Can you believe that it is June already (Circa June 4th specifically by the time this posts)? My, oh my how time flies these days! What better way to celebrate being a month older – and maybe more importantly summertime – than a playlist, right (do you feel me)? Here are 12 songs that made May so special for me, I have to keep jamming to them into June!
1) Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
I know, I know, I know! I continue to be in awe of this track – I even recommended it at the beginning of May. Ariana Grande steps up her game on the infectious “Problem” and brings one of the year’s hotter MCs in for the assist. Throw in a Big Sean chant (“I got one less problem without you”) and “Problem” is an undisputed hit.
Mariah Carey opens up her latest LP Me. I Am Mariah surprisingly with a somewhat understated ballad in “Cry”. “Cry” may not be perfectly developed or even the perfect song to kick off Carey’s album, but it’s hard to deny the sheer beauty of Carey’s voice or the vibe she’s going for on this ballad.
3) Usher,“Good Kisser”
Usher goes risqué on “Good Kisser”. By risqué, I’m referring to he loves the way his girl kisses in places besides the lips… While I’ll save the details for your own listening ‘pleasure’, Usher seems like he’s upped the ante at least a level since the underwhelming sales of his previous album, the electro-R&B driven Looking 4 Myself.
4) Austin Mahone, “All I Ever Need”(The Secret (EP))
Most of teen heartthrob Austin Mahone’s debut EP The Secret is quick-paced, electronic driven pop. However, Mahone does allow for one contemporary R&B-oriented ballad via “All I Ever Need”, which may give big-time single “Mmm Yeah” (featuring Pitbull) a run for its money.
5) Michael Jackson, “Blue Gangsta”(Xscape)
Yeah, some are knocking the latest Michael Jackson posthumous album Xscape for numerous reasons – The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney even utilized some salty language in his disapproval of the affair. Personally, I enjoyed it, particularly Timbaland’s slickly produced “Blue Gangsta”, which exemplifies the sound I envisioned a new Michael Jackson album would’ve sounded like in the 10s.
6) The Roots featuring Raheem DeVaughn,“Tomorrow” (…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin)
“Tomorrow” is a cut that definitely shines amongst the Roots’ dark, sometimes accusatory …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. This optimistic soul cut closes the effort, with Raheem DeVaughn absolutely slaying it.
7) Hunter Hayes, “Invisible” (Storyline)
The messaging of country-pop singer/songwriter Hunter Hayes’ “Invisible” is incredibly meaningful; for doubters of the somewhat aww shucks, boyish artist, it definitely makes you take a second look. A record dealing with bullying and being an outcast, it shows incredible maturity and poise, making Hayes sound wise beyond his years.
8) The Black Keys, “Turn Blue” (Turn Blue)
“When the music is done and all the lights are low / I would remember the times where love would really glow,” Auerbach sings on the second verse of “Turn Blue”, the title track from The Keys’ latest LP. “Turn Blue” has multiple interpretable meanings, but the loss of love – meaning the “turning blue” is more figurative as opposed to literal – personally seems the most feasible. Regardless of how anyone else interprets “Turn Blue”, it is a well-rounded record.
9) Lily Allen,“Life For Me” (Sheezus)
Lily Allen’s Sheezusas a whole is…umm, interesting. Honestly, it was a confounding album because some of it was great, while other parts were so-so. “Life For Me”, the 11th track on the album, is much more mature than the majority of the effort. Why you ask – because Allen discusses motherhood and her newfound ‘adult’ life. This track in particular puts the Brit singer in a different, more respectable light.
10) Coldplay,“Ink” (Ghost Stories)
I’ll be the first to admit that Ghost Stories wasn’t my favorite Coldplay album. However, contextually speaking, the band’s theme of love is easily perceptible, particularly on “Ink”. “Ink” is firmly invested in love, definitely possessing a haunting quality about it that matches the album itself. It won’t build much energy in the club, but if you’re in love or even lust, maybe you’ll relate.
The Roots © Def Jam
11) The Roots,“Black Rock” (…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin)
Ah, another track from The Roots’…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. Sure, it was a super conceptual effort aka ‘takes multiple listens to digest’, but “Black Rock” was brief, though shining moment. Featuring rhymes from Dice Raw and of course mainstay MC Black Thought, the song essentially criticizes rap artists and even the music of the day, highlighting its shortcomings and inauthenticity. Hey, The Roots have a valid point.
12) Mariah Carey, “Heavenly (No Ways Tired / Can’t Give Up)” (Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse)
Carey has some nice moments throughout latest album, Me. I Am Mariah. That said, one of the best is a cover of Mary Mary’s emotional gospel cut, “Can’t Give Up Now”. Let the church say yaaaasssss!