13 Beats of the Week: Cuffing Season


1. “Smoking Out the Window,” Silk Sonic (2021)

RIYL*: Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, The Isley Brothers 

Like “Leave The Door Open” and “Skate,” Silk Sonic’s new single evokes the dreamy vocals, smooth (silky, if you will) instrumentation and infectious grooves of 70’s R&B in this anthem for bitter ex-lovers everywhere. This is a slow jam for when Cuffing Season 2021 fails you. “An Evening with Silk Sonic” debuted on Nov. 12. 

2. “Do I Do,” Stevie Wonder (1982)

RIYL: Quincy Jones, Sly & the Family Stone, EWF 

This post-disco track from “Original Musiquarium” demonstrates Wonder’s musical virtuosity as an artist and performer, sustaining the musical interest of the ten-minute song with an impressively intricate bassline, exciting improvisations and a hopelessly infectious groove. This track even features a trumpet solo by jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie and a rare instance of Stevie Wonder rapping! A happy dance for those who are actually enjoying the company of a new person. 

3. “Zealots,” Fugees (1996)

RIYL: SWV, Lauryn Hill, The Roots

This track from “The Score” puts on full display Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean’s mastery of the rap form with apt allusions, a wide range of rhyme schemes, complex cadences and witty wordplay. Sampling The Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes For You,” this song is perfect for when you want to play old 1950’s love songs for your sneaky link, but you’d rather play it cool.

4. “Can It Be All So Simple / Interlude,” Wu-Tang Clan (1993)

RIYL: A Tribe Called Quest, Rakim, Nas

This track from “Enter The Wu-Tang” stands out from Wu-Tang’s characteristic machismo, instead allowing Raekwon and Ghostface Killah to express their vulnerability through introspective storytelling. This is the song for you if you’re “working on yourself” this Cuffing Season (Are you actually? For real?). 

5. “I Wanna Be Down,” Brandy (1994)

RIYL: Ashanti, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson

From Brandy’s self-titled debut album, this song is a classic R&B track that depicts a young woman’s feelings while pining for the object of her affection. This song is for the women who love the male gaze and want to relieve their guilt from loving the male gaze. 

6. “Flightless Bird, American Mouth,” Iron & Wine (2007)

RIYL: Bright Eyes, George Ezra, The Shins 

Iron & Wine create a poignant story of a hopeless love and lost youth, told through absurdist lyrics and their characteristic acoustic sound. Most people know this song from its feature on the “Twilight” soundtrack, so this song will resonate if you’re down bad because your autumnal romantic fantasy centers around sparkly, stoic and undead heartthrobs.

7. “Choux Pastry Heart,” Corinne Bailey Rae (2006)

RIYL: Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, Norah Jones

From Corinne Bailey Rae’s self-titled debut album, this song expresses the contradictory emotions that arise within an intense romantic relationship that hasn’t been defined. This song is for you if you’re down bad about a hopeless relationship, but you want to listen to a woman instead.

8. “FEEL SOMETHING DIFFERENT,” Bea Miller and Aminé (2020)


This remix of Bea Miller’s “feel something” combines the driving bass of house music and the charismatic energy of Aminé’s vocal performances to create an experience of pure pop music pleasure. Enjoy this song’s polished production if Cuffing Season doesn’t interest you and the semester has frankly numbed you. 

9. “Wat U Sed,” Isaiah Rashad (2021)

RIYL: Smino, Cordae, Little Simz

This single from Rashad’s summer release, “The House Is Burning,” features an irresistible groove and exemplifies the skillfully layered production that characterizes  Rashad’s whole album. However, this track’s real stand-out feature is its verse by Iamdoechii, an up-and-coming rapper out of New York City. You’ll especially like this song if you’re still in denial of the fact that summer is over (read: it’s mid-November).

10. “Decode,” Paramore (2007)

RIYL: My Chemical Romance, WILLOW, Avril Lavigne 

Another song from the “Twilight” soundtrack, this pop-punk anthem epitomizes angsty teenage love with Hayley Williams’ iconic vocal performance. This song is for you if your romantic life centers around skaters and your dominant emotion is pre-Obama female rage. 

11. “In a Black Out,” Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam

RIYL: Vampire Weekend, Phoebe Bridgers, Sufjan Stevens 

This song features a classic indie sound from Rostam, a former member of the indie juggernaut Vampire Weekend. This song is for you if you see the sun setting at 5 p.m. and feel all the serotonin going with it.

12. “Turn Me On,” Norah Jones

RIYL: Carole King, Natalie Cole, Macy Gray

From Jones’ debut album, “Come Away With Me,” this jazzy tune speaks for those of us seeking emotional women with pianos. This song is for you if you’re lusting after someone with a secure attachment style. 

13. “(They Long To Be) Close To You,” Carpenters

RIYL: Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Simon & Garfunkel

The title track from the Carpenters’ “Close To You,” this song features Karen Carpenter’s signature, silky-smooth alto vocals in this classically saccharine love song. This song is for you if you learned about love from your grandparents instead of your parents.

*RIYL: Recommended if you like