Childish Gambino moves up 9 spots, new artists emerge


Music Directors

Editor’s note: KCSU does not support David Bowie, his label or his actions.

“KCSU’s Top 10 Song Spinning This Week” is written by the KCSU music directors and describes the top artists that your local 90.5 FM DJs are playing this week. The article is updated weekly on Sundays and discussed on their show, “KCSU Weekly Gem Countdown,” which airs every Monday from 12-1 p.m. During the show, you can learn more about each musician or band before tuning in to the top 10 countdowns on Mondays, in which the music directors present to you the latest songs topping the charts and breaking down each song’s sound and feel.”

*=Brand new to the chart this week!

1.Childish Gambino — R&B/Soul — (8 spins of “Redbone” off of his 2016 album “Awaken my Love”)

Childish Gambino’s song “Redbone” moved up nine spots from last week’s charts from #10, to #1! Childish Gambino, the stage name for Donald Glover, is a singer, songwriter, producer, director, actor, comedian and rapper — with many talents. According to his Spotify, “Glover refined his off-kilter brand of hip-hop on his 2013 breakthrough album ‘Because the Internet’ before making a sharp turn toward R&B-inspired funk, which won him a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance in 2017 for the single ‘Redbone.'”

Glover has won a multitude of awards — including Grammies, MTV VMAs, an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award. Glover has amassed over 15 million listeners on Spotify but is taking time to work on his hit show, “Atlanta.”


2. Paramore — Pop — (7 spins of “Fake Happy” off of their 2017 album “After Laughter”) 

Paramore has been making its mark in the rock and pop world since 2003. The band currently consists of Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Zac Farro. On its Spotify, Paramore explains that “no one understood how a band so un-country could be from this strange little town Nashville, nor how a bunch of kids so small could play their angst-filled songs so proudly.”

In 2010, the band split, sparking many theories about the reason for the split. Williams admitted that after their split, she kept pretending everything was fine when in reality she was hiding her sadness  — which sparked the idea for the song. Williams explained to Apple Music how this made her develop a hatred of phoniness: “It’s not fun to be around, it’s not fun to do yourself,” she explained. Farro and has since returned and continues to make music with the band.


3. Chelsea Cutler — Pop — (7 spins of “Forever” off of her 2021 album “When I Close My Eyes”)

“Forever” is the opening track of Chelsea Cutler’s newest album, “When I Close My Eyes.” Cutler is a 24-year-old, singer, songwriter and producer from Connecticut, making her mark in the pop world.

In this song, Cutler displays the feeling of falling in love and changing her mind when it comes to long-term relationships. Cutler also adds a voicemail from her girlfriend in the bridge, proving to the listeners that she was the muse for the catchy chorus, “forever never sounded good before I met ya.”


4. *Harry Styles — Pop — (6 spins of “Kiwi” off of his 2017 self titled album “Harry Styles”)

Harry Styles started his career by auditioning for The X Factor (UK), which led him to be put into the break out group One Direction. The band sold over 70 million records worldwide — making it one of the best-selling boybands of all time. In 2015, the band took a hiatus, and Styles decided to start working on his solo work.

In 2017, he released his first album, a self-titled one, “Harry Styles” that mixed pop, rock, indie and alternative elements to create a smash hit. Styles currently has over 33 million listeners on Spotify as well as a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance for his hit “Watermelon Sugar.”


5. Amber Smoke — Hip Hop/Rap — (5 spins of “Money Orders” off her 2020 single release “Money Orders”)

Amber Smoke keeps a spot on the KCSU charts for the fourth week in a row! According to her Spotify, Smoke is a “rising international superstar.” Originally from Houston, she also raps, sings, writes music and acts.

Her music covers “many relatable issues head-on, like social injustice, difficulties finding love … and navigating being a young strong woman in the industry willing to pave her own way without compromising her beliefs,” according to her Spotify.

This upbeat, true hip-hop tune allows Smoke to claim her place as a strong woman carving her own path in the music industry.


6. *Daft Punk — Electronic — (5 spins of “Aerodynamic” off  of their 2001 album “Discovery”)

Daft Punk is an electronic duo that consists of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. According to their Spotify, the duo “quickly won acclaim for their skill at blending their beloved Chicago house and Detroit techno with pop, funk, indie rock and hip-hop into nostalgic yet futuristic forms.”

Bangalter specified that “Discovery” deals with the duo’s experiences growing up in the decade between 1975 and 1985 rather than just being a tribute to the music of that period. The duo now has over 15 million monthly listeners on Spotify.


7. Great Time — Electronic — (4 spins of “80z Slo Jam” off of their 2021 album “Sounds Like __ Vol 2.”)

The Philadelphia trio Great Time consists of Jill Ryan, Zack Hartmann and Donnie Spackman. According to their Spotify, the trio self-produced “Sounds Like __ Vol. 2” “in quarantine … from their home studio built with money raised via Kickstarter. The band has largely ignored conventional wisdom and recorded from a genuine place of multi-genre influence that sounds like something wholly original.”

As stated in Look at My Records!, “’80z Slo Jam’ is a microcosm of the EP’s larger themes, which represents the band’s rejection of the music industry norms and attempts from certain forces to get them to rein in their sound.”


8. Homeshake — Alt/Indie — (4 spins of “Half Asleep After the Movies” off of their 2021 album “Under the Weather”)

Homeshake is the stage name for the alternative artist Peter Sagar. According to his Bandcamp, Sagar “was staying at home a lot, long before the pandemic.”

Sagar wrote the majority of his fifth studio album, ‘Under the Weather,’ in 2019 when he was “going through a long, unrelenting period of sadness.” Sagar explains, “I was in a deep, deep depression. Tours were breaking me. It was awful. It was a bit of a dark pit. That’s kind of what the album is about.”

Because the album was released two years later in 2021, Sagar thinks that most people will think he wrote about being alone during the pandemic, but really he wrote about feeling isolated his whole life.


9. Silas Short — R&B — (4 spins of “Drawing” off of his 2020 EP “Drawing”)

Silas Short is an up and coming artist out of Chicago. According to his Spotify, Short is a “singer and musician who produces his own music, synthesizing influences from soul and classic R&B. Short’s route to releasing music was nothing less than difficult, including shattering a bone in his left hand when he was 19,” which nearly ended his music aspirations.

Short told Stone Throw, “‘Drawing’ is a reference to finding my inner harmony. I had an epiphany to marry my multitude of influences together, which seemed to contrast like black ink on a white page. Putting my music and art together felt like the most honest expression of my experience.”


10. *Nirvana — Alt/Rock — (3 spins of “The Man Who Sold the World” off of their 2002 album “Nirvana”)

I feel like I don’t really need to explain Nirvana — they’re Nirvana. However, the group consisted of Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Chris Novoselic. According to their Spotify, “nothing was ever quite the same after Nirvana,” and that’s completely true. “The band’s second album, 1991’s ‘Nevermind,’ revolutionized popular music by bringing alternative rock above ground, introducing mainstream audiences to sounds and concepts that had previously existed only in shadowy record store corners and on low-frequency college radio airwaves.”

The song “The Man Who Sold the World” was originally released by David Bowie but covered by Nirvana during their 1993 appearance on “MTV’s Unplugged,” which some say is the best cover to date.

The KCSU music directors can be reached at