BEST CHILL MUSIC - WEEK 38
Greetings, readers! Today (September 22) marks the Autumnal Equinox, which means that summer is officially over in the Northern Hemisphere. As the days start to get shorter and the nights start to get longer, We Are: The Guard is, as ever, here to help you acclimatize to the drop in temperatures with the latest edition of Best Chill Music. Whatever your plans are for the first weekend of fall – be it going out and enjoying the golden hues, or staying in and warming up with a hot beverage – what better way to ponder the change in season than by pressing play on the following songs from Alessia Cara, Jacob Banks, SYML, BRIDGE, JP Cooper and five other artists?
ALESSIA CARA – DREW BARRYMORE (SZA COVER)
It's no secret that Alessia Cara is a SZA stan, having previously used Twitter to declare her love for the Top Dawg Entertainment signee, and this month, Cara takes that love a step further by uploading a cover of SZA's “Drew Barrymore” to YouTube. “Had this laying around for a bit so I decided to post it,” writes the Canadian singer of the stripped-down cover, which finds Cara shining a completely different light on the Ctrl cut with her signature mixture of bright vibrato vocals and acoustic guitars.
LANA DEL REY (FEAT. THE WEEKND) – LUST FOR LIFE (VALENTINE & ROB ARAUJO REMIX)
We Are: The Guard has heard its fair share of Lana Del Rey remixes over recent years, but none have transported us to another place quite like this futuristic remix of “Lust for Life” by producers Valentine and Rob Araujo. While the original finds Del Rey and guest vocalist The Weeknd at their most sweepingly melancholic, Valentine and Araujo fling “Lust for Life” into the far reaches of the cosmos, with the remix boasting a certain space-age swagger thanks to its wobbly, lurching synth pop production.
JACOB BANKS – UNKNOWN (TO YOU)
British-Nigerian crooner Jacob Banks revisits one of his most beautiful compositions ahead of the release of his debut album. Banks writes on Facebook that he chose to rerecord “Unknown (To You),” which originally featured on 2015's The Paradox EP, as he felt that he could “give more” to the song. “Give more” he does on the reworking of the piece – a string-driven opus that finds Banks reaching into the inner recesses of his soul in order to unleash perhaps his most powerful vocal performance to date.
SYML (FEAT. LILY KERSHAW) – WHERE'S MY LOVE (FRENCH VERSION)
Just when We Are: The Guard thought that it'd cried all of the tears that there were left to cry over SYML's “Where's My Love” – including its heart-wrenching video – the Seattle musician returns this September with a French version featuring Lily Kershaw on vocals. There's no need to be able to understand the language in order to appreciate the real sense of pain and anguish running through the piano-driven ballad, with Kershaw's pitch-perfect pipes really striking a chord with listeners.
GHOSTED (FEAT. KAMILLE) – GET SOME
They're the brainchildren behind some of this decade's biggest hits, having written and produced for everyone from Maroon 5 to Emeli Sandé, but this time, British trio Ghosted are stepping out on their own with their debut single “Get Some.” Featuring Little Mix songwriter Kamille on guest vocal duties, it's a vibrant piece of future pop, with laser beam synths and skittering hi-hats meeting hypersexual lyrics: “I don't, I don't wanna wait no more/Let's do it on the kitchen floor/Give me what I'm beggin' for/I just wanna get some.”
WAJU (FEAT. KYLETHEHOOLIGAN) – 4 ME
New York producer Waju takes pain and regret and sculpts them into something devastatingly beautiful on “4 Me.” The follow-up to “FADed” is a deeply affecting vibe as written from the perspective of a man who's cheated on his girlfriend and is contemplating suicide, with guest vocalist KyleTheHooligan interpreting the lyrics with a profound sensitivity. Much the same can be said for the video, with director Timo Helgert's dexterously crafted animation further helping to bring “4 Me” to life.
BRIDGE – SAVE ME
Two years after debuting on the blogosphere with the ScHoolboyQ-featuring “Roll My Weed” – a song that was co-signed by everyone from Pharrell to Bella Hadid – BRIDGE makes his long-awaited return this September with “Save Me.” Picking up where the Los Angeles artist left off, it's a dark, visceral piece of R&B, with BRIDGE's raw vocals coming shrouded in a smoky haze. The Alex Nazari-directed video is also worth a watch, with the clip's harrowing mixture of love and loss acting as a powerful accompaniment to the music.
JP COOPER – MOMMA'S PRAYERS
Platinum-selling musician JP Cooper teams up with London rapper Stormzy for the moving “Momma's Prayers.” The song – which features on Cooper's debut album Raised Under Grey Skies, due out next month – is a poignant tribute to the pair's respective mothers, with Cooper's soul-soaked dulcet tones coming contrasted by Stormzy's emotive grit. “I remember in December when they never tried to play us/And tryna hit the charts without the radio is chaos,” raps Stormzy in the second verse. “Then mommy sat me down and told me they could never stray us/I charted, that was 'cause of mommy's prayers, yeah.”
FYFE – CLOSER (ACOUSTIC)
Having previously offered up stripped-down versions of his songs “Stronger” and “Love You More,” Fyfe returns to do it all over again this September with an acoustic take of The Space Between cut “Closer.” While the original – which the London crooner wrote alongside We Are: The Guard favorites Klyne – showcases Fyfe's talent for crafting suave, cohesive electronic pop, the latest interpretation reveals a vulnerability behind the beats, with the back-to-basics production allowing the focus to fall on the lyrics about saving a relationship: “Just a little bit closer/I'm not saying it's over/Could be there for each other.”
BENJAMIN JAMES – LUMINARY
Hailing from Boone, the picturesque historical town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Benjamin James makes his debut on We Are: The Guard's Best Chill Music this month with “Luminary.” Opening with an atmospheric surge of orchestration, before falsetto vocals and xylophones enter to add texture and elevate it to even lovelier heights, “Luminary” is a devastatingly charming folk reverie that features on the singer-songwriter's latest album, Change Is Everything.
Until next time, readers! x
“Photo” by Dhery Moelz is licensed under CC0 1.0 (cropped and resized).
About Jess Grant
Jess Grant is a frustrated writer hailing from London, England. When she isn't tasked with disentangling her thoughts from her brain and putting them on paper, Jess can generally be found listening to The Beatles, or cooking vegetarian food.