Six Great Songs: Feb 2018

Foreword: As promised, another entry in my “great songs” catalog. Here are 6 of my favorite songs from February, 2018~

awakebutstillinbed – “life”

It was tough to narrow down to just one song from awakebutstillinbed’s album. The whole album is consistently great. Probably because the band’s style is what draws me in the most: the vocals click hard with me. The instrumentation is fine though not, to me, remarkable. But those soft vocals mixed with pitched screamsong are just grand. “life” is so, so good; “opener” and “closer” also grab me by the earballs. And I gotta mention the lyric/album title: “what people call low self-esteem is really just seeing yourself the way other people see you.” Yes.

Haley Henderickx – “Oom Sha La La”

I really like the casual lyricality of this song. H Henderickx has a languorous way of singing that masks how meaningful every line is. And I say this despite the fact that I’m not much into modern takes on wordless harmonizing. (Although I lovelovelove the ’60s pop-bops these kind of “oom sha la la” vocalizations are known for, I’d prefer writers as good as Haley would sing words!!) Lastly I’ll mention the crescendo Henderickx climbs to with “I need to start a garden!”–it’s just wondrous to listen to.

IDK – “No Shoes On the Rug, Leave Them At the Door”

One of my favorite subsets of rap songs are odes to mom. Some of the greats-by-the-greats are mom-odes: 2Pac’s “Dear Mama”, Kanye’s “Hey Mama”, Drake’s “You & The 6”, and more I’m forgetting all  are among my favorite from their oeuvres. “No Shoes” is right up there for me. The juxtaposition of the laid-back instrumental and the angry-outcast tale makes the framing narrative of calling mom from jail all the more impactful. And the way the song ends, just cuts off–oof, it gives me goosebumps!

Sorority Noise – “Chelsea Hotel No. 2”

OK, c’mon Sorority Noise. You can’t just cover one of my favorite songs and expect me not to fall for it! It’s a pretty faithful cover, and the piano backing works better given the lack of L Cohen’s baritone. I saw online that the band is going on hiatus; I’m sad to see this given that I’ve loved Sorority Noise probably the most of all the “emo revival” bands that have cropped up in the past 5-ish years.

Cool American – “Focus”

I think Cool American has come up on some of the blogs I frequent in the past few years, but this was the first album (EP?) that clicked with me. I hear a lot of Elliott Smith in the vocals and lyrics and that’s probably the most shining compliment I can give any band. I also really enjoyed “17” and “Happy You Said It”–both great songs.

JPEGMAFIA – “I Might Vote 4 Donald Trump” feat. Freaky

OK, so this is like the funniest song to come out of American politics in 2016. I just watched the video for the first time and it only enhances everything amazing about the song: JPEGMAFIA and Freaky and co. driving around a suburb interspersed with shots of white people’s reactions couldn’t better capture the absurdist irony that makes this song hilarious. It’s also a great song: sick bars and a nasty instrumental–this song would’ve been a winner even without that extra shiny layer of humor.

I came to JPEGMAFIA at the release of his recent album, Veteran. It’s really good–really, really good–and if I hadn’t cleaved to this song so hard I’d’ve made this entry about the track “Rainbow Six” that, musically-speaking, I like even better. I’m bumping Veteran a lot, and I’m keeping an eye on Peggy with excitement for what he does next.

Afterword: I didn’t listen to as much music as I had hoped to in February. (And I didn’t get to writing this post till nearly mid-March. Bleh.) My goal is to pick things up in the coming weeks. This entry I was kind of scrambling for what songs to fill it with–I’d prefer to hear so much good music that I’m trimming long “great songs” posts down!