It’s been a summer of Discover and pop. And, honestly, I’m not complaining. I’ve had some Discover playlists straight from the Spotify gods, providing me with new and exciting tunes. And then I’ve had days at work when all we listen to is pop and I can’t deny coming home and adding some of those songs to my own playlists. I refuse to be shamed. So, pretty much what I’m saying is that this summer hasn’t been an explosion of great finds (i.e. musically, this summer hasn’t been all that different from previous, chaotic summers). At the end of these months, I’m only left with a small handful of Discover and pop songs I actually add to my playlists and really listen to. This has caused me to listen to a lot of the same music over and over again. But I’ve yet to be convinced this is a bad thing.
First, shoutout to some of tracks that have made it into my regular listening. One day towards the end of our shift at work, we were squeegeeing the brew house floors (ps? I work in a brewery now) and one of my managers threw on “Sand on the Beach” by Cheap Fakes. One listen and I was obsessed. Ask Lauren, or my boyfriend, or my roommates; I made them all listen to it. So jazzy and happy.
Also, the song “Ridin Round” by Kali Uchis has been featured on my Discover a few times and that last time it really caught me. Each time I start listening to it, I just think, “okay, this is a good, sassy song.” But then I really feel it when it gets to, “He didn’t know that I was my own hustla / Baby, understand. I don’t need a man / Fuck me over, I’ll fuck you worse”. Yeah, it’s in your face. And yeah, it’s unapologetic. And yeah, I love the badass feel it gives me because of that.
I think the album art is the first thing that won me over with Bonzai’s “Where Are U Now”. I really dig the echo-y dance beat of this one. The mixing makes you want to move and why fight that?
Jamila Woods’ “Blk Girl Soldier” is the type of socially aware music I want to be seeing everywhere. Woods calls attention to the whitewashed Oscars, the discriminatory employment field, and delegitimizing stereotypes applied to vocal women. She’s also super talented. This is her first release and I’m pumped to see what comes next.
I also very recently got hooked on Drake and Rihanna’s “Too Good”. “Last night, I got high as your expectations” is just too great a lyric.
This summer I spent some time working at the retail shop in a gym, as well. Yeah, not fun. But I got one good song out of it. The Zac Samuel Remix of Karen Harding’s “Say Something” is super catchy and a great workout song (the gym’s pay may not be on point, but at least their playlists are). One chorus is essentially cycled throughout the entire remix and yet, you get so into the powerful vocals paired with playful backing, you don’t even notice.
I knew Felix Jaehn for “Ain’t Nobody (Love Me Better)” and nothing else. But when I saw his new release, “Bonfire”, I figured I’d check it out. So so glad I did. It featured the Finnish singer ALMA, who brings a solid range and strong attitude to the song. Another dance-y tune and this one hits with a clever chorus: “I am the bonfire / You make me stronger, you make me lighter / With the shit you throw on me, throw on me”.
Finally, I’m a pretty big fan of Banks, so I’m psyched to see her releasing new songs from her upcoming album. Banks kind of does that sad girl thing (fucked up in all the ways media tells you is sexy to be fucked up type), but I feel like she does it with a realness and an edge. I’m really liking her new song, “Fuck With Myself”, because it’s relatable. For me, at least. Half the time I’m anxious or upset, it’s my own mind twisting situations to make me perceive it a certain way that causes me to feel like that. Banks presents this with sexy whispers and all that, but there are also some creepy strings and low vocals that present this “I fuck with myself more than anybody else” idea as coming from a force to be reckoned with.
So, aside from those eight songs, what’ve I been listening to all summer?
A lot of Chance the Rapper. Coloring Book just never got old for me. I’ve picked up biking this summer (yeah, I’m a complete idiot, I show up everywhere covered in sweat) and I love cycling off to “All We Got”. He starts by making you want to be his woman—straight up love song directly to his “baby mama”—and goes into his love of music. I’m currently toying with the idea of tattooing “Music is all we got” along the inside of my foot, so, yeah, I really love this song and this album and Chance.
I keep coming back to Florence + the Machine. Just a month ago or so I found out there was a visual album for How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. And dang, it blew me away. It’s beautifully choreographed and I love all the songs to begin with, but I think it also taps into a lot of experiences of being a woman. In the videos and in life, there are a lot of times you see/are the woman being thrashed around by every environmental factor, be it opportunities, men, social standards. The visual album captures this well and now my listening to the album is linked with the experience of watching that, which isn’t always a fun thing to be reminded of, but I’d argue important. Florence gives me drive to thrash back.
And every now and then, I’ve thrown on some Amy Winehouse. There are a lot of times I’ll throw her on when I’m in a crappy mood to get that sultry sound I’m feeling (I think synesthesia applies to me when it comes to music). And then the jazz gets me singing, feeling light and more positive. And then I just can’t stop playing her music. If you ask me, that’s kinda music at its peak.
The Beatles. Yeah, I’m a lame, basic, fuck. But they’re goooood. And they’re timeless. I really got into listening to them semi-regularly when I was driving with my dad. His iPod has a limited selection and it’s even more limited by my taste. But we’ve done a bit of driving this summer and each time it’s been to Carole King and the Beatles. The theme song of Gilmore Girls was definitely my gateway into Carole King and I’ve got to say, Tapestry really is a timeless masterpiece. A few of my old man friends—yes, I have multiple—have sung praises about that album and they all still hold up. Now, I don’t really think I can sit here and write a review of the entire Beatles catalog. But you can never go wrong with throw on some Beatles. Some songs take me back to watching the cartoon Yellow Submarine movie with my hippie parents. Some remind me of high school, other of living in a college dorm. And some are still working their way into my life.
It turns out my summer wasn’t full of picnics or porch beers (though there have been some and for those I’m so grateful). But it was still a really solid summer. I stepped way outside my comfort zone by taking on public speaking through my brewery job which has me giving tours to 70+ people, I’m learning some really cool things about beer, I’ve done a bit of writing (not enough, this thesis is going to crush, sorry if you never hear from me again), and I got a lot of quality time with the boy. It kills me how much I’ve neglected the blog and even just music in general. That said, I’m not upset that this is about all I’ve listened to this summer. You gotta have your go-to’s, what you’re comfortable and happy with. According to this summer, these are mine. After such a solid summer, I’m anxious about returning to school, a new roommate, pretty much any change at all. I want things to stay the same. That’s not how growing up goes, though, and so I’m glad to have these stand-by’s to support me as I take on this final semester.