13 Beats


Tess Dunkel, Staff Writer

Sugar Magnolia— Grateful Dead (1970)

Sugar Magnolia is one of the  most played in-concert songs of the band’s career, and is often broken into two segments—Sugar Magnolia and Sunshine Daydream. The opening guitar hook lasts for almost a full minute, creating a hypnotic groove. Though the song is often thought to be about romantic love, it can also be interpreted as the appreciation of nature and its wonderment. 

RIYL: Widespread Panic, Funkadelic, Eagles, Boston


New Money— Calvin Harris ft. 21 Savage (2022)

Calvin Harris and 21 Savage collaborated on the smooth funk song “New Money,” with producer Alissia Benveniste. On Harris’ album “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2,” he collaborates with a myriad of artists to deliver his signature summer sounds. Though the Atlanta-based 21 Savage raps seemingly simple lyrics, he effortlessly captivates the listener by flexing his wealth over a catchy beat. 

RIYL: Young Thug, Lil Baby, YG, Pharrell


Young Lust—Pink Floyd (1979)

Pink Floyd’s 1979 album “The Wall” tells a story. On “Young Lust,” the character “Pink” notes his desperate attempts to fill a void left from his wife leaving him while he travels on tour. Unfortunately, Pink’s efforts to forget his emptiness by meeting with many women proves his vices to be ineffective; he emotionally breaks down in the next track, “One of My Turns.”

RIYL: Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix


White Dress— Kanye West (2012)

“White Dress” was written for the movie “The Man with The Iron Fists” (2012). The song stands at three and a half minutes with no chorus; it is full of beautifully articulated lyrics stacked against each other. Against a beat that samples “I Could Never Be Happy” by The Emotions and “All The Way Gone” by The Game, this track proves to be one of West’s most underrated songs.

RIYL: Jay-Z, Future, Pusha T, Vince Staples


Sunbleached Girl— Shag Rock (2017)

This short track, with a duration of less than three minutes, reflects on a seemingly endless summer and an unrequited pining for young love. Alternative bass riffs layered over tuned, slinky vocals continue the groovy rock style of storytelling sound that the band is known for. After releasing the song, the band revealed that “Sunbleached Girl” was never written about anyone in particular, but rather an ideal lover they hoped to meet.

RIYL: Wallows, Spacey Jane, The Backseat Lovers, Briston Maroney


Song To Sing When I’m Lonely— John Frusciante (2004)

Frusciante has served as the guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers across three stints, and was ranked number 18 in the Rolling Stones magazine’s top 100 guitarists. In Frusciante’s solo track “Song to Sing When I’m Lonely,” he sheds a positive light on his relationship with music. He treats his craft as a companion during hardship and a beacon of hope through periods of doubt. 

RIYL: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Flea


Expressing What Matters— Disclosure (2020)

The electronic producing powerhouse known as Disclosure unexpectedly released their  single “Expressing What Matters,” in 2020, revealing a groovy house track that heavily samples Boz Scaggs’ legendary single “Lowdown.” However, the house remix takes Scaggs’ music in an unexpected direction; Disclosure stripped the fronting vocals and focused on interpolating the backing vocals into a luminescent, coherent beat. 

RIYL: Boz Scaggs, Flume, Flight Facilities, Mura Masa


16— Baby Keem (2021)

Ghostwritten by Keem’s cousin, Kendrick Lamar, “16” provides a beautifully melancholic and painfully emotional conclusion to the album it completes, “The Melodic Blue.” The song explores a fragile yet powerful relationship, as seen in its music video. As metaphorical lyrics and literal scenes combine, Keem strategically paints a vulnerable portrait of himself and his lover, shot in profile and sultry silhouette against moody light sources.

RIYL: Pi’erre Bourne, Isaiah Rashad, Ken Carson, Saba


Rushes— Frank Ocean (2016)

Frank Ocean’s “Endless” provides the listener with a completely visual experience. In “Rushes,” Ocean’s echoing wails seem purposely fragmented over an acoustic guitar played by Alex G. Towards the end of the song, a hi-hat drum resolves the fragmentation and brings resolution to the background layering. There is no resolution, however, in the emotional ache seeping from the lyrics. 

RIYL: Omar Apollo, Daniel Caesar, Childish Gambino, Tyler, The Creator


Thirty-Three— The Smashing Pumpkins (1995)

“Thirty-Three” is a track finalized at just over four minutes on The Smashing Pumpkins’ most popular alternative rock album, “Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness.” Written after the band’s “Siamese Dream” tour, lead singer Billy Corgan emphasized that “Thirty-Three” represented his dissatisfaction with fame, fleeting happiness, and self doubt. 

RIYL: Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Hole, Jane’s Addiction


Keep Ya Head Up— 2Pac (1993)

“Keep Ya Head Up” addresses issues concerning a lack of respect toward women, and has been especially relevant during recent rulings against female reproductive rights. Though it deals with a heavy subject matter, it has an uplifting tone and highlights Shakur’s softer side. “Forgive but don’t forget, girl keep your head up,” raps Shakur, who voices that he sees and respects these women.  

RIYL: Nas, Ice Cube, Mobb Deep, Dave


Just In Time— JID ft Lil Wayne, Kenny Rogers (2022)

JID’s new album, “The Forever Story,” poses as a sequel to his earlier release, “The Never Story.” With sleek production, carefully curated samples, and an array of features, the album will likely see similar success to its predecessor. “Just In Time” features a toned sample of JID’s song, “Stick,” providing an intrapersonal layer to the track often utilized by the Atlanta based rapper. JID’s internal rhyme schemes throughout the verses and articulate pronunciations complement Lil Wayne’s notable lyricism on the track. 

RIYL: Spillage Village, EARTHGANG, Denzel Curry, Mick Jenkins


Peach Fuzz— Caamp (2019)

Caamp’s “Peach Fuzz” is a joyful account capturing the early feelings of falling in love. The folk trio from Ohio purposefully run their opening lines together for the pre-chorus, allowing the listener to immerse themselves in the song without consciousness. Caamp strategically places the solos after the main chorus in order to maintain the song’s integral momentum before a jaunty, grandiose breakout of individual emotions. 

RIYL: Mt. Joy, Peach Pit, Rayland Baxter, Noah K