BEST CHILL SONGS – WEEK 42
Greetings, readers. It's that moment of the week where we once again gather to let go of the stresses and strains of the last seven days and relax into the weekend with yet another edition of Best Chill Songs. With mental health problems on the rise, it's becoming more and more clear that we all need to take time out on occasion to care for ourselves – inside and out. For those of us here at We Are: The Guard, listening to music is an essential part of that care, and it makes us proud to be able to share that with you every Friday through this playlist. Simply grab your headphones, and for the next 30 minutes or so, accompany us as we press the pause button on Life™ and the play button on the following 10 songs from Kailee Morgue, Jessie Reyez, Swimful, Animal Feelings, Forest Blakk, and plenty of others.
GABRIEL BLACK – FREEDOM
Enigmatic, indispensable musician Gabriel Black continues to refine his blend of hip hop and rock on his latest single “Freedom.” Coming after “Pine Trees,” it once again hears the tortured artist helping to challenge the stigma surrounding mental illness and rap, with Black spitting out his deepest, darkest thoughts (“I feel alone when I look in the mirror/Wipe down the glass but it never gets clearer/I'm on a path that I know is not easy”), before pouring his pain into a striking guitar solo.
BEN ZAIDI – UPROAR, UPROAR
Hailing from Seattle, self-described “poet-songwriter” Ben Zaidi makes his debut on We Are: The Guard this October with “Uproar, Uproar.” It finds Zaidi pulling from a variety of genres – including hip hop and electronica – in order to create an altogether compelling piece of music, with the Harvard alum meditating on the pursuit of fame and success (“Famous for running up mileage/Instead of coming home to you/And I've been on the road whippin'/But I promise when I get it I'ma spend it all on you”) over a minimal beatscape that reminds us of Drake as much it does James Blake.
KAILEE MORGUE – MEDUSA
Kailee Morgue is the definition of overnight success. After posting a song demo on Twitter in January, the Phoenix artist quickly found herself going viral, with her tweet clocking up more than 100,000 likes. Republic Records responded by signing Morgue, and this month, the 19-year-old returns to the spotlight with the full version of the track that first made her famous: “Medusa.” Just in time for Halloween, it's a haunting ode to the mythological monster of the same name, with Morgue showing a different side to the Gorgon through her ethereal voice, which comes draped against a cascade of harp-esque synths.
JESSIE REYEZ – PHONE CALLS
It's no secret that we're big fans of Jessie Reyez here at We Are: The Guard, having championed her ever she dropped “Figures” back in 2016. That said, the Toronto singer still manages to exceed our expectations with every release, the latest of which comes in the form of “Phone Calls.” Clocking in at just over three minutes, it's a powerful response to those people who started to act differently around Reyez after she found success, with the subwoofer-engulfing beats acting as a platform for some of the 26-year-old's best bars to date (“A lot of these dick-riders finna change/I don't even got one, now I'm getting brains/I don't even got one, now I'm getting ratings/Bitch, you just a little late”).
SWIMFUL (FEAT. PALMISTRY) – DOVE
Shanghai producer Swimful enlists the help of We Are: The Guard favorite and London native Palmistry for his latest bop. “Dove” is a vibrant slab of dancehall that comes to us by way of SVBKVLT – the rising art, record, and clothing label based out of China. Pairing Palmistry's signature looped vocal chops with a selection of synths that bounce about the composition like rubber balls from a vending machine, it's an ebullient piece of pop music that's certain to be dominating the club scene this fall.
HANSAA & SOSO (FEAT. A.CHAL) – PRIMAVERA
Having clocked up more than 100,000 streams on his debut single “Need to Know,” Hansaa returns to do it all over again with his sultry later single “Primavera.” The song was produced alongside Los Angeles duo soso and features Peruvian artist A.CHAL on vocals, whose R&B-indebted croon acts as perfect accompaniment to Hansaa and soso's dexterously crafted ambient soundscape. Pianos, meanwhile, help to bring an organic touch to “Primavera,” which Hansaa tells Music Feeds translates to “Springtime,” adding: “In a nutshell, the song is about trying to rekindle the memories of a past relationship, yet coming to the conclusion that unfortunately, no flame is going to spark.”
ANIMAL FEELINGS (FEAT. THIEF) – FALLING
Brooklyn ambient producer Animal Feelings (Oli Chang) lives up to his name on his captivating latest single. A collaboration with Sydney vocalist Thief, “Falling” is the kind of song that resonates deep in the primitive part of the brain. Opening with a chamber of falsetto, before piano and synth arpeggios enter to embellish the mix, it's a sparkling listen that's sure to stir up all sorts of dormant emotions.
FOREST BLAKK – LOVE ME
Once in a while, a song comes along that completely stops you in your tracks. Case in point: “Love Me” by Forest Blakk. The debut single from the Montreal artist is a truly heart-rending tale about lost love, with Blakk – who credits music for saving him from a life on the streets – referring to this tender acoustic-driven sound as “urban folk.” “'Love Me' is personal, it is real,” he reveals to Ones to Watch. “It was the minute she asked me to either love her or let her go, and having to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. I let her go even though I loved her, because I knew her heart was never really mine to hold.”
CARA SALIMANDO – NOTHING'S GONNA HURT YOU BABY (CIGARETTES AFTER SEX COVER)
Cigarettes After Sex's “Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby” has been getting a lot of attention of late, with everyone from Taylor Swift to Kylie Jenner dropping cosigns. As much as we love the original, however, our hearts hereby belong to this beguiling cover by Cara Salimando – the Los Angeles singer-songwriter who's previously penned hit singles for the likes of Kesha and Dua Lipa. Featuring Salimando's seductive voice set against a reverb-soaked dreamscape courtesy of Bram Inscore, it's a moonlit listen that you can find on We Are: The Guard's forthcoming compilation Vol 1.
MIINK – WHO ARE YOU?
Introducing Miink, the elusive London producer who makes his debut with the unsettling “Who Are You?” Built around an undulating blend of electronic and organic beats, over which Miink delivers a plaintive falsetto coo, it's an intriguing and, at times, abrasive listen (check out the drum and bass coda) that he reveals to The FADER is about “territorial behavior and the reaction you get as an outsider crossing into an unfamiliar place. You are always easily identifiable to those from within, and more often than not, met unfavorably. ”
Enjoy the weekend, readers. x
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.