With the Hummingbird Rotation, we hope to give folks a closer look at the songs that get the most play at Hummingbird HQ. This installment, hear about Coldplay, Weezer, and Jaden Smith.
Magic // Coldplay
Coldplay’s been making music for — jeez, who even knows how long? It seems like they’ve been a prominent name in music for as long as I can remember. They’ve had bangers in the past, but they also have some bangers now, and likely more bangers to come. “Magic,” from their 2014 album Ghost Stories, has the familiar Coldplay vibe with a jolt of freshness. The fact that they still have songs like “Magic” in the tank shows that their longevity as a band is well-deserved.
“Magic” blends elements of acoustic and electric music, with the drum-machine rhythm complementing the consistent pianos and the burst of acoustic guitar strums in the second chorus. It’s a well-executed blueprint for marrying classic, familiar instrument sounds to more modern, electronically generated elements that are so in vogue right now.
The main rhythm is a drum machine, driving the motion of the song, later supported by almost-hip-hop-style hi hats. The way the 808-style electronic drum sounds gel with the mostly-physical instruments of the arrangement feels natural — further proof-of-concept that the introduction of electronic music doesn’t have to be the death sentence of the piano or guitar. Synth chords spread through the musical space in the more high-energy sections, similarly complementing the rest of the band.
“Magic” has an almost cinematic sense of sound design with its blooming, vast dimension and expressive capacity. A quick Google search doesn’t reveal any movies it’s soundtracked, but it has that expansive, immersive musical quality typical of a soundtrack’s context. The trademark Coldplay grandeur is substituted for a subtle spectacle of atmosphere and craftsmanship. Instead of tipping its hand early and using up all its tricks, “Magic” builds bit-by-bit, crescendoing in an exuberant, soaring final refrain at 3:14 I truly can’t get enough of.
If you thought Coldplay was a relic of the past, “Magic” is my best counter-argument. The presence of piano, electric and acoustic guitars is strong, and bolstered by more modern electronic elements, it presents an interesting hybrid of the new and the old, the fresh and the familiar.
Zombie Bastards // Weezer
Coming from their most recent album, “Zombie Bastards” is difficult to narrow down to a specific genre. Weezer is mostly known for its punk-y rock-y sound. However, try their music that doesn’t make it to radio and you’ll soon see that they’re not a band that should be defined by genre. They even reference this in the song:
If I die, it means that I lived my life
And that’s much better than hidin’ in a hole
Weezer shows they don’t want to hide in the hole of rock music exclusively, and you can tell simply by the diverse instrumentation of this song. After opening with only vocals and an acoustic guitar, we are soon hit with a wall of sound after a turntable scratch, followed by a huge amount of bass and synth. While the lyrics are mostly goofy, the song is a fun exercise in how many different sounds you can put together at once and still sound good, and they do it masterfully. There’s not much else to say other than if you want to hear a funky mix of instruments of all genres, give this song a listen.
K // Jaden Smith
“K” is the fourth song on Jaden Smith’s most recent album, ERYS, featuring a smooth beat and fluid vocals. Jaden refuses to be defined by any one niche of the rap game, diversifying his sound and style seamlessly throughout the album. As seen in “K”, Jaden flips up the whole song with switching to an electric shaver-based trap beat which is both strange and oddly satisfying.
If there is one thing I have learned from the past two Jaden albums, it’s that Lido (whoever that is) is a phenomenal producer. Regardless of however talented Jaden may or may not be, everything Lido touches is fresh and intricate.
The best way to experience this song is listening to the first four songs on the album in a row, which spell out P-I-N-K. Roll down the windows and blast 13-minutes of a Jaden Smith-led journey that will shake your eardrums with waves of heavy production and flowy bars.