The Best of Last Week - 1.10.16 to 1.16.15

SOURCE: RnBExclusive

”Moth to the Flame” - Chairlift

Per the recommendation of Treske, I checked out this Brooklyn avant-pop duo and have loved their stuff. The debut of “Crying in Public” just missed last week’s BLW and tracks like the “Romeo” and “Ch-Ching” showed the range of their music. “Moth to the Flame” really caught my ear. It likens a doomed romance to the futile attempts of a moth to reach the light. I really love that metaphor because it can fit so many hats. Take, for instance, their though on moths via a Pitchfork interview:

Moths aren’t something you really see in New York City. You don’t see them very often, at least, but we liked the idea of the moth as a metaphor for vulnerability, for something that’s fragile but relentless at the same time. It goes towards the light; it beats its wings until it dies. There are risks everywhere, but it doesn’t question them. So for us, that was sort of the attitude for the music: something really beautiful, vulnerable, honest.

This reminds me of some many young people I've met in this city, aiming for a goal and doing whatever it takes to attain it. You could interpret it in a pessimistic lesson of futility, but Chairlift's positive outlook -- combined with producer Patrick Wimberly's bouncing beat and Caroline Polachek's pure voice -- make this track uplifting. And really, with all the bullshit we deal with in New York, we could use some positivity every now and then.

”Three Packs A Day” - Courtney Barnett

“Two minutes seems like a lifetime/Burn my tongue, patience is a virtue”

As a recovering ramen noodle addict — by fiscal necessity, not by choice — this ode to the carbohydratic wonderfood hits home. The lyrics and simple chords progression make this an easy one to consume, as easy as it is to buy a Cup O' Noodles. Leave it to music’s best micro-songwriter to nail the love-hate I have with the cheapest food available.

Since we're on the topic, do people buy any flavor other than "chicken" flavored? I feel like if you're already eating an awful meal like ramen, you may as well eat the least horrible of the bunch, right? Like if I ever see someone eating the shrimp flavor I might have to dial the "See Something, Say Something" hotline.

”Wicked” - Future

All the purple umbrella emojis, Russell Wilson memes, and Tre Boston gifs.

SOURCE: Oregon Live

Purple Reign isn't Future's strongest work. "Wicked" on the other hand?

BEST NOT FROM LAST WEEK: “It All Feels Right” - Washed Out

Runny nose. Slight fever. Incessant coughing. I was I was sitting in my cubicle in the most pathetic definition of "existing". I figured that I would dive into the haziness with Washed Out. Ernest Baker’s chill production lead me to listen to Paracosm in its entirety. "It All Feels Right" is about everything going smoothly which in viewing my semi-catatonic state would make any Brooklyn hipster drunk off the irony. But hey, good vibes bro.

SQUINTS’ PICK OF LAST WEEK: “No More Parties in L.A.” - Kanye West ft. Kendrick Lamar

Squints: Anyone who knows how much collective Yeezy stanning the Earhole staff does – myself especially – can imagine the sense of dismay and abandonment I felt after borderline jogging back from bars Friday night, finding any website that's ever published Kanye news (that is, the entire internet) and hitting refresh as fast as my faculties would allow. Those sad feelings disappeared on Monday, as the world received "No More Parties in LA," the long-awaited first time Kanye's appeared on a track with Kendrick Lamar. Over a loping Madlib beat that fits into the sample-flipping G.O.O.D. Friday lineage of tracks like "Chain Heavy" and others, the two MCs go in.

Kendrick's verse is stellar, but Kanye's the true star here – the "thirty-eight year-old eight year-old"'s bars immediately fall in among his greatest verses. When other rappers want to go into their full braggadocio mode, you can hear them reach. When Kanye wants to do the same, he just has to describe a typical weekday's anxieties. Most notably, Kanye's embracing the role of a family man – nota bene his boasts that his daughter is dressed like Cam'ron, and that his son "is Baby Ye, I ain't worried about him." Kanye's nearly four minute verse has to be heard; he covers so much.

Really, the only thing this track is missing is Chris Rock saying he's going to shoot Kanye's cousin.

THE BEST OF LAST WEEK: “Without You” - Anderson .Paak ft. Rhapsody

Any song on Anderson .Paak's new album Malibu would’ve been a legitimate BLW candidate. He's got this amazing ability to surf between singing and rapping ability. And while Drake has made that his calling card, .Paak does it in this upbeat way. And unlike Chance the Rapper, he succeeds at both equally. If Kendrick, Curtis Mayfield, and Leon Bridges mated in some weird way where that would work, Paak would be the product. But I digress...With warm and vibrant soul/RnB/funk production created mostly with his own hands, Malibu should be Paak’s breakthrough album. It was a hard choice between “Room In Here” ft. The Game and “Without You” but went with the latter for 9th Wonder’s production. I'm a sucker for the boom bap.

In “Without You” he and NC phenom Rhapsody share verses on either side of a fractured relationship. Paak is the unfaithful boyfriend, admitting his mistake and expressing the gratitude for her (“I was hungry, I was dirty, I needed a shower/ Since you found me, you clothed me, you packed me a sack lunch/ Papa said, when I get older, get a girl like your momma”). He even takes the hook to say “And I never looked as good as I do, and it's the truth/ No bullshit, I'm nothin' without you.”

Rapsody retorts by putting him in his place for 16 hard bars. She dresses down the idea that she’s like his mother, flipping the script and saying he has all the worst qualities of her with “Heard your mama cheated on ya daddy, you just like her/ Come-a-come around, remember what happened to Tiger/ Game over, dead wrong, Biggie Wallace”. She then decide to take up men's thirsty DM cat calls with “But you fucked up stupid, so I guess I'll go and see ‘em/ As you contemplate how to get me back like Liam/ No fuckin' tonight, I'll be gone by the PM.” Her flow is like fellow North Carolinian J. Cole but with one major difference: while Cole likes to display the sweat and emotion he puts into his music, Rapsody is abnormally evenheaded and effortless. It reminds me of Brother Mouzone from The Wire, who was fuckin terrifying. True sociopath flow.

SOURCE: Tumblr

Like she did on Kendrick's “Complexion”, Rapsody steals this track. However, this is a paradoxical feat for Anderson .Paak because he fully allows her to shine for the sake of the song’s narrative. Even when he's losing he's winning. That shows that Anderson .Paak thinks on a different plane than your ordinary musician.