For me, 2021 has been about finding music new and old that is good quality and worth listening to. This is evidenced quite clearly by this list being composed of music with release dates that span from 1998 to 2020. Let’s not waste any time and get straight into my February Favorites.
“Let’s Get Out” by Life Without Buildings
Up first, we have “Let’s Get Out,” by Life Without Buildings, an arbitrary but joyous song comprised of slightly nonsensical lyrics. Despite this, it is so addicting to listen to, as the words and phrases seem to have no real meaning behind them, causing them all to flow into each other beautifully. The lead singer of the band, Sue Tompkins, talk-sings amongst an addicting guitar melody engineered by Robert Johnston, upbeat percussion headed by Will Bradley, and a groovy bass-line by Chris Evans (not to be confused with the famous Marvel actor Chris Evans). This song feels like sunny days in January, and I can’t help but smile as I sing along.
“When It Hurts so Bad” by Ms. Lauryn Hill
This year, I finally listened to the critically acclaimed album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which as a whole has been a favorite of mine thus far in 2021. In the hook of this song, Lauryn Hill laments the question “When it hurts so bad, when it hurts so bad / Why’s it feel so good?” Hill displays her stunning vocals throughout this song, especially in the chorus. The outro of the song, like a few others on the album, includes a skit of a teacher asking a classroom full of students what love is. Following that story throughout the album is very fun, and makes it all-the-more cohesive. This track is the ultimate song to sing along to in the shower.
“Tarantula” by Wavves
Despite what the title might make you think, this song is not about arachnids, but rather the perfect angry-for-no-good-reason tune. It simultaneously is an upbeat dance tune, while also having fairly nihilistic lyrics, which is my personal favorite type of song. The chorus loudly asserts “Every morning / Toxic waste / Everything sucks / If you don’t get your way.” Wavves makes great indie-rock tunes and this song is a prime exemplar of that fact.
“Simple Math” by Kid Sistr
Kid Sistr started releasing music last year, and it would be no understatement for me to say that I’m obsessed. “Simple Math,” is a beautiful indie-rock ballad about the hard cycle of getting over a relationship. The chorus, which I love to poorly sing along to, goes “I keep falling back on simple math / It’s all I have / Trying to subtract you / Coming back to simple math.” The intricate lyrics, clean vocals, and slow and somewhat haunting instrumentation comes to a head at the end of the song, where the lead singer belts out the last couple of lines. Kid Sistr is an excellent band, and I especially keep coming back to this song.
“The Breeze” by Dr. Dog
“The Breeze” is a folkier song from Dr. Dog, a band that tends to lean more toward the genre of rock. This track feels like a winter in the Midwest in a comforting way that I can’t put my finger on quite completely. The folky nature of the song feels like a mixture of Fleet Foxes and “Norwegian Wood” by the Beatles. I can’t speak high enough praises of this song and the pure nostalgia it brings to me, despite only listening to it for the first time a few weeks ago. The lyrics are poetic in nature, my favorite section being the first chorus, which goes “Do you feel like you’re stuck in time? / Forever waiting on that line / If nothing ever moves / Put that needle to the groove / And sing.”
You can check out a playlist of my favorites, if you so desire.
Until next time,