In what turned out to be a surprisingly dry month for new music, March still managed to witness the release of several amazing tracks, from nostalgic pop punk to rap bangers filled with expletives. You can find all of these songs, as well as all the best songs of 2018, in the Best of 2018 playlist on the Daily Lobo Spotify.
Shawn Mendes — “In My Blood”
The bland pop artist Shawn Mendes puts a full effort into his latest single “In My Blood” and scores big. “In My Blood” is a surprisingly moving three and a half minutes where Mendes lets down his guard and opens up about being lonely. With lyrics like “Laying on the bathroom floor, feeling nothing” and “ Help me/It’s like the walls are caving in,” it’s hard not to run to his aid and be a shoulder for him to lean on — maybe that’s exactly what he’s looking for.
NoMBe — “Man Up”
NoMBe opens his 2018 album “They Might’ve Even Loved Me” with the 2000’s sounding track “Man Up”. “Man Up” is a feminist anthem that screams summer music festival kicker. NoMBE starts his chorus off with “This world was never meant for us” and ends with “Girls and children first and then men, last.” Towards the songs last chorus a funky instrumental worthy of a Glass Animals kicks in and any reasonable human’s speaker volume goes up.
N.E.R.D — “Lemon- Drake Remix”
The new N.E.R.D “Lemon” remix reunites Drake and Rihanna, who haven’t appeared on the same song since 2016 when they appeared on each other’s albums “Views” and “ANTI”. Rihanna stays the center of attention with her swaggerific bars that are still rattling club speakers months after the songs release. Where Pharrell Williams falls short, Drake picks up his lackluster performance with some serious heat.
Logic — “State of Emergency”
With aide from a 2 Chainz feature, Logic creates a stand out track from his latest album “Bobby Tarantino II” called “State of Emergency.” With a well focused idea, creative instrumentals and vocal interaction, Logic stays clear of his past work in the political scene and makes a track for the traps. Although “State of Emergency” clocks in at a measly two minutes and thirty-four seconds, it’s hard not to put this track on repeat and enjoy it all over again.
The Weeknd — “Call Out My Name”
The Weeknd combines his sound on his Trilogy albums with his sound on his 2016 album “Starboy” to create a captivating track about his recent heartbreak. The split with Selena Gomez and/or Bella Hadid, has drawn out a side of The Weeknd that hasn’t been seen before. Where other tracks find Able Tesfaye complaining about women sticking around, “Call Out My Name” has Able switching roles as he cries out “I want you to stay even though you don’t want me.” Even when broken-hearted, The Weeknd is able to draw attention to his less poppy tracks with his angelic voice carrying his emotion throughout the song.
Tyler, The Creator — “Okra”
Less than a year after dropping his luscious Grammy nominated album “Scum F--- Flower Boy,” Tyler releases a track that doubles as a life update where punchlines are key. “Okra” is a dense two and a half minutes, full of funny one-liners that make every listen a treat where you notice something new or have an ahh-haa moment when you decipher a lyric. The most ear catching lyric comes in the third verse, where recently out of the closet Tyler raps “Tell Tim Chalamet to come get at me” (same though). With this fun one off single, Tyler gets out some much needed fresh content.
Keiynan Lonsdale — “Kiss The Boy”
With recent success in acting in the CW show “The Flash” and his stand out role as Bram in the LGBT inclusive coming of age major motion picture “Love, Simon,” Keiynan Lonsdale releases a queer anthem promptly titled “Kiss The Boy”. In a recent Instagram post, Keiynan Lonsdale came out at bisexual, and “Kiss The Boy” seems to be a method of therapy for they young musician/actor. “Don’t want to hide / Most of my life I’ve been terrified / Spending my days always questioning / Is it wrong to love a man” — verses like these are hard to find in a quality pop song. “Kiss The Boy” is a mix of Troye Sivan meets Justin Bieber; it’s an upbeat, easily enjoyable song. Like “Love, Simon,” “Kiss The Boy” is a good gay song for straight people. Doesn’t mean you can’t love it, though.
Young Fathers — “Wow”
Much of the critiques surrounding Scottish trio Young Father’s latest album “Cocoa Sugar” mostly concern how safe the record is compared to previous releases. However, “Wow” goes directly against that description. It’s minimal, spacey and funky, and G Hasting’s equally astounded and groaning vocals set the tone for this strangely atmospheric track. Young Fathers have always stated that they seek to redefine pop music, and they have done just that. Seriously, listen to this record if you like your pop/R&B off the beaten path. It’s a masterwork.
Hot Mulligan — “Deluxe Capacitor”
To be honest, March was a pretty lackluster month in terms of stellar releases. In light of this, the Lobo has selected a song that, while sounding pretty dated, is still incredibly fun and emotional. Lansing, Michigan’s Hot Mulligan new album “Pilot” is the kind of poppy emo album that would have been a depressed kid anthem in 2012. “Deluxe Capacitor” has all the basic ingredients: whiny vocals, melodramatic guitars and vague lyrics about heartbreak and growing up, including “don’t turn your back on me / I brought your favorite CD.” As cheesy and dated as it sounds, it’s also incredibly catchy and fun. As the crushing weight of adulthood looms overhead, it’s comforting to listen to music that puts you back in the most carefree time in their life.
Kyle Land is a news editor and music writer for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.
Colton Newman is the photo editor and a music writer for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Coltonperson.