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[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] 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.

[new] Astrid S & Brett Young – “I Do” (110bpm)

For a second, I thought Kelly Ripa made a record. I like this track despite several things I don’t like about it. Way overboard on the auto-tune. The same three chords are repeated throughout the song, verses and chorus. How about changing things up for the Chorus, huh? And there’s no bridge. A really good bridge would have propelled this song into something quite excellent. Look for an acoustic version if you prefer that kind of thing.

[new] Christine and the Queens – “People, I’ve Been Sad” (77bpm)

Meet French singer Héloïse Adelaïde Letissier. Sure, she’s kind goofy looking, but I like that. Not that it matters what the heck you look like when you’re making records, but if I’m going to watch someone sing, I’d rather they look interesting and not like every other manufactured pop star. Plus, there’s that bonus mole! I really like the hook on this record. She really brings it with a solid and passionate vocal performance.

[new] Carly Rae Jepsen – “Let’s Be Friends” (135bpm)

Well produced, well crafted pop song. Nice to hear some dynamic range. I wish more pop artists would remember than when they make their entire song loud, then none of it’s loud. You gotta have those mellower parts to make the punchy parts punchy. There is one thing they do in this song which is really popular right now and it bugs me. Instead of doing proper background vocals, they just copy and paste a lead vocal and modify the formant. It’s lazy, dumb, and creatively bankrupt and I wish producers would knock it off. Take the extra time and make some proper background vocals with some three or four part harmony using interesting chords. You spent so much time making the record; don’t blow it by mailing it in with the formant knob!