TOP CHILL MUSIC: THE 10 BEST SONGS OF THE WEEK
Hi, everyone. How are you? I'm not sure about you guys, but I feel like I'm currently caught in this weird purgatory between lockdown and basically anything goes. While each of us learns to navigate this new normal, there's one thing that remains unchanged here at We Are: The Guard: our love for music to get us through. Okay, so I accept that sounds pretty cheesy on reflection, but I'm quite frankly open to anything that helps to keep me sane these days. Check out this week's edition of Top Chill Music, featuring Jorja Smith, Ben Zaidi, Tricky, and plenty of other favorites.
JORJA SMITH – ROSE ROUGE (ST GERMAIN COVER)
Jorja Smith has a voice that was made for jazz. It goes without saying, then, the British siren absolutely kills this reinvention of St Germain's “Rose Rouge.” Recorded as part of Blue Note Re:imagined – a collection of classic Blue Note tracks as revised by modern-day artists – “Rose Rouge” is a rich, velvety listen, with Jorja taking us straight to the jazz club as her sultrily dexterous vocal weaves its way through the luxurious tapestry of improvisational sounds.
BEN ZAIDI – 3,000 MILES FROM HOME.
With quarantine keeping us apart from our friends, families, and loved ones, a whole lot of us are experiencing homesickness for the first time. Seattle-via-Brooklyn's Ben Zaidi is capturing that feeling to a tee on his wistfully nostalgic latest single “3,000 Miles From Home.” “3,000 miles from home/But I can smell it when it rains/Or when I walk through a pine tree's shade,” begins the acoustic ditty, which is as familiar as a childhood home, with Ben's comforting voice carrying us through a life of precious, cherished memories.
TRICKY – FALL PLEASE
The legendary Tricky never fails to bring the vibes, with the British trip-hop pioneer delivering once again on “Fall Please.” A collaboration with Poland's Marta Złakowska, it's a deeply, darkly immersive listen that'll turn your bedroom into a blinking Bristol basement club, with Martha's chilled-out vocals coming set against Tricky's nervy beats.
HONNE – NO SONG WITHOUT YOU
It's been a while since we last heard from HONNE, but the British R&B duo return at long last today with the starry-eyed “no song without you.” Their first release since 2018's Love Me / Love Me Not is a dreamy lullaby that'll leave you sighing longingly as you look up at the night sky from your bedroom window, with HONNE aiming straight for the feels as they delectably croon: “Ooh, I'd feel nothing without you/Ooh, there'd be no song without you/Without you.”
ARLO PARKS – CREEP (RADIOHEAD COVER)
Arlo Parks finds strength in vulnerability on this reinvention of Radiohead's “Creep.” The follow-up to “Black Dog” – an ode to chronic depression and anxiety that cut through the storm clouds like a ray of sunshine – hears the British chanteuse continuing to put mental health at the forefront of her work. Listen as Arlo finds refuge in the fragility of the Pablo Honey cut, which she covered as part of the forthcoming short film Shy Radicals.
UMI – PRETTY GIRL HI!
Just in time for Pride Month, UMI has shared the glimmering “Pretty Girl hi!” With deep-set grooves intertwining with flourishes of golden synths, it's a shimmering R&B anthem for those of us hoping to get lost in a girl crush this summer. “'Pretty Girl hi!' is my coming out to the world,” writes UMI of the latest single to be unveiled from her forthcoming EP Introspection. “It's a song about freedom, following my journey of self-acceptance.”
AUSTRIAN APPAREL – FOREST INSIDE
And now for a chill classic of sorts from Austrian two-piece Austrian Apparel. Featured on the Schoenbrunner Perlen compilation Coloured – which originally dropped in 2016 – “Forest Inside” is a lush, layered piece of techno-house. Prepare to get lost in the composition from the very first note, with scattered, itchy beats acting as fertile ground from which sounds form like vast, verdant treetops.
ELOHIM – VACUUM
Elohim tries her hand at drum-and-bass on the otherworldly “Vacuum.” Written in the early weeks of lockdown, just days after her tour had been canceled, the song hears the Los Angeles act coming to terms with a mixture of heartbreak and confusion. Combining frenetic beats and Elohim's airy vocals, “Vacuum” manages to transform these negative emotions into pure euphoria, with the whole thing making for nothing short of ethereal listening.
JVLY – GHOSTBONES
This is too sultry for its own good. Australian singer-songwriter and producer JVLY is inviting us into his pillowy-soft world of warped mirrors on “ghostbones.” The Rhye vibes are strong on this highlight from his recent EP inside weather, with JVLY's ear-caressing vocals coming set against a seductive cascade of beats as executed with clarity and precision.
KIANA LEDÉ – DEAR MR. PRESIDENT (P!NK COVER)
“Dear Mr. President” is one of the most underrated songs in P!nk's discography, but hopefully not for much longer now Kiana Ledé is introducing a whole new audience to it with this stunning reinvention. Originally released in 2006 about George W. Bush, the I'm Not Dead cut still rings devastatingly true today given our current situation in the White House, with Kiana bringing fresh meaning to the track with her pure vocals and thoughtful lyrical changes. BRB, grabbing some tissues.
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.