Song of the Week: “Lake by the Ocean” by Maxwell
At a time when artists are sticking to the public’s eyes by releasing six albums a year, there are a few refugees who have strayed from the pack. The long-indisposed Maxwell has released his first song this decade, opening with, “In the light of the sun I was dazed, I was burned, I was lost.” Our hero has returned from his journey with a sultry ballad worth the wait. With romance imbued in his voice, Maxwell’s internal longing transforms and takes the form of a few stretched-out vowels. “Lake By the Ocean” shows little mark of contemporary R&B, rarely using the synths and forgoing the padded subs that we’ve all heard for the last six years. It’s a timeless mix of sharp vocals, acoustic guitar and a drum sample that makes up the track’s skeleton. He doesn’t care for the contemporary, just the classics.
— Sam Velazquez, Associate Editor
Song of the Week: “Elizabeth Taylor” by Clare Maguire
Inherent in a name such as Elizabeth Taylor are a bounty of connotations: the glamour, the opulence, the celebrity and certainly the dead weight of eight failed marriages. Because even the brightest stars are fallen in some respect, it’s out of these themes that British singer-songwriter Clare Maguire crafts a mournful ballad with surprising resonance. Lyrically, the song acknowledges all those superficial attributes like the hair, the lipstick, the figure, but rip those away and what are you left with? A woman left alone in her trailer or forced to drown her sorrows at an afterparty, trapped in this numbing cycle of love and loss and love again. It’s really this pairing of Maguire’s vocal melancholy with the candid lyrics which makes “Elizabeth Taylor” truly compelling. Certainly it’s not Adele, but we already have one of those, so why have another?
— By Tynan Yanaga, Senior Staff Writer