Top 10 Tracks – October 2019

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Top 10 Tracks – October 2019

Jackson Wyatt, Digital Editor-in-Chief

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October is a month that is almost rightfully glorified. With the weather shifting into a comfortable, cooler fall medium and the excitement of the holiday seasons oncoming, everything seems to be falling perfectly into place. Surely, though, no month is wrapped up in a bow, and the musical landscape of October was just as complicated as any other period of the year. Out of any tumult, though, came the wonderful release of the following ten tracks.

 

  1. Doja Cat, ‘Bottom B****’

Few artists currently in the game exude as much confidence as Los Angeles rapper and singer Doja Cat, and ‘Bottom B****’ continues this streak with lyrics alluding to lavish outfits, a fast lifestyle and the dynamics between her and a female partner. The blink-182-sampling instrumental and Doja’s autotuned crooning create a nice blend of emo and trap, resulting in a banger equally glitzy and gritty in its execution. ‘Bottom B****’ is so strong because it is composed of bold risks that pan out wonderfully, a talent that Doja seems to be continuing to perfect. Despite what its title may suggest, this cut definitely rises to the top. 

 

  1. BAMBARA, ‘Serafina’

Brooklyn post-punk trio BAMBARA are no strangers to walking on the dark side of life, and their recent single ‘Serafina’ sees them spinning an especially grim yarn. As the tale goes, a girl named Sadie meets an arsonist named Serafina and offers to accompany her as a runaway across the country, burning cars and developing a Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque romance along the way. It is storytelling at its finest, with BAMBARA building a gothic, ashy world of smoking mattresses and abandoned malls behind their furied guitar passages. By the end, it all comes together in a way so pleasing that it should be criminal.

 

  1. billy woods feat. FIELDED, ‘Western Education is Forbidden’

Always keeping his face and true identity hidden to the public, underground New York rapper billy woods chooses to expose himself through the complex confessionals and tight rhymes he spits on every track. ‘Western Education’ is no different in that sense, shooting out reference after reference to build an enormous tapestry of paranoia and doubt. woods is ultimately interested in cooling down, though, with a beautiful passage from singer FIELDED and an icy, smooth instrumental underscoring his churning sea of thoughts. He may forbid western education, but billy woods seems to have a lot to teach us.

 

  1. Halsey, ‘clementine’

The past few years have seen New Jersey singer-songwriter Halsey’s meteoric rise from indie wonder child to global pop star, but the recent single ‘clementine’ sees her returning to a more introspective, understated tone with dazzling results. As she details thoughts of self-doubt and the struggles of letting people into her complicated life, a stuttering trap beat and forlorn piano keys help Halsey paint a nuanced, navy-blue picture of mental illness and love. It is refreshingly vulnerable, emotional and polished, leaving the listener with a taste in their mouth that is bittersweet instead of sour.

 

  1. Danny Brown feat. Run The Jewels, ‘3 Tearz’

Nobody does oddity better than Detroit rapper Danny Brown, and his recent single ‘3 Tearz’ pushes his boundaries harder than ever before. Over clunky, galloping drums somewhat akin to a palpitating heartbeat, Brown is assisted by hip hop heavyweights Run The Jewels in tying together drug deals, The Big Lebowski, succubi and gun ownership. Life is painted as a farce, nightmare and extravagance in the same breath, and with the addition of JPEGMAFIA and Q-Tip’s production, it all shapes up to be a freakazoid, fast-rhyming funhouse you will never want to leave.

 

  1. Conan Gray, ‘Maniac’

Like a poisoned candy apple, San Diego singer-songwriter Conan Gray’s recent single ‘Maniac’ is a burst of sugary-sweet goodness with a hint of danger lurking just beneath the surface. Over wavy synth lines and a romping beat, Gray sings of peers obsessing over him and spreading rumors in a way that adds up to candid instead of petty, surely backed up by the fact that ‘Maniac’ is nothing but breezy, playful fun. His doubters may be stuck in a world of twisted words and made-up stories, but Gray chooses instead to rush right past, trailing vibrant colors behind him. The end result is a victory lap sure to put a smile on your face.

 

  1. Guapdad 4000 feat. KEY!, Denzel Curry and Maxo Kream, ‘Izayah’

To call Oakland rapper Guapdad 4000’s new track ‘Izayah’ hard-hitting would be an understatement; it is more akin to an absolute bodyslam. Assisted by a trio of guest rappers at the height of their game and a speaker-pounding beat courtesy of mega-producer Kenny Beats, ‘Izayah’ is unflinching in its tight flow and sense of bombast. With the instrumental evolving after every verse to better fit the featured rapper, Guapdad grounds the whole track with a feedback-soaked, loudly shouted chorus that will surely get stuck in your head. Chaos has never sounded better.

 

  1. Cigarettes After Sex, ‘Falling in Love’

As pillowy and leisurely as watching a contrail form in the sky, the recent single from Brooklyn-based dream-pop band Cigarettes After Sex refines their signaturely lovestruck lyrics and hazy instrumentals to a new, gravity-defying extreme. Over reverb-soaked guitar strums and a padding drum beat, frontman Greg Gonzalez coos over how deep his affection is becoming towards that special someone in his life. The resulting cocktail from his smooth vocals and the smoky tones of the production is so powerful that it could be described as asphyxiating, but ‘Falling in Love’ is a breath of fresh air nonetheless.

 

  1. Grip, ‘He is … I am’

Divided into two distinct sections, the opening track to Atlanta rapper Grip’s new album is a chaotic peek into a childhood controlled by the danger and influence of firearms. Over a looping soul sample, Grip talks about the trauma of watching a friend die before switching the beat and putting himself on the other side of the trigger, flexing his power over layers of grinding feedback and pounding bass. It is an extremely effective composition, ultimately cementing Grip as both a budding storyteller and an artist to watch.

 

  1. Perfume Genius, ‘Pop Song’

Texture is an often overlooked facet of music, and under his stage name Perfume Genius, Seattle-based singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas has perfected the art of balancing elements with such contrasting qualities. On his new (and somewhat ironically named) track ‘Pop Song,’ skittering synths, glossy harp passages, tribal drum patterns and jingling chimes are all buoyed by Hadreas’ angelic falsetto as he sings of becoming one with another person, blending bodies and spirits together. All at once, the resulting ‘Pop Song’ is earthy, ethereal, euphoric and complex, making for one of this month’s most enthralling listens.

 

(All sources from featured artists’ Genius and Spotify pages)

For more track reviews:

Top 10 Tracks – May 2019

Top 10 Tracks – June 2019

Top 10 Tracks – July 2019

Top 10 Tracks – August 2019

Top 10 Tracks – September 2019