“Sugar” – Juice
There was no shortage of love songs released last week for Valentine’s Day, yet “Sugar” seemed to stand out among the crowd. Boston College’s very own Juice has been playing shows ever since it won the Battle of the Bands in 2014, and it released its new single “Sugar.” The song’s first 10 seconds or so is a beautiful, full-sounding a cappella iteration of the hook, “I cannot get, I cannot get by without you, honey / Mercy, mercy, I can’t get out.” It reverts to a cappella later in the song too, which works great stylistically and gives the song a broad dynamic range. The organ sound Juice uses is subtle yet cool, the rhythm electric guitar sits perfectly in the mix, and the guitar solo is melodic and fresh as it blends minor and major modes. As if that wasn’t enough, lead singer Ben Stevens really hits a home run in this release as he shows off his powerful voice and range. The quality of “Sugar” is bolstered by the rapping done by Christian Rougeau and the guitar work, including a stellar solo, by Daniel Moss. This combination has created a high-quality and enjoyable single by the band.
“Sugar” is a very stylistically diverse song, which contributes a lot to why it’s so intriguing. It’s able to transition smoothly from Southern, sweet-sounding rock-n-roll to hip-hop and back again. Juice is able to throw a rap verse in the middle of it without it feeling out of place one bit. “Sugar” simply emphasizes that Juice is able to hold its own and make a name for themselves as a legitimate and serious group.
“Love Lies” – Khalid, Normani
Khalid released a new single with Normani Kordei—a name you might recognize from Fifth Harmony—on Valentine’s Day, fittingly called “Love Lies.” The name is a double entendre though—rather than suggesting the falsity of love, Khalid asks, “So baby, tell me where your love lies.” “Love Lies” is a good demonstration of the massive amount of vocal talent these two artists have, but it fails to offer anything particularly unexpected. It makes for great background music, the melodic hook (or lack of one) comes off as a little bit stale.
“Dirty Love” – Mt. Joy
The day before Valentine’s Day, Mt. Joy released its new single “Dirty Love,” and it’s beautiful in a raw and unadulterated kind of way. It begins with simple ukulele chords, and it sounds like it simply did two quick recordings, stacked them on top of each other, and put that on the final version. In a similar way, lead singer Matt Quinn’s voice is emotional and raw as he fluctuates seamlessly between his falsetto and head voice. One of the only downsides of “Dirty Love” is that it ends too abruptly and leaves you feeling cheated out of the rest of the song.
Featured Image by RCA Records