With the ongoing chaos of midterms and inconsistencies of Irvine weather, students are left finding quick methods of temporarily decompressing — one of them being music. Luckily, October was a month of bop-worthy releases that cater to a variety of students’ music tastes, with November showing positive signs of an unforgettable month for music as well.
“Chasing That Feeling” by Tomorrow By Together
Chart-topping K-pop group, TOMORROW BY TOGETHER, had an adrenaline-filled comeback with “Chasing That Feeling,” the title track of their rock-inspired full-length album “The Name Chapter: FREEFALL,” which came out Oct. 13. The tune reminds its listeners of the “Stranger Things” binge-watching eras; the eerie, retro-like techno synths, as well as the kick patterns that mock the thumps of a rapid heartbeat, really add to the chilling vibes. The group sings with utmost yearning, finding themselves running after the long-lost memories of summer nights. TOMORROW BY TOGETHER seem to enjoy their youth and relish in it, fitting for the early-20s quintet.
TOMORROW BY TOGETHER member Yeonjun is very distinct in the song, as his satisfyingly clear-cut enunciation of the Korean and English lyrics urges fans to “chase the feeling” along with the group. Fellow member Taehyun stuns with his strong projection, his skillfully layered, robust vocals most prevalent in the climax of the chorus.
“Mr. Incorrect” by Malcolm Todd
Contemporary indie and bedroom pop artist Malcolm Todd makes quite the statement with “Mr. Incorrect,” a single released on Oct. 19. The song welcomes a delectable, classic array of acoustic guitar plucks and garage-quality drums that highlight the homey, original feel of beloved indie anthems. Todd is simply unapologetic about being ready to start over in “Mr. Incorrect,” entailing his newfound relief after his breakup.
The statement regarding what might render Todd “Mr. Incorrect” is quite nuanced. While Todd has every right to move on, he does so by complaining about his ex relentlessly, as well as rebounding immediately with one of his friends. Todd’s defense is that he cannot be the only bad guy in this situation, as his ex-lover refused to let him win arguments where he was in the right, therefore painting him in an unfairly villainous light. The airiness in Todd’s atmospheric inflection makes the song an even more interesting listen, as his singing style is uncommon among male singers.
“Belong to You (feat. Babyface Ray)” by Brent Faiyaz
For R&B connoisseurs, Brent Faiyaz’s “Belong to You (feat. Babyface Ray)” is an impeccably laid-back hit appearing on his long-awaited “Larger Than Life” album, dropped on Oct. 27. The song is unmistakably 90s-inspired, evident in the instrumentals of subwoofer bass, “on-hold” phone call melodies, and robotic chants of the choruses’ lyrics. Faiyaz details his nonchalant attitude towards relationships, claiming that he is a heartbreaker with a hard exterior that is impossible to crack open. However, the velvety gentleness of Faiyaz’s voice contradicts his story, as his graceful falsettos in the chorus reveal that he is nothing more than a lover boy.
As the title of the song suggests, Faiyaz eventually offers himself and his affection to a lucky individual, a common case of not taking anything seriously until you find the right person. Babyface Ray is also infected by the love bug; his smooth-talking, raspy rap flow suggests that, despite the influx of women in his life, he can’t help but revert to the one who is always on his mind.
“Heaven Bound” by Quarters of Change
Alternative rock is here to stay with Quarters of Change’s “Heaven Bound,” the perfect soundtrack for an angsty coming-of-age movie — the song was released on Oct. 27. The monumental build-up of a sharp electronic guitar carries the song, starting with a staccato fade into the background and bringing itself back in amplified waves of brightness. In “Heaven Bound,” Quarters of Change reflects introspectively on being in a relationship that is destined to end, instead of destined for a better future.
Ben Roter, the vocalist of Quarters of Change, evokes pain, yet perhaps also indifference, in his voluminous howls of the chorus, as he understands that his relationship was merely an illusion neither side could keep up. The haunting resonance of Roter’s range aligns with the suggestion that he never showed up emotionally for his partner. His immaturity always got the better of him, whether through alcohol or picking fights, and he wished that his partner stopped wasting their time on them.
“Gamer Girl” by MDMA
Hip-hop and the underground rising genre of “pluggnb” come together on MDMA’s “Gamer Girl,” released as part of his EP “Father Darkside” on Halloween. For those unfamiliar with “pluggnb’s” style, the genre is composed of escalating, ethereal electronic textures, higher-pitched percussion add-ins, hard-hitting beats and the autotuning of softer mumble raps, all featured graciously on this song. MDMA effortlessly glides from the start of “Gamer Girl” with freestyle rap about a girl who is perceived as a man-eater, whom he becomes enamored with before deciding to approach with caution.
MDMA’s relaxed tone is comparable to the likes of Destroy Lonely and UnoTheActivist, the coolness of his delivery remaining consistent throughout the song, despite the upbeat demeanor of the instrumental and the dangers of the man-eating woman. However, “Gamer Girl” truly shines because of its multifaceted production, reminiscent of a sci-fi video game.
While October is over and the new year is slowly approaching, November promises some of the best, and most surprising, album drops. Global popstar and BTS member Jung Kook released his debut English album “GOLDEN” on Nov. 3, which includes features from Major Lazer, DJ Snake and more. R&B icon Brandy will ring in the Christmas season soulfully with “Christmas with Brandy,” releasing on Nov. 10; and techno-funk, Grammy-winning duo Daft Punk is re-releasing “Random Access Memories” on Nov. 17, the catch being that the songs are now devoid of drum instrumentals.
Ingrid Avancena is an Entertainment Intern for the fall 2023 quarter. She can be reached at email@example.com.