This is part of my Music Monday series on my blog, where I talk all things music, from recommending songs to discussing my favourite music videos to compiling playlists based on prompts.
Summer is over!
I don’t want to say finally, because being off University has been pretty great, but I’m also so relieved the weather is going to get cooler. The weather fluctuated between INCREDIBLY HOT and ACTUALLY IT’S QUITE CHILLY in July and August and I just want it to be over please oh please.
So for Music Monday I figured I should do a little wrap up of the music I’ve enjoyed! I’ve made about 5 new music playlists for absolutely no reason at all other than I have no self control, and I keep having to edit down my 2019 playlist due to impulsively adding songs and then realising two weeks later that I honestly didn’t really love the song that much.
FAVOURITE SOLO ARTIST
My favourite solo artist this Summer was probably Sigrid. Generally with solo artists I get into one or two of their songs, and while those songs list in my favourite songs, the artist generally isn’t a new top favourite.
I’ve been a fan of Sigrid since 2017, and I finally felt like I was in the right space to listen to her new album Sucker Punch, which ended up solidifying her as one of my new favourite solo artists. She has a really intriguing voice and I love that you could dance to over half of this album because of how upbeat it is. There’s something to be said for lyrics that aren’t complicated, are easy to understand, because sometimes that makes them all the more relatable for a listener.
I also love how so much of her music is inspired by more than just romantic issues. There are crushes and friendship songs, songs about breaking free from toxic friendships– something that helped me as I reconcile with some of the more toxic elements of relationships I’ve had in the past– and there’s also a song inspired by not only Studio Ghibli, but also her attempt to control her image in the media, which is something I always love in music. Artists can be publicised so much we forget they are real human beings, and hearing their music about their public image is always humbling.
(Take This To Your Grave isn’t here because it wouldn’t fit, don’t fight me)
2008 Connie and 2019 Connie have one thing in common, and that’s their intense adoration of rock bands that formed in the 2000s. I’ve always been a fan of Fall Out Boy since I was little, but it’s only the past year I’ve actually started listening to all of their discography properly and begun appreciating what they’ve come out with.
This might be divisive, but I honestly think Fall Out Boy, of the ol’ rock/punk rock scene, have had the most consistently good albums since their debut. I think other bands have had decent albums and, in some cases, bad ones that only have one or two good songs in my opinion (Paramore’s self-titled album, I’msosorry), but not ones that have absolute hits.
Fall Out Boy are always great for me, every song on their albums that I’ve heard so far, and that’s why they are my favourite band of the Summer. They’ve changed with the times and the kind of music that’s popular in the moment without ever losing what made their earlier music so great. It’s just all very idiosyncratic, from the music videos to the content to the actual song titles, and I love them.
ALBUMS I LIKED
Doom Days // Bastille
While doing some research on this album, I discovered that the concept for Doom Days is that it follows different points in the night at a party, a party that has a lot of “turbulent emotional chaos”. This explains why I love it so much.
In general, Bastille are a band that put a lot of thought into their music, and I think some really visceral imagery can be created from the concepts they shape the album around.
The titular song is actually my favourite of the album. It describes escapism from modern anxiety, and how, no matter how fucked the world is, you need to shut off sometimes. I struggle a lot with this– I constantly describe my own anxiety, something that I struggle with a lot, as having an IV line of straight modern horror flowing into me that I can’t disconnect from– and I think, as a song, it confronts modern fear– from climate change denial to porn addiction– without ever demonising those who make the decision to shut their brains off from it sometimes.
I think the Peter Pan reference especially reaffirms this. Yes, Peter Pan himself is a symbol of innocence, but at its core, Peter Pan’s narrative is about a girl who finds escape from the ‘real world’ long enough to figure out the issues of adulthood and growing up without losing herself along the way. In a way, that’s what this song, and the rest of the album, enforce. Escapism is good sometimes.
Third Eye Blind // Third Eye Blind
God of Wine has been one of my favourite songs for god knows how long, and after listening to a really bizarre mash-up of Welcome to the Black Parade with Semi-Charmed Life, I finally figured I should give the rest of the band’s music a try.
I’ve started with their self-titled first album, just because it’s easiest as I make my way through their discography, but I kind of stopped on this one. I just really love it. It mixes different sounds, sometimes crossing several in one song (Narcolepsy has an ending that jolts you out of your seat), with grim lyrics reflecting on suicide and mental health conditions, crystal meth, and sexual abuse.
