Music of the Month: August 2017

August has been another great month for music. Each week artists have dropped some really killer tracks. And today I’m going to talk to you about my favorites (except for Kesha’s latest release— I’m going to do a full review for that soon). So sit back, relax, and open up Spotify because you’ll want to listen to all these songs immediately.

  1. “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato: Obviously I had to kick this list off with the best song of the month. The title track of Demi’s sixth album, this song cashes in on the promise that her new music will be a fusion of pop and R&B. Light guitar and heavy drums dominate the track, though the introduction is all horns. Demi’s voice hasn’t been touched at all, preserving the rich, maneuvering quality of her voice. The verses are minimal and vulnerable, while the choruses are booming and choir-like. This song is a miracle and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the album holds.
  2. “He Like That” by Fifth Harmony: This upbeat pop track is easily my favorite on the album. With Camila gone, their music is actually listenable. This song showcases each girl’s voice, an irresistible bassline underscoring the whole thing. It’s a song about how they’re the proverbial flame to their men’s moth, while they also can’t resist him in return. It samples “Pumps and a Bump” by MC Hammer in an organic way. This is the kind of song that you won’t mind getting stuck in your head.
  3. “Body” by LÉON: This laid-back jam is new territory for LÉON. The sound is undeniably hers, but for the first time, LÉON is singing about sex. While most singers emphasize the sexiness of making love, LÉON is far more focused on the romance. Her voice sounds strong, yet elegant. It’s a great track for someone looking for a little soul in their adult contemporary.
  4. “Wonderful Wonderful” by The Killers: This song makes me wish I took dance classes growing up, because I would 1,000% do an interpretive dance (mixed with some ballet and more modern stylings) to this song for a showcase. The only word I can think of to describe this five-minute experience is “atmospheric.” I have no idea what it’s about and it’s been my least favorite track released off Wonderful Wonderful so far, but it creates vivid images in your head. It’s the perfect song for a fantasy.
  5. “Take Me” by Aly & AJ: At long last, the most iconic duo of the late 2000s has returned. Abandoning their unsuccessful rebrand as 78violet, the sisters opt for a more ‘80s vibe on this song. They duet their way through encouraging the object of their affections to take them out. They want to be with this person, but they want to be asked first. Perhaps not the most enlightened of notions, but it’s still a fun song to jam to in the car. I welcome this new era of Aly & AJ with open arms.
  6. “Don’t Say You Love Me” by Fifth Harmony: This is the big ballad on the self-titled album and it does not disappoint. It’s guitar-based rather than piano-based, making it seem fairly upbeat for a ballad. Once again, each girl’s voice shines, the solos perfectly chosen for each girl. The song is a plea to their maybe-significant other to only promise them love if they really feel it. They don’t want lip service or pretty words. They only want the truth. It’s a great track and really shows a level of maturity the group hasn’t displayed before. Definitely give it a listen.
  7. “Look What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift: I kind of hate myself for liking this song. I have mixed feelings on Taylor these days. I no longer believe she’s a total snake (though I maintain she was just splitting hairs over the whole “Famous” thing), but I don’t really like or trust her either. On the one hand, she stood up against sexual assault and has been attacked by the media pretty much since she and Joe Jonas broke up in 2008. On the other hand, she tends to only claim feminism when it somehow benefits her and continuously casts herself as the underdog, despite not having been so since 2009. And this song is not what Taylor really needs to say to win back the general public. She takes no responsibility for her part in anything, instead saying it’s everyone else’s fault for making her act this way. And yet… this is such a dark pop song, I can’t help but dig it. It is far from what she is capable of lyrically, but so were “Shake it Off” and “Bad Blood” and they don’t represent 1989. While some parts of the song are cringy as hell, I still can’t help but get into it.
  8. “Havana” (feat. Young Thug) by Camila Cabello: Oh good, another song I hate myself for liking. I haven’t mentioned this before, but I can’t stand Camila Cabello. She always gave the impression she felt like she was too good for Fifth Harmony, despite being their weakest vocalist. Seriously, her singing voice sounds like someone took a child’s vocal chords and fried them. It’s grating. But she uses her lower register on pretty much this entire song and, for once, doesn’t sound like a dying cat in heat. It’s got a lot of Latin flair and a good groove. While I could do without Young Thug’s verse, it’s still a pretty fun song. Check it out.
  9. “Lonely Night” by Fifth Harmony: This is one of those songs that makes you hate the man you don’t have. The girls sound great on it— fierce, even. What the song amounts to is pretty much just this: if you’re a fuckboy, fuck off. While I by and large prefer Little Mix, this song is the superior version of “You Gotta Not.” And it needs to be a single.
  10. “Comfortable” (feat. Kranium) by Bebe Rexha: A track off Bebe’s most recent EP, this song has a lot of Jamaican flavor (courtesy of Kranium). Bebe bemoans the fact that her boyfriend no longer treats her special because he’s begun to take the relationship for granted. Bebe feels underappreciated and unnoticed. I don’t love Kranium’s verse, mainly because he contradicts this (and because you can hardly understand him). He insists he treats her well and she just doesn’t appreciate what she does. I choose to read it as him being clueless, but it still sends a mixed message. Regardless, it’s got a smooth groove that I just can’t resist.
  11. “Reggaetón Lento (Remix)” [feat. Little Mix] by CNCO: Following in the footsteps of “Despacito” (but being vastly superior), Latin group CNCO added an English-speaking artist to their latest single. They smartly chose British girl group Little Mix. Even though the track is crowded, it doesn’t feel that way. The two groups complement each other perfectly. It’s such a fun dance with a Latin sound track that you’ll find yourself playing on repeat in no time.

Do you like any of these songs? What were some August releases you enjoyed? Let me know in the comments!

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