The theme this week is based on music that can pick up your mood, from invigorated Rap and RnB, to some pumped up Folk, and finishing up with smooth Contemporary Jazz – all of which are spiced with a bit of soul and sass. Small disclaimer though, I’m notorious for listening to out of date music, always coming late to the party and never really in touch with current the jams and jellies. But regardless, here are some good tunes that you’ve probably missed from the past couple of years.
Do My Thing — Estelle ft. Janelle Monáe
Sometimes you (I) just feel a need to get down to strong independent women being who they want to be because they have taken charge of their own world and damn, sometimes it’s just a nice reminder that we actually can. This song’s electrifying rhythm almost stimulates you to take control of your own world as it is no one else’s business and privilege to do so. It’s upbeat nature is contagious and you’ll find yourself follow them into their mindset of individualism if you are in the right mood. The lyrics aren’t terribly intricate, and while a bit silly, ‘doing your thing’ is a pretty good summary of how to live your life. But really, this one definitely is strong for their incredibly catchy arrangement.
If your looking for some solid RnB and are particularly angry towards the ruling patriarchy one day, this is a great one. If you would rather listen to something with a bit of a gentler approach to empowerment, I suggest to continue down this, albeit short, musical journey.
Is Your Love Big Enough? — Lianne La Havas
This one is definitely the middle ground of the picks, as far as tempo goes. It also happens to be my favorite, however, I cannot for the life of me make sense of these lyrics. Not that it matters immensely, sometimes feel good tunes can just be how the music sounds and not what it necessarily means. Actually, what I love most about this one is that it is simplistic lyrically. It’s one of those songs that is easy to learn and a great go-to for when you just want blast some music and sing and dance – be it by yourself in your room or with a friend who needs a bit of a pick me up jam session. It’s a type of song that gives you good vibes because it is just pleasurable to listen to.
If your interested in a flawless mix of folk and soul yumyums, definitely check this one out. The combination sounds odd in text, but just take it as energized soul that has been grounded with comforting folk strings and structure.
Black Gold — Esperanza Spalding ft. Algebra Blessett
Remember the Grammy’s four years ago when the clear favorite and assumed winner for Best New Artist was our adored prepubescent Justin Bieber? Remember how he lost to a some obscure jazzy black chick literally no one had heard of and the outrage from, I don’t know, millions of Beliebers (awww yeah bringing it back) who basically harassed and “declared war” on her? Remember? Yeah, probably not, but it’s still pretty funny.
Anyway, that nobody happens to be my last pick of the week, Esperanza Spalding. A cool, jazz bassist doing her own thing (oh my god pun totally not intended) and rocking at it.
“Black Gold” is all about empowerment, in probably the most smoothest way possible. She encourages you to recognize your strength within and persevere through a cruel world. Yes, this is definitely geared towards the racism against Africans Americans, however I think we all deal with some type of discrimination and get pulled down at moments. There are times when all we want to do is succumb to those weak moments of low self confidence, yet she urges you to hold your head up and know your worth from how you define your value to be, not what others set for you. The message is universal, you are golden, whether people tell you or not.
If you’re looking to get into a bit of modern jazz, I highly recommend starting with this. It’s a suave sound but catchy, and overall a feel good song that can only lift your mood.
By Melina Diaz