The Music Beat: Get Cozy with Some Tunes

New year, new playlist. At least that’s how it usually goes. With the recent holiday season and start of 2019, artists didn’t hold back on releasing new content. Lucky for you, I’ve been spending my time curating a new playlist to share. With more than 100 songs on the playlist, you’ll find a variety of genres, including pop, alternative, rap and electronic.

We can’t talk about pop music these days without mentioning Ariana Grande. After calling off her four month-long engagement with comedian Pete Davidson in October, Grande was single for the first time in a while and embraced it by focusing on herself and her music. Boy, did she deliver, not one, but three bangers in the span of two months. From the whistle notes in “Imagine” to the lyrics in “7 Rings,” her three new songs create goosebumps. Breaking a number records, four of which are from her “Thank U, Next” music video alone, Ariana is currently on top of the world, or at least the pop charts.

With hundreds of pop artists competing in the industry today, Ariana can’t steal all the thunder. Miley Cyrus recently collaborated with DJ Mark Ronson on a song titled “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.” While the track falls under the pop genre, the Nashville native certainly channels her inner Southern roots, incorporating sounds of country and even referencing her home state in the line “We were drunk in love in Tennessee.”

Former “The Four” contestant Zhavia Ward is a newer artist who gained popularity from viral videos of her performances circulating on Twitter, most likely thanks to her young age, mature look and astounding voice. Since being on the singing competition in early 2018, Zhavia has released three original songs — her most recent being “100 Ways,” which blends pop and rap into an ultimate bop.

Other notable rising artists include Lizzo, whose groovy new song “Juice” pulls from ‘70s retro, and Netta, who won Eurovision last year with her funky song “Toy.” Eurovision is an international song competition, mainly in Europe, where people submit an original song and compete by having their songs play on the radio and performing them on live television until someone is finally crowned the winner.

Julia Michaels, who’s written hits such as “Sorry” by Justin Bieber and “Close” by Nick Jonas, has been pursuing her own singing career for a few years now. In her latest extended play. “Inner Monologue, Pt. 1,” Michaels collaborates with renowned artist Selena Gomez and former One Direction member Niall Horan.

I’ve never been very interested in bands, but there’s something about up-and-coming boy band PRETTYMUCH’s sound that gets me on my feet every time. The Los Angeles-based group has yet to release its first full-length album but continues to tease fans with catchy upbeat singles such as “JELLO,” “Solita” and “Blind.”

For those who prefer a softer sound, Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, X Ambassadors and Florence + The Machine are just a number of artists that have dropped new alternative songs.

Lana Del Rey’s “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have —but i have it” epitomizes her infamous theme of tragic romance, composed of only her stellar vocals and a soft piano in the background. It’s definitely a song for the sadder days.

On a lighter note, Billie Eilish’s “When I Was Older” begins with a piano solo followed by her soft voice, but the song takes a turn when the beat picks up around halfway through. Eilish also experiments with autotune in the song — a new sound for her. The result? A masterpiece.

The rap genre has evolved over the past few years as an increasing amount of millennials feel like they have what it takes, kicking off their music careers as “SoundCloud rappers.” With so many rappers in the game today, one has to decide who’s worth listening to.

Tierra Whack is a rising rapper whose debut album “Whack World” gained much success. She’s nominated for a Grammy — an impressive accomplishment considering she’s only been in the industry since late-2017.

“Off Deez” by JID and J. Cole, as well as “Bangarang” by 99 Neighbors, are two other of my favorite rap songs, which mingle hard-core rapping with intense beats.

One genre I’ve loved for a while but haven’t explored much until a few months ago is electronic. Listening to Grimes’ 2015 album “Art Angels” again reminded me of my appreciation for electronic music. “Kill V. Maim” remains one of Grimes’ best songs to this day, combining her edited high-pitched voice with an electrifying backtrack. “Flesh without Blood” and “Venus Fly” featuring Janelle Monae fall closely behind. Louis the Child and Jai Wolf are other notable electronic artists who produce original, intoxicating beats.

As someone who enjoys listening to music in different languages, I’ve included a number of French songs I highly suggest giving a listen to. My personal favorites include “Chula” by Therapie TAXI, “Grave” by Eddy de Pretto, “La mer est calme” by Ben Mazue & Louane and anything by Angele.

“Chula” gives off an alternative rock vibe, while “Grave” leans more toward pop and “La mer est calme” sounds like soft alternative pop. I would best describe it as a beautiful French ballad. As for Angele, there isn’t one song by her I dislike, which isn’t surprising as her music style can be compared to that of Billie Eilish. Both show off their angelic voices which are complemented by soft pop rhythms.

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