Deadshirt Is Listening… Bringing you a rundown of our staff and guest contributors’ favorite new tracks released in the past week after they’ve had the weekend to blast them in their cars, in a club, alone in their rooms, etc.
Mike Duquette is revving up to…
“Making the Most of the Night”
Carly Rae Jepsen
Nobody likes to make an arms race out of pop music, but to my ears, Carly Rae Jepsen is the one singer of the last five or six years to deliver the best pure pop tunes in the business. That’s not to crack on a slew of other up-and-comers working in and around the genre, from Ariana Grande to Miley Cyrus to Charli XCX, but the onetime Canadian Idol finalist, boosted to global success after Justin Bieber endorsed her future global chart-topper/bestseller “Call Me Maybe,” has a way with a hook and a warm, upbeat vocal delivery to die for.
E•MO•TION, the follow-up to 2012’s major label debut Kiss, has a lot to live up to. Jepsen’s largely been out of the spotlight since winding down promotion for the album (outside of her Broadway debut in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella) and catchy lead single “I Really Like You” only dented the bottom of the Top 40. The tracks released from the new LP so far indicate a more mature Kiss—confident, romantic love songs with pulsating synthpop hooks to match.
Promo single “Making the Most of the Night” isn’t likely to fare any better on the charts than “I Really Like You,” but the song’s summer’s-night-drive rhythm and off-kilter lyrics (the chorus line “I’m-a hijack you/Hijack you/I love you” is almost certainly the work of co-writer Sia Furler, no stranger to unexpected words in her pop hits) make for a hell of a cut to dance to as the dog days of summer come to a close.
Julian Ames is waving his lighter to…
“Can You Live With That?”
Strange Emotions: Holy Attitude 7”
Since the 2010 release of Real Ghosts Caught On Tape, things have been quiet for the Naples, FL band known as Fake Problems. In the five year interim between then and now, bandleader and vocalist Chris Farren branched out and found success with other projects, most notably Antarctigo Vespucci, where he teamed up with cult hero and former Bomb the Music Industry! songwriter Jeff Rosenstock. It began to feel like maybe Fake Problems had run its course and the band was done; the only sign of life was a 2013 four-song 7” called Florida Doesn’t Suck. But this past week saw another blip on the Fake Problems cardiogram, with the release of two new songs that make up the Strange Emotions: Holy Attitude 7”.
It seems the band hasn’t lost a step, the two songs on the single song like something that could’ve come off their stellar last album. The first song is “Can You Live With That?,” a rollicking, surf-tinged rocker about the classic romantic bad boy. Farren prefaces the chorus with “I’m a puzzle piece that can’t fit in / this is the man I’ve always been / Can you live with that?” The second song, “Holy Attitude,” displays the band’s talent for writing gentle anthems similar to the Real Ghosts closer “Ghost To Coast.” Like an even more stripped down version of Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” Farren sings backed by nothing more than a piano and guitar. Still, the song manages to be as catchy as it is melancholy, and you might find yourself swaying back and forth and singing along by the end of the song. Although, his talents come with him to whatever project he works on, I hope that Farren will devote some more time to Fake Problems in the near future.
David Lebovitz is head bobbing to…
“Growing Up (Sloane’s Song)”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Macklemore’s been relatively quiet over the past year or so, partially because he’s been recording a new album, and partially because said album was stalled due to a drug relapse from which he has since recovered. There’s also one more just announced factor—two months ago, he became a father. As such, Macklemore wrote a new song in honor of his new daughter, “Sloane’s Song (Growing Up).”
The song isn’t just about his daughter growing up, it’s him growing as a father and a person and trying to find the balance between being protective and giving his daughter room to grow. He’s using this song to give advice to Sloane that he might not be able to later because of his schedule, and regrets that he’s going to miss some important points while touring to support his family, so just to be sure he’s imparting a lot of his advice now. It’s not quite a tearjerker, but it’s damn near. The beat isn’t that memorable, but this is squarely substance over style.
Singing the hook and sounding pretty (while not adding much else) is Pasty British Guy Ed Sheeran. Sure, Sheeran is the musical equivalent of unbuttered toast, but I’m not going to deny he’s got a pretty good voice. I won’t dedicate too much time to him here because he physically reminds me of Chuck C. Johnson, which isn’t his fault, but still…
It’s far from his best song—for me, that title goes to his ode-to-owning-up-to-a-relapse, “Starting Over”—but it’s cute and heartfelt. Nothing wrong with that. Hell, we probably need more of that. It would probably be a deep cut and/or an album track on a full album, but aren’t those usually the best parts?