Top 5 from the Week #5 (ft. Orion Sun, Childish Gambino, and The Weeknd)

So when I make write my stories, for the sake of consistency, I copy and paste the format from the previous addition to that line of stories (i.e. when I do Top Fives, I just copy the format from the last Top Five). It helps me remember what number I’m on in the series and what I’ve already talked about recently. I was getting ready to delete the first paragraph from the last Top Five (which you can read here), and realized that the introduction paragraph outlines the exact same vibe for this week lol. We’re still dealing with Miss Rona 2020, I’m still getting hit with TONS of amazing music, I have listened to Bino’s new album (and the next First Listen will be about my thoughts on it), and I’m still crying over After Hours (2020).

All that to say that two of these songs are from Abel, two are from Donald (so I won’t go into those very deep at all, but once I write up that First Listen, you can read my thoughts about both here (I’ll just copy and paste what I said from the FL lol), but I’ll go into a little bit more detail because I’ve had time to sit with those two tracks). And one is from my fave, Orion Sun, who blessed us with her new project Hold Space for Me (2020) in the wee hours of the morning. The next next First Listen will be on that album. All to say that this one will be one of the shorter Top Fives (even though they’re relatively short already lol) because 3 of the songs will be detailed further in my next two First Listens and the other songs have already been talked about in a First Listen lol. This beginning paragraph very well might be longer than the rest of the story. Anyway, on to it.

“El Camino” – Orion Sun

This is what? Orion Sun’s third appearance on a Top Five???? The great thing about that is that we now have the project those other two songs – “Lightning” and “Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don’t Leave Me)” – and this one are from! I think it’s so exciting to have my listening progress documented like that, so I can go back and see where I was in the process of one of my fave’s dropping a project. Without going into too much, “El Camino” is great. Orion Sun is spitting B A R S on this song, and I love hearing her give us something a little different.

“19.10” and “Algorhythm” – Childish Gambino

Again, I won’t go too deep into these because there is a story dedicated to 3.15.20 coming up soon, but I will say that both of these songs are perfect. They’re groovy, the production is amazing. And I love how both of these songs fit into the story that Donald is telling on the project.

“Too Late'” and “Escape From LA” – The Weeknd

I’ve already talked about how much I love After Hours and these two songs, so I’ll just copy and paste my thoughts here lol. Just know that I’ve come to love them more and more each day. Abel really gave us something special with this project.

EDIT: I have realized that I actually didn’t talk about “Escape From LA” that much, sonically, in the First Listen. I’ll still include the quote, but I’d like to add that I love the chorus – I love how Abel eases into the chorus. The production is great. This is really one of my favorite songs from him EVER.

Nevertheless, [“Too Late”] is one of my FAVORITE tracks on the project. I love the chorus! (my notes literally just say: “the CHORUS!!!!! The chorus!!!!!!!!!!!”). I also love that “We’re in Hell, it’s disguised as a paradise with flashing lights” line, something about it really stuck out for me. There’s a disenchantment that’s happening in these first couple of songs, including “Hardest to Love,” “Scared to Live,” and “Snowbird” where Abel is seeing Hollywood (and aspects of fame that he’s wanted for so long) without rose-colored glasses. The pools, money, and “Louis a la mode” are cool, but they’re pushing Abel into a life that he sees is unsustainable for him longterm.

[On “Escape From LA,”] I think it’s here Abel’s vocals start to feel a little bit more distant and muddled, and it sounds like we’re falling into a drug-induced trance. Again, the drug stops being fame and fortune and becomes l o v e. We hear him fall deeper and deeper into love, where he stops addressing the faults of him and his lover fully and begins to address them on the surface. Once the escape from LA happens though, Abel is pushed very FAST into old habits, which we were on “Heartless,” where all of that lovey-dovey love talk becomes “never need a bitch, I’m what a bitch needs.”

First Listen #9: The Weeknd’s ‘After Hours’

here’s something else you might like:

Top 5 from the Week #1 (ft. Orion Sun, YGTUT, Roddy Ricch, Q, and Mick Jenkins)

There was A LOT of really good music this week. A bunch of new Denzel (including me listening to some old collabs he’s done), some revisiting of old school r&b songs I used to listen to in the car with my mom, some revisiting of Saba’s Care for Me and Childish Gambino’s because the internet. … Continue reading Top 5 from the Week #1 (ft. Orion Sun, YGTUT, Roddy Ricch, Q, and Mick Jenkins)

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