Fun story: Semi-Charmed Life was very familiar to me before I’d even listened to the album, and when I researched into it, I realised that was because it was used in trailers for The Tigger Movie and, as a massive Winnie the Pooh fan and YouTube user, I had most definitely seen the trailer when I was younger and not put the pieces together. These trailers were obviously recalled because the song is about crystal meth, but I just think that’s a fun look into how little people actually pay attention to lyrics!
Sucker Punch // Sigrid
Arms Unfolding // Dodie
Oh, our fire died last Winter
Heavy Metal Heart // Sky Ferreira
I describe the chorus and instrumentals of this as the musical equivalent of a headache, and I stand by that. Sky Ferreira’s voice is great, and I love the chaotic noisiness of this song.
Django Jane // Janelle Monáe
I actually only just listened to Dirty Computer. I tend to prolong listening to things until well after the hype surrounding them dies down, and I’m glad I did, as I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed the album otherwise.
I’m With You // Avril Lavigne
Can you tell I grew up goth? I remember memorising the lyrics to this when I was in year 3.
The Archer // Taylor Swift
Definitely the best song to come out of Taylor Swift’s latest album so far! I love the juxtaposition in the lyrics. I also wrote a whole post assigning her songs to Shakespeare Plays, if you’re interested in that sort of thing!
goodnight n go // Ariana Grande
I… don’t have much to say about this? It’s one of three songs I actually like off Sweetener.
A Brand New Day // BTS&Zara Larsson
Everytime the first notes of this song play I get immediately hyped. I love the instruments used in this song, and I think the voices and sounds of the different collaborators in this (V and J-Hope, and Zara) all compliment each other really well.
Nightmare // Halsey
I Smile // DAY6
DAY6 were sold to me as a Korean rock group and I immediately jumped on that. I really love their album Sunrise.
Doom Days // Bastille
Someone You Loved // Lewis Capaldi
This has some iffy messages, especially concerning the idea of your partner– or a sole person– as a sort of therapist instead of pursuing other avenues (i.e. actual, paid-for therapy) to help you begin to tackle emotional issues. I do love Lewis Capaldi’s voice, though, and I think there are more ways to look at the song than just that. Remember kids: it’s okay to ask for help from loved ones and there should be a quid pro quo of support, but if your emotional issues are that bad, please seek professional help!
Kataomoi // Aimer
Baby Don’t Stop // NCT U
After how much time I’ve spent crafting paragraphs about music I love and trying to remain somewhat intelligent, I’m breaking that here: this song is just sexy. That’s the whole reason I love it. I’m sorry.
Ça Ira // Joyce Jonathan
This is a really fun song, it kind of reminds me of Sara Bareilles, only French. The fact that the music video is staged as her going on blind dates with people of all genders is also really adorable and not something I see a lot of in music videos!
FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEOS
Spring Day // BTS
I spend most of my time attempting to deconstruct every music video BTS have ever come out with, but Spring Day is almost the be-all-end-all for me. There’s so many layers to this music video, from the philosophical references– The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K Le Guin is a direct inspiration for the music video– to its context within the general BTS ‘Universe’ they’ve created with their music videos. I know this isn’t considered a direct part of the BTSU, but it is to me, and I love it. I really love the music video for Lights as well!
Nightmare // Halsey
This is a fact not many people know about, but I desperately wanted to both be in a rock/heavy metal band when I was younger, and also date someone in a heavy metal band. So all of those black and white sequences of Halsey as the frontwoman for a rock band are honestly my favourite thing ever. I love the messages of this song; I know people are divisive over their opinion on Halsey, but I’ve always loved her honesty, so I really love this song.
Kataomoi // Aimer
It’s a very quiet music video and I love that! People can do a lot with smaller budgets and minimal people partaking, I think this music video is beautiful. My best friend actually recommended this song to me with the assurance that Namjoon from BTS talked about it before.
Winter Bear // V
Speaking of quiet music videos: THIS. It’s soft and mostly uses shots and clips V got himself walking around and touring, including a few Jimin got for him. I’m very much on both ends of the spectrum concerning music videos: I love so many large-budgets videos, but I also love ones that are minimalist and filmed on smaller budgets (if you don’t count the cost of what Taehyung is wearing, obviously).
What have you listened to this Summer? I’d love some music video recommendations especially, I think it’s amazing how carefully people can form stories and messages without ever using speech, especially when the imagery isn’t overt and you can do research into shots used to understand what it could mean.
Thank you for reading!