Tastemaker Spotlight - Michelle / by Eric Lum



After listening to music throughout my 18-year life, I’ve started to notice certain elements of songs that I’m a “sucker for”—an element that makes me love a song instantly. I believe everyone is a Sucker For at least one musical characteristic, whether it’s a bridge with a blaring horn section or a singer with a smoky voice.

Knowing my Sucker For’s is a good way to recognize whether or not I want to keep listening to an artist. An artist who continually employs my Sucker For’s usually becomes someone whose career I watch closely. If they show promise beyond these characteristics, I’ll headphone them on fanum.fm. Here are two of my Sucker For’s…

#1 Songs with Vocal Chops

Vocal chops are essentially when a producer takes a vocal line, cuts it up and pitch shifts it so the vocals can be played like a synth. Vocal chops are what drew me to Philadelphia duo Marian Hill. The duo employs vocal chops in almost every track on their debut album, “Sway.” Singer Samantha Gongol’s cabaret-influenced singing is modernized by producer Jeremy Lloyd’s tendency to use her vowels as catchy leads and bass lines. Listen here.

I also love the TOKiMONSTA remix of ‘There is Nothing Left’ by Brooklyn-based band The Drums. The talented producer uses vocal chops by taking Pierce’s sorrowful ooo’s and punches them one after another during the drop, making for a haunting dance track about letting love die.

#2 Songs about Smoking Up with Your Significant Other

This Sucker For is not one that I immediately like to own up to, but I can’t deny that this particular subject matter is common amongst my music library. The 19-year old rapper Doja Cat’s song ‘So High’ starts off with the distant sound of someone sparking a lighter and fades into Doja’s soulful voice singing about her loved one. She continues to alternate between singing and rapping over a beat that shuffles and lingers, before eventually dissipating like smoke.

California rapper Anderson Paak takes smoking with his loved one to a completely different place in ‘Drugs.’ To him, smoking together facilitates the friends-with-benefits’ situation between he and his girl. He brusquely depicts the emotional detachment that they have for each other—because the drugs are real, but love ain’t.

What are your Sucker For’s? I’ll be back with more of mine soon…