Thursday, February 2, 2023

Fresh Playlist: J. Cole Folds Clothes, Taylor Swift And Zayn Team Up

With new music flying like warp-speed through the various channels of the Internet, it can be hard to keep up. But worry not! Each week The Fresh Toast will deliver the most-discussed and exciting songs that have recently dropped. Landed. Crashed. And also: soared. Enjoy.

J. Cole—“Foldin Clothes”

This week, human throw pillow J. Cole released his new record 4 Your Eyez Only. Overall, my frustrations with the rapper lie on aesthetic plane: his gooey, genuine persona hides his lack of depth. His rhymes often follow the simplest of rhythms and carries the mystic profundity of a magic 8 ball. In many ways, he’s the elevation of the most basic rapper alive. But he’s earnest and relatable, two qualities many rappers aren’t and two qualities seriously lacking in many of his fans’ lives. The culture perhaps needs a person like J. Cole, and his intentions remain honorable.

So please understand how reasonable I try to act when evaluating J. Cole. As a human, I like J. Cole; as a rapper, I find him boring. Though he has made great music: Friday Night Lights was a defining mixtape growing up and his music has an earworm ability that you catch yourself singing along. I really, really wanted 4 Your Eyez Only to win me over. Those first tracks “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (admission: J. Cole is great at album openers) and “Immortal” are great. But it eventually gave away to the thin, bland, vanilla music typically characteristic of his work. Like “Foldin Clothes.”

That track title isn’t a metaphor, it isn’t a neat trick, it doesn’t mean anything except that: J. Cole wants to fold clothes for his baby. Oh, and he’s drinking almond milk. Look I loathe when writers belabor a criticism so instead let’s poll some internet reactions to the record. Reading these help me feel less crazy about my J. Cole opinions.

https://twitter.com/Narshh/status/807279392187645953

https://twitter.com/BRANDONWARDELL/status/807253549214109700

Zayn Malik & Taylor Swift—“I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”

https://twitter.com/Narshh/status/807279392187645953

This record shouldn’t work, but it does. That doesn’t qualify it as great; though it accomplishes it goals of bigness. Zayn shows off an impressive falsetto range while Taylor Swift (I guess?) introduces us to darker, sexier Tay Tay. It’s not that believable. But she plays the part well enough.

Post Malone—“I Fall Apart”

The truth is Post Malone didn’t really need to stray from “White Iverson” to remain successful. He could continue producing derivative “White Iverson” tracks and make a great living. But Post Malone’s Stoney album showcases Post as a crooner exploring folk and country music. He’s not so much shedding hip hop, as the tender “I Fall Apart” shows, but swirling into his own alchemy.

Ab-Soul—“D.R.U.G.S.”

Though his previous record These Days… was a stumble for the TDE rapper, Do What Thou Wilt finds Solo filtering twisted boom bap with air-tight, lyrical acrobatics. It’s dark and confessional and forthright in all the right ways.

Cat Clyde—“Mama Said”

While most of this playlist, and most playlists in general, obsess over the new, Cat Clyde is here to bring us back to the old. Her sweet singer-songwriter croon over a strumming guitar and clapping drums is the exact bridge this year needs.

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