I’m back with the songs I’ve found infectious recently. This has been a long time coming, so I’ll level with you guys: it took a while to find five songs. I’m still listening to way too much Raleigh Ritchie and Modern Baseball. So if anything, these are especially good since they’ve managed to beat out my addictions!
Not Going Back – Childish Gambino
“Couldn’t see me as Spiderman but now I’m spitting venom”
I discovered a Childish Gambino song I had never listened to before – it’s like a mini christmas!
Lyrically this is typical Gambino fair, concerned with silencing the critics and his reputation as a “white” rapper. But this bonus track perhaps deals more specifically with Donald Glovers own star persona than perhaps the rest of his work. More importantly, it’s as wry and funny as you expect a Gambino track to be. A few lines concerning the campaign to get him to play Spiderman (quoted above) are just brilliant. An anecdote concerning Rashida Jones turns ends in a brilliant, meta-textual punchline.
I wish I’d heard this sooner.
First Reactions After Falling Through The Ice – La Dispute
“I will cut my hair short [trust me I will], I will let my beard go [trust me I will], I will never tempt fate [not once I swear], I will never trust ice. I will never trust a thing”
Some post-hardcore, emo-y goodness from the Michigan band off their latest concept album, Rooms of the House. This track is about the immediate reaction to an event, a collapse as it were. But the narrator cares just as much about the reactions of his partner as he does about his own. Thus the track seems to articulate the question: how would someone react if I just died right now?
But as you would expect from La Dispute, it’s told through metaphor and a descriptive use of language that paints a picture rather than just telling the story. I love how it uses the image of the ice. There’s the inherent suggestion that, as much as the protagonist wants his ex to know how bad she hurt him, that the pair of them tempted fate when they both chose a path that let them out onto the frozen lake.
No Good – Knuckle Puck
“Where’s your respect? And didn’t your father teach you anything before he left?”
As opening lines to songs go, can you think of anything quite as savage as that? This song is a massive fuck you to someone who dumped you, and left you behind, and generally treated you like shit. But this song reminds me of why pop-punk is so successful – it uses a specific situation to tell a relatable story or emotion. Have a listen to this and really focus on the lyrics. Are they not way too detailed to not be about an actual break up? Yet at the same time, I really relate to this song. I may not be in this situation, but I think everyone will have a person in their life that this reminds them of. This song is all the things I conceptualised but didn’t say when someone, with their own daddy issues, walked out of my life.
Personal catharsis aside, this isn’t why I’ve chosen Knuckle Puck this week. I think there’s a general malaise around pop-punk after Blink’s album turned out to just be okay. People thought the scene was dying. But then on reddit I saw a comment that referred to Knuckle Puck in relation to my longstanding favourites, The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball, as the three bands still pushing the genre to grow. This is entirely true! So if you’re reading this slightly disappointed in California, I urge you to give this song/band a listen.
Ladies Hit Squad – Skepta
“Over the bath I wanna bend her, give her the Cockney like an Eastender”
Now for a brief respite from whiny pop-punk, let’s turn to some grime. This song is just ridiculously catchy. There’s no depth, or exploration of deeper things. This is a track entirely about sex.
The song opens with A$AP Nast’s, very Hotline Bling-esque hook. Whilst this is just as catchy as Drake’s track, it lacks any of the moaning or ennui – it’s just entirely about fronting and cruising clubs for sex. Then Skepta himself comes in. Just as you’d want from any type of rap, but especially grime, his verses are funny. The ability to play with language in such a way to make puns sexy should be in no way underestimated!
Grime is gonna be the next massive music trend, just you watch.
Coals – Modern Baseball
“I’m alright, and I’m always getting better”
I warned you I’m addicted to this band right now. Honestly I contemplated waiting for another song to round out the usual five, but I would have just been lying to myself. Is there a rehab for pop-punk? My names Dan, and I’m addicted to whiney American bands.
There’s nothing I really want to say about this song. I just want everyone to listen to it and focus on the line I highlighted above. It’s been a pretty hectic week here in the UK, and I think it’s very easy to lose sight of the end goal when things get all on top of you. So this song has made it onto a playlist as it’s a 2:12 long reminder to just chill out, take a breath and remember that things are okay.
If you’re reading this just know that: whatever problems your facing you’ll be alright, and even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, every day is better and easier than the last.