Don’t press skip: November music highlights you might have missed

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Bridget Long/Staff

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With turkey and stuffing already forgotten and “All I Want for Christmas is You” already beginning to play in stores, it’s clear November passed by quicker than ever. Whether you cried it out to Adele’s 30, grew an unhealthy resentment toward Jake Gyllenhaal while jamming to Red (Taylor’s Version) or bounced back with Summer Walker’s Still Over It, this month unveiled an impressive number of major releases. However, with so many ear-catching tunes, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the new music you need in your playlists. But fear not, as music beats Nurcan Sumbul and Ian Fredrickson are here to guide you through some of November’s smaller releases you may have missed.

Romeo, Sega Bodega

After the release of his debut album Salvador and numerous collaborations with Shygirl, Dorian Electra, the late SOPHIE and many other groundbreaking experimental pop artists, London-based producer Sega Bodega is back and better than ever. His second LP Romeo is filled with the encapsulating soundscapes that brought his name to the forefront of the hyperpop scene, — and this time with an unquestionably matured production style and musical ethos.

“Naturopathe,” featuring the acclaimed actress Charlotte Gainsbourg of Melancholia fame, draws in listeners with chopped vocals, alluring French lyricism and a bouncy baseline bound to please clubgoers. With Bodega singing “I am the only one/ With medicine correct/ The treatment has begun/ Slowly taking effect,” his cinematic view on composition takes centerstage as listeners travel into a horrorlike nihilistic universe.

“Only Seeing God When I Come” is another highlight off the record, featuring complex drum patterns and falsetto vocals galore. His best lyrical work to date, Bodega sings the heartbreaking lines “Heaven is a place we won’t go/ I can feel it fading, for sure” backed by angelic synths and hypnotic vocal loops.

Outstanding all around, Romeo’s dualism of depressing lyrics and danceable instrumentation make the album not only listenable but thought-provoking. Cementing himself even further within the experimental scene, Bodega has proven once again that he is a —  if not the — force to be reckoned within electronic production’s promising future.

— Ian Fredrickson 

“LA FAMA (with The Weeknd),” Rosalía

Following her feature on “Blinding Lights” last year, flamenco pop queen Rosalía joined forces with pop star The Weeknd once again on “LA FAMA,” a bachata bop about disloyalty and romance amid fame. The single comes as a sneak peek to the singer’s highly-anticipated upcoming album, Motomami, her first LP since breakthrough album El Mal Querer in 2018.

Although neither singer has Latin roots, the song’s debut at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs suggests that fans don’t seem to mind. With his high-pitched tremolo, The Weeknd’s vocals call to mind Romeo Santos, the king of bachata himself. Despite being a novice to the genre, Rosalía’s lyrics convincingly convey the yearning and drama of unhealthy romance, reminiscent of storytelling duets by Aventura.

In the music video, a glistening Rosalía seems to embody fame itself, relishing in the attention she receives onstage while being observed by The Weeknd, a casually dressed audience member among a crowd of expensively-clad diners. While Rosalia performs, she gives special attention to The Weeknd and eventually draws him up to the stage. Finally, face to face, the stars exchange gentle touches before Rosalia stabs him suddenly. As the Weeknd wails, “Es mala amante la fama” (or “Fame is a bad lover”), the focus returns to Rosalía, who proceeds to dance with the weapon, ending the song with carefree satisfaction.

— Nurcan Sumbul

“mememe,” 100 Gecs

“G-g-g-g-g-gec/ Back once again.”

The opening line of 100 Gecs’ debut single “mememe” off their upcoming album 10,000 Gecs says it all. Gaining mainstream notability throughout quarantine, fans have been kept on the edge of their seats waiting for a new release from Laura Les and Dylan Brady — and the day has finally arrived.

With a distorted, Mario Kart-esque synth and Brady’s high-pitched, robotic vocals at the track’s forefront, listeners take in the lyrics “You’ll never really know, know-know-know, know-know-know/ Anything about me, me-me-me, me-me-me.” Simplistic yet endearing, the song combines everything there is to love about the eclectic duo. Oscillating between dubstep breakdowns, ska-guitar verses and hilarious lines such as “When we were together, I tried to tell you/ I used to tap dance and I was in choir,” the single is bizarre but still somehow approachable.

Paired with an eye-catching music video of Les and Brady dancing in a suburban park donning wizard capes and their iconic bleach blonde hairstyles, the Gec-universe (Geciverse, if you will) is put on full display. With fishbowl lens shots of the insides of each musician’s mouth and a hilarious scene of Les being catapulted into the sky, the video is just as goofy as the song itself.

Gaining even more hype for their upcoming LP, 100 Gecs are here to show fans that they are only getting started in their groundbreaking musical career; “mememe” is an incredibly promising start to the band’s new era and is bound to make listeners eager for what is to come next.

— Ian Fredrickson

Other notable releases: DRONES — Terrace Martin, An Evening With Silk Sonic — Silk Sonic

Nurcan Sumbul and Ian Fredrickson cover music. Contact Sumbul at [email protected]. Contact Fredrickson at [email protected].