Singles Round Up: November 1st

Story posted November 4, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment by CommRadio Arts & Entertainment Staff.

Singles Round Up – The Arts and Entertainment Department takes a look at some of the recently released singles from the past week.

“Charmander” - Aminé

Portland rapper Aminé is back with his first single off of his upcoming third LP.

“Charmander,” named after the fire-lizard Pokémon, is one of the more experimental tracks he has ever released. As he stated himself in a recent interview, Aminé plans on exploring and creating new sounds, and the release of this new track proves that he has real potential to do so.

The most notable part of the track is the rapid BPM and the hyperpop-like textures that are used. Using a variety of synthesizers, the song sounds like something that could have been in a video game soundtrack. The 808 leaves little room in the mix, but it helps keep up the energy of the track.

The chorus sounds like something out of an anime. The high-pitched female is mesmerizing and ever so catchy.

Lyrically, he continues to prove that he was one of the most unique wordplay in the rap game. In his second verse he says, “Born for this like Matt Dam’, red whip look like Chastain,'' referencing not only movie stars but one of his previous singles “REDMERCEDES.”

He boasts his fame and wealth while playing it cool at the same time. The music video adds even more character to the track with goofy and time-lapsed visuals.

Overall, the track is more left-field than what fans are used to, but Aminé pulls it off with his quick-wits and charm. With his newest album around the corner, it is exciting to see what the talented emcee will do next. - Caelan Chevrier

“Change” - The War On Drugs

The local indie Philadephia band, The War On Drugs, released their latest single, ‘Change.’ This is the second glimpse of their upcoming album: “I Don't Live Here Anymore.”

This song experimented with new sounds and colors, ditching their signature obscure indie rock sound with a more ‘The Smiths’ inspired instrumentation. This joyful and fast paced song is a great way to introduce the album, as it sounds like the beginning of a new musical era for them.

The lyrics are poetic and insightful, worthy of The War On Drugs. The vocalist, Adam Granduciel, sings about trying to make this relationship work despite the constant reminder that it won't.

After their album ‘Lost In The Dream’ became a cult classic in the indie rock scene, it is refreshing to listen to this new sound. Even though this song is not their most impressive work, it still has some of the elements that make The War On Drugs so liked - their lyrics and beautiful outros.

The structure of the song is a bit over the place, as for the duration of six minutes, the genre switches more than twice, starting with an upbeat folk and ending with a piano ballad. However, this single was definitely a success for the band because it is unexpected, making their upcoming album even more anticipated.  - Fernanda Lopez

“The Hardest Cut” - Spoon

After producing music for over 25 years, indie rock group Spoon clearly has not fallen behind in trends, especially with the release of their single, “The Hardest Cut.”

Featuring a luring rock rhythm and the smooth voice of lead singer Britt Daniel, the band is able to create an almost ominous sound by combining unsettling guitar riffs with lyrics that could be straight from a slasher film.

The most impactful point of the single comes from those guitar solos. One after the first chorus, which features a jarring set of chords, and the second, right before the final chorus, that expands on the initial solo, adding more depth and character to the repeated phrases.

Guided primarily by the electric guitar and a snare beat, “The Hardest Cut”  delivers a catchy sneak peek into their upcoming album, “Lucifer on the Sofa” that will hopefully follow in the footsteps of this single. - Megan Kelby

“The Christmas Truce” – Sabaton

Sabaton, a Swedish power metal band that writes about events and people across military history, has released a new single that deals with one of the most symbolic and powerful events of the one of the worst wars fought: The Christmas Truce.

“The Christmas Truce,” named directly after the event, expresses the sheer emotion and joy that happened that day. It does this while also discussing the surrounding days, that the war was still real. But for one day, two armies set that aside for the sake of Christmas.

The song itself has tones of sounding like a Christmas ballad/carol while also being combined with Sabaton’s signature style. A unique mix, one that works well especially with singer Joakim Broden’s powerful vocals, who has the ability to deliver intensity and raw emotion no matter the song topic.

