Bark Beats

Pearl Zhong

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Oh Wonder

Oh Wonder

This London pop-duo’s debut album features an atmospheric, synthpop tone with soft vocals that are easy on the ears. The entire album is composed of two-voiced harmonies presented in simple octaves which, although somewhat repetitive, emphasize their modest style. Syncopated, subdued beats mix with personal and passionate lyrics, unveiling the chemistry between the two. The album experiments with instruments including piano, saxophone, violin, and electronic effects which maintain the listener’s interest.

Recommended: “Dazzle”

Brimming with short electronic beats, “Dazzle” effectively uses sound effects from a casino setting, as clinking coins and beeping slot machines are subtly incorporated. High-pitched electronic voices are layered on top of each other, differing from the duo’s typical two voice harmony. The song ends with a sudden electronic riff that catches the listener’s attention.

 

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Wild

Troye Sivan

With his highly anticipated sophomore EP,  Australian singer, actor, and YouTube star Troyes Sivan has matured since the release of his first EP. A combination of alternative and electronic pop, Wild incorporates Sivan’s hallmark mellow voice, which contrasts nicely with the futuristic background tracks. The melody of the verses are somewhat generic, but the choruses express originality. The song Ease features the New Zealand duo Broods, who served as backing vocals and the bridge of the song.

Recommended: “Fools”

“Fools” is clearly the standout song of Wild. The piece begins softly, gradually building up until the chorus, when time electronic instrumentals and beats richly coordinate with Sivan’s voice. “Fools” incorporates poetic lyrics, “I see swimming pools and living rooms and aeroplanes/ I see a little house on the hill and children’s names,” which enhances the sophistication of the song.

 

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Caracal

Disclosure

The brother duo released its second album on Sept. 25. Caracal is certainly a step up from their debut album Settle, as the two experimented with deep house styles. Although the album does contain steady electronic beats, there is a lack of rhythmic diversity, as many songs mimic an Abercrombie & Fitch store atmosphere. Caracal features popular artists including The Weeknd, Lorde, Sam Smith, and Miguel. Despite the variation in voices and singers, the duo successfully maintained a collective album feel.

Recommended: “Omen”

After the single “Latch” successfully topped the charts in 2013, Disclosure reunited with Sam Smith, releasing the single “Omen.” Maintaining a pop and deep house aura, Smith’s vocals brilliantly pair with Disclosure’s rich beats, diverging from his typical mellow style. Catchy and bold, the chorus is undoubtedly the spotlight of the song, as it is repeated until it gradually fades away at the end.

 

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Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap

After “Trap Queen,” “679,” and “My Way” successfully made the Billboard Top 100 chart, Fetty Wap’s album was highly anticipated. This lengthy album includes 20 tracks, many of them featuring the singer Monty. Wap’s bold and unique voice maintains the album’s originality and manages to mask the monotonous beats. However, the lyrics lack individuality and variety. Wap uses his voice as an instrument, as he incorporates many sound effects created by his voice, whether it be high pitched shouts or runs.

Recommended: “Again”

Although “Again” is not a single, it is a radio-ready track. With a catchy chorus and plenty of Wap’s trademark sound effects, it encompasses a constant electronic synth-beat throughout the song, which nicely connects with the hip-hop beats. Wap has included lyrics from his hit single “Trap Queen“ that intertwine the tracks throughout the entire album.