Caroline Richards ’22
- “thought i was playin” by Gunna, 21 Savage
From Gunna’s new and highly anticipated album DS4EVER. Hate him all you want but his beats are f***ing catchy, especially in this song. It has this insane alien videogame-esque sound going on in the background on top of what could be a triangle? It’s subtle and layered in an elemental way, which makes it creative and experimental (which seems to be Gunna’s MO these days). He did a good job making this album cohesive, too, especially given its length and breadth. 21’s verse is also addictive. Check out “too easy” feat. Future too.
- “The Boat I Row” by Tame Impala
From The Slow Rush B-sides. Goddamn, this song. Kevin’s talent lies in his ability to make his lyrical subject matter match perfectly with the instrumental composition, to a point where they become unified in a way that transports you into a feeling. The layers of sound do something to reach the deepest parts of you—no other music sounds quite like it. He’s so easy to connect with because he’s carved his experiences into sounds that are new, yet wholly recognizable. This song is especially stunning. It captures life’s conflicts and complications even as it seems to move so quickly around us.
- “Watching Strangers Smile” by Parquet Courts
Parquet Courts is fantastic. They’re from New York City and this set of singles was written in said city during quarantine. It’s about the little things in life we’ve missed out on during the pandemic (i.e., being able to see and experience smiles from strangers because of the mask mandates). It’s reminiscent of The Beatles early sound but definitely new and boundary-pushing; their lyrics cover a lot of contemporary issues and their attentiveness to instrumental blending is impressive and cohesive. They’re definitely one to watch. Check out their album Sympathy for Life if you like this song.
- “Under The Pressure” by The War On Drugs
It’s from their groundbreaking album Lost In A Dream. They’ve been around since 2005, but I recently rediscovered their stuff because they released their new album I Don’t Live Here Anymore in 2021. I didn’t love this new one, unfortunately, I thought it was too pop-y and the instrumentals were a little unoriginal; they lost a lot of their edge. But this song (also track 1) from Lost In A Dream is exceptional—as is this entire album. The lyrics, the guitar, the way the song builds and moves through a series of moods is so relaxing and such an enjoyable listening experience. They’re also one of those bands that have their own stylistic realm; they don’t sound like anyone else. If you haven’t already, definitely look into them further.
- “What’s Up?” by Mom Jeans.
NEW MOM JEANS! This punk rock duo is one of my favorite up-and-coming bands to date. They have such a wide variety of sounds and lyrics, from sad and slow to loud and bordering on metal. They’re on-track to become the contemporary face of punk in the coming years, though I don’t think they’re there yet. This new release by them is great, it’s uppity and the guitar is really strong. They’re high on my list of concerts to see, if you watch their live shows you can tell how much fun they’re having and how much passion they put into their performances. I think their new album Sweet Tooth is out either today or tomorrow so definitely check it out if you have time.
- “Red Rocking Chair” by Billy Strings
I will forever live and die by Billy Strings. I think he’s one of the most talented musicians of the 21st century by far and easily one of the best guitar players to ever do it. And he’s so young! Bluegrass gets a bad rep (wrongly placed), but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite genres. It’s alive and full of movement, but it also has such a rich history. It’s also small enough that you can clearly see how it’s built and changed from person to person. “Red Rocking Chair” is actually Billy Strings’ cover of Doc Watson and Merle Wilson’s 1981 version. He adds a contemporary passion and vivacity that’s absolutely incredible; I’d recommend listening to both versions so you can pick out what artistic changes he made to this version. And please, please, please consider exploring his discography more.
- “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles
This song is just so optimistic. It makes me feel better and makes breathing a little easier. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is one of my favorite albums of all time, and I have to say I’ve been listening to it a lot more recently just given the recent events of our world. Things are pretty dark right now, and it’s easy to get caught in a negative mindset. The Beatles make things better. I’d recommend listening to this song at least once a week when you’re feeling down, preferably on Wednesday when the week feels like it’s been going on forever, and you’re bogged down by work.
- “Hold That Thought” by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
I’m going to see them at Roadrunner in Boston on April 1st… see you all there? If you follow this column—presumptuous of me but—you know how much I love BJM, and this is one of my favorite songs of all-time. Anton knows the electric guitar like it’s the back of his hand, and it shows in all the representations and moods he explores in this song. He also knows exactly how to mix its sounds with drums and, my personal favorite, the tambourine. BJM knows how to give the tambourine its due diligence—it’s one of my favorite aspects of their music. Check out “Drained” from this mini-series too, they sound so good together. Apparently, he wrote these two on a cocaine bender that lasted three whole days.