"Less Than Three" by No Mana
No Mana is quick to cite his label boss, Deadmau5, as a major musical inspiration, but the young producer also took his cue from the helmeted star's keen sense of branding. The producer's work often sounds like something straight out of an SNES game, so it makes sense that the artwork for his music would follow a similar style. "Less Than Three," from his most recent EP, Above The Blue, finds No Mana exploring a few new directions, as his music increases in scale and approaches an industrialized progressive house drone.
"Sign of the Times" by Harry Styles
At one point, One Direction was the world's biggest band. Then Zayn Malik departed, and the remaining four members released one final record before scattering. While his peers went straight into making new music, Harry Styles pivoted to acting, and is just now delivering his first solo music, "Sign of the Times." The title feels like a knowing wink, because instead of chasing EDM or rap trends, Styles made an earnest classic rock ballad with big drums, tender lead vocals, a quivering choir, and epic guitar runs. Fans waited years for this moment, and Styles did not disappoint.
"Unforgettable" by French Montana ft. Swae Lee
The reverberations of Drake's "One Dance" are still being felt across the worlds of rap and R&B. Last year Tory Lanez released "LUV," PartyNextDoor scored success with "Come and See Me," and now French Montana are Swae Lee are trying their hands at a little dancehall on their song "Unforgettable." While it's not an obvious dance floor smash, the track gradually eases into a captivating groove, allowing French Montana's relaxed flow to properly breathe.
"Woke Up Like This" by Playboi Carti ft. Lil Uzi Vert
Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert are two of rap's most confounding figures—not for what they say, but for how little both of them speak. "Woke Up Like This" shines precisely because it finds the two rappers volleying lines back and forth about how much the world is following in their footsteps—a moment of self-awareness that they both typically refrain from verbalizing. The song also interpolates the mid-'00s Dem Franchize Boyz staple, "I Think They Like Me"—in case you needed another reason to love this tune.
"All I Know" by EDX
EDX has no trouble finding his groove on his latest single, "All I Know." The soulful vocals, horns, and deep house keyboard stabs all arrive within the first 15 seconds. Barely two and half minutes long, the song wastes no time grabbing hold of the listener. There's no clichéd drop anticipation here—the drop happens before most songs are even done building to the first verse.
"Battle Symphony" by Linkin Park
On their last album, Hunting Party, Linkin Park leaned into dubstep and found a nice new rap-rock-EDM middle ground for their already established cross-genre roots. "Battle Symphony," off their upcoming album, One More Light, shows the band continuing to fully embrace the electronics. The increased bombast evokes a Viva La Vida-era Coldplay updated for 2017, which seems fitting for one of the last remaining arena-rock holdouts from the '00s.
"Catastrophe Anthem" by Clark
English producer Clark spends much of his ninth album, Death Peak, homing in on the more ephemeral and abstract moments of his previous, self-titled album. "Catastrophe Anthem" is a notable exception. Slowly building until there is what sounds like a children's choir chanting over increasingly distorted synths, the final result is a bit jarring—but the composition reveals its beauty the longer it breaks and shatters.
"Bollywood Stunna" by Reach
The name "Bollywood Stunna" might be the best name for a frantic trap banger: the two simple words tell you exactly what you're about to listen to. Reach features the influence of Bollywood soundtracks, which can be heard before the song falls into a monstrous drop. The combination of the two styles might be jarring on paper, but Reach knows how to weave the two styles into one.
"Link in Bio" by Diet Cig
There is an immediate rush that is sparked by Diet Cig on their song "Link In Bio" that recalls No Age's excellent 2008 indie hit, "Eraser." While No Age drowned their vocals to nearly inaudible levels under guitar fuzz, Diet Cig's lead singer, Alex Luciano, can be easily heard on "Link In Bio" as she sings lyrics about agency and not allowing anyone to put her down.
"I Still Feel You" by Dabin
The Toronto producer Dabin found offbeat gold on "I Still Feel You" from his debut album, Two Hearts. The track moves with an assured bounce, as the drums evoke both old school British dubstep and even early '90s jungle beats. The raucous drums are matched with sweet melodies, which make a thrilling juxtaposition.
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