Animal Collective | “Kinda Bonkers”
They have to be fucking with us at this point. Seriously, who opens a song with, “Life is so French toast to me/ If you wait too long, it gets black and weak”? And just so we’re clear, the meta self-awareness of the title (or the “What the fuck is happening?” line) doesn’t improve the track’s quality. This song (and The Painters EP it’s on) was written during the Painting With sessions, meaning if you liked that record you’ll enjoy this.
Thundercat | “Friend Zone”
Thundercat continues his winning streak with this space-y gem, which name-checks videogames and references Kendrick Lamar. The bubbly vibe from Mono/Poly’s production is fittingly remniscentof FF7’s Forgotten City theme, while ‘Cat’s basslines pogostick around the track. Keep it up, dude.
Maroon 5 | “Cold”
A breakup song released on Valentine’s Day, because why the fuck not? The hook and dancehall-infused production (thanks, Rihanna) aren’t as sugary as previous M5 outings, so take that how you will. They had Kendrick phone in a verse on their last single, so it only makes sense to have Future do the same here; he’s cringeworthy throughout, but the worst line is probably this: “I just spent a half a mil on a chandelier/ Now you tryna cut me off like a light switch”. Can we have the Maroon 5 that made “This Love” back now?
New Found Glory | “Happy Being Miserable”
High school nostalgia is in full effect with candy-coated 2000’s pop-punk complete with whiny lyrics like, “When you throw me under the bus/ Back it up and run me over”. In other words, NFG haven’t changed at all. But their songwriting has been (and still is) better than most of their peers, so it’s probably for the best. If nothing else they still use power chords, so I’ll take it.
Papa Roach | “Help”
Kudos to Papa Roach for sticking with their own brand of inoffensive radio rock. This new arena ballad has a surprisingly strong melody, but suffers from their typically banal lyricism: “‘Cause I’m cut deep, my heart won’t beat/ Deep down low it’s killing me”. Despite that, it’s a success because it’s easy to drunkenly sing along to.
Immolation | “Fostering The Divide”
They’ve gotten better as they’ve progressed both as musicians and songwriters, the latter of which is quite rare in death metal. Ross Dolan’s gutteral bark hasn’t lost any of its potency after 30 years, either. Majesty and Decay is still their finest effort, but the stutter-stomp of “Fostering” and the bulldozing fury of previous single “Destructive Currents,” both from their upcoming LP Atonement, suggest it could be just as good. As with their best material, this is smart and heavy.
Body Count | “No Lives Matter”
Yeah, that Body Count, the one with Ice-T. Rap metal in 2017 is a fascinating anachronism, but he doesn’t give a shit. Add to that such insightful observations as, “And racism is real as fuck/ Ain’t no way to play that off,” and you’ve got…well, you’ve got a Body Count song.