Cut Through the Noise: Mackenzie Ziegler, Celeste (feat. Gotts Street Park), Vic Mensa (Week of Nov. 30)


Illustration by Isaac Wert

Abby Intveld

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.


Fair use from Mackenzie Ziegler

“Emoceans” — Mackenzie Ziegler ★★☆☆☆

Mackenzie Ziegler, most known for dancing on the popular show “Dance Moms,” recently released a single, “Emoceans.” In the first few bars of the song, it was clear to me that she should stick to dancing. The basic rhythms in the background set little foundation for the plain lyrics that seemingly meant nothing. The verses carried the same sequence of notes and had no true uniqueness. When the chorus finally came, she sings about drowning in her feelings which explains the name of the single being “Emoceans,” a play on emotions and oceans that was neither clever nor original. Following the chorus is an overdone beat drop, much too electronic for my liking. The one redeeming aspect of the single was her voice. For at only 14, she has above average vocals with surprising control over various notes. It’s disappointing that her vocals are not being put to better music, for “Emoceans” fell flat as just another pop single.


Fair use from Polydor Records

“Lately” — Celeste (feat. Gotts Street Park) ★★★★★

The patient and almost hypnotic drum beat that starts off the single “Lately” instantly made me want to sway my body to it. Celeste’s vocals slid into the rhythm seamlessly, her honey-sweet yet raspy vocals reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. She sings the story of a relationship gone wrong with so much emotion that I could almost grieve alongside her. The hopeful lines of continuing on and improving through pain can empower and motivate anyone, especially on top of the soulful beats. Strong bass chords reveal themselves throughout the chorus, breaking through as an underrated element of the music. The song is simplistic yet simultaneously complicated, which makes it all the more entertaining to listen to. She truly has exceptional vocals that everyone should experience, especially in this latest single. “Lately” will certainly appear in my playlists for the coming weeks.


Fair use from Roc Nation

“Dark Things” — Vic Mensa ★★★☆☆

When I heard the heavy autotune that started off the explicit song, I assumed it would be another three minutes filled with lines about drinking and partying, yet I was quickly proven wrong. “Dark Things” lyrics center around drug and alcohol abuse and how it makes Mensa feel lonely and sometimes suicidal. Mensa impressed me with the severity of the theme, for he went down a darker route that rap music rarely discusses. Despite the unique content of the lyrics, the music did little for me. The elementary beat felt like it was mixed on Garageband and contained no originality. His vocals rested in a gray area between fully rapping and fully singing and he relied on autotune to sound the least bit appealing. Though “Dark Things” is not necessarily my forte of music, there’s no denying it’s a meaningful song.