Seven Great Songs: July 2018

Foreword: July was a good month! I heard some nice songs. Here are my favorites:

Kendl Winter – “Rise and Fall”

I just like the sounds of Kendl Winter’s voice on this song. And the anaphoric “All of it is…” lines are a satisfying in an inexplicable way.

Lucinda Williams – “2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten”

Oh, man. This Lucinda Williams album is goddamn stellar. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, motherfuckers. The musicality is on point and I like Lucinda’s voice. I’ll note that I suspect the country music tropes are enjoyable purely because I listen to so little country music. Some of the concepts the lyrics hit on seem kinda typical. That said, who cares? I love this album. There are only a few misses on it, and there are so many hits! “2 Kool” I think is my favorite song (those “hey-hey”s are so fucking fun to sing along to), but I also love the title track and a few others. Lucinda was killin’ it back in ’98. This was my first album of hers, and I’m thinking I need to go back through her other releases to see what else I can find!

B.P. Valenzuela – “Early/late”

I slapped a couple of B.P.’s tracks on my playlist this month and a couple bubbled up big time. “Early/late” is a stellar slow burn. I really like the groaning, wooden sound that serves as the backbone to the song. And lord knows I’m a sucker for phone call snippets as lyrics.

Tomberlin – “I’m Not Scared”

Ah, whispery piano songs! Them shits rule. Tomberlin’s song here is a nice/chilling meditation on womanhood. I love the refrain where she sings, “to be a woman is to be in pain, and my body reminds me almost every day.” Yowza!

Mathew Lee Cothran – “Naomi Y”

Mat (of Elvis Depressedly/Coma Cinema fame) has never let me down. This dude knows how to fuckin’ write music. I really love the calliope-esque trill that underlines this song along with the dark, heavy piano chords. I recall long ago reading that Mat writes music first and then tacks on whatever lyrics sound good with it. I used to be kind of dubious of this claim–some of his old lyrics are super incisive and devastating–but as he’s continued releasing music this assertion as been borne out. “Naomi Y” is a great example of a song where the vocals are just another instrument and the lyrics (which I don’t understand any of with all the distortion) are immaterial.

thanks for coming – “Loser”

Not to sound too typical, but sometimes the aesthetic is there for a reason. I discovered thanks for coming by seeing their name on the Spotify “similar artists” section, and I thought, “hmm, a band name that’s half a sentence and all lower case? I’d better check this out just to be sure!” and lo and behold I’ve liked a solid few of their tracks. “Loser” and “Yr Kind of Cool” (god I’m predictable) are standouts so far. It’s just some nice guitar-driven indie music done right.

Chance the Rapper – “I Might Need Security”

Oh shit boys, Chance is back. This is a classic Chance-type song, super reminiscent of 2016’s sublime Coloring Book . This is one of a few songs Chance just dropped, and it both has the best sample and my favorite verses. I think Chance is heating up another album hype cycle here, and I’ve got high hopes that this one’ll be just as good as his last output.

Afterword: July was a hot month. It also went by suuuuuper fast. 2018’s more than half over now. What a terrifying thought. Ah. Anyway. Onward and upward. I hope.