Starting (and possibly ending) this week is a change to the usual format! We will now be featuring up to three songs per person per week! Feel free to submit more than that, but any more than that will carry over to the next week. Submit in the comments here or to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook! Check out the playlist hereand the archive here!
This has been a personal favorite of mine for a long time, mostly because of the way it sounds. There's just so many things that the song has going for it on the auditory side of things: the percussion that dominates the song is very soothing, as is the soft electric guitar, as is the sparse piano, as is Thom Yorke's falsetto singing, as is the harmony in the middle of the song where the drums temporarily pause. On the lyrical side of things, the speaker seems to be talking with some divine entity about . What's peculiar is that, often, it seems that the speaker is trying to comfort that divine entity instead of asking for its comfort, as is usually the case. The whole thing is just very beautiful. Perhaps the most striking part of the song is when Thom Yorke sings the album's name, "In Rainbows", around two thirds of the way through the song.
Set Fire to Flames - Omaha
Omaha, by Set Fire to Flames, off of Sings Reign Rebuilder, is a sonic journey. The song starts out sounding very spiritual, with an ensemble of strings and a lightly thumping drums that feels like an homage and tribute to the native tribes of North America. This idea of the song being a nod to these tribes is further suggested by the name of the song itself, which is the name of a tribe that has lived in northeastern Nebraska. Around the two minute mark, the tone changes as the strings start to squeak and a chaotic buzzing starts up in the background. A very soft and echoing electric guitar then kicks in, and the song transitions into a more contemporary post-rock song with sharper drums and a more modern feel. Near the end, the electric guitar is replaced by the strings that were playing at the beginning of the song, possibly symbolizing a unity between the original occupants of North America and its current, industrialized occupants, as well as the absorption of the former society into the society of the latter, dominant one.
The song has a very melancholic and calming feel. It feels a bit like watching the galaxy at night out in some remote place where the artificial light from humanity's cities hasn't yet reached and overpowered and masked the light from the stars. Seeing the Milky Way at night is a very profound and humbling experience; it's unfortunate that the "light pollution" in Massachusetts makes it necessary to travel out of state, or close to it, to see the stars. The light pollution map from http://lightpollutionmap.info indicates that there's actually a few spots with close to no light pollution in middle and northwestern Massachusetts.
The rest of the album is quite good, too. There's a certain longing and sorrowness to it, like much of the work of bands affiliated with Godspeed You! Black Emperor. According to the Set Fire to Flames website, the entire album was improvised over five days, which is an impressive feat for such a heavy album. What makes the album even more interesting is that noises from the environment, like "[a] rickety wooden staircase[,] creaking floorboards[,] creaking chairs[,] traffic and police cars outside[, and] men coming out of the mosque down below" for the purposes of being able to "hear the house all over the recording."
Modest Mouse - Dramamine
What I love most about this song is that it's very calming, mellow, wandering, and melancholy while being upbeat at the same time. On top of its lonely, wandering guitars (which are probably my favorite part about the song and many other Modest Mouse songs) and lyrics, there's very lively drumming and singing that sets this song apart from most other calming, mellow, wandering, and melancholy songs. Dramamine's bittersweet tone persists for the rest of This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About (and also the rest of Modest Mouse's discography), which largely consists of rueful takes on modern, urban society or personal conflicts masked by comparatively lively, maybe ambivalent drums and singing that hide the songs' underlying messages. The next album in Modest Mouse's discography, The Lonesome Crowded West, embodies this theme to a greater extent. A lot of the time, the meanings of Modest Mouse's songs don't become aparrent until you take a closer peek at the lyrics sheets or are good at making out the words in songs, in which case it would be greatly appreciated if you went and filled out the nonexistant or empty pages on lyrics websites, since not everyone has physical copies of music anymore. Thanks in advance.
But enough about Modest Mouse's discography. Dramamine, the first song on This Is a Long Drive, is a bit dense. On the surface, like other songs on This Is a Long Drive, the song is about travelling, but there's more to it than that. The word "you" comes up a lot, and that, coupled with various actions described - "you'd killed the better part of me", "you say what you need so you'll get more", "we kiss on the mouth but still cough down our sleeves" - suggest that the song is about a poor relationship, but other than that, the wording of most of the song's lyrics is very vague. The Dramamine's meaning seems to be mainly driven by the very wandering and bending guitar notes throughout the song that seem to try to invoke feelings of being lost and disoriented - possibly hopelessness, too - which can be interpreted in many different ways.
Oasis - Wonderwall
"Anyway, here's Wonderwall!" This song is number one in my playlist of songs that "everyone is going to hate you for if you play it on your crappy guitar you bought at a yard sale." Despite this, it is a beautiful song with a memorable melody that will get stuck in your head for the next 24 hours.
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird
Number two in my playlist of songs, Free Bird is actually a really good song with great solos for guitar, but still is overplayed at the campfire.
Third Eye Blind - Jumper
Another song on my playlist, this song used to be my alarm, and I absolutely despise it now, as it is associated with waking up too early. Therefore, I share it here.
Ricky Montgomery - Last Night
Check out this not so popular song guy, he's making some really awesome music. Give him a listen and maybe check out some of his other stuff!
Pentatonix - Rose Gold
Pentatonix - Ref
I am submitting Rose Gold and Ref by Pentatonix because they're amazing originals by Pentatonix. They show their abilities to take modern sounds and create them in A Capella music and it shows the complexity of A Capella original songs. I also recommend the whole new Pentatonix album for everyone to listen to but Rose Gold is tied with Ref as my favorite originals by Pentatonix.
Capital Cities - Safe and Sound
I love it this song because it reminds me of being with friends and how they make me feel safe.
The Builders and the Butchers - Bottom of the Lake
This song, despite its folk sound, is very punk rock in it's essence. It tells the story of a man who went too far in messing with authority and ended up being "relocated" to the bottom of the lake. This is someone who owed a little too much to a mob of some kind and ended up being drowned. It discusses the immediate and harsh consequences that arise when you mess with authority. It has some dark undertones in the character's attitude towards death, as expressed by the line "it's so much better on my mind not to count my days", which is a remark about the daily stress or constant fear when living under a cruel regime.
Rubblebucket - Came Out of a Lady
This is a very strange song about the wonders of existence, how small someone's chances are of being on this world with another specific person are. The lyrics are a bit childish sounding and it fits the tone of the song, which addresses some big concepts with wide, wondering eyes, like those of a child.
Leroy - Good Time
This is a pretty generic break up song, but I really enjoy the sound of it. I usually try to lean towards more heartfelt, meaningful songs, but this one's been stuck in my head a while. I don't really have much to say about it honestly, but it really struck me as something I wanted to share with people.
*Not included in playlist because it was not on Spotify