Originally published on Sumner Newscow on March 12, 2021
Happy Friday. Unless you’re a die-hard monarchist, you probably checked back in on the Bri’ ish Royal Family for the first time in a while this week. The terrible, yet unsurprising, news came out this week that the centuries-old family was racist to the first person of color they let into the house.
We, here at CultureCow, obviously stand with Meghan and her deadbeat husband Harry and wish them the best. But it still isn’t news about the Monarchy, which isn’t important. The Royal Family should’ve been abolished centuries ago and the only good thing about them is every princess outside of their bloodline.
So rather than rehashing the gory details of that family’s issues, I think a list of what you should be listening to is a better use of your time this weekend. 2021 is shaping up to be another good year for music, so let’s highlight a top 10 of the year so far:
10 – Best Friend (feat. Doja Cat) by Saweetie
This is the song we will all censor in our Spotify Wrapped screenshots. Best Friend is one of the most fun songs in a while and it’s no surprise considering who it came from. Saweetie and Doja Cat are famously funny online and their lyrics are no exception.
Unfortunately, they have Dr. Luke to thank for the great beat behind this song. Dr. Luke is the producer who sexually assaulted Kesha and kept her silent for years, and is a horrible person. That being said, “that’s my best friend, she a real bad bitch, got her own car she don’t need no Lyft” is catchy as hell and earned this song the 10 spot.
9 – Rocky by Still Woozy
You have never heard of Still Woozy? Well, remedy that today, because he’s the jazziest, dorkiest white boy on the music circuit. Woozy specializes in synth-heavy indie-pop that’s far more concerned with vibes than any lyrical technique. His videos are funny and he embraces his nerdy persona at every turn. After you listen to Rocky, definitely explore his vast catalog of singles and remixes.
8 – Rain Forest by Noname
Noname is continuing her streak of being the coolest person alive this year, and you should hop on the bandwagon while you can. She hasn’t released much music because she’s splitting her time between hosting the best book club on Earth, creating a community center focused around political education, and occasionally destroying people on Twitter. While she’s out there saving the world as fast as she can, she still has the time to drop songs like Rain Forest.
Rain Forest is a far-reaching track in her trademark pared-down style. She keeps her voice mellow and chooses softer beats than the trap music we’re used to. This allows a wider audience (like you) to focus on her lyrics, which cover antiracism, capitalism, and political awakening. Give it a listen here and definitely keep her in your regular rotation.
7 – Exposure by Shelly FKA DRAM
Shelly FKA DRAM is one of my favorite pure singers in the music industry. His voice’s best quality is that it’s almost always a little too flat, but doesn’t lose the force behind it. If you don’t believe me, listen to Exposure.
Exposure is the best offering DRAM has given us since the Big Baby and we’re in for a masterpiece if it’s the lead single from a new album. Every verse is just a setup for DRAM to belt his silky voice down our ears and I couldn’t be happier about it. This man is much more than the Broccoli song with Lil Yachty.
6 – High Hopes by pluko, sad alex, and Duckwrth
No, this isn’t the Pete Buttigieg song. I’m unfamiliar with pluko and sad alex, but their names are entirely in lower case and don’t make any sense so you know two things: they’re young and they probably make good music.
Unlike the first two, I’m very familiar with Duckwrth and if you aren’t, you should remedy that as fast as possible. He’s one of my favorite (relatively) new indie rappers and has voice built for alternative rap. High Hopes is a dance track with a single hip hop verse that is an earworm worthy of any playlist you put it on.
5 – Freezing by Bren Joy
I’m not 100% sure Bren Joy isn’t an industry plant designed to make people love corny music again, but I don’t care because he’s good. Bren Joy sounds like a church singer who convinced some producer to make songs built around the one-note he can sing better than anyone on the planet.
Freezing came out following his debut album Twenties (technically in 2020) and continues his streak of catchy pop-R&B singles.
4 – Gang Signs (feat. Schoolboy Q) by Freddie Gibbs
Freddie Gibbs switches flows like he has ADHD and got distracted from the last one. His baritone voice matched with the chopped-up pattern continually make his music some of the best in recent years and Gang Signs is a perfect symbol of that.
Its content is fairly standard for his songs (waking up doing dope sh*t as he calls it), but the addition of Schoolboy Q takes it to a higher level. You remember Schoolboy Q? He put out the ski mask album a couple years back and then a far inferior album a few years after that. Anyway, he’s back and extremely lucky to have a collab with Freddie.
3 – Real Groove (Studio 2054 Remix) by Kylie Minogue and Dua Lipa
Disco is back baby, and no one is happier than these two singers. Kylie and Dua both put out revamped disco albums in 2020 and Real Groove is the culmination of all their hard work. There are other artists like Jessie Ware putting out better disco albums, but nothing will measure up to this song.
It has everything a great dance track needs: a catchy beat that encourages dancing (even the Saturday Night Fever kind), a long break in the middle to do a Soul Train, and even a long fade-out. So, strap on your cute roller skates and wear something shiny, because this song will take you there.
2. TRUST FUND BABY by Amaarae
Amaarae is a Ghanaian-American singer whom I had never heard of before this song and can’t get enough of since. Her music is where pop music is heading; it’s pared down with simple, but hypnotic beats, and a high-pitched voice on top. In addition to the way the song sounds, it has a hilarious premise behind it. The message is that Amaarae is so rich that the man she’s having sex with should thank her just for showing up.
Considering Amaarae’s father is one of the leading bankers in all of Ghana, she probably has firsthand experience behind such a message.
1. OK feat. Remi Wolf and Solomonophonic by Wallows
Wallows is your typical indie-pop boy band. They sing trendy hooks and insert a lot of strange sound effects in post, but that doesn’t take away their talent. They might just be a bunch of kids without much to say in their music yet, but that’s perfect for earworms like OK.
OK has been on a loop on my Spotify all year and isn’t going to stop any time soon. The cherry on top of this already catchy hit is the addition of Remi Wolf. Remi Wolf made big waves last year with her EP I’m Allergic to Dogs! and brings her wit and her talent to an already great song. It may only be March, but 2021 has a lot to listen to already.