Foreword: March was a busy month. This is the music I enjoyed between moments of busyness.
Ariana Grande – “imagine”
I’ve never completely clicked with Ariana’s music, despite multiple serious efforts to engage with it. After hearing praise implying thank u, next was her best album yet, I gave the record a solid chance. Really only this track and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” got anywhere with me. “imagine” is a nice ballad with a pretty sweet little crescendo effect, and definitely my favorite on the album. That said, the amount of praise and attention Ariana’s music gets still seems out of sync with what I’m hearing when I listen to her, including on “imagine.”
The Finches – “Daniel’s Song”
“Daniel’s Song” is a solid little acoustic song that I got a lot of mileage out of in March. I like the narrative centering around a pair of siblings who’ve grown up under tough parents finally reaching an age where they can look out for each other a little more.
Stella Donnelly – “Beware of the Dogs”
After getting real fired up by S. Donnelly’s music earlier this year, I was anticipating this album in a big way, and I’m happy to report that it delivered. Beware of the Dogs has a number of great songs, including the title track. “Beware of the Dogs” has a great, parceled-out feeling where the guitar comes in sparse strums with lots of empty space. And my god I can’t emphasize enough how much I love the way she spits out the line “all these pious fucks, taking from the 99.”
Rosie Tucker – “Pablo Neruda”
Rosie Tucker’s album was another example where I only first heard her music earlier this year and immediately discovered another release was coming. Never Not Never Not Never also satisfied my hopes, especially “Pablo Neruda” and “Shadow of a Doubt.” Again, the hook for me on this song was an exquisitely-delivered line: “I met a stranger whose middle name was Zeus and their dog, Pablo Neruda. They were both pretty damn cute!”
Nilüfer Yanya – “Heavyweight Champion Of The Year”
Holy shit does this song rule! There’s something completely captivating about the way the discordant guitar strumming plays with Yanya’s breathy vocals. It’s mesmerizing, I can’t stop listening. The buildup and climax of the song is just stellar. The way the bass trickles in and rises to clash with guitars and drums and those wild vocals at the peak–it’s like a wave rising and crashing into a beach.
CHAI – “This is Chai”
This is CHAI! I love how high-energy this song is and how eclectic some of the sounds backing this track are. It makes the whole song feel like there’s this crazy, frenetic pace. It’s so fun to listen to! The album as a whole is pretty enjoyable and fills the same niche that “This is Chai” does in a great way.
Squirrel Flower – “Not Your Prey”
This song sounds like it was written and performed by someone utterly obsessed with Mitski. This is not a bad thing–I eagerly await the generation of musicians inspired by Mitski to come into their own.
Flume – “How to Build a Relationship” feat. JPEGMAFIA
JPEGMAFIA! I missed this guy. I haven’t loved many of the recent songs he’s trickled out since the incredible Veteran, but this shit right here is the reason I fell in love with the dude’s music. This song has this erratic, unpredictable instrumental that JPEGMAFIA is perfectly suited to. I love the part halfway through the song where the beeping quickens and Peggy raps right in time with it. Here’s how you can tell this song had a huge impact on me: this Flume album has two SOPHIE tracks on it and I still chose this song for my monthly list. This shit rules.
Doja Cat – “Tia Tamera” feat. Rico Nasty
Man, that music video is incredibly incongruous with the song it’s giving visuals to! But what a song “Tia Tamera” is. Every time I hear those ominous opening beats I’m all fired up. Both verses are good but Rico Nasty steals the fucking show on her verse. “I got a lot of money, but a lot ain’t enough!”
Joyce Manor – “See How Tame I Can Be”
Those bright, unclean guitars sound great next to the sung/shouted vocals of this song. It’s only 90 seconds long–a perfect example of a song that ends before I want it to, forcing me to immediately queue it up again.
Stef Chura – “Method Man”
“He is. A method man.” What an opening. I love how that line becomes like the heartbeat of the song, reiterated throughout the track with those two, emphatic downbeats. Also, for some reason that line “get the fuck in the car!” sticks out in the best way possible.
Afterword: March was a good month for music. My aforementioned busyness meant I didn’t really get to digest all the music I wanted to–there are a few albums, such as the Nilüfer Yanya release, that I’m still trying to parse and finding really thrilling so far. If April is half the month that March was in terms of releases it’ll be a good one.