13 Beats of the Week

13+Beats+of+the+Week

Daniel Bernstein, Contributing Writer

 

1. “Cherry Wine,” Nas and Amy Winehouse (2012)

RIYL: A Tribe Called Quest, Alabama Shakes, Syd

An unexpected collaboration from New York’s Nas and the late Amy Winehouse proves to have a great combination of an amazing chorus and heartfelt verses. This track is a hidden gem from one of Nas’ underappreciated albums, “Life Is Good.” The duo also has one more collaboration on Winehouse’s posthumous album “Lioness: Hidden Treasures.”

2 . “When the Levee Breaks,” Led Zeppelin (1971)

RIYL: The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Who

“When the Levee Breaks” is anthemic, boasting powerful drums and melodies, and pulls its weight in one of the best rock albums of all time, “Led Zeppelin IV.” At a runtime of over seven minutes, the song never fails to disappoint. Each recording for the track, except for the vocal, was slowed down to add to the ominous sound.

3. “Neon,” John Mayer (2001)

RIYL: Jack Johnson, Brett Dennen, George Ezra

John Mayer has proved himself as one of the best modern guitarists, and currently performs with the band Dead & Company. His performance on “Neon” from his debut album proves his chops both lyrically and with a guitar. The guitar riff is one that has stood the test of time and amazed beginner and expert guitarists alike, as his performance is unmatched.

4. “Feel It Still (Flatbush Zombies Remix),” Portugal. The Man (2017)

RIYL: Griselda, Freddie Gibbs, Pro Era

This remix of a popular Portugal. The Man song features each member of Flatbush Zombies dropping verses on an instrumental made from “Feel It Still.” Many other remixes of this song exist, each bringing their own unique take to the iconic track.

5. “The Difference,” Flume and Toro y Moi (2020)

RIYL: Tame Impala, Kevin Abstract, Daft Punk

This iconic collaboration between Flume and Toro y Moi features classic EDM tones as well as crazy drum and bass elements. Chaz of Toro y Moi proves his creative prowess through this and many other amazing tracks. This song is perfect to jam to on a long drive.

6. “Call It What You Want,” Foster the People (2011)

RIYL: Two Door Cinema Club, Grouplove, Empire of The Sun

The 10 year anniversary of “Torches” just passed, and the departure of the drummer marked a new era for the band. “Call it What You Want” is all you can want out of a song, perfectly uplifting and energetic while holding its own rhythmically. The intro features cool vocal and instrumental samples which combine to make a great foundation for the track.

7. “On One feat. Freddie Gibbs,” Joyce Wrice (2021)

RIYL: Frank Ocean, Anderson .Paak, Pharrell Williams

Freddie Gibbs steps out of his typical wheelhouse to deliver a great guest verse on the funky and soulful “On One.” Joyce Wrice is a great example of an underrated singer with a great voice, similar to iconic soul singers Monica or Tamia. 

8. “It Gets Better,” Rex Orange County (2019)

RIYL: Declan McKenna, Capital Cities, Leon Bridges

“It Gets Better” by Rex Orange County combines mellow instruments with tasteful lyrics in a very catchy and upbeat package. This track can definitely be a good listen to feel better during the long and cold winter. The outro of this song is perfect and ties the whole song together amazingly. 

9. “MENTHOL* feat. Mac DeMarco,” Jean Dawson (2021)

RILY: Saba, Death Grips, Xavier Wulf

Jean Dawson is a genre-bending artist, as this song struggles to fit into the many boxes that contain contemporary music; his discography has music for any mood you are feeling. With alternative hip-hop elements and a slow intro and bridge, “MENTHOL*” is all over the place, even ending with advice to the artist from Mac DeMarco himself. Jean has released many fantastic songs recently and his upcoming album is highly anticipated. 

10. “Laundry Room,” The Avett Brothers (2009)

RIYL: James Taylor, Houndmouth, America

This more somber song from the soulful Avett Brothers has many distinct sections, but ties them together in a heartwarming way. Powerful storytelling and talented vocal and instrumental performances lead to a beautiful listening experience. This song always finds a way to keep me at ease and is full of soothing melodies and lyrics.

11. “Gold Snafu,” Sticky Fingers (2014)

RIYL: The 1975, Phoenix, Passion Pit

Sticky Fingers serves up a great alt-pop track with “Gold Snafu,” complete with a groovy bassline. Catchy melodies and rhythms keep me coming back for more listens. The Australian band delivers a track perfect for a beach day away from all responsibilities.

12. “California,” Rich Brian, NIKI, & Warren Hue (2021)

RIYL: Joji, Ruel, Jaden

Rich Brian and NIKI are both members of 88rising, a multinational music collective who are set to have a special performance during this year’s Coachella Music and Arts Festival. Warren Hue, a frequent collaborator with the members of 88rising, delivers another great performance on “California.”  

13. “Pyro (leak 2019),” Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats (2020)

RIYL: Vince Staples, JPEGMAFIA, ScHoolboy Q

This song comes from Denzel Curry’s collaboration mixtape with Kenny Beats, one of the most prominent producers in hip-hop recently. This mixtape was an unexpected release and featured songs that had been leaked and teased online prior to the project’s debut.

*RIYL = Recommended if you like