Fresh Music Friday

with Jonah & Charlie

The 6/28 Edition


Jonah’s Picks

The Reach (Intro) // Boogie

Perfect for:

  • hustling through a final set in the gym
  • cinematic self-motivation montages

Songs that constantly build to one final, explosive release of tension often don’t create enough interest in the moments leading up to that crescendo, leaving you with a song you end up skipping the first half of — or turning off before the payoff ever comes. “The Reach (Intro)” spends 2:19 building to its grand finale, and not only are they a 2:19 well spent, but they justify the time you have to wait for the last beat drop.

When the drums finally go double-time and the energy finally releases, after building for minutes like a stretched rubber band,it’s glorious and triumphant. A fantastic use of tension, “The Reach (Intro)” expertly keeps you waiting for minutes, and the release is actually worth all the buildup.

Meek Mill’s “Dreams & Nightmares” has its fingerprints on this track, with the emotive piano, hungry, impassioned rapping, and tales of perseverance and beating the odds. Though the “I was broke, now I’m not” story is far from groundbreaking in rap music, Boogie tells it with clever rhymes and engaging musicality. 

As the beat fades into the background, Boogie delivers his parting line: “To get everything I want I’ll just give everything I got.” It’s a little chill-inducing, even if it does sound a bit like a Nike shirt. His commitment is apparent in the song, so the line is well-deserved and believable — you can really feel the dedication and drive behind it.

It’s also a fantastic intro song. I hadn’t even heard of The Reach before this, but after “The Reach (Intro),” I want to hear the whole thing. The song only truly hits its stride in the last third of its runtime, functioning like a musical cliffhanger. If the purpose of an intro song is to make you intrigued about the rest of the project, “The Reach (Intro)” has done its job — and then some.

https://open.spotify.com/track/2spxckaWZep7Z1NL2cxy9j?si=pUirf-ZRQBqALqwfJqgo2g

Saviers Road // Anderson .Paak

Perfect for:

  • cruising with the top down (or the windows, if you’re not so lucky)
  • getting your Cali summer on
  • surfing, skateboarding, or swaggering 

What I like least about “Saviers Road” is the fact that it’s only 2:16 long. The beat alone is one of my favorites from 2018; Anderson .Paak’s verse is dripping in his usual confident, effortless swagger; and the feel of the song is so tangibly bright, warm, and summery you might catch a tan through your headphones. 

The beat drops with whiplash-inducing acceleration, with the tempo jumping slightly as the kicks and snares explode through your speakers and .Paak goes zero to a hundred with no warning. In a half-second, the song transforms from the plodding slow jam that the intro suggests to a head-bobbing sunshine-in-a-bottle summer anthem.

“Saviers Road” is the spirit of seventy-degree summer Saturdays with nothing to do and even less to worry about. Dr. Dre’s influence is tangible here: “Saviers Road” perfectly embodies the west-coast laid-back feel, with rhythmic electric guitar plucks and cruising, meaty kicks and snares. The “extra” sounds — the little *rrrhhkkk* rattle, the intermittent shakers, and the thin, high whistle tone — add personality and that unique Anderson .Paak angle to the song like a secret sauce. 

“Saviers Road” is a simple, straightforward song, which makes it a tough song to make a case for without simply dissecting each element and thus spoiling the fun. The best sales pitch I can make for this summer heater is this: Go find a nice patch of sunlight, grab a cold beverage, then play this song and watch how much better all of that gets.  

https://open.spotify.com/track/3LfnrqODEqXpp7s974cT4z?si=wTB2SJyOTlabNiO7bgh38Q


Charlie’s Picks

Hippies and Cowboys // Cody Jinks

Perfect for:

  • night drives
  • complaining about the establishment 
  • ridin’ off into the sunset

We live in a time where so much of mainstream country music sounds exactly the same. However, this is not the case in the less-popular “outlaw” subgenre of country music. In short, outlaw music is country music that is more focused on telling a story, with an instrumental backing of more “traditional” country instruments: guitar, bass, slide guitar, fiddle, and light percussion, as opposed to the synthetic-heavy instrumental tracks of modern mainstream country. The stereotypical people that would listen to music like this are hippies and cowboys, and that’s exactly who this song is about.

