Chromatics – “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around”
The delays that have long plagued the Chromatics’ coming album, “Dear Tommy,” can easily be excused when the band releases singles like these. Besides being a mouthful of a title, “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around” is a perfect three-and-a-half-minute encapsulation of pop. Undulating synths play out to a divine melody that redefines what it means to be proficient with the keyboard and its emotional pull. Nat Walker takes a swipe at the toms for a brief fill that precedes every coming chorus like an auditory calling card. Ruth Radelet delivers a line whose own memorability and catchiness are sharpened into a call for what’s long been lost with her wintry, “All the dreams we had were more than what we found.” Operating off of little more than 60 words, the track is a lean emotional crusade — proving what can be done with a conviction to teenage overstatement.
— Sam Velazquez, A&E Editor
Kid Cudi – “Surfin'”
Kid Cudi brings all the drums and beats with “Surfin’,” and Pharrell Williams supplies his vocals and sun-drenched optimism to the production. Intended as the closing track for Cudi’s delayed album, “Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’,” this is a breezy, bright piece. “Too busy makin’ my own waves, baby,” Cudi declares to the pulse of the song, and it’s easy to picture a wry smile as he says it. Brass, horns and clapping punctuate Cudi’s flowing yet delightfully syncopated rapping. “Surfin’” seems to flow, never deviating from its rhythm, yet occasionally allowing the off-kilter pause for a Cudi-classic zinger: “The industry’s so full of shit, / Welcome y’all to the enema.” Nonetheless, the enthusiasm that suffuses “Surfin’” is never wholly ironic, and Cudi rounds off the performance in a blaze of amusement.
— Alicia Lepler, Staff Writer
Dirty Art Club – “She’s Mine At Last”
Dirty Art Club sends listeners into a haze of rose-colored elation in “She’s Mine At Last,” creating with layers of samples an artificial feeling of having achieved your greatest and most daunting goal: getting the girl — or boy — of your dreams. Like Mario rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser’s Castle or Shrek extracting fair Fiona from her crumbling tower, this track provides, if only for a moment, that feeling of fullness we’re all perpetually chasing and does so by mimicking the epiphany where we realize that if the world ends tomorrow, we’ll die happy. Close your eyes and indulge in the climbing and falling piano scales, the funky saxophone, the din of clashing cymbals and — let us not forget — the twinkle of the cherished triangle. You did it. You won the game of life.
— Matthew Zamudio, Staff Writer