In the newest release from hyper-wow synth-pop label PC Music, social media mogul GFOTY (Girlfriend of the Year) approaches stealing someone’s boyfriend from every angle, expertly jumping from a sweet bouncing synth refrain “I wanna get close to you” into a nightmarish “drown her in my tears” chant. Amidst meowing cats, she throws in a cover of Blink-182’s “All the Small Things” and ties the whole mix together with the wedding march. It’s an overwhelming sensory assault, and each transition puts you on edge, wondering what she’ll throw in next. Even when she’s gloating (“bad things happen to good people/not to me, though”) she’s charming, so her confession that “I want you to like me” isn’t something she needs to worry about. "never meant to make you feel so small/I’m just that tall/I don’t want to want you /*synth*synth*synth*synth*/soooo huuuuge…"
- Anne Leonardo
"Uptown Funk" (Mark Ronson cover for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge) — Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy’s punk revamp of Mark Ronson’s current Billboard hit “Uptown Funk” is much needed for those of us who lack the overflowing self-confidence of the original’s effortlessly stylish featured vocalist Bruno Mars. Sure, drummer Andy Hurley’s looking a little grayer than he used to, Patrick Stump and Joe Trohman both had children last year, and Pete Wentz is two children and a divorce closer to being the resident DILF on your list of middle school crushes. But America’s suitehearts prove they’re back in a big way — between the release of this past month’s American Beauty/American Psycho (which spawned #1 hit “Centuries” and became the group’s third #1 album) and this angsty cover of Ronson’s heavily ‘80s influenced bulletproof pop hit, the foursome has proved their worthiness as a permanent fixture in your heart, or at the very least your workout playlist. This cover is proof of the group’s versatility, a perfect blend of the Fall Out Boy you know and love (or grudgingly tolerate out of a sense of obligation to your past self) and Ronson’s sublime production skills. Stump, Wentz, and their admittedly lesser-known cohorts are sending a stark message of their band’s continued relevance while simultaneously answering the question that's been burning on my mind since the original song’s initial release in November (can an “Uptown Funk” cover retain the almost excessive funk of the original??) with a clear and resounding “yes.” One listen will have you grooving, slightly dancing, and once again grudgingly remembering the group’s onetime partnership with Aeropostale. The verdict is in: Fall Out Boy are cool and funky once again, so much so that you might almost begin to appreciate Wentz’s new platinum haired guylinerless look. Almost.
"I Don’t Fuck With You" - Big Sean feat. E-40 (Prod. Kanye West, DJ Dahi, DJ Mustard)
Resolved: The song “I Don’t Fuck With You” is ‘a banger’.
- Big Sean sounds like Aziz Ansari doing an impression of Big Sean.
- And his lyrics are what they’ve always been: PG-13 rap tropes competently expressed through simple, transparent formal devices and basic wordplay. No vivacity, let alone spark.
- I have no idea what E-40 is talking about and I don’t think he does either.
- Its radio edit is the audio equivalent of newspaper comic grawlixes, and the result is somehow even less entertaining than Garfield.
- Mustard’s on the beat, ho!
It’s a banger!
- Thomas Van de Pas
“How Could You Babe?” – Tobias Jesso Jr.
Tobias Jesso Jr. is on the rise – and for good reason. I didn’t really know what to expect when I first heard him, but I was pleasantly surprised. Jesso Jr. is able to play the piano, sing a love song, and somehow not sound corny. “How Could You Babe?” feels strangely familiar like something you might have heard in your parents’ car while still sounding current. His first album, Goon, comes out in March and it is definitely one to look out for.
- Billy Brooks
"Whistling song" - Meat Puppets
I've been really into Meat Puppets ever since I heard Nirvana cover them for MTV unplugged. They manage to maintain their unique, moody sound while sampling from numerous genres on every album. This song is off of their second album, II, which is much softer than most of their work, but I think the toned-down vibe allows Curt Kirkwood's songwriting genius to shine through. This is the song I've been waking up to lately.
- Becky Zegans
"Coyotes" - Modest Mouse
Last December when Modest Mouse confirmed they would release a new album in 2015, I was equally eager and apprehensive to hear the band's new material. It has been eight years since Modest Mouse released their last album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which generally received rather positive reviews. Whenever an artist or group breaks from releasing an album for a prolonged period of time, there seems to always be two fears: that they will either disappoint by creating an unpleasant sound, usually too distant from their former work, or that they won't undergo any sort of musical evolution, leaving the listener with a concept that is too familiar and outdated. In the second single from their upcoming album Strangers to Ourselves, Modest Mouse makes neither of these fatal errors. In "Coyotes" Isaac Brock remains lyrical true to Modest Mouse's previous work, twisting together metaphors. Brock's haunting yet gentle voice combines with refreshing acoustic sounds to create an intriguing track that proves MM is capable of exploring new ideas and sounds without straying too far from their former vibe.
- Kelsey Gordon
"Buried" - Shlohmo
It's February 2 at Wesleyan University. I'm feeling pretty sick today. I leave WestCo and trek through the "snowstorm that didn't cancel classes." I make this exact, sluggish journey twice before lunch, and, both times, Shlohmo's new "Buried" plays into my ears. Released with the announcement of his upcoming second official LP, Dark Red, the track is sci-fi post-apocalyptic; its buildup and whining synths mark it mournful and heavy. Made apparent by the album cover's monochromatic rose and celestial backdrop, Dark Red is already 2015's electronic album dedicated to love and to loss and to the universe.
- Zander Porter
"IM NOT IN LUV" – QUARTERBACKS
I like this band Quarterbacks. They’ve got the vibe of some kids who just want to be a little bit cooler than they really are. More enthusiastic than threatening, the blistering tempo of “IM NOT IN LUV” is justification enough for the revival of the oh-so-misunderstood Emo genre. Voice cracks and half-assed falsetto, questionable amounts of irony in the song title, I dunno it just makes me smile. It’s not anything you haven’t heard before, but it’s everything you’ll want to listen to over and over again.
- Ryan Breen