“The Christmas Truce” is a great example of what Sabaton can do with their creativity. “The Christmas Truce” will be part of their upcoming album “The War to End All Wars,” a continuation from 2019’s “The Great War” album, releasing on March 4, 2022. – Colton Pleslusky

“Guns Go Bang” - Kid Cudi & Jay Z

“Guns Go Bang” is the lead single from the new Netflix film “The Harder They Fall.” This is their first collaboration since 2009’s “Already Home.” Many were awaiting this collaboration and it absolutely did not hit the mark.

This is very clearly a soundtrack song and it is painfully obvious that neither artist put in their best effort. The production of this song is very rough. The Western beat works with the vibe of the film, however neither artist sounds good on the beat.

Kid Cudi sounds all over the place trying to harmonize with the shifts in the beat, however it sounds more like he is out of tune trying to catch up with the beat than actual harmonization. His lyrics are dull and the chorus is unoriginal. It leaves nothing to be desired for an audience member and is very underwhelming from the spectacular artist.

However, the worst part of this track is Jay Z’s verse. The verse itself is nothing special, but the gun sound effects are so distracting it is impossible to focus on Jay Z. The sound effects are absolutely horrendous, they add nothing to the song except for confusion.

They do not work with the beat and absolutely miss the mark of what they were trying to do. The idea of adding the effects is clever and could have worked with the ambience if they did not overdo them. But they absolutely ruin Jay Z’s verse and when they return for the bridge all it does is create unnecessary noise that is not pleasant for the audience.

Overall, this track falls short of what it was trying to accomplish. Neither artist does anything new and both artists are not bringing their full effort for the track. The song sounds rushed and the mixing is completely unfinished.

This is a very disappointing track that leaves the audience wanting way more, especially from a collaboration from Kid Cudi and Jay Z. - Jack Freiser


Caelan Chevrier is a second-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email cjc6789@psu.edu.

Fernanda Lopez is a first-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, email lfl5339@psu.edu

Megan Kelby is a second-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, email mkk5701@psu.edu.

Colton Pleslusky is a fourth-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email csp5289@psu.edu.

Jack Freiser is a second-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jef5614@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

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Colton Pleslusky

Fourth-Year / Telecommunications

Colton S. Pleslusky is a fourth-year from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania majoring in telecommunications at Penn State. He is a director and writer for the CommRadio Arts & Entertainment Department as well as the host on Nittany Stories and a co-host on Nittany Record Club alongside Emily McGlynn. He does behind the scenes tasks, including directing, producing, programming and more for the Centre County Report. To contact him, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Caelan Chevrier

Second Year / Journalism

Caelan Chevrier is a second-year student in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University studying broadcast journalism and marketing with the goal of graduating with a bachelor’s degree in four years. His plan is to get involved in numerous media-related clubs during his stay. His career goal is to spread informative, meaningful and entertaining content across various platforms and to be a positive impact on the community. He has also spent time working at The Westport Local Press in his hometown of Westport, CT. If you’d like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jack Freiser's photo

Jack Freiser

Freshman / Telecommunications

Jack Freiser is a caring and creative people-person who loves music and film. He aspires to impact the music business as a successful A+R by signing artists who will be culturally relevant and will leave an impact on the world, and through keeping a strong relationship with the artist and their team. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Megan Kelby

Freshman / Communications

Megan Kelby is a freshman from Newark, Delaware majoring in communications at Penn State. She is a member of the arts & entertainment department for CommRadio. To contact her, email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Luciana Fernanda Lopez's photo

Luciana Fernanda Lopez

Freshman / Telecommunications and Media Industries

Luciana (Fernanda) Lopez is a telecommunications major from Lima, Peru. She’s been writing music reviews in Spanish for years. Her interests are music, films, comedy and everything Leonard Cohen.