I’m an avid Spotify user (sorry, Apply Music people!) who enjoys my comfort tunes. I love that Spotify curates and constantly updates my list of commonly repeated songs. Currently, these are my top 30:
“Disgusted” by Wé Ani
Some of you discovered Wé from American Idol; however, I first saw her on The Voice when she sang “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone in her blind auditions under the stage name Wé McDonald. I heard this song on Instagram as a little snippet from Song House, a songwriting group that challenges artists with a track to apply their lyrics before publishing on social media. If it gains traction, the song is recorded and released for streaming. I love Wé’s play on words with disgusted and discussion.
“sun and moon” by anees
Anees is breaking ground as a self-proclaimed soul/pop artist! His music is versatile in genre, like that of Bruno Mars, while being uniquely himself. I love hearing his story as a former lawyer-turned-singer when Anees realized he wanted to do something he loves. He included previously released singles, like this one, on the tracklist of his new album summer camp. (P.S. You’ll see him mentioned more on the list. Sorry not sorry.) The chorus has my heart.
“Calm Down (with Selena Gomez)” by Rema
Africbeat has been circling the music industry, and I’m here for it! I love this mashup by Rema and Selena Gomez alongside the music video. This is a perfect summer song. Fun fact: Rema is only 23, and he’s making waves!
“Show Me Love (feat. Miguel)” by Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is a songstress. Her writing is poetic, genuine, and transparent from the heart. I love her album cover and this song. Her choice of feature with Miguel (more on him later) fits with his singing style. This differs from the previous pieces I’ve heard from him. The harmony makes the song elude love and desire.
“THAT’S A JOKE” by NF
NF is my rapper. I’ve been an NF fan since Therapy Session, although I did like a song from his first album, Mansion. I turned friends and peers into NF listeners as well. Clouds is one of my top three albums by him. NF grows in every song and album. He is no longer his past self; he uses his music to heal and comprehend the world around him. Every music video is purposeful and unforgettable.
“free me” by anees
I love his intro and outro. It’s a personal jam session about self-care and peace from bad situations and people.
“Apple Juice” by Jessie Reyez
I don’t know where I first listened to this song or how I discovered it, but I love the R&B vocals and music. The song title is random, but it’s worth a listen. It talks about tough love with someone who doesn’t know how to show love, and even with all the tears, the speaker is there to teach them how to love.
“Sure Thing” by Miguel
Even though this song is all over the radiowaves, it is not new. Released in 2010, the song resurfaced to bring out some neo-soul thanks to TikTok. I love the intro. In the music video, he uses every beat in a movement or shifts to tell his song’s story. I heard about Miguel when he was featured in a J. Cole song titled “Power Trip.” He has beautiful, soulful vocals that transcend the lyrics.
“DRIFTING” by NF
I can’t get enough of NF. This song is about regrets and self-doubts that try to resurface when you feel like you’re drifting from where you want to be. But NF never just stops. There’s a change where he dives into asking for truth and a breakthrough from God because this drifting feeling sucks.
“wannabe” by anees
I get it; you hear “Wannabe” and instantly think of the Spice Girls, but this is top-level. This comes from his summer camp album, giving a warm vibe. Anees tweeted that this song would be underrated (and it is *tears*). There are also lyrical mentions of “sun and moon” and “leave me” in verse two, which makes my heart happy.
“Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2” by PinkPantheress and Ice Spice
Yes, I heard this from TikTok and Instagram. No, I don’t know why PinkPantheress pronounces liar the way she does. I heard ‘leo’ the first couple of times. She’s a 21-year-old Brit. The song has a different beat that makes it stand out. Unapologetically, I listen to this for the Ice Spice rap. The music video is wholesome as a look of friends singing to a camera while living in New York comes to life. There are many homages and references to Brooklyn and New York rap and club songs.
“Written in the Stars” by Old Dominion
My friend is an obsessive country fan. He shared a country starter pack with me, and this one stood out in my top 30 repeated. I love the lyrics. I can imagine many depictions of the song; the words hold true when considering any new connection. This song is the country version of “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry with more reflection and soul. Old Dominion is singing about determining the depth of effort to make with a person and whether it’s worth it.
“Hrs & Hrs” by Muni Long
My heart. I love Muni’s (pronounced “money”) Billboard performance for this and her Spanish version titled “Horas y Horas,” where she begins similarly with, “¿Pero te puedo cantar… en español?” This song can create some sensual choreography or soundtrack. Her R&B flair is noted, respected, and wanted.
