My must-listen list of music containing singles and LPs all released between September 19th and September 25th, some of which specifically reference systematic racism and the continued Black Lives Matter protests which have occurred and continue to occur.
"Something's Gotta Give" by Sonna Rele "Feet hurt from all of this marching (I can't breathe) My voice tired from all of the shouting and arguing We need answers to all our questions (I can't breathe) But can anybody tell me why, this system ain't for me? Fist bruised from all of the fighting (I can't breathe) My heart aches from all of the silence, while we're dying You see the nation's divided (I can't breathe) Oh if we can't have no justice, why would you ask for peace?"
"They Don't Care" by Lloyd "The government don't like me, they just fear us Takin' our history, flip it, then fake us Livin' the American dream but all I hear is murder Yeah, all I hear is murder Bloody, bloody murder Livin' the American dream, still I feel they don't care And I feel, they don't ever care enough And I know, they will always fear us"
"Hands Up" by TEC & $tupid Young [TEC] "My hands up but they still shoot I can't breathe, guess they knees is the new noose [...] 'Cause my skin color and my complexion they view as a weapon If I jog through they neighborhood, them bitches just might stretch me Ain't with that peace shit like our ancestors, bitch, we really steppin' They killed Sandra Bland, took a photo right after her soul exit What the fuck is they protectin'? Tear gas us, run us over While a ni*** protestin', used to spray us with hosepipes Pray for the next generation, I been through this shit my whole life Ain't nothin' change, yeah, still the same shit Everybody feelin' like 'fuck the law', lootin' shit, fuck the cause We need justice, them bitches kill us and try to brush it off Had George Floyd handcuffed, suffocatin', beggin' for his momma and all Killed that man on tape with a straight face like it was nothin', dawg"
"Lost Children" by Little Torment "All lives matter once my people's lives matter And when black lives matter, we can deal with our own matters Where's our reparations? 1964 there was still segregation and we need an explanation [...] Ni***s hangin' in trees They saying that it's suicide And ni***s gonna hang me If I get too much shine We can't breathe Police in the rear I got nothin' on me, but I'm still in fear The nineteenth time this year"
"Time To Listen" by Audio Push "Everybody wanna be a ni*** 'til it's time to be a ni*** Well, it's time to be a ni*** right now Who gon' say it? Who gon' be it? There's a difference right now You ain't black, shut up This your time to listen right now [...] The pain left me numb and we scream out defund 'Cause a blind man can see the cops don't need guns Leave out the house lookin' like Amaud Arbery, they just wanna see me run I leave out the house lookin' like Robert Fuller, damn, they just wanna see me hung I seen it before like a rerun Pay taxes for them, we need a refund It's gone always be separation Until my people get reparations"
"Promised Land" by Jackboy "We ain't tryna lose our life to no crooked cop He was a bitch in high school, how you let him call the shot? 'Posed to be here to protect, we're treated like we opp So don't expect a ni*** to freeze, when you tell a ni*** to stop [...] Black lives don't fuckin' matter, they killin' ni***s on cameras now How the fuck I'm from the projects and you still tryna tear me down?"
"Power (Say Her Name)" by iyla "Eight shots to a soul is ungodly You drained all the life from her body [...] Bree can't move on or walk away just like you would Like you could [...] Don't say a word, your silence is louder So we take back your power And lift her in power We yell Black Lives Matter, you scream 'All Lives' But our lives are valued two times while her daddy died There's no excuse to use abuse, construe and make the truth a lie The brutalize, criminalize, disenfranchise, and try to justify"
"You Should Be Ashamed" by PJ Morton "You should be ashamed That nothing's really changed And it's your ignorance That won't give me a chance Because of the color of my skin"
[ ℗ 2020 Voices For Change / EMPIRE. ]
MORE NEW MUSIC
“survivin'” is a less-than-conventional, uplifting pop track for a less-than-conventional year. 2020 has been filled with ads, marketing tactics, videos, etc. all attempting to lift our spirits…filled with people trying to convince us that everything is fine…why can’t we just tell it how it is? If you’re tired of trying to convince yourself that all is well, the new Bastille track is for you. You don’t have to keep pretending like everything’s alright when it’s not. Just tell it how it is…we’re all just survivin’.
