Cut Through the Noise: Weyes Blood, Kodak Black, Djo


Illustration by Isaac Wert

Sarah Peterson

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 of writer, reviewing recent single releases from a variety of artists.

Weyes Blood — ‘It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody’ ★★★★★

Fair use from Genius

Natalie Mering, more commonly known as “Weyes Blood,” showcases her artistic creativity and sets the bar high for her upcoming album with her newest track, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody.” The slow and steady drum beat feels reminiscent of the ‘70s, with Mering’s velvety voice immediately becoming the shining jewel of the ballad. Her reflective lyrics connect to whoever listens, with lines like, “living in the wake of overwhelming changes, we’ve all become strangers,” that can relate to all living in a current pandemic world. She wistfully shares the struggles of feeling numb, unseen and like nobody can truly understand her. 

I’ve been an avid listener since her 2019 album, “Titanic Rising,” and love to see her sound evolving into something fresh and unique as she matures. In one of my favorite singles yet, Mering seems to stay truest to herself in this. The almost six-and-a-half-minutes song may feel long to some, but this Karen Carpenter-esque tune is perfect easy-listening. 

Kodak Black — ‘Walk’ ★★☆☆☆

Fair use from Genius

Since being released from jail this past July, Kodak Black released “Walk,” good enough to keep his listeners happy, but not as good as we all know he has been and can be. Black’s feeling on top right now, you can practically see him strutting down the street while listening but is he really “big stepping,” though? The lyrics feel chaotic and jumbled, as all he does is describe the many things he does that make him feel great, all without finding any cohesiveness along the way. His flow is good enough to distract the listener from the lyrics so they just nod their heads along to the beat until the end. You know Kodak’s at his best when he can create something that’s both musically and lyrically enjoyable, which he demonstrates perfectly in other songs, like “Transportin’” and “Wake Up in the Sky.” This mid-tempo recording is catchy enough to add to a playlist for getting hyped up, but the lyrics are so messy that it will leave the listener confused more than anything.

Djo — ‘End of Beginning’ ★★★★☆

Fair use from Genius

In the sixth track of his newest album, “Decide,” Djo (Joe Keery) flawlessly encapsulates trying to let go of his adolescence in “End of Beginning.” He continues to break free of the cute, boy-next-door, one-dimensional Steve Harrington narrative that’s been pushed onto him since the inception of “Stranger Things.’ While exploring a new area of art and creativity, Keery seems to find great success in his music and in his songwriting, especially in “End of Beginning.” While nostalgically recounting his college life at DePaul in Chicago (where he first began to play in a band), he emphasizes that “you take the man out of the city, not the city out the man”. 

Musically, the song may sound a little plain, with a simple drum beat and relatively bland guitar riffs compared to some of the more complex and electronically produced tracks on the album. However, I like the simplicity of the sound because it doesn’t take anything away from Keery’s resonating lyrics, grappling with the thought that you might’ve already peaked and will never be as happy as you once were. It feels like closing a book, coming to terms that an era of your life is over and that it’s time to move on to the next.