July 2020 Playlist: Songs In Heavy Rotation

The singles keeping us inspired this month.

Chromeo provide much needed comic relief to help process these precarious times, The Dirty Nil kicks a nasty habit, and H.E.R. drops a deeply personal take on the Black Lives Matter movement. Ahead, the songs we have on repeat this month. You can also find them on our monthly Spotify playlist.

Chloe x Halle – “Forgive Me”

Over a glistening, expensive-sounding synth line and tasteful trap hi-hats, the sisterly R&B duo set out to confidently eviscerate a no-good man through song while supporting each other through pristine harmonies. The combination of Chloe’s smoother alto and the younger Halle’s sharper vocals, simultaneously innocent and acerbic when they need to be, works incredibly well. 

Chromeo – “Clorox Wipe”

The hilarious spin on the ongoing pandemic we desperately needed, Chromeo infuses this track with some of their funkiest rhythms yet. In an unexpected but undeniably characteristic narrative turn, frontman Dave 1 wishes to be reincarnated as a cleaning product in order to finally be noticed by a girl who just wants to stay safe. Extra points for bringing back a talkbox in 2020. 

Anderson .Paak – “Lockdown”

Only someone with Anderson .Paak’s magnetic charisma could make a track about Black Lives Matter protesters abandoning their quarantine to congregate in the streets and fight for a pressing cause sound so smooth. As .Paak delivers bars about his own experiences at the Los Angeles protests, his traditionally laid-back voice can’t mask his anger at systemic injustice.   

The Dirty Nil – “Done With Drugs”

A genuine pledge to become more responsible that also serves as a subtle critique of the narcissistic aspects of announcing your self-betterment on social media. The Ontario punk-rock band tap into some delightfully early-2000s energy, catchy melodies bursting through the crunchy mix of guitars as frontman Luke Bentham offers up a couple humorous suggestions of new hobbies to try instead. 

Beyoncé – “BLACK PARADE”

Ever since her culturally defining headlining set at Coachella 2018, Beyoncé has been experimenting with the sounds and visuals of the marching bands of traditionally black colleges. Released on Juneteenth in response to the Black Lives Matter movement’s uprising, “BLACK PARADE” is her most successful attempt at capturing that energy in song form as she celebrates the power of her heritage and identity.  

Teyana Taylor – “Wake Up Love” (Ft. Iman Shumpert)

On an album brimming with tributes to an idyllic familial life, one of the most technically gifted vocalists in R&B recruits her husband, NBA star Iman Shumpert, to celebrate their enduring relationship. While Taylor reaches down to impressive lower notes, Shumpert joins the ranks of athletes-turned-rappers and genuinely steals the show with a West Coast-inspired verse.

H.E.R. – “I Can’t Breathe”

Easily the most haunting and deeply personal musical take on the recent social uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement, Grammy-winning child prodigy H.E.R. offers some truly poetic and eye-opening thoughts on roots of privilege dating back to the colonial era and their impact on the recent string of police killings. Her audibly distressed vocals coast over a bluesy and soulful backbeat. 

Tyla Yaweh – “Tommy Lee” (Ft. Post Malone)

Who better for Tyla Yaweh to call on for a song idolizing the rockstar lifestyle than close friend and touring companion Post Malone? The two melodic rap masterminds compare themselves to the legendary Motley Crue drummer over trap hi-hats and a looping acoustic guitar before Malone offers up yet another earworm of a verse. There are rumours that a remix featuring Lee himself is in the works. 

Jorja Smith – “Rose Rouge”

A nearly six-minute reworking of French acid jazz pioneer St Germain’s track of the same name, Jorja Smith teams up with UK outfit Ezra Collective for a psychedelic and intoxicating journey carried by some truly impressive extended solos from the brass and percussion sections. After her contributions to the soundtrack of Netflix original The Eddy, which centers around a jazz club, this is an unexpected and exciting new musical direction. 

The Lawrence Arms – “Last, Last Words”

An upbeat pop-rock track with a driving beat and powerful instrumental hooks made up of heavy guitar work. The band previews their first new album in six years with a song they say is about “coming to terms with your own obscurity.” Accepting that they’re pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things and harnessing their own future, the band navigate the imagined apocalyptic world that will shape the new album’s narrative.