“slip” by anees
This is a love song, through and through, written for his wife and recorded in his car. I love all the lyrics, and choosing a section was brutal. The love for his wife is crazy deep as the first verse calls her a queen. He is transparent, talking about the positives and negatives of their relationship, but he says he’s “unworthy” to have her and won’t lose his chance. “got your heart inside my hands / And I’m holding a firm grip” *crying*.
“HOPE” by NF
NF shakes the game when he releases music, and this title track is no different. The music video is fantastic as his past and present selves interact in former album settings. I analyzed the song in-depth as if it was a college poem. This is my favorite song from the album. It’s a full circle moment with his growth and previous song lyric mentions.
“how deep?” by Tai Verdes
This is a dance-in-your-room vibe. I love the beat and lyrics of yet another uncertain about a potential relationship/current situationship song. While watching the music video (a good one), I saw a comment that made me laugh: “I used to be a fan but after this masterpiece I am whole air conditioner.” The rhythm and blues make this a song you can’t sit still.
“Are You That Somebody” by Aaliyah
Why not take it back to 1998? The song was published again in the attached album in 2002. I love the vocals because it’s the R&B that I grew up listening to. Be sure to watch the music video. There’s a repeated theme of wanting to ensure a person is there for the right reasons and to withstand the rain.
“sunny day” by Anees
“MOTTO” by NF
First, I enjoyed the music video (as always with NF). NF is raw and doesn’t care about fame or nominations, which is evident. He reflects on fantasizing about wanting to be respected to now avoiding trends so he doesn’t lose himself.
“Very Few Friends” by Saint Levant
I love the Hip-Hop/rap mix of this song. This is the first Arabic/French/English song I’ve listened to, and I love polyglots (I’m an aspiring one over here). His music video is natural as he sings at a table. It matches the flow of this nonchalant song about his girl. This song was the precipice of his career. It went viral when he released it as a USC student (yes, he’s 22). Inspiringly, he infuses his Palestinian culture and family nationalities in his music.
“Pressure” by Ari Lennox
The music video transported me to a scene in Hairspray as it channels the 60s until it reaches the 00s. It gives Diana Ross and later Soul Train. Like the decades displayed, this song is sensual and timeless. I love the R&B vocals and passion.
“maui” by Anees
I love the live video session. The song was transported in the exact rendition and depiction imagined because it fits the summer camp theme. Again, he references other songs from this album. I love the chorus because of the onomatopoeia and the outro because of the ‘live performance’ vibe.
“Nate” by NF
I love The Search album (another top three). In this song, he talks to his younger self.
“1 step forward, 3 steps back” by Olivia Rodrigo
Oof, the whole triangle mess of songs that came from the background story behind this album is another story. However, this song is transparent about feeling like no matter the effort, there’s no progress. Her intro and piano is also a compilation inspired by Taylor Swift’s New Year’s Day.
“No Scrubs” Weezer
I love R&B girl groups like TLC and Destiny’s Child; however, I also love alternative and rock. When I first heard this cover by Weezer, I was amazed. Usually, to listen to rock covers, I have a couple go-to bands, but I didn’t know Weezer had a whole cover album until I found this gem.
“home again” by anees”
Anees’ favorite song on his album. I love when singers talk in their songs, as Muni Long did in her intro.
“PANDEMONIUM” by NF
The first song that I can remember that uses the word pandemonium in it is “Airplanes (feat. Haley Williams)” by B.o.B. I love words, and, as an English major, I especially love words that set the tone.
“Best Part (feat. H.E.R.) by Daniel Caesar
I haven’t listened to many songs by H.E.R. or Daniel Caesar, but I love this dI have yet to listen to many songs by H.E.R. or Daniel Caesar, but I love this duet! It’s a romance encasing that their experience together is the best part while both are waiting for the other to put this feeling into words.
“Always On Time: by Ja Rule and Ashanti
2001 Ja Rule is up next! From the beat to this incredible duo, I’m not surprised I’ve been listening to this number repeatedly. The focus is on how love is pain and trouble. In this song, he’s not depending on the emotions or getting into feelings because it’s a struggle.
“leave me” by anees
And, of course, closing us out is none other than an authentic and raw song by Anees. This is the first song I heard from Anees, and I never looked back.