It’s yet another great installment of StripJointsMusic from our friends at Concrete Marketing and!

Settle Your Scores “Unwritten”
Settle Your Scores is the saving grace of new-era pop-punk bands. Following a similar sound and structure to that of acts like Good Charlotte, Blink-182, Sum 41, Fall Out Boy, and yes, even Green Day, Settle Your Scores (SYS) is the band to follow if you can’t get enough of loud vocals and high-energy guitar riffs. Covering Natasha Beddingfield’s “Unwritten” is a bold statement to make. It draws on female fans who will recognize the number and appreciate the lighthearted lyrics: “Today is where your book begins/the rest is still unwritten.” The male audience will like the masculine spin put on the song. The mash-up style of pop-punk is known for taking these kinds of lyrical risks, and SYS is no exception.

Highly Suspect “16”
Also reviewed for Vol. 82 of StripJoints, Highly Suspect started as a cover band playing in bars (based out of Cape Cod, MA) and has since ascended to heights that include two Grammy nominations for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album. Having released their third album “MCID” on Nov. 1, Highly Suspect shows the musical evolution of this band. Think of this: a rock band with a guitar-free song. That’s exactly what the band achieves in “16”, a ballad that is an introspection on the part of frontman Johnny Stevens. “It took me sixteen years to find ya/One second to love ya/Seven years to hold ya/One minute to lose ya.” Despite the more mainstream appeal of this song, it’s clear the lyrics convey a deeper message—Stevens is as vulnerable as any artist in this song: “Do you remember/When you told me you were holding my future kid? Ay/And all the joy that that would bring/Well I thought I was the father/But baby, it’s not my daughter.” Revelations as poignant as this usually don’t sound this good.

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Buckcherry and Wifisfuneral “Crazy Bitch” (Remix)
Back in 2005 (hard to believe it was that long ago!), Buckcherry unleashed what would become one of the greatest strip club anthems of all time: “Crazy Bitch.” Fifteen years later, it’s still in heavy rotation at strip clubs across the country and remains a rock radio fixture. But what do you do when you want to update it for 2020, and introduce it to a brand new audience? You enlist the services of “Emo” rapper Wifisfuneral for a re-imagined remix, of course! An original member of the Members Only hip-hop collective (a group created by the late XXXTentacion), rapper Wifisfuneral has amassed over 315 million streams in the U.S. The new version still has the rock elements of the original track, but definitely creates an entirely new vibe as a hip-hop track. It’s a new way to play a classic strip club track in your club!

Also hailing from Massachusetts (Boston, in particular) Cal Shapiro, who’s stage name is stylized as CAL, has broken out of his talent cocoon and is beginning to spread his wings as he emerges into an entirely different lyrical self. Formerly a member of the band Timeflies, CAL decided to go solo just this past year with a pretty new sound from his norm. Timeflies was known for being pop-rap influenced and CAL couldn’t be himself as much while in the band. CAL’s sound now is more raw, still with a lot of pop grooves, but it includes lyrics that resemble more of an R&B-style approach. The lyrics to “AFU” (All Fucked Up) are racy and sensual and give us all we need to reminisce on nights of wild passion: “Everytime you go, got me hung-over/Wrap your legs around me in the back of the car/With your teeth around my lips, and I’ll be your light in the dark/I’m addicted to the feeling of whatever we are/And you know, you know/You got me all fucked up/Those eyes are a hundred proof/You got me all fucked up.” The clever play on words fits the mood of a carnal night with a lover to that of being an addict, but CAL makes denial impossible for his listeners — you can’t help but bop your head along to the beat!

Major Lazer, J Balvin “Que Calor (GTA Remix) featuring El Alfa”
In this case, GTA isn’t “Grand Theft Auto.” Instead, it stands for “Good Times Ahead,” which is much more promising than the former. We reviewed a previous version of this song in Vol. 82 of StripJoints, and this time the song features a vocal contribution from El Alfa. The repetitive hook and the uptempo, simplistic beat is all you need for a dance/house remix track to play for a group of people and they’ll be jumping in unified bliss within minutes. The Hispanic influence in the lyrics draws on a culture base that will have you sweating the night away in a tropical paradise, even if only in your mind. El Alfa is known for working with the likes of Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and Nicky Jam, so his style is recognized in mainstream reggaeton/hip-hop and dance hits. His genre is called Dembow, which originated in the Dominican Republic and is known for fusing dance and house music with hip-hop lyrics and tying it all into a pretty musical bow with classic rhythms from reggaeton. The kicker is that Dembow speeds up the house beats to roughly 140+ BPM – that ought to keep the people moving!

Rotimi “In My Bed (featuring Wale)”
Olurotimi Akinosho, known professionally as Rotimi, is a Nigerian singer with a sound that pretty closely compares him to American artists Ne-Yo and J. Holiday. His vocals are sweet and sultry, but his lyrics are masculine and dominant, which sums up all you need for a good contemporary R&B hit, minus a good beat, which the intro is pulled from Mario Winans “I Don’t Wanna Know” — already tugging at every girl’s heartstrings. His pre-chorus lyrics place emphasis on the fact that there’s a literal meeting in his bed: “I make that ting go water/I go make that ting run water/I go make you feel my song.” No matter the lingo, we know what Rotimi means. Between the catchy sound, the clean vocals, and the introduction by Wale (a known rapper who’s got a great rasp in his chords), we’re sold. Where’s the bed for this meeting? We’ll be there!

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