Reading: Music Hound // Ultimate Summer Playlist

Music Hound // Ultimate Summer Playlist

Summer ‘16 will be remembered by most as the moment when Drake went mega huge, enjoying his view from the top of the Pop mountain. Not far behind was his occasional cohort, Bermuda’s finest, Rhi Rhi. Not even Bey nor Ye could break their stranglehold on radio, charts, and Spotify. And of course in the club and also in the set of every wedding DJ (please stop). Here at Music Hound the sound of summer was similar, but we also discovered some fresh faces and voices were turning us loose. This was the summer of no pretense, as it seem everybody embraced the sound of Pop.

Ultimate song of the Summer
Blood Orange – St Augustine

If there is one artist who has owned the Summer of ‘16 in Toronto from the streets, trendy coffee shops, hipster snack bars, to house parties and off the beaten track galleries, is NYC based artist Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange. I can’t go anywhere without hearing his record, ‘Freedom Sound.’ And often on repeat. It is not your typical summer record. But for whatever reason it has captured the zeitgeist. Personally political, artistically ambitious, deeply nostalgic, and sensually fluid, Dev Hynes can’t decide if he wants to be Prince, Michael, or Janet. The fact that he looks and moves like a back up dancer in Madonna’s, ‘”Truth or Dare” movie, certainly helps with his popularity. Starting off in the Indie Music world, Hynes is best known as the collaborator who helped revive Solange’s career. Here he continues to embrace his pop sensibilities but the melodies are more sophisticated then ever. Sublime Pop. ’16 will always be remembered as the summer of Blood Orange for this Music Hound.

If you like Justin Timberlake ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’
Try Khalid – Let’s Go

As the summer began, it felt like JT might have a big hit on his hand. The general public, although enjoying the song never fully embraced it. Possibly because it sounded like he and producer Max Martin were trying just a little too hard and it didn’t have the magic of his previous collaborations with Timbaland. It felt like he had lost a step. The same couldn’t be said for El Paso, Texas, youngster Khalid, as he raced out with this soulful summer road trip anthem. Clever, bouncy production drives this cut forward while the lyrics, “Pick up your worries and throw them out the window”, feel good sweeping through your hair. At only 18, based on his first two tracks Khalid may be one of the future faces of Pop Soul. He should make sure his fade is tight and ready for his close up.

 

If you like Drake ‘One Dance’
Try D.R.A.M ft Lil Yachty – Broccoli

At this point in time it feels like the less said about Drake the better, as I am sure your newsfeed is plenty full of the best and worst of Champagne Papi’s latest meme’s, chart news, and beefs. And yes, he probably had the tune of the summer, globally with “One Dance”. In the American underground hiphop world though, one artist who has stepped up this summer is Virginia’s D.R.A.M. Who interestingly first came to prominence when his previous single, ‘Cha Cha Cha’, was a musical inspiration for “Hotline Bling”. Unlike Drake though, D.R.A.M specializes in fun, uplifting and playful hip hop. Hitting the middle ground between the gospel psychedelia of Chance The Rapper and the heavy minimal bass sounds of Trap Music. With the addition of hawt Atlanta Youtube viral sensation Lil Yachty, this was the true sound of Hip Hop in Summer Sixteen.

 

If you like Sia ft Sean Paul ‘Cheap Thrills’
Try Kaytranada ft Syd – You’re the One

This cheesy poppy club track from Sia has slowly risen to be one of this summers biggest tracks, as it finally hit #1 on the Billboard Top 100 this past week. But sorry Sia, I can’t get pass the cynical cheap lyrics on this number. We all know you can do better. I much rather be listening to Montreal producer Kaytranada’s critically acclaimed dance album, “99.9%”, that effortlessly mixes elements of funk, house, disco, R&B, and even hip hop into his own signature sound. For example, this sensual track that lifts liberally from the sounds of 90’s deep house, which was often heard drifting through the humid haze on many of the city’s best patios this summer. Inspired sounds.

 

If you like Calvin Harris ft Rhianna ‘This is What You Came For’
Try Bingo Players – Cry (Just A Little) remixed by A-Trak

When you hear the formulaic dance music that Harris makes now, it is hard to remember his start as an underground electroclash producer in Scotland. Check his track, ‘Acceptable in the 80’s’, for a nice ol’ slice of Aughts nostalgia. Course, we could talk about how Taylor Swift is a ghostwriter on this track and called him out about it on Twitter after they broke up. But we don’t talk about Taylor, we’re better then that. Either way it seemed to make the track simultaneously worse and more popular. One big underground track of the summer on the club circuit is from legendary Montreal producer and DJ, A-Trak’s, mix of Bingo Player’s 2011 track, ‘Cry (Just A Little)’. I will take A-Trak over Harris and Swift, any night of the week. Close your eyes and you are transported to a sweaty 90’s Warehouse House Party. A real banger, this one.