Mellow music balances out the chaos of midterm season
Anyone here having to get ready for midterms? That time of the spring season is definitely creeping up on us.
This weekâs New Noise capitalizes on the calm before the storm, the laid-back tracks of tranquility released last week that can serve as the soothing soundtrack to one more moment of pre-mid-semester stress-outs. Just let Chance the Rapperâs steady beats be your stress ball, Frank Oceanâs stillness be your La-Z-Boy, Astronauts, etc.âs dreamy echoes be your sleeping mask and Rilo Kileyâs soothing sounds be your massage therapist.
Itâs time for a cocktail of chill served on the rocks before we all take that fateful dive into March Madness.
Chance the Rapper: âAcid Rainâ
Chicagoâs Chance the Rapper will be releasing his new album sometime in April. His new song, âAcid Rain,â perfectly showcases his distinct rapping style against a fresh yet retro-tinged beat.
The song is produced by prolific Seattle hip-hop producer Jake One, whoâs worked with everyone from Young Buck, Freeway, Royce da 5â9â, Raekwon, Mr. Porter, Slug, De La Soul and the G-Unit crew. The music is reminiscent of an old school Outkast/Q-Tip vibe and Chanceâs unique rapping style glazes over the easygoing beat.
Chanceâs conversational raps are extremely casual â he sounds as if heâs just talking about the weather and happening to rhyme. Coolly philosophizing about various life topics, Chance refrains from doing any crazy verbal stylings, mostly because he doesnât need to; âAcid Rainâ is a great milieu for a new talent like Chance the Rapper.
In short, the song is flawlessly produced and has the smoothness factor cranked up to 11.
Frank Ocean: âEyes Like Skyâ
One of the great mysteries of the music world that has yet to face toÂ general consensus whether or not all the hype surrounding Frank Ocean is actually legitimate. The singer-songwriter had been around in the music industry for a few years behind the scenes, working as a ghostwriter for singers such as Brandy, John Legend, BeyoncĂ© and Justin Bieber before he himself became more well-known.
Then, four years after hanging out on the sidelines, Ocean went forward into the spotlight with his first mixtape in 2011, Nostalgia, ULTRA, which blew the minds of many music critics. Since then, Ocean has been on the receiving end of loads of hype and awards and, despite the scrutiny on his personal life, has managed to release music that suggests that he just might be worthy of all the Ocean mania.
âEyes Like Skyâ is a new track from Ocean that apparently didnât make the cut for his 2012 album, Channel Orange. The song doesnât rush anything â instead, it sails along a serenely steady beat. Everything from the vocals to the production is kept basic and simple. Ocean earnestly sings thoughtful and provoking lyrics, and the song is another example of his diversity as an artist.
Astronauts, etc.: âSideswipedâ
Astronauts, etc. is the solo project of Berkeley student Anthony Ferraro. Ferraro had intended on a career in piano, but after complications arose because of problems with arthritis, Ferraro decided to work his magic in the world of electronic music.
Last September, Ferraro released an EP entitled Supermodel Pulp, a five-track odyssey into a world of gentle and futuristic tunes, that came released with a sci-fi video for each song, to boot.
âSideswipedâ is Ferraroâs latest track, a flowing, moody and atmospheric song that captures the resonance of the peace of solitude. The wistful melody is mysterious and the echoing background effects add a dreamy feel to the song.
If Bon Iver joined forces with NASA and decided to record an album in space, this is most likely what it would sound like.
Rilo Kiley: âLet Me Back Inâ
After a six-year hiatus, Rilo Kiley came back this month with a semi-new release, RKives. The album is the first new release from the band since 2007âs Under the Blacklight, but is not technically any new material â like the title suggests, the record is a collection of Rilo Kiley archival rarities, including B-sides, demos and previously unreleased tracks, all spanning the 10-year career of the band.
âLet Me Back In,â is the ânewâ title of âI Love L.A.,â Rilo Kileyâs drop-dead gorgeous ode to Los Angeles. The song is wonderfully simple, with breezy acoustic guitars serving as the main backdrop to Jenny Lewisâ velvet voice. The song is quintessential California, invoking images of hanging on the beach while watching the Pacific swallow up the sun.
Meanwhile, âLet Me Back Inâ is a tall glass of Fresh and the perfect song to unwind to. Not to mention it gives us all a friendly reminder about the awesome subtleties that make Los Angeles what it is. Just listen to Jenny say it: âWhen the palm trees bow their heads / No matter how wrong Iâve been / L.A. you always let me back in.â
Oh, Los Angeles â youâre so good to us.
Rishbha Bhagi is a graduate student pursuing a degree in communication management. Her column âNew Noiseâ runs Wednesday.