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Weekly Playlist – In Focus

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Weekly Playlist – In Focus

Featuring Linkin Park, Snoop Dogg, and Black Flag

In last week’s installment of Holyfield Weekly Playlist, our writers picked some great songs from an assortment of acts, ranging from Manchester Orchestra to The Decemberists. Here is what they have for this week’s installment.

Premal Bhatt: French Montana feat. The Weeknd & Max B – A Lie

French’s newest single off of his new album Jungle Rules features another perfect guest spot from R&B powerhouse, Abel. This is a hell of a follow-up to one of the best songs of the summer, “Unforgettable.” The Weeknd dominates the first half of the song with a verse into the hook and chorus, almost claiming the track for himself in the process. This is your typical French Montana banger, with a slow build-up, catchy hook, and classic beat drop. He does add a surprising, little wrinkle with his first appearance on the song being in the form of layered singing behind The Weeknd’s first chorus. French also has never hidden his love for Max B, so getting him on the intro and the final verse makes for a great wavy sandwich. The new album is full of intriguing features and “A Lie” has a fresh new music video out.

Matt Bram: Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet

I’m not sure this is the best song off that album, but it’s one that stands to make an important point. The track opens with a lo-fi inspired ambient verse that creates an atmosphere perfectly suited for Michelle Zauner’s airy voice. Though less than a minute through it builds up, keeping its lo-fi style as Zauner sings with more confidence, leading the instrumentation along a path more suited for folk rock. It’s the bridge that gets me though. God damn, it is good. The guitars dial up the distortion, Zauner shows off her incredible range, and we get something that’s a blend of indie rock and jazz; it’s stunning and so brief that it demands repeated listens. The song ends out with folksy, twangy guitar licks breaking through a lush atmosphere dominated by Zauner’s impressive vocals. “Soft Sounds” is a perfect representation of the album, perhaps that’s why it shares its name. It shows off the range of the album in less than three and a half minutes and does so in a way that is natural and utterly captivating.

Cody Conley: Black Flag – The Process of Weeding Out

I’ve been listening to a lot of 80s hardcore lately; a lot of Minutemen and Black Flag, due to my irrational Southern California pride. What I like about these two bands in particular is how they eschew whatever preconceived notion of punk rock you might have and do whatever the fuck they want, which is obviously more punk than just aping the Ramones. On the instrumental Black Flag EP The Process of Weeding Out, Greg Ginn and company added modal jazz to their Black Sabbath on speed sound, further alienating the skinheads who just wanted to throw ‘bows in the pit. Black Flag, with their strident individualism and devoted DIY ethics, should be taught alongside Emerson and Thoreau.

Grant Evan: Snoop Dogg – Neva Left

While the entirety of Snoop’s album gradually fades into predictable modern beats, the opening track is an absolute jam that is so classic Snoop you may feel like you transported to 1993. It’s classic west coast rap and Snoop remains one of its more talented patron saints. I do recommend the album cause Snoop is just a fun time, but the album never gets hotter than track one. 

Berto Gonzalez: Snoop Dogg – Moment I Feared

I had just recently finished watching the HBO documentary series “The Defiant Ones” about the rise of Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, and Interscope records. In Part 3, we are introduced to Dre just as he left N.W.A and joins up with Suge Knight to start “Death Row Records.” We catch the first glimpse of a young Snoop Doggy Dogg in the infancy of a long and influential career. Long story short, this album harkens back to that young Snoop flow. The bravado, the low-key, smooth delivery, the energy and vision of a young hustla just tryna make it out of Compton in a way that doesn’t involve a coroner’s bag. The bass drum jumps out as if it were coming from a drop top Deville with the hydraulics and Kenwood Subs to boot. It has a very preserved 90’s West Coast sound throughout the track and it’s basically just Snoop weaving the thread of how it was back in the CPT. This is a track to bump in the heat of summer to put you in the nostalgic, just have a good time and enjoy life kind of mood. Coming from an absolute legend like Snoop, that alone should make it worth a spin or two.

Akshat Singhal: Linkin Park – In the End

In light of recent news, I felt it pertinent to add at least one Linkin Park song to this week’s playlist. “In the End” probably still is my favorite song of all time. It was the very first Linkin Park song I ever heard, and I immediately fell in love with it. For that reason, “In the End” was the easy choice here. Linkin Park quickly became my favorite band, and Hybrid Theory one of my favorite albums of all time. It sounds weird, given the general nature of Linkin Park’s lyrics, but they were always the band I went to when I needed a pick-me-up.

RIP Chester Bennington

Drew Steele: “Go the Distance” from Disney’s Hercules

Disney’s animated film Hercules is criminally underrated in the pantheon of the House of Mouse’s feature animated films. Everything from the story, animation, and soundtrack, Hercules is such a fun movie that deserves more love than it does. It’s why I added two songs from the soundtrack out of my four possible selections (the other two are also Disney songs). “Go the Distance” is the song, like in pretty much all Disney musical films, where our hero comes to the realization that he needs to begin his quest to achieve his ultimate destiny. It’s a fantastic song for anyone to start their day to. “Go the Distance” is powerful and uplifting, making it a true staple of the best Disney songs of all time.

 

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