Is it a dethroning ‘cause there’s four more blurbs? Statheads will argue for years…

Katherine St Asaph: There is a way a city looks walking home alone, after enough drink that everything around you looks and sounds magnified, including your regret. There is a way the sky looks under a bridge when passing taillights hit rust, deepening the light; Sofi’s voice sounds like it was recorded there, standing in the tunnel. The synths sound like she’s running, like footsteps and whirring-by neon, and the kick drum gets louder each verse, like it’s throbbing out of her skin. It’s not just lonely, it’s desolate; not even that M83 riff at the end can make it sound remotely celebratory. I am nearer to 30 than I’d like to admit, farther from any sense of love or career or belonging than I hoped I’d be. The people I think of at night, I wish I wouldn’t; the ambitions I have, I wish would die with dignity; the things I feel are even more deadening knowing they’re millennial bullshit, nothing profound. All this is to say that I am in no place to hear “I love these streets, but they weren’t meant for me to walk” objectively; it’s perfect. The rest is near-perfect too — as coming-down music, “Vermillion” is rivaled only by Fever Ray, and as urban disenchantedness, “The city is big, but I don’t grow with it / I throw on some heels to get in the spirit” is rivaled only by Tychonaut’s “Spike and the Wheel” and “This is not Sex and the City / it’s just loneliness in high heels” — but that one moment, when there’s nothing but solo piano and that line, is indelible.

Danilo Bortoli: “I love the people but they never seem to wanna talk” is pretty much a line Cat Power wrote when she tried to express her feelings over the places where she has been and the people she has met: despair, insecurity and the general sensation of alienation and lack of strength, an outcome of the simple act of existingand (sometimes) getting your heart broken. In Sofi’s case, “Vermillion” shows she has other ways of expressing these perceptions; the song’s Italo-disco background suggests an evocative atmosphere, but its dreamy influences never make it feel torpid or dormant. There is neither escapism nor numbness here. Instead, Sofi’s persona is very conscious of the problems that arouse from a city (and eventually a lover) that doesn’t seem to care about her individuality. Therefore, “Vermillion” seems to encapsulate the universal feeling of unbelonging while still being very realistic about its themes.

Alfred Soto: Moving and well-observed, and de la Torre’s lived-in performance deserves the credits; she includes a ooh-ooh-ooh! bit where she jumps an octave that’s goose-pimply. The Minogue-Robyn-esque arrangement isn’t up to her commitment though; it doesn’t surprise.

Hazel Robinson: Oh my god, some nonsense breathy hipster girl electronica I hadn’t already discovered! And it’s got a BPM above 90 and is a song about feeling out of place in and simultaneously in love with your home city, something I empathise with so incredibly strongly it’s like having my heart gently lasered out of my ribcage. It’s gentle, audiohug class and full of such affectionate sadness I can’t do anything but fall into it.

Anthony Easton: Genuinely heartbreaking (the heart small and tight and refusing to open), and a surrounding aesthetic of almost oppressive production, shoving and pushing until the loneliness gives itself up. The tension and the failure between production and lyrics simmer and the listener waits for the track to explode.

Iain Mew: "Heart on Fire" hasn’t even been released yet and already there’s a track that will fit perfectly alongside it on a soundtrack to internal retreat! This calls for a celebration. No one is invited.

Luisa Lopez: A little eruption in the night, as if stardust woke up in a jazz club. The lyrics are weirdly intimate, a little too specific; listening to this song is, at certain moments, like taking a phone call in the middle of the night from someone you love whose voice is covered in static. The smallness of a solitude made large, turned into the agonizing repetition of noise, compelled into footsteps that form the bass line of what is a real, breathing, living city drained of people but full of stone. God, I can’t wait to dance to this one when I’m falling down sad at 3 AM.

Dorian Sinclair: I’m from a moderately-sized Canadian prairie city, or at least I spent most of my childhood there. I’ve visited a lot of bigger cities though, and there’s a weird feeling you sometimes get in them. A city is a big place, and when it’s not your city, it’s easy to simultaneously feel attracted to but very, very apart from it. There’s a fascination combined with a distance, like watching the world through glass. I haven’t found many songs that capture how I feel in a city at night! But Sofi de la Torre gets it, and pairs it with an instrumental track that perfectly captures and magnifies the impact of the lyrics. It feels like this song might have literally been written for me to walk to in the evening.

Josh Winters: There’s a sense of adventure you experience in the solitary act of going around your town at night. When everyone has gone to bed and all that remains are the lights that illuminate the city, the empty streets feel like yours to conquer with every step you take. It gives you a strong, validating rush of power, but it’s a rush that dies quick once you realize your true place in the grand scheme of things. I would know: I forced myself to do this for about a month last winter, the goal being to get out of my head by getting out of my room. It’s something Sofi de la Torre also knows very well. “The city gets bigger but I don’t grow with it,” she observes with nothing but an insistent 4/4 drum and brooding bass propelling her forward, the destination unclear. The rapturous synths stab like thunderbolts as the sky opens up, revealing the deity that is her sunset, a sight so spectacular in its grandeur. She’s drawn to it with awe and fear, unknowing of the true power it holds. The last minute of “Vermillion” is a thrill ride of its own, one that may feel a bit brief, but like watching a sunset, the allure is in its fleeting nature.

