Replay, Revisit, Reject: Music as a Whole Could Be a Lot Better in 2020

Skip Marley, Brandy and A$AP Ferg are some of the artists who dropped new music over the weekend, but was it any good?
Skip Marley, Brandy and A$AP Ferg are some of the artists who dropped new music over the weekend, but was it any good?
Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images), Marcus Ingram (Getty Images), Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

We get it: With everything going on in the world, it can be difficult to carve out time to discover new music. Industry-pushed tunes that you may not even bang with like that could also get in the way of you finding something that tingles your consumer taste buds.

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While new tunes are usually released throughout the working week, a majority of new material drops on Fridays. I’ll be here to help you dig through some crates, in order to make things easier on your energy and your ears.

Not going to lie: it’s not been a great year for music in 2020 if you ask me. While certain songs and genres are proving to withstand the dumpster fire of a year we’ve had thus far, a lot of the singles I’ve been hearing feel rushed conceptually and production-wise. Many ideas for the songs I’m featuring seem smart in hindsight, but the execution could use some improvement. Nevertheless, I dug up as many new releases as I could.

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Here are the best and worst new releases from the weekend.

REPLAY

Skip Marley feat. Rick Ross and Ari Lennox, “Make Me Feel”

It’s a bit generous to say that this is an Ari Lennox feature, as I believe she was pretty underutilized outside of harmonies. (There’s another version of the song with just her as a featured artist, where her vocals are truly shining). The Rick Ross addition was smartly placed, and the Miami emcee’s flow was a great pairing with the track’s upbeat Rykeyz production. Skip is Bob Marley’s grandson, and his work provides a cohesive blend of reggae vibes and new-school trap-inspired beats.

Don Toliver, “Clap”

So, they’re making a “Road to Fast 9” mixtape to gear fans up for the fifty-leventh new Fast & Furious film, which *eye roll.* However, from a musical standpoint, the track was pretty good. Toliver, who hails from Houston, rides the Frank Dukes and Wondagurl beat incredibly well, which isn’t too surprising considering he’s worked with both in the past to create some magic. Was it a predictable pairing? Maybe. Does it work? Yes.

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REVISIT

Jorja Smith, “By Any Means”

I wish the background singers came in earlier than the chorus to accompany Jorja, as the song itself felt a bit hollow. This is a shame considering the brevity of the track itself, which will reportedly appear on Roc Nation’s social justice-themed compilation album Reprise.

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Sam Smith feat. Burna Boy, “My Oasis”

So, I didn’t think this shit was going to work. However, Smith might have outdone Burna Boy here, which is surprising considering Burna Boy can do no wrong. Granted, Smith’s buttery vocals lead the track, however, when you hear the beat, you instantly think that it was a good idea to include Burna Boy. But in hindsight, I think it was a rather underwhelming addition, and Smith could have fared better alone.

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Brandy, “Borderline”

Vocally, we all know Brandy seldom disappoints. I’m hoping that the rest of her album is good because this song is incredibly long and drawn out. No seriously, it’s over five minutes long, and the last few minutes feels more like filler. Had the song been cut down by at least a minute and thirty seconds, it maybe could have been saved. Most of the time, I was hoping it would have picked up or at least changed beat-wise in the outro, but alas.

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REJECT

A$AP Ferg feat. Nicki Minaj and MADEINTYO, “Move Your Hips”

I feel like Fergie Ferg has had some duds lately, and the chorus is exceedingly flat. The brightest spot comes from Minaj, whose flow is ever-changing. In fact, I think this is one of the best features from her I’ve heard in awhile. It just sucks that I had to subject myself to the rest of it to get to the goods.

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Octavian featuring Future, “Rari”

From the (truly) unintelligible mumbling to the album artwork, where Octavian is dripping blood from head to toe, I’m not sure what to make of what this is. Maybe I’m getting old? Maybe my palette has changed during quarantine? My thumb slipped while listening and the song skipped to the next, but I didn’t revisit what I missed. It didn’t feel like my life would have changed for the better if I treated myself to the entire experience. Two minutes was long enough for these ears.

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Previous lists

6/3/2020

5/25/2020 

5/04/2020

4/27/2020

4/20/2020


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DISCUSSION

Not going to lie: it’s not been a great year for music in 2020 if you ask me.”

Why stop there? I’ve been saying that for the past 15 years!