Cody Jinks seems to have the same problems with the modern country scene that I do, as he sings about Nashville’s same-ole formulaic way of producing music, it’s clear how he has always preferred hanging out with hippies and cowboys. You can tell a bittersweet sound in his voice that longs for a time where the Nashville sound wasn’t all the same sounding song.

But this does not mean he has any issues with playing for the people he loves playing for. So grab a $2 beer or $3 well, and sit back and listen to this longing for the good-ole days when songwriting and instrumentation were the most important part of a country song, as opposed to the beat.

https://open.spotify.com/track/72Fnsr9pkCyXCmY3BS7sbx

Get A Haircut // George Thorogood & The Destroyers

Perfect for: 

  • angsty jam sessions
  • “No dad, it’s not a phase, I’m going to be a rockstar”

Remember the angsty phase of growing up? It hit me hard when I was a teenager. I was the absolute stereotype of privileges white kid growing up; but of course, as a teenager I thought things were so terrible and there was no possible way an adult could understand my teenage angst (Hormones are just the worst part about growing up right?). 

And I’m sure that I was not the only kid that thought they were going to be a rock star as soon as they thought about starting a band. However, growing up having played my fair share of instruments this was a little more of a reality for me. Throughout my early life, I was POSITIVE that I was going to be the next famous rockstar. 

That’s where this song comes in. It’s for anyone who’s ever been an angsty teen who didn’t wanna do what the adults in their life tell them. George Thorogood & The Destroyers are known for their bluesy-rock style jam pieces. You might know them from “Bad to the Bone” or “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” pieces extremely focused on the guitar and other instrumental solos, while also telling a story between said solos. So what do you get if you combine the teenage angst of growing your hair long and playing in a band, as well as the totally radical guitar stylings of George Thorogood? I’ll tell you what; it’s a hell of a good song, that’s for sure.

Video Killed the Radio Star // Buggles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwuy4hHO3YQ

Music is, obviously, primarily an auditory medium. But we felt like there’s more to talk about in the music industry than the music itself., That’s why your favorite Sideline Observer music writing team decided that we wanted to add a music video of the week section to Fresh Music Friday! 

For our first music video section, I felt it was only fitting to kick it off with the same music video that would go down in history as the video that catapulted the world of music into the MTV (before the reality shows) age: Video Killed the Radio Star.

 At 12:01 am on August 1st 1981, the brand new channel, MTV, aired the first televised music video, and the world of music would be forever changed. This was a huge game changer when it came to the music industry itself; as normally, the only visual footage of an artist playing their music was live footage of on-stage performance or studio footage. With the dawn of the MTV era, music fans could now see their favorite artists in videos made specifically for small screen viewing.

Video Killed the Radio Star is the perfect example of 80s cheese. The video opens to the band members in large goofy white sunglasses and chrome suits while the female backup singers dressed up as what I can only assume is a parody of 50’s housewife dresses 

On the surface, there is not much else going on in the video besides all of the members singing along, and Geoff Downes playing his multiple synthesizer setup. But there’s more here than you might realize. Even though the goofy chrome suits paired right next to the seemingly old-school dresses might clash aesthetically, the juxtaposition of the two types of outfits can be a clever visualization of the changing medium, how no longer could an artist get away with having good music. If the wanted to make it big, they had to have a killer music video or two along with it.

So even though you might laugh with how primitive it may look when compared to what we have now; Video Killed the Radio Star is still worth a reflection, if nothing else to see how far the music industry has come in just 38 years. Also, to laugh at some ridiculous looking outfits.

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