Gay men love their divas, and my love for Idina Menzel is no exception.
I write this weekly column to free you from the shackles of mainstream radio. Please check out the link below to my own curated Spotify station called “Five for Friday,” in which I put all of these jams and several more. Updated every Friday; you can be on the cutting edge of the new music world. Get into it.
Reckless Kelly: “Radio” | Founded in the Heartland (Oregon? Idaho?) but based out of Austin, Reckless Kelly has introduced me to yet another genre I was unaware of: Red Dirt. Red Dirt music is named after the color of soil found in Oklahoma. Within the genre, there is a sub-genre called Texas Red Dirt, which is more applicable to Reckless Kelly. No matter what you call it, the sound is kickass rock ’n’ roll with country influence. “Radio,” from the band’s ninth album Sunset Motel, is a raucous bar fight kind of track that gets my blood pumping. We need to petition local venues to get the boys to come to St. Louis; it has been ages since I have been in a good brawl.
Brook Eden: “Sunday Morning” | From her second EP, Welcome to the Weekend, American Idol alum Brook Eden serves country realness with her rocking track “Sunday Morning.” Her voice has a texture that has an abundance of both maturity and reckless abandon. The track is produced exquisitely, balancing both the country and rock aspects in perfect harmony. This should be added to your “Girls Night Out” playlist immediately.
Idina Menzel: “Queen of Swords” | Gay men love their divas, and my love for Idina Menzel is no exception. She could sing the tax code and I would still be brought to tears: Her voice is that special. Menzel steps out of the Broadway lights once again to release her latest pop album, idina. While the album is full of excellent tracks, “Queen of Swords” is overflowing with infectious energy and those gorgeous vocals. Be prepared for her voice to go into the stratosphere around the 4:20 mark (3:30 in the video), which will prove why this diva is one wicked singer.
GRiZ f/Tash Neil: “Can’t Hold Me Down” | GRiZ kicks out “Can’t Hold Me Down,” a magnificent mash-up of rock ’n’ roll, soul, and dubstep. The guitars kick out the heavy rock rhythms, his vocals have a healthy dose of Southern Soul, and then the beats kick in that make you want to snap your neck. Be prepared for every car commercial to feature this track; it has more hooks than a bait shop.
Crowder: “Keep Me” | Just when I think I have heard every genre, here comes Crowder to school me on Christian Folktronica. Crowder’s vocals are hypnotic as he preaches his love for the Lord. If there was a Christian rave, this track would for sure be the jam of the night. While the dark, pounding rhythms and sexy vocals are enough to keep me listening, it was the mad banjo picking that makes this track heavenly.
If you want to hear these songs along with other top jams, check out my Five for Friday playlist on Spotify: 40 songs from artists you need to know—updated weekly! | Jim Ryan
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