"And I'm not gonna lie, say I've been alright 'Cause it feels like I've been livin' upside down What can I say? I'm survivin' Crawlin' out these sheets to see another day What can I say? I'm survivin' And I'm gonna be fine, I'm gonna be fine I think I'll be fine"
[ ℗ An EMI / Virgin Records release; ℗ 2020 Virgin Records Ltd. ]
“Tiramisu” expresses a love that keeps on giving. From the start, their connection made his heart stop. And every time they touch, he feels that same way all over again.
"I wanna start from the start with you again You made my heart stop and start when this began And from the second that I held your hand Baby I feel it again"
Craving this never-ending connection, Hong Kong Boyfriend makes a romantic proclamation in the final verse:
"All I need from you is your time I can fit your heart inside mine You can spend another hour in my bed Keep you warm until it's warm outside Come on in, I made you a place in my heart"
[ ℗ 2020 Hong Kong Boyfriend. ]
“Homies” is an alluring, yet distraught modern R&B love song. It’s the all-too-often ‘friends with benefits’ situation gone disarray.
"I don't need your drama Your Netflix is still logged in Know I worry 'bout your momma But I ain't never gonna call her And I like the things you hate But you still like the way I taste Give it to me softly But break it to me easy Don't link me in the mornin', actin' like we homies"
Rising singer-songwriter Savannah Ré is lyrically bearing it all, hoping to be more than just ‘homies’. To the ‘homie’s out there: drop the drama and the stress already, and give her more.
"You can keep the stress, I want more of you, I want more of us I want less of this, I want more of you, I want more of us I'd be lyin' if I said, I had it all figured Lyin' if I told you I can't live without More of you, more of us"
[ ℗ 1Music; ℗ 2020 Universal Music Canada Inc. ]
British rock duo Royal Blood released a juxtaposition-induced dance rock track in “Trouble’s Coming”. The upbeat-sounding backdrop doesn’t match the dark and tortured lyrics…which duo member Mike Kerr deems as power. He told NME: “the whole song with ‘Trouble’s Coming’ is a feeling, and it’s a feeling that I know well. It’s more about these recurring mental nightmares that I’ve had. I felt more comfortable being that honest, that open and that vulnerable, because the backdrop was so upbeat.” The mental nightmares induce a sense of hopelessness and despair as he can’t cope with his mental unrest.
"I gave my knuckles a run for their money Spider web cracks on the mirror I see someone but not somebody [...] I let me demons take hold and choke on me Can't fill these holes that I'm digging Can't stop my heart when it's sinking But if I could, then I would [...] If I could, you don't think I would pretend Trouble's coming but I still don't know when That's the voice that I can hear in my head I hear it over and over again"
[ ℗ 2020 Imperial Galactic Limited t/a Black Mammoth under exclusive license to Warner Records UK, a division of Warner Music UK Limited. ]
Chris Stapleton has become a staple name in country music following his 5 Grammy wins (3 in 2018 and 2 in 2016). His killer vocals and undeniable lyricism are reeling for more. “Cold” is the 2nd release for Stapleton in 2020, following “Starting Over” (which has over 10 million plays on Spotify). Both songs were released in anticipation for his upcoming album Starting Over, set to release next month. With “Cold”, the impressive singer-songwriter is struggling to cope with a harsh heartbreak. While he was trying to build a future with her, she was leaving a ‘hole in his soul’.
"Girl, the way you broke my heart It shattered like a rock through a window I thought we had it so good Never really saw this comin' [...] Oh, girl you know you left this hole Right here in the middle of my soul Why you got be so cold? What am I supposed to say If anybody ask me about you? I guess I'll tell 'em I'm without you How am I supposed to live When I built my life around you? Try to put yourself in my shoes"
[ ℗ A Mercury Nashville Release; ℗ 2020 Sound Records, under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc. ]
“Average Joe” is a big middle finger to societal expectations and stereotypes. Oscar Scheller is challenging masculinity and ‘cool guy’ prospects because he’s not an ‘average Joe’. Instead, he’s free from the pressures and burdens of adhering to any expectations.
"I don't really cling too much to all that manly stuff I read a poem once that parents fuck you up [...] Your words don't prove that much to me Go ahead and speak cause I don't care about being cool Fuck what they all thought in school Now I'm not your textbook average Joe I'll bend all the rules I play around cause I'm free Can't tell me what masculine means Cause I'm not your textbook average Joe"
[ ℗ 2020 Handle With Care. ]
Jessie Reyez released a third version of her debut album BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US, which was originally released in March. Following April’s deluxe edition, October’s “+” edition features two previously unreleased songs “NO ONE’S IN THE ROOM” and “SUGAR AT NIGHT”.
