between the phrases in the chorus. Most popular music today doesn’t have the courage to take a moments like this, moments to let things breath and sink in. Claude Debussy is quoted as saying that “music is the space between the notes.” Glad to see that they decided to be patient and not rush through it. The chord choices are interesting and not just the obvious ones to go with the melody, and the multipart harmony in the bridge is a nice bonus. I would have liked the bridge to go a little further than it did.

This does fall under the category of “Pathetic Guy Song.” I would advise any guy who feels this way about a woman to seek therapy. You’re in for some really bad times.

When I saw the actual lyrics, I was disappointed. I liked what I thought I’d heard better:

I can take the losing sleep,
There’s pills to help anxiety,
I would take the mess you leave,
If I could give you what you need

[new] Jesse & Joy – Alguien Más (94bpm)

This record is almost reggaeton. The beat technically qualifies as such, but thankfully it bears no other resemblance. I like how this record is put together. The violin part is its signature and it works well. Normally, I don’t really care about the music video either way, but someone put a lot of effort into this one and the results are really beautiful.

[fav] The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights” (170bpm)

This is Max Martin’s 23rd number 1 record and with good reason. You can tell top shelf producers by what they decide not to do. Max Martin’s records are usually stripped down to their most basic parts. He takes those basics and perfects them. No gimmicks, no ProTools plug-in du jour, no adding unnecessary layers. He’s laser focused on just those elements that make a song great, catchy, and memorable. When in doubt, leave it out. 30 years from now, this will still be a great sounding record. Congratulations, Max. You make it look easy.

[new] Luke Combs – “Six Feet Apart” (78bpm)

I’m not so into country music and yes, this song is a bit corny. But I think this track does what country music is supposed to do. This covid-19 thing is awful and singing along with a good ol’ boy while he sings the blues is an American tradition and I like it. By the way, I’d like to know exactly what it is that Luke Combs.

[new] Marshmello, Halsey – “Be Kind” (94bpm)

Producer / DJ Marshmello brings a nice pop record with a memorable, singable melody. It features some nice dynamic range too. One ding: I know he wanted the vocals to sound crisp, but he went overboard with the EQ, making them really top heavy. Sometimes less is more. Still like it though.

[new] Dashboard Confessional – “Circles” (120bpm)

If you want to hear an artist do a cover that’s better than the original, this would be a good example. Post Malone’s original version makes some odd choices. The auto-tune on the vocals makes it sound flat and lifeless. The warbling effect on the vocals during the chorus is distracting, and the whole sonic presentation seems muted, accentuating odd and annoying frequencies.

Dashboard Confessional brings life back to this track addressing the problems mentioned above. Nice job!

[new] Lennon Stella – “Older Than I Am” (59bpm)

Canadian singer / actress Lennon Stella has a really beautiful, touching song here. Beautifully crafted melody, chords, and lyrics. Excellent, dynamic, soulful vocal performance. This is my favorite ballad of 2020 so far. My only piece of advice on this track would have been to back off on the piano mechanics.