The Chainsmokers - "Paris"
With the Grammys a month away, The Chainsmokers, who are nominated for an impressive three awards, continue their streak as hitmakers, delivering a new single that is sure to carry us through any possible mid-January winter blues. While promoting their new track, "Paris," the DJ duo offered their own interpretation of the song's title, sharing two definitions that hold a different meaning than solely doubling as the beloved capital of France, detailing "Paris" may also refer to "1: a sentimental yearning for a reality that isn't genuine," and "2: an irrecoverable condition for fantasy that evokes nostalgia or day dreams." Although their proposed definition fits the song's blissed-out dreamy feel, part of the chorus is open to another interpretation, offering solidarity to the citizens of Paris who just over a year ago experienced a terrorist attack, with the line, "If we go down, we go down together." Their new single sticks to their signature sound, recruiting a female vocalist to both strengthen and soften their track before it builds into a series of guitar riffs and gentle, melodic production. With "Paris" the Chainsmokers have once again found success balancing infectious minimalism with catchy lyrics, leaving audiences with no choice but to sing along and get lost on cobblestone sidewalks under dimly lit street lamps in one of the world's most romantic and mysterious cities.
Halsey - "Not Afraid Anymore"
Just days after the official tracklisting for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack was announced, the franchise has today released Halsey's contribution, a steamy track titled "Not Afraid Anymore." With the compilation boasting a star-studded array of musicians, including fellow A-list singer Nick Jonas who shared the bold (and fitting) prediction "many babies will be made to this soundtrack," Halsey's track is right at home and in good company, among the likes of Nicki Minaj, Tove Lo and John Legend, to name a few. The 22-year-old singer's offering falls in line with the book-turned-movie's reoccurring themes of seduction, fantasy and forbidden love, placing her storytelling lyrics delicately and fiercely over an enticing and darkly menacing composition, full of striking violins and crashing drums. Rising to the challenge of creating a visual track capable of transporting listeners directly into the intense plot between leading characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, "Not Afraid Anymore" showcases Halsey's tried and true ability to use her confidence in her vocal talents to take charge, captivating audiences with a her distinctively sultry voice and a similar bravado not-so-subtly found in the very major motion picture she's helping soundtrack.
Julia Michaels - "Issues"
After helping pen tracks for the likes of Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez and more, Julia Michaels is ready to let her own voice shine and step alone into the spotlight. After inking a deal with Republic Records and performing at the 2016 Closing Ceremonies at the Olympic Games in Brazil alongside electronic music heavyweight Kygo, the singer-songwriter has finally begun teasing her forthcoming EP with the release of her debut solo track, "Issues." While she has impressively co-written songs that have gone on to exceed a reported 8 billion streams, it's clear she has plenty of material left in the vault, maybe even setting aside some of her best material for her own solo career. While the 23-year-old chooses to navigate her "issues" on her new single, judging from her growing catalog, she has a lot more figured out than she's letting on. With blunt, honest lyricism and razor-sharp songwriting, Michaels' decision to choose minimal production proves to be wise, helping to frame her intriguing vocals expertly in order to give fans a delicious first taste of what is yet to come. As far as making a strong introduction goes, this rising talent has that mastered, too.
Migos - "T-Shirt" and "Call Casting"
Raindrop, drop top... Migos is poised to take the music industry by storm this year, thanks in part to an epic co-sign from Donald Glover. While accepting an award at the Golden Globes for his hit show Atlanta this past weekend (Jan. 8), the insanely talented Glover took advantage of the moment in the spotlight to do the unexpected during his speech, thanking Migos, "Not for being on the show, but for making ‘Bad and Boujee.’" Later in the night he went on to refer to the hip-hop trio as "the Beatles of this generation," but at this point the Internet was already sent into a frenzy in support of both parties respectfully and the rest is now history. While such a shout out is equally memorable and influential, it doesn't hurt that Migos not only is now holding down the No. 1 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 with the track Glover referred to as "the best song ever," but has also been busy readying their second studio album, Culture, due out on January 27. Today, the Georgia natives continue their winning streak, sharing two new singles off of the album, "T-Shirt" and "Call Casting." In true fashion to the group's lavish trap stylings, each single has an infectious quality that will have fans listening on repeat until the total package arrives later this month.
Bonobo - "No Reason" featuring Nick Murphy
Bonobo today makes a triumphant return after a four-year hiatus with the release of his sixth studio album, Migration. The 12-track LP, out on Ninja Tune, is an adventurous collection of varying moods, tempos and melodies, each so beautiful the project can arguably be considered poetry in and of itself. The British-born Los Angeles transplant has been navigating the electronic end of the spectrum for almost two decades now, masterfully weaving through boutique genres such as downtempo, chillwave and trip hop, in order to perfect his reputed experimental style. With his new project offering a diverse range of songs, each complete with his characteristic polish of eclectic flair, "No Reason" is a bewitching feat, clocking in at over seven minutes of brilliant, brooding production. The emotive ballad features Nick Murphy, with both elegantly exploring mystical themes surrounding the unknown but doing so with curiosity, instead of fear. At times, perhaps thanks to fleeting vocals and the song's accompanying dark melodies, "No Reason" feels like a somber inner dialogue, artistically displayed over a smart, rolling composition as complex as it is precise. In a way, the mesmerizing track itself takes us full circle, much like how Bonobo's travels always seem to take him home, no matter exactly where that may be.