Here are some songs, and if you want to be a part of this, Submit here and listen here (Article Playlist) and here (Archive and Top Contributors). Get ready for the Teachers' Edition next week!
Chance The Rapper - Angels
As usual Chicago's finest up-and-coming hip-hop artist brings the intense emotion and wears his city on his shoulder on a track that overflows with triumphant verses featuring trumpets and backing vocals.
With terrible headlines of gang violence and shootings dominating the community while he sees it receiving little help from its government and celebrities running away from where they came from, Chance takes pride in the inspiration he is serving to the streets he grew up on.
"I got my city doing front flips When every father, mayor, rapper jump ship I guess that's why they call it where I stay Clean up the streets so my daughter can have somewhere to play"
Chance boasts that he still has many connections to the city and he "ain't changed his number since the seventh-grade." He can't see it being any other way. With Angels of old friends and neighbors who have fallen in such an unstable environment, he can't see how he'd be able to ignore where he came from when "I got angels all around me they keep me surrounded." But as I said the song holds and optimistic viewpoint, he doesn't see his connection to Chicago as a burden but rather a blessing that he can make an impact on the terrible conditions he was once a first-hand witness to.
Musically Chance shows his incredible versatility that has made so many fans fall in love with his unique style; his raspy, high-pitched voice powers through the verses that he bounces on lyrically before transitioning into the powerful choruses the carry the song's strongest emotion. There may not be a rapper more energetic on his songs out there today and I guess that's why he's got his city doing front flips.
Daughtry - It's Not Over
I like this song because you know it's not over until he stops singing, sometimes you just need to be reminded when the song is and isn't over.
Linkin Park - Burn it Down
This song always brings out the pyro in me. I like this song, so you should listen to it.
Within Temptation with Keith (Mina) Caputo - What Have You Done
I first heard this song when I was listening to an Evanescence iTunes radio station. I like this song. I like Dutch symphonic metal. I don't listen to it as much though. But I really like how it's like classical instruments and then typical metal and rock instruments. It makes me happy. My cousin's aunt likes this band and it made me happy because people don't know this band. So listen to this band. And Epica. They're really great too.
Eva Noblezada and the cast of Miss Saigon - I'd Give My Life For You
This song hurts so much. So, so much. But it's so, so good. Lea Salonga's version is really great because it's Lea Salonga, but I heard Eva's version first so I prefer her's. The music and singing at the end also perfectly ends the first act. But really this song hurts. And if you know the ending, it hurts even more because you know what she's singing about and oops I just spoiled it.
Evanescence - Good Enough
(please don't do the music video for the video you post with it. It cuts out the music in the beginning and that music is beautiful)
I love this song so much. Amy Lee wrote it for her husband and I think that's really sweet, since she's basically singing that she's so in love with a person that she can't believe it and aw. Also I love the instruments in this song. I wish I could play piano just so I could play this song.
Foreign language week may have just come to a close, but that doesn't mean that now is the time to stop listening to foreign music! A disclaimer: I don't speak any other languages and can only barely understand Spanish, so I'm going to mainly focus on the acoustic, rather than lyrical, qualities of these songs, and I apologize if I missed tons of important points as a result.
Sigur Rós - Svefn-g-englar Incorporating features of slowcore and the more ambient side of post-rock, Svefn-g-englar is a very magical piece by Sigur Rós of Iceland. A key feature of this song is the heavy reverb that drenches all of the instruments - most notably the very soft notes of the keyboard and the screeching, violin-like notes of the electric guitar - that gives off a sort of underwater and very ethereal feeling. The whole piece feels very soft and calm overall, with no particularly active parts except for the short burst of energy around the 6-minute mark where Jonsi's voice is temporarily brought down from its characteristic falsetto singing and the guitar and drums kick up a little bit.
Dear Eloise - Secret Life*
Dear Eloise/亲爱的艾洛伊丝 is a rather cold-sounding shoegaze band consisting solely of Sun Xia and Yang Haisong from China. Most of the other songs off of Beauty in Strangers/美丽陌生人 are your typical shoegaze fare, but Secret Life/隐秘生活 stands out: it's unique in that it sounds a bit more in the vein of your typical post-punk song, featuring a more or less repetitive melody with heavy bass and an overall dark atmosphere that Sun Xia's very reverb-heavy, somewhat lonely-sounding voice helps contribute to.