With “NO ONE’S IN THE ROOM”, Reyez delves into deep personal exploration. She ponders a very critically important concept: who are we once we strip any societal influences over us? We’re told to follow the rules…we’re taught a system of beliefs from the time we’re young…we’re expected to behave a certain way…all because societal influences say so. When we stop allowing society to influence our actions and beliefs, especially at a young age, who are we?
"NO ONE'S IN THE ROOM" "I'd go to church every Sunday But teenage love still took my virgin skin And the night after my first time I cried, 'cause I Thought Heaven wouldn't let me in Meanwhile the priest has got a boyfriend And lots of teachers smoke weed after school When you're young, they try to keep you in the cages but Most of them don't follow their own rules Spend your whole life being graded Being told you're not enough Being told go find the one and sit and wait for death to come But I don't wanna I need to talk to God, there's things I just don't understand Like who am I when no one's in the room? Who am I when no one's in the room? Does the voice in my head, that talks me off the ledge, belong to me? Or does it come from the clouds? Who am I when no one's in the room?
While “NO ONE’S IN THE ROOM” dives into the singer-songwriter’s own personal mental and social dilemma, “SUGAR AT NIGHT” takes a deep dive into her troubled love life. An emotionally abusive and toxic relationship left her with fucked up dreams, scars, a broken heart, and old parts. Along with the Canadian’s consistently powerful lyricism, Reyez’s heart-wrenching vocal performance makes this heartbreak track even harder to swallow. (I also highly recommend the official music video).
"SUGAR AT NIGHT" "You're like sugar at night You just fuck up my sleep You'll never make me a bride You just give me fight scenes You're like sugar at night You just fuck up my sleep You always take away my smile You always fuck up my dreams My dream I could say it's love but it's just highlights Sometimes I wish that you'd have never entered my life My friends would call and say they saw you had a wild night Was so embarrassed when I had to call you my guy You stole my good years and my phone calls I wish I could've seen you comin' in some tarot cards I could've dodged your cheating and some bad scars Now I'm stuck sellin' a broken heart and old parts"
[ ℗ 2020 FMLY, under exclusive license to Island Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. ]
Spillage Village is an Atlanta-based hip-hop and soul musical collective comprised of rappers, singers, and producers. The group was founded by hip-hop duo EARTHGANG and also includes rapper JID, brother producers Hollywood JB and Jurdan Bryant, singer Mereba, rapper 6lack, and producer Benji. Spilligion is their fourth collective album, and includes features from Ant Clemons, Chance The Rapper, Buddy, Ari Lennox, and more. Along with its array of astound musical talent, the album incorporates various genre elements, including that of R&B, soul, gospel, jazz, trap, and funk. It also explores an array of lyrical concepts, including but not limited to the state of the world today, social activism, love, and spirituality.
"Baptize" (with JID & EARTHGANG feat Ant Clemons) [Johnny Venus] "Police, they beat me, we storm the same streets We storm the same black, won't stop 'til we free" [JID] "How you get money and act as if poverty's past tense? We see bad shit happens, but what happens to bad shit? You need your ass whipped" [...] Look at yo' neighbor and say 'Neighbor' Stack up all yo' paper Pray for me, I say a prayer for you, be not forsaken Jump in a lake, let the water run over yo' face We baptize people, now they breathtakin'"
"Ea'alah (Family)" (with JID &EARTHGANG) [Johnny Venus] (Hello?) Surprised you picked up, I know you've been dealin' with the world and all his little hiccups I don't mean to bother you, well yeah, I kinda do See we've been wrestlin' with this nasty plague, that's kinda like the flu I ain't a doctor, I don't know, but I know rich folks dyin' too And I know they gon' get their treatment first, when that shit gets approved, and that's some BS You should've seen the panic on your kids' faces In the grocery line clutchin' tissue up to our breast If it's the end of days, end of times, then here's my last request, I pray for power To strike these cowards down and send 'em straight to You, that Fear disappears and love brings again, clear and truth and peace"
