What We’re Listening To

Hatchet staff writer Karolina Ramos shares her latest musical obsessions.

Anthony Gonzalez of M83. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia user Rama under the Creative Commons License

Year One, One UFO

If you are seeking an electrifying pick-me-up, look no further: “Year One, One UFO” is elation in musical form. Entirely instrumental, except for a few scattered vocal cheers, the piece is driven by riveting, thoughtfully crafted guitar riffs, ambient synth sounds and a peppy bass line. M83’s Anthony Gonzalez remains in the realm of electro-pop – his musical expertise – but deviates from his traditional style by exploring the explosiveness of rock guitar. “Year One, One UFO” will leave you asking why Gonzalez didn’t pursue this musical fusion earlier. The piece was released in October on M83’s album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.” The album is so catchy, Urban Outfitters chose to endorse the band and stream the album on its website.

Gorillaz, Andre 3000 and James Murphy

The latest installment of Converse’s “Three Artists. One Song” series, “DoYaThing,” resounds with chaotic and catchy riffs that seamlessly fuse LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy’s electronica beats, Andre 3000’s inflated ego and Gorillaz’s effortlessly melodic rapping into one addictive piece. At best a frenzied funk revival and at worst a jam session spiraling into insanity – see the 13-minute version featuring excessive repetition of the phrase, “I’m the shit” – the brainchild of these three dynamic artists proves calculated with a façade of crazy. Not only is “DoYaThing” one of the most fun and eccentric songs of late, it’s arguably the most cohesive and well wrought of any Converse collaboration to date.

Evening’s Kiss
Willis Earl Beal

Willis Earl Beal’s gritty, Robert Johnson-esque vocals take a turn for the more placid in this musing on coping with heartbreak. “Evening’s Kiss” seesaws between defiant indifference and bitter disheartenment, all fueled by a mellow yet emotional percussive guitar. When Beal sings, “I don’t protest or resist, I’m not invested in this. I’m backing out of the fight to give my spirit tonight,” the message is empowering, but temporary. The piece subtly progresses with little bombast, culminating in Beal’s ultimate resolution to accept his solitude. Still, this doesn’t come without a pang of resentment, as Beal bemoans, “Ask me how I’m feeling; well I’m full of shit ‘n doubt. Ask me who I’m with and I’ll tell you I’m without.” Particularly easy to relate to, this piece is one-man-one-guitar emotional profusion at its finest.

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