Fishmans - Long Season*
Long Season, by the Japanese band Fishmans/フィッシュマンズ, is a single 35-minute song split into 5 parts. It's a bit reminiscent of the music of Future Days-era CAN in that it's very explorative and sounds very fluid and, at times, improvised. A sole bassline that follows a recording of water with a disembodied voice embedded into it introduces the song, and, from that point on, instruments are slowly laid on top of each other in a manner similar to your typical post-rock song. Around 2:25, the repetitive piano-sounding keyboard playing that becomes a motif of the song is first introduced along with a somewhat saxophone-sounding keyboard. Two minutes later, around 4:30, a coherent drum beat is brought in with the song's first vocals. For the rest of Part 1, the keyboard dominates the scene while other instruments and another voice fade in and out of the song.
In Part 2, which starts around the 9 minute mark, the repetitive keyboard from the previous part again dominates while instruments and voices are added and removed from the song. All is not the same, however; 2 minutes into the second part, the song shifts as a second piano-sounding keyboard track is introduced, eventually replacing the first one. The singing becomes louder, more expressive, and more energetic, as does the drumming and guitar playing. As Part 2 comes to a close, the voice itself becomes purely an instrument as well, no longer singing any coherent words (as far as I can tell), much like the voice in The Great Gig in the Sky off of The Dark Side of the Moon before disappearing completely as the song shifts into Part 3, reusing the water recording from the very start of the song. Part 3 is very much an improvisational and more experimental sounding section of the song, built around the water recording from the start of the song. Throughout it, wind chimes, goofy sounding instruments, sirenlike singing, and jamming drums that slowly become more and more distorted come and go.
Part 4 of Long Season sounds like a different song entirely, no longer sounding nearly as electronic and mainly featuring an electric guitar and whistling that support reverb-heavy and later distorted vocals. In Part 5, the song's final movement, the repetitive, piano-sounding keyboard, the singing, and the drumming from the first part are brought back into the song, joined by the eletric guitar from the previous section - this time playing a high-gain solo instead of being strummed - and an organ-sounding keyboard, unifying the previous parts before bringing the song to a close. These instruments are removed by the song, one by one, until the song fades out. It's a very long song and admittedly is probably going to be a bit testing of your patience if you aren't a fan of longer songs, but it's a nice experience nonetheless.
Madvillain - Rhinestone Cowboy
Behold, the most complicated way of just saying you're awesome. Normally when people are rapping about how awesome they are, they are usually straightforward with how they say it. But with this track, MF DOOM (the guy rapping on this) shows us that he is awesome by describing it in a confusing and abstract sort of way, using rapid-fire rhymes, obscure references, and strange metaphors. I know that the way I'm describing this song makes it seem shallow and inaccessible, but believe me, it's all for the better.
King Crimson - 21st Century Schizoid Man*
Hey, it's that song that Kanye sampled in that song of his! And what do you know, it's actually pretty good!
All things aside, this is a really good song. While some people might not resonate with the lyrics as much nowadays, the track is still very fun and intriguing to listen to thanks in part to the instrumental led by guitar virtuoso Robert Fripp. Plus, that jazz breakdown in the middle is pretty dank.
The Kinks - The Village Green Preservation Society
I was first introduced to this song by the movie Hot Fuzz, by Edgar Wright. Fantastic movie, and everyone should watch it, but that's beside the point. I honestly still have a bit of trouble deciding whether this song is tongue in cheek or not, but I am inclined to think not because of the rest of the album, and that's what is likeable about it to me. The Kinks used their power over the younger generation to tell them tradition can be important, and while society can and should be thrown into question, there are things about the past and traditional culture that are good and important. Very punk rock of them.
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons - Take Off Your Sunglasses
This is basically a Bob Dylan song, but it's still worth listening to despite its very clear direct influence. It talks about pessimism and false positivity in relationships. It's sort of an ode to people being reluctant to get into relationships because relationships can lead to pain. It has a very meandering style of lyrics, just like anxious thoughts about what might happen. To me, the music seems a bit disconnected from the lyrics, but the lyrics make it worth listening to nonetheless.
Jim James - State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)
This is clearly an old crotchety message of "technology is ruining society!" But it argues it pretty nicely for an argument I disagree with. I support people being vocal about their ideals even if I disagree with them. It's worth listening to, and I promise I will have more to say next week about some really good songs!