Cut Through the Noise: Jaden Smith, Kodak Black, The Chainsmokers (Week of Dec. 21)


Illustration by Isaac Wert

Ben Sanford

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 Roc Nation

“Way Up” — Jaden Smith ★★★☆☆

“Way Up” offers an interesting sound, which compliments “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the movie it was written for. “Way Up” finds a good mix between hip-hop and pop. However, “Way Up” starts to feel repetitive due to it’s two and a half minute runtime and its lack of differentiation in the lyrics. The chorus is comprised of the same six words repeated four times, which gets old after the first listen. “Way Up” is entertaining in the context of its movie, as well as to listen to apart from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”


Fair use from Atlantic Records

“Malcolm X.X.X.” — Kodak Black ★★★★☆

Kodak Black’s “Malcolm X.X.X.” analyzes racism in America through lyrics about how it affects people today while inserting quotes from Herman Blake, a professor known for his work in the Black Panther movement in the 1960s. Kodak Black talks a lot about the murder of rapper XXXTentacion, and how that reflects the society we are currently living in. Alongside the meaningful lyrics, the music reflects the song’s intensity and importance through a somber backtrack. Police sirens are also heard throughout the song, which brings attention to the police brutality African Americans often face. Overall, “Malcolm X.X.X.” sends a powerful message, and brings awareness to the injustices that still exist in America.


Fair use from Disrupter Records

“Everybody Hates Me” — The Chainsmokers ★★★★☆

The Chainsmokers’ new song, “Everybody Hates Me,” expresses the intricacies of fame, and how it can negatively affect artists in the music industry. The song is about the loneliness of fame, the idea that everyone knows your face, but not who you are on the inside. The song also goes into detail about wishing for a normal life, wanting to party with friends without the stress that being a well-known artist can bring. “Everybody Hates Me” sounds like a party song, something to dance and sing along to at a club, which creates an extremely interesting dissonance between the lyrics and the upbeat instrumental. The Chainsmokers have started to change the way they sound with their new album “Sick Boy,” which makes me wonder what they’ll do next, and causes me to be more interested in the band as a whole.