Okay guys, it’s been a busy week, and it’s not been easy lately to get my thoughts in order, so this will be a very casual blog. Here are some songs I’ve been into recently.
Adrianne Lenker - "Ruined"
I’ll never get over Adrianne Lenker’s voice. When one of her songs comes on, I have to stop anything else I’m doing and just listen. So much emotional power comes through in each one of her melodies and vocal inflections. This track hasn’t left me alone since it came out. There’s something a little classic country in the way that Lenker sings that gives it such an arresting strength of emotion. Up close and intimate are the vocals and the sparse piano track, but behind them there’s a gorgeous backdrop of fluttering metallic synth that gives this song a feeling at once otherworldly and homebound. I really love this one.
The Walkmen - "Thinking of a Dream I Had"
The Walkmen’s Bows and Arrows is one of my favorite albums of all time. I heard it for the first time when I was still a kid, and since then, its songs have shifted in and out of my life in sequence. The lyrics carry a vague sense of confrontation that gets me going, and the song is just the perfect mix of ethereal beauty and kinetic energy. Kinda surf rock, kinda shoegaze, six stars out of five.
Big Thief - "Vampire Empire"
Another one from Adrianne Lenker. God, she’s the best. Big Thief already gets a lot of love from the UIC Radio, and I’m very happy to add to it. This single is one of their absolute best, in my opinion. It feels warm and it feels cold, like a couple fighting in their kitchen late at night. Maybe it’s the close reverb. The lyrics beautifully explore themes of intimacy and relational fracture. When Adrianne screams, I want to scream along with her. Also, the chorus is amazing.
Yves Tumor - "Dream Palette"
Okay, I know the rest of these picks might have you thinking I’ve spent the last week sitting alone in my room crying. Not true. I just got back to Chicago! It’s a good time, and we all need something to dance to. This track is one of my favorites from Yves; everything about it just kicks, from the firework opening to that g-funk beat and deep, distorted bassline. The vocals remind me a little of Prince. It’s cold out. I don’t have earmuffs, but I do have headphones, and I’m listening to Yves Tumor.
SOPHIE - "Is it Cold in the Water?"
This one really gets me. I can’t exactly explain why—it's not an especially sad song or anything, but I just get overwhelmed with emotion every time I hear it. Maybe it’s just that thinking about SOPHIE and her awful, untimely death brings up some old feelings of grief for those near me who passed away at a young age. But the gorgeous, vulnerable lyrics about shyly testing the waters of passionate abandon, whether it be love, sex, or inhibition of any kind, coupled with the glimmering synth instrumental like a flood of beauty crashing over you in slow motion, just stuns me. It’s so deeply haunting, and I miss and mourn SOPHIE every day.