Editor’s Note: This is a weekly music article recommending new as well as old songs to diversify your playlists. You can find the playlist here.
I was going on a little road trip last weekend after the 4th and for me it always seems I run into problems whenever I decide to travel. When I went to Los Angeles for spring break I literally lost my car keys a day before we left and I almost decided not to go, what a mistake that would’ve been. This time as I prepared to leave for Indiana my laptop went AWOL and I couldn’t access any of my documents and I was stressed. It seemed like everything in the world was going against me, but as we started the road trip, I took a step back and just lost myself in thoughts as the forests of Michigan were replaced with the cornfields of Indiana. There’s something just really comforting about taking a drive and jamming out. I remember for a while when my nephew was a baby we could only get him to go to sleep by taking a drive and playing his favorite songs. It helped out that these last two weeks has provided a lot of good music for me to listen to on the four hour drive down. I’m going to mix it the new with some good ole classics to listen to for road trips, so they’ll be a couple more suggested songs than usual, explicit warning.
“Entropy” by Daniel Caesar
I was going to stop recommending Daniel Caesar, but then he dropped an album this month and it’s incredible. “Entropy” is the first song off the album and, man, does it set the tone. It’s like a basketball game and in the very first play, one of the teams hits a half court shot, and you can tell they’re on their game. The number one thing that stood out to me from this song is the lyrics particularly the line, “I hated myself when I was a boy. Now that I don’t, they’re tryna take my joy.” I related to that so hard when I heard it I literally said out loud, “Damn, that’s real.”
“Frontal Lobe Muzik” by Daniel Caesar featuring Pharrell Williams
This is the best song on the album to play in your car at full volume. The bass bangs, the chorus is relatable, the pre-chorus is sung beautifully, and the outro slaps. The pre-chorus is what I want to shine a light on the most. Caesar applies some autotune on his voice and it is one of the most audibly pleasing things you’ll ever hear. My singing voice is kind of trash and even I sound good with some autotune, so Caesar using it is like giving a millionaire a billion dollars.
“Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green
This is such a classic song and I recommend you listen to it if you never have, but I really despise the pause in the chorus, I think it makes the song paced weird. It’s still a great song though especially for Valentine’s Day or if you’re traveling on the road with your special someone like Ben and Leslie were on “Parks and Recreation.” This song was actually playing when I had what I considered my first official kiss. It was awkward and terrible and this song is lucky it’s so good otherwise I would never listen to it because it reminds of that embarrassing moment in my life.
“Summertime in Paris” by Jaden Smith featuring Willow
When I first listened to Jaden Smith’s music I was skeptical because I was like: is he actually going to be good? Or, is this just going to be some privileged kid who has too much money? I was pleasantly surprised that it was the former and not the latter. Sometimes the lyrics are a little corny and generic, but they’re relatable and the production is always upper echelon with Jaden Smith songs. On a side note big thanks to Jaden Smith for all the humanitarian work he’s done for the city of Flint, Michigan. I appreciate that he’s using the platform and the resources he has for good and seeing his growth as an artist and person overall is satisfying for me to see because as celebrity he’s like the one I grew with.
“Wait a Minute!” by Willow
On topic of the Smith’s, his sister, Willow, has also grown as an artist from her “Whip My Hair” days. On this song she sounds like a lot like she’d be an artist from the U.K. rather than the U.S., kind of like Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. The song itself sounds like it could be played at Woodstock, it just gives a good vibe. I also like when artists use punctuation in their song titles, I think it makes the song stand out and I’m more likely to notice it and listen to it.
“No One” by Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys and a piano is an iconic duo up there with Kanye and Jay-Z, Pippen and Jordan, Pierre Borne and Playboi Carti, Stockton and Malone, etc. This song was released in 2007 though, can you believe that? It’s been 12 years since it was released. Back then I actually mixed up Leona Lewis and Alicia Keys a lot and I also thought Christopher Colombus was a good guy. Man, how times have changed. Back to the song though, play this song anywhere and everyone will know the lyrics.
“Costa Rica” by Dreamville, Bas & JID featuring Guapdad 4000, Reese LAFLARE, Jace, Mez, Smokepurpp, Buddy & Ski Mask the Slump God
I think this the best song that came from “Revenge of the Dreamers III” album. I love the concept of this album of all these people working together and this song is a shining example of what can result from coming together like this. All the artists on this song and the album in general really pushed each other and the verses and flows on this song is crazy. Ski Mask especially goes crazy on this song, “I got too much skills. I flow like the water, so surprised I did not grow gills. And I am your father like you was Luke Skywalker. And I conquer and let it burn like Usher’s perm and kill confirmed.” I mean I could never think of a bar that’s as hard and as outlandish as that.
Under the Sun by Dreamville featuring J.Cole, Lute & DaBaby
The beat, holy cow, oh my gosh, oh my word, oh my stars, that’s the only way to describe it without any expletives. J.Cole is really in his bag right now because his features are guaranteed fire every single time and DaBaby’s flow is nasty even though he uses it in a lot of his songs. It’s one of the best flows in the game, second only to Ski Mask. Kendrick Lamar is also on the chorus, but is uncredited.
“Seize the Day” by Avenged Sevenfold
High contrast from the last song, but impeccable song for when you hit those long stretches of cornfields. At first you enjoy the song for the surface value and then you hear the morbid lyrics and you start thinking about how fleeting life really is and all the things that you could’ve done and all the things you missed out on because your own mistakes and how important each moment is and then you look at your reflection in the car window and you’re like, “Man, when did the time pass.”
“American Boy” by Estelle featuring Kanye West
As you’re lost in those deep introspective thoughts caused by the last song, this song will come on and pull you out of that funk and hopefully into some happier memories. It was released March 2008 and I just want to say that era like 2007-2010 had a lot more classics than you would think like I really didn’t like rap in the 2000s but the pop songs of that era are super underrated. The song has one of the best hooks. I didn’t listen to the full song by itself until I was 14 and I still sung the hook to myself sometimes.
I hope you enjoy the songs for the week and if you have any songs to recommend to me, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.