Top 10 Tracks – February 2020

Jackson Wyatt, Digital Editor-in-Chief

February features one of the year’s biggest holidays, and seemingly the only one in popular Western culture that emphasizes romantic love over goodwill. Compared to January, the tracks on this list are not particularly focused on the idea of romance and passion. Some of the songs present relate to it, but music has always been enamoured with the trials and tribulations of love. They go hand-and-hand like flowers and chocolate. Whether or not you found yourself in someone’s arms this Valentine’s Day, here are ten eligible bachelors for your musical library.

 

  1. U.S. Girls, ‘4 American Dollars’

The questioning of wealth’s importance does not sound like a strong basis for a sing-a-long funk number, but on Canadian collective U.S. Girls’ track ‘4 American Dollars’, socioeconomic themes and lively instrumentation walk hand-in-hand. Jazzy drum patterns, uplifting harmonies and group-led refrains underscore lyrics concerning offshore bank accounts, pesos, rubies and everything expensive in between. The message is excitingly provocative, and to pair that with a track so sonically fun is priceless.

 

  1. Dua Saleh, ‘mOth’

Equally approachable and complex, Minnesota rapper Dua Saleh’s ‘mOth’ is an excellent tumble down a R&B/grime rabbit hole. Saleh’s voice flows melodically like liquid metal over the track’s charcoal-black synths, gaining shape and momentum as the structure progresses. The production itself may be pristine, but ‘mOth’ somehow manages to still feel loose as a whole, creating a casual, head-turning vessel that Saleh sails expertly to shore. Listeners should flock like moths to a flame.

 

  1. Thundercat, ‘Dragonball Durag’

Smoother than cocoa butter and armed with a deadly sense of humor, Los Angeles bass-extraordinaire and singer-songwriter Thundercat’s recent single ‘Dragonball Durag’ handles the sly in-and-outs of flirting and appearance with a knowing grin. Accompanied by a meaty bassline and funky drum beat, Thundercat connects durags, cat hair, comic books and video games together for the most entertaining and musically stimulating pick-up line this month has to offer.

 

  1. Yves Tumor, ‘Gospel For A New Century’

Riding in on a wave of blasting horn samples, Tennessee experimental artist Yves Tumor’s track ‘Gospel For A New Century’ sounds like a vintage rock-funk hybrid dipped in radioactive ooze and left out to dry in the backyard. Lyrics concerning romantic frustrations and attraction bounce off heavy levels of feedback and sharp guitar riffs as Tumor reaches up into a triumphant chorus, making ‘Gospel’ an equally smooth and crunchy, but ultimately essential, listen.

 

  1. Gupi feat. Fraxiom, ‘Thos Moser’

Meme culture and the allure of electronic experimentation meet on producers Gupi and Fraxiom’s recent collab ‘Thos Moser’, a track so odd that its furniture-company-referencing title does not even come close to being its most notable attribute. Revving synths and vocal manipulation underscore lyrics referencing 3OH!3, Elon Musk and McDonalds, building a vividly colored, always-changing experience that will have you coming back time after time.

 

  1. Dirty Projectors, ‘Overlord’

Steeped in themes concerning fascism and political affiliation, Brooklyn band Dirty Projectors’ track ‘Overlord’ is a deceptively bright dive into the dark places of our current day and age. Over wistful guitar strums, member Maia Friedman croons and harmonizes up into a blissful chorus, making lyrics like Take the ones below me and I’ll hold the sword” sound as sweet as lullabies. The resulting track is a powerful one, combining a timely message with music that, well, rules.

 

  1. Quelle Chris & Chris Keys, ‘Sudden Death’

Detroit rapper Quelle Chris and Oakland producer Chris Keys team up for the uniquely reserved ‘Sudden Death’, a track that more resembles a Peanuts instrumental than a straight-forward rap song (and that is completely a compliment). Periwinkle-hued piano chords and a jazzy drum beat underscore Quelle Chris’ odd vocal delivery as he spits out a tight melody that will get stuck in your head for weeks after you hear it. The title may reference demise, but ‘Sudden Death’ is sure to breathe life into the drabbest of days.

 

  1. Babehoven, ‘Confident and Kind’

Warmly realized and hushed in tone, Philadelphia band Babehoven’s track ‘Confident and Kind’ buzzes with the comfort of a balmy summer breeze, earthy and soft to its core. Stream-of-consciousness lyrics detail the thrill of feeling attractive, an intense allergic reaction, a regrettable haircut and the fear of moving away from the ones you love. These varied thoughts become a gorgeous tapestry when connected by calming guitar strums and a tight melody, making ‘Confident and Kind’ an excellent story and song.

 

  1. Injury Reserve, ‘Hoodwinked’

Sometimes a track comes around that is so odd that it demands attention, and that is the space that Phoenix rap collective Injury Reserve occupy on ‘Hoodwinked’, a freakazoid banger surely unlike anything else released this month. A muffled trap beat and breathy verses transform and malfunction as an ear-splitting sax sample periodically cuts through everything, so atonal and startling that it should throw the entire track off of its axis. Somehow, though, it unites everything, making ‘Hoodwinked’ as excellent as it is shocking.

 

  1. The Strokes, ‘At The Door’

After around seven years of radio silence, indie heavyweights The Strokes have returned with ‘At The Door’, a piece that feels more like a mysterious signal transmitting somewhere from deep space than a high-octane comeback single. That works for ‘At The Door’’s benefit, though, building it up and up in a glossy, layered synth wave until its emotions come crashing down on the listener’s head like a falling piano. Gorgeous is an understatement, and The Strokes have built an aurora borealis of a track that is impossible not to be in awe of. 

 

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

For more track reviews:

Top 10 Tracks – January 2020

Top 25 Tracks of 2019