"Oshun" (with EARTHGANG & 6lack feat Jurdan Bryant) [Johnny Venus] & 6lack "Never kiss and tell 'bout you Never say the things you do She said, 'can she keep it?' My love is the deepest Take some time to decompress" [Doctur Dot] "Knockin' on your door, promise I just pulled up for conversation If we take it further, that's a bonus I be outta space, you keep me grounded, I appreciate it I just hope you never leave me hopeless People talkin' gossip, slander, tryna hurt your reputation What they say don't matter, they don't know us What we have is special, fuck whoever say whatever See forever in each other when we focus"
"End of Daze" (with EARTHGANG & JID feat Jurdan Bryant, Mereba, & Hollywood JB) [JID] "When I make it to the heavens, what's the code? Do I call a phone? Security at the gate, no plus one, come all alone? All along the race of life, I took a jog alone Along the coast, I'm tryna cope, I raise a toast And we consulted with the Most High She told me watch my back, front, both sides Hit a few baddies you never smashed 'fore y'all both die Let the smoke rise, take the bodies to the crypts And when the poor people run out of food, they can eat the rich"
"Hapi" (with Benji. & EARTHGANG feat Mereba, Big Rube) [Johnny Venus & Merebda] "Gunshots ringin' in my hood They sound so off-beat I'm prayin' they don't off me I promise I'd change it if I could" [Johnny Venus] "Some say, 'life is just a Hell And it's here we dwell until we're truly, truly, truly free' Some say, 'projects and ghettos and seeds that will never grow All berries to see' I'll stay with you through the night and in the darkest times We'll fight through it all until we reach that dawn I dream of a world where love is the rule Where hearts walk two by two And I with you I dream of a place where a child's wish can always come true And the old and withered become renewed"
"Jupiter" (with Mereba & JID feat EARTHGANG, Jurdan Bryant, Hollywood JB & Benji.) "So hold my hands and dance with me tonight You know, they say we're all about to die And maybe it's the love we all are tryna find Who knows what lies, it's only by design"
[ ℗ Dreamville/SinceThe80s/Interscope Records; ℗ 2020 Dreamville/Interscope Records. ]
Machine Gun Kelly has gifted the world of punk with an album for the ages. Tickets To My Downfall leaves any lifelong punk feeling nostalgic over his guitar-heavy, head-banging tracks filled with emotionally-charged lyricism. The album is a nod to the early 2000s pop-punk scene, and truly does the beloved and iconic era justice.
MGK’s dive back into pop punk has been long awaited as the Cleveland native has spent most of his recent musical career making rap music. In order to circle back to his mohawk-rocking punk roots, he teamed up with legendary drummer Travis Barker to render his first #1 Billboard album ever. Excitement for his pop punk return arose following the release of “bloody valentine” (included in Must Listen, New Music: Week 1) and continued to skyrocket following 2 consecutively great releases in one week (Must Listen, New Music: Week 15) “concert for aliens and “my ex’s best friend”. The #1 album includes features from Halsey, Trippie Redd, blackbear, and iann dior.
Some of my favorite punk-infused lyrics off the album (though it was very hard to choose):
"title track" "I sold some tickets To come see my downfall It sold out in minutes"
"kiss kiss" "Get me out of this house and get me out of my head Get me a drink and cigarette I just need to go out 'cause I can sleep when I'm dead"
"bloody valentine" "I'm overstimulated and I'm sad I don't expect you to understand It's nothing less than true romance Or am I just makin' a mess? In my head, in my head I'm lyin' naked with you, yeah In my head, in my head I'm ready to die holding your hand I don't do fake love But I'll take some from you tonight"
"forget me too" (feat Halsey) [MGK, Halsey, both ] "Hey you Tell me why you do the things that make me Hate you It's an emotional kaleidoscope when I Face you Permanent calligraphy, I just Tattooed Your name on me forever, fuck"
"all I know" (feat Trippie Redd) "My life on the outside's fun to them But the person on the inside is crumblin' All I know is I don't know nothin' All I know is I don't know nothin' at all"
"lonely" "Lonely, lonely, even when the room is full I'd trade it, trade it, I would trade it all for you"
"concert for aliens" "I know that I'm immature But at least I'm not a goddamn failure"
"my ex's best friend" (feat blackbear) "I swear to God, I never fall in love Then you showed up and I can't get enough of it"
"play this when i'm gone" "I wrote you this song to keep when I'm gone If you ever feel alone You're gonna cry and baby, that's alright, it's alright I hope you get to go to all the places that I showed you When I was on the road and couldn't be home to hold you Part of me doesn't want this cruel world to know you So just try and keep in mind everything that I told you"
[ ℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records. ]
Shay Lia- Solaris (EP)