Sam Recommends: “Make Me Feel “ by Janelle Monáe

YES.

That’s my response to everything about this song. About this video.

“Make Me Feel” is nothing short of a high voltage, cosmically funked Queer Odyssey. It’s a disco-ball grenade lobbed straight to the feet detonation that can only result in a chronic groove. “It’s like I’m powerful with a little bit of tender, an emotional, sexual bender;” such lyrics simmer over glittering snarls of staccato guitar. The track oozes with that transcendent sensuality that only Prince — a definite inspiration for this track — has ever truly been able to capture.

Until now.

Queerness is tripled-down in the music video. It flaunts it in full colour. Here, androgynous aesthetic threatens to burst out of the screen. Here, San Junipero is cranked up to maximum saturation. Here, Janelle validates bisexuality — and all forms of sexual fluidity — in the wide shot of a single dance sequence, as she pin-balls between two humans. It transforms the allegedly liminal into the brilliantly tangible, letting it carve its own identity. For a sexuality that’s often erased, often scoffed at, it’s a dazzling gesture.

So, whether you’re a he, she, they, or anyone: watch, listen, dance.

And dance.

And dance.

And dance.

(Song recommendation by Sam Jowett)

Nicole Recommends: “Bombs Away” by B.o.B

There are a couple tried-and-true musical elements that will ensure my obsession with a song: Orchestral instruments in pop music. Choirs in pop music. Clapping sections. All-around banger factor.

“Bombs Away” by rapper B.o.B hits three of these requirements, and makes up for the missing element by having Morgan fucking Freeman delivering the spoken-word prologue and epilogue. As the war between light and darkness continues, heroes and villains become harder to identify. . . . Are we fighting a war that can’t be won? 

Are you kidding me?! The first time I listened to this song, I was blown away by the Academy Award winner’s appearance. And then subsequently floored by the song as a whole.

I’m obsessed with the three-note motif, played by a stringed instrument, that appears throughout the song and accentuates it in just the perfect way. *kisses fingers* Beautiful.

Beyond my typical song tastes, I’m also in love with the lyrical content. B.o.B’s writing talent is what drew me to his music in the first place; it felt like he was writing rap/hip-hop that I could actually relate to. And with this song, he created something that makes me want to take on the world. I am the flame, I am the spark / I am in drive; y’all are in park.

While B.o.B has turned out to be kind of crazy—what with his subscribing to the “Flat Earth” theory and other strange things that make me want to mute his Twitter—this song remains lit AF.

Plus, it adheres to one of my most important “Top-Notch Album Must-Haves”: Beginning or ending with a crushingly EPIC song. As the opener to B.o.B’s sophomore full-length album, Strange Clouds, “Bombs Away” is a fantastic note to start with. I add this to a lot of my personal playlists, and it never disappoints.

What are you waiting for? Put this shit in your ears!

(Song recommendation by N. Alysha Lewis)