Brad Shoup: I feel like I must assign that ending (that funky trebly figure, the backing vocals throwing themselves in front of the dancefloor cannons) to a narrative, whether it’s some frantic downtown activity getting in our hero’s business, or possibly the sound of de la Torre forcing herself into more fun in case something happens. Otherwise, not drawing it out is a lost opportunity. Before that, there’s lots of fun with pauses; she says she loves the streets and everyone in them, but each time she gets quiet, like she’s hoping the sentiment will finally connect. Those thunderstorm synths will be a fabulous element in the remix, and the theme will be weaponized.

Megan Harrington: Sunset, 10K runs, late night cab rides, photos of your childhood home — there’s a certain hollowness to the medium experience, powerful enough to gut you but too temporary for scar tissue. “Vermillion” calls them all to mind and frames them with the heart-wrenchingly ordinary “I don’t want to feel empty anymore.” It’s an incurable desire, one you can place but you’re helpless to remedy. As much as de la Torre sings to someone specific, she’s also lost in a cosmic rift with her world. Connecting with someone, anyone would tether a woman lost in the familiar but “Vermillion” ends in ache.

Will Adams: “Vermillion” doesn’t just speak to the anxiety of missing someone at night. It speaks to the anxiety of feeling alienated in a large city, when your friends are so close — less than a subway stop away — but you can’t help feel lonely. Each line cuts deeper than the last: “I love these streets,” over a major progression, followed by a repetition of that line over a more unsteady chord progression, and amended: “But they weren’t meant for me to walk.” And even more heartbreaking: “I love the people, but they never seem to want to talk.” All the while, the music expands, the bass throbbing, trance synths pouring in during the second chorus, emphasizing the line about the city growing bigger while Sofi stays the same. “Vermillion” has fleeting moments of euphoria, but they are always tempered by the isolation, anxiety, and emptiness of a broken promise discovered when the big city turned out to glimmer less than it seemed.

Jonathan Bradley: There’s Drake in her cadence — she piles into each line like Aubrey does in, say, “305 to My City” — and as well as fitting it’s perhaps intentional. “I don’t want to feel empty anymore” is urban ennui in classic Nothing Was The Same mold, and Drake is probably mad he’ll never be able to use the line “I throw on some heels to get in the spirit.” The soft sadness, though, the bruised void that is the sunrise-scarred sky of the title, is a subtlety belonging entirely to de la Torre. The pulse is the kind that suggests not vitality but its absence; in this drift through dim-lit city streets, life is elsewhere. Even the guitar flicker that arrives as a false climax is too brief to prevent “Vermillion” from sounding anything but utterly bereft.

Edward Okulicz: “Vermillion” comes from that place where you look at yourself in the mirror and you feel like your face is alienly unlike everyone else’s, where your voice sounds halting and awkward like it does when you hear it on tape, where you feel so self conscious when you’re dancing or singing or just walking that you think you’re not doing it right and you long for the automaticity and freedom that everyone around you seems to have. It’s a place where all the electronic bleeps and soft, friendly beats can’t make that dancefloor or pub or whatever a place of easy comfort, even around your own people. I feel like she’s singing it to me, empathising with me, telling me that everyone feels like this sometimes and it’s okay to feel like you have to try so damned hard to fit even in the place you feel the most comfortable. “Vermillion” is a paean to a hard-to-define feeling of emotional displacement, but it’s also a song of strength and self-awareness. Two verses, two choruses, a brief wonky freak-out, and where Robyn might have put in a victory lap final chorus that goes up another gear like it does halfway in, “Vermillion” ends there having made no statement of resolution, and it’s perfectly fitting. I’ve loved many a three minute pop song for how it gives me a glimpse of feelings I don’t really have, but rarely does a three minute pop song take the weird feelings I do have and sound like it justifies them.

[Read, comment and vote on The Singles Jukebox ]

A song like this invites the personal, but I refrained from doing it here because a) I figured other writers would capture why it cuts so deep better (they did) and b) I’m planning on working into a larger piece. Still, it’s damn perfect, and I listened to it seventeen times in a row on the train as I left New York.

I hope there are days when you fall in love with being alive.

- Anonymous

(via twloha)



Meet Cory Nieves. He’s a dapper, 10-year old CEO of Mr. Cory’s Cookies who started his own booming cookie business in an effort to help his mom buy a car after moving from NYC to New Jersey in 2009.


Joseph and I were chatting today about seasons in Cali when wardrobe issues entered the convo. If I move to Cali, will I have a season for layers? Like half of my wardrobe is dependent on layering. CAN I WEAR MY SWEATSHIRTS OVER T-SHIRTS? WILL I GET TOO HOT?!

Yeah, I know I won’t need to bust out my winter coat or anything, but is there even a real autumn there?

Maybe I’ll just visit the Chi so I can layer in comfort for a few days.





might be the rawest pic I ever seen. and he got a bag of chips in his hand


With his dreads and his american flag shirt, this is everything

You are everything, fucking everything.

Silence is Not an Option


Another young black man has been gunned down. His name was Mike Brown. He was unarmed.

My [redacted] e-mailed me because she knew I would be upset about this story, because she knows all of my heart, and all I could say in response was, “I am numb.”

I don’t care if Mike Brown was going to…


ashleyrecords , I love you. So proud.

One of my besties and I at my super late graduation party today


ashleyrecords , I love you. So proud.

One of my besties and I at my super late graduation party today

My life is in shambles, and I don’t think this has ever been a truer statement (besides last spring). But I’m trying to remind myself of the blessings in my life.

So ima continue to listen to Grizzly Bear in the midst of intense writer’s block when I’m just trying to finish a simple screenplay (and clean my house for this weekend).