Cut Through The Noise: Lukas Graham, J. Cole feat. 21 Savage, Morray, Migos


Illustration by Isaac Wert

Tenzin Gyaldatsang

Welcome to “Cut Through the Noise,” an entertainment column from the St. Louis Park Echo covering new music releases. Every week, a different Echo staffer takes on the role as writer, reviewing recent single releases from a variety of artists.

‘Happy For You’ — Lukas Graham ★★★☆☆

Fair use from Warner Records.

Lukas Graham’s “Happy For You” has great depth. Not only in the lyrics, but in the echoing vocals that enhanced the single. Although the song first comes off as a generic sentimental song, it slowly gets better and more catchy. The smooth and relaxed instruments paired with Graham’s clean vocals were satisfying. The lyrics have meaning and are deliberately meant to display the pain associated with coming to terms with the end of a relationship. This topic is common in many people’s lives, so making the track based on such a relatable topic helps the listener sympathize which in turn enhances their connection to the lyrics and the track. “Happy For You” brings back a nostalgic vibe that was present in Graham’s 2015 song, “7 Years.” In specific, the chorus has remarkable vocals from Graham and truly elevated the track’s emotional depth. My only negative takeaway from this single was that it was somewhat short, elapsing 3 minutes and 46 seconds, and making the song a little longer might’ve strengthened the feelings Graham conveyed in the track. 

‘My Life’ — J. Cole feat. 21 Savage, Morray ★★★★☆

Fair use from Dreamville, Inc.

“My Life” is one of the many excellent tracks in J. Cole’s new album, “The Off-Season.” The song starts off slow and steady, and once it reaches the first verse, the instrumentals change to a catchy and upbeat vibe. The tempo also gradually shifts, which makes the song more exciting. Morray’s verse brings the emotion and resonance that differs from Cole’s verses, which are more energetic and zealous. 21 Savage absolutely destroyed his verse and had great background vocals during the second chorus, which blended in nicely with Cole and Morray’s vocals. The instrumentals are smooth and refined, and all elements fit cohesively. The lyrics have a little bit of depth, but aren’t very emotionally charged. Savage has been somewhat quiet since his hit 2017 song, “Bank Account,” and even though he only has one individual verse in the track, working with Cole somewhat has revitalized his rapping career.

‘Straightenin’ — Migos ★★★★★

Fair use from Motown Records.

Set to appear on Migos’ upcoming album “Culture III,” “Straigtenin” is a smooth and silky trap song. The song has great lyrics and the trio of Quavo, Offset and Takeoff crushed the track. In specific, although Takeoff is usually overlooked within the trio, his verse is excellent and was especially catchy. Although the chorus is nice, the tempo stayed somewhat constant throughout the song, which weakened the chorus’s energy and liveliness. The instrumentals were nice but sounded familiar and a bit overused. The lyrics weren’t too detailed apart from the chorus, which showed depth and had a real message. The song isn’t particularly catchy, but the beat gets somewhat engraved in your mind after listening to the track over and over. Offset had stunning vocals and showed his vocal versatility in “Straightenin.” Migos did an incredible job with “Straightenin,” and I’m excited to see what they will bring to the table in “Culture III” this summer.