Wrapping up November with Repeatable tracks

Nov 29, 2023 | Review, Mini

I wasn’t feeling well and then Thanksgiving week was a bit much, so only the podcast went out, I apologize. That said, let’s dive into these amazing tracks today!

But first… some housekeeping.

To keep these posts from being too long, there are 10 artists or less every week. If you see a recent comeback missing that you would like my feedback on, feel free to comment and I’ll try to get it in next week’s post.

Also an important note: I am studying music production and often talk about the production of songs. I also mention other songs or artists that come to mind. This isn’t to compare talent, but to provide a reference point to what I’m hearing or describing. I will often critique, but please don’t confuse this with being negative or hating on anyone. If I honestly dislike something, it won’t be featured on the site because I’m not in the business of being mean.

Screen Time by Epik High featuring Hoshi

First, Epik High only knows how to put out quality, so I knew this was going to be good. But it’s so soft, it feels incredibly delicate. Which is amazing when you pair it with the lyrics. Almost like the song is as fragile as their sanity and focus. Doing a song about the obsession of checking on someone or checking social media, especially in terms of an ex, as this chill lo-fi song creates such a beautiful juxtaposition. And then having Hoshi and Tablo do these breathy vocal with the backing harmonies softens any edges of the rapping. But the piano at the end gives this lo-fi jazz bar meets hip-hop vibe. I feel like I need to be in a smokey bar with a Jack and Coke in my hand and sway softly with my eyes closed while listen to this. Very specific picture, because the song feels incredibly vivid. Very well done. Totally have it on repeat. 10/10

(TW: flashing lights)

Made to be by Donny Daydream

Donny Daydream is featured on our Dark R&B playlist, but his newest release deserves some attention as well. If you’ve been here a bit, you know a usual peeve I have is when the vocals are mixed into the instrumentation and get lost. But I really enjoy how the bass feels laid on top of his vocals at times. And at other times it feels like the bass is carrying his vocals. But something that has such an interesting effect is that subdued sound in the back, like that underwater pitched up vocal from the beginning, but higher. With headphones on it sits right behind your ears and kind of jiggles left and right. Brilliant addition. Not to mention Donny’s voice is just smooth, the perfect R&B vocal. Also 10/10.

Cut You Off by Chinchilla

Who doesn’t love a confident maneater track? Her voice and these lyrics. “I used what you left me to sharpen my machete” is such a vibe. I seriously love how she slips between so many different genres throughout the song. Is it a pop song? Is it hip-hop? Is it R&B? All I know is it’s damn good. The choir-like harmonies during the chorus, especially toward the end, paired with her larger-than-life vocals, really make the song feel elevated. Absolutely love it from start to finish. I’m going to repeat myself if I keep going, just listen and see what I mean.

(TW: glitchy and flashy images throughout)

Naturally by CLUB BOYBND, Nilo Blues, & Yanzzy

This song is such a groovy track that it was really hard to sit still and write about it. This song is actually on the Dark R&B playlist, so if you enjoy it, go check that out and see other songs in the same vein. Songs the skirt the line between R&B and Hip-Hop are 100% my cup of tea. But the way the track is called Naturally, while the vocals almost feel slurred at times, especially that Spanish verse, is the best kind of irony. Which is why the vocals being partially buried feels just right on this track. I want to groove with it on repeat, and I think you will as well.

Amigos by BIBI & Becky G

Speaking of Spanish. This is a collab that made me super happy. BIBI has been on this blog a few times now so I’m sure no one is surprised that I enjoy her music. But paired with Becky G? 10/10 already. Songs that feature multiple languages are easily my favorite. But this track already is a mix of Reggaeton, Ranchero, and Cumbia, so when you add Korean and English to the pot it works amazingly well. And interestingly enough, listen to this track and the CLUB BOYBND track above back-to-back and it’s such a “get drunk on tequila and take someone home” vibe. Use that combo at your own risk.

Die 4 You by DEAN

Like Epik High, it’s expected that DEAN is going to put out something quality. Especially after such a long hiatus. And here we are at Die 4 You. This song is somehow both a song to listen to with headphones on while lying on the floor, drowning in the emotions and ignoring the rain outside… while simultaneously being a song you need move to, like tall grass at the edge of a cliff swaying in the breeze. Yeah, it inspires metaphors. Especially with the word play in these lyrics. His voice rides the music, but those harmonies drown him. It’s such a layered song. Pretty much every song on this week’s post needs to be played on repeat to fully enjoy. But especially this one.

Lucky Rocky by Rocky

Saxophone, jazzy piano, whistling, and tap dancing together in one song are not things I expected in a K-Pop track. You already know I love the chanting throughout, but the funk in this song is so strong that it’s impossible not to groove with it. It’s like a Jazz Pop Fusion track. I don’t know how else to describe it. There is just so much happening and yet it also feels way too short. I guess that’s a good excuse to repeat it, right?

OOTD by Dreamcatcher

Like the Chinchilla track, we love confident women here. The power in this song and those electric guitar synths is palpable. But I think my favorite part is the juxtaposition of the low harmonies with the high notes and the intensity of the background music. I really would love for my girl groups to hit these lower notes. The levels they make in this song are magical. And the girl boss lyrics paired with it are extremely inspiring. This one needs to be on repeat just for the energy in it.

(TW: Glitchy and flashy imagery)

COMPANY by kasper

Speaking of levels, the way kasper uses his voice to build on itself over and over as a way to build tension before hitting those runs was such a satisfying move. And he pairs it with dropping out the music entirely several times, which was risky, I feel like that could have easily gone sideways. Then again, that’s true of so much about this track. It feels like a Jazzy R&B track, but then the end rolls around and we have this clean outro start, only to have drums and sax show up to the party. Such an interesting song but so easy to listen to at the same time. Like it just makes sense somehow.

Mirror by Summer Soul featuring Jeebanoff

You know we love Summer Soul here at Moon Culture Cafe. But this feature was unexpected and lovely. Like the DEAN track, it needs metaphors to describe. This song is riding the subway in the rain, looking at your reflection in the window. Such a chill song and yet the music feels so full and enveloping. That synth just keeps building until it almost seems to choke out their vocals at the end. It’s such a pleasant way to drown, this song. Summer Soul’s airy, breathy voice suits Jeebanoff’s dusky, smokey voice so well. Seriously, every song in this post could be played on repeat and that would be fine.

Thank you for joining me! And I hope you feel a little lighter than when you arrived.

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