Music News and Interviews

“Art of War” Song Review: Everyone Goes In

I’ll be the first to admit it; I am not a big Jasiah listener. That being said, I love Denzel Curry and can get behind a lot of Rico Nasty’s discography, so when “Art of War” dropped on June 4th, I was intrigued. After listening many times and looking more into Jasiah’s other popular songs, I’ve formed my complete take on this track.

Simply put, everyone on this track goes in. “Art of War” is truly hard and the ZillaKami influence is clearly present. As a whole, the song brings a high power alarm-based beat with supporting instrumentals, many lyrics that pack a punch (or something a bit more serious), and the expected yelling from Jasiah.

Curry’s verse is perhaps my favorite on the track. From religious mythology to Dragon Ball, his references are bountiful. His signature fast-paced flow is clean and smooth and he was certainly the right choice for Verse One. 

Rico Nasty plays a downright hater on her verse and she fully executes the role. She brings high energy, high vocals, and pure talent that really round out the song.

Jasiah is responsible for the intro with Curry, the pre-chorus, and the chorus. All three are enjoyable, though I do wish he’d had an additional verse to tack on after Curry and Rico’s verses. What is present on the song, however, is seamless and fun. 

“Art of War” is a driving song, party track or generally hype play. Jasiah, Curry and Rico are a trio that fit well together and I look forward to the potential of hearing more from them. I’ll have to listen to more solo Jasiah, too.

Here’s to music covers featuring dogs,

Silya Bennai


My Favorite Not-Just-Sad Elliott Smith Lyrics

I self-admittedly fell for Elliott Smith idolization when I was twelve years old. I remember hearing “Between the Bars” for the first time and thinking I understood true pain as I sat atop my IKEA loft bed after a long day of the seventh grade. I probably did know true pain then, as anyone who’s been alive for any length of time does, but the more I listen to Elliott (I can’t help but use his first name as if I knew him) and the older I grow, the more I understand that pain is not a lonely feeling. It is built upon loss or paired with hope or overwhelmed by joy.

Elliott Smith is a name most indie music listeners of any age would recognize, but I’ve found that he is all too often polarized within the sad song realm. Elliott Smith certainly knew how to write a melancholic and agonizingly sorrowful track, but he also knew how to do it with nuance. His lyricism and unmatched natural voice express the very duality I’m describing. His songs are never just sad; they exist as multiplicities.

Listed below are some of my favorite Elliott Smith lyrics that express some version of combined emotion:

Note: All interpretations are my own.

“And it’s okay, I knew exactly what you meant/ When you said you were an accident” – “Drive All Over Town”

Compassion vs. Distraction: Individual trauma combined with mutual understanding creates a space for growth or destruction. It’s hard, but important, to pursue the former.

“And for all you know, you’re the only one who finds it strange” – “Satellite”

A Certain Loneliness: Individuality can be scary and forlorn at times, but it’s imperative to remember the freedom it brings.

“I can sit wondering what in world you think about/ I don’t think I’m ever gonna figure it out” – “I Don’t Think I’m Ever Gonna Figure It Out”

The Hard Truth: We all have that one person we could sit around for hours impossibly attempting to grasp at their inner thoughts, but recognizing that we’ll never know is both a loss and a relief.

“We broke up a month ago/ And I grew up, I didn’t know/ I’d be around the morning after” – “Say Yes”

Pain Comes and Goes: Heartbreak is like nothing else. Actually, sometimes it feels like someone died. Those first few days, weeks, or months are the absolute worst, but it’s worth knowing, you’ll make it to the next morning.

“I’ll tell you why I don’t want to know where you are/ I got a joke I’ve been dying to tell you” – “Pitseleh”

Wanting What You Know You Shouldn’t: Sometimes we want and put much of our thought into things we can’t and shouldn’t have. Knowing your boundaries, as much as they may contradict your desires, is difficult but perhaps worth it.

“A lot of hours to occupy, it was easy when I didn’t know you yet/ Things I’d have to forget/ But I better be quiet now/ I’m tired of wasting my breath/ Carrying on and getting upset” – “Better Be Quiet Now”

A Box In the Attic Labeled “Forget Me”: Change is incredibly hard. Going from one reality to another, especially when it happens quickly, can be all-consuming. At some point, however, putting that person or thing behind you is easier than wasting your energy on old memories or an empty space.

“Haven’t laughed this hard in a long time/ I better stop now before I start crying” – “Twilight”

Comfort In Being Sad: There is both fear and hope in moving from sadness to joy. The change is usually worth it.

“Waiting to start/ Waiting to light/ Waiting until dark” – “New Disaster”

Elliott, even in his saddest and most regretful songs, knew to wait it out. Whether it be good or bad, he knew exactly how to express that there’s always something coming next.

My interpretations don’t just reflect Elliott’s lyrical combination of emotions, but my own combination of clichés and personal experiences. I wish he could explain these songs to me, but I can’t know what I can’t be told, so perhaps these explanations will do for now. I have a feeling they will change as I do.

Here’s to changes,

Silya Bennai


She’s A “Hole” Girl On Her Own: Birthday Party Picks

Courtney Love. Eric Erlandson. Patty Schemel. Kristen Pfaff and Melissa Auf der Maur. One of the most iconic rock bands of all time, and arguably the most iconic with a female front (Sorry, Bikini Kill), Hole is a pure glimpse into the grunge music scene of the nineties. With three studio albums released between 1991 and 1998, Love and her bandmates produced timeless hits such as “Teenage Whore,” “Violet” and “Dying”. 

While their album “Pretty On The Inside” is scratchy and angry and “Celebrity Skin” is clever and powerful, Hole’s 1994 album “Live Through This” is my absolute favorite. It’s a no-skip thirty-eight minute listen that will make you scream, cry, laugh, and drive a little too fast. 

I’m turning nineteen this month and I’ve decided to throw a (vaccinated) girls-only, Hole-themed birthday party. Listed below are my top four favorite tracks from “Live Through This” that I plan to play at my party:

“Doll Parts”

Toxic desire and reclamation are at the heart of this song. Essentially, you can’t own anyone and they can’t own you. 

Favorite Lyric: “I love him so much, it just turns to hate”

“Credit In The Straight World”

A cover of Young Marble Giants’ song by the same name, Love serves up a far harsher and faster version which I easily prefer. Money or drug-driven, either way it all ends the same. 

Favorite Lyric: “Leave your money when you die”

“She Walks On Me”

This song reeks of girl and it’s perfect. It touches on forced female self-image, suicide and comparison in about three minutes and thirty seconds. 

Favorite Lyric: “We look the same, we talk the same”


Digging at a false revolution that promised female empowerment but never materialized and left many women in the punk scene isolated, Love screams at those gutless leaders.

Favorite Lyric: “I don’t really miss God/ But I sure miss Santa Claus”

Here’s to Hole-themed gatherings, nineties slip dresses, and some of music history’s coolest band branding,

Silya Bennai


ARTHUR Songs That Just Feel Special

I don’t often dwell on blood-drinking. That being said, for about two weeks after hearing my first ARTHUR song, I was thinking, muttering and (poorly) singing: “She drinks my blood and I drink water.” These lyrics, the opening line of “AB”, only hint at the twisted, honest and experimental takes ARTHUR creates within his discography.

ARTHUR, also known as Arthur, Arthur Shea, William Conall Shea or just Con, is not only a man of many names, but a man of many talents. You may know him as a founding member of the Philadelphian indie band, Joy Again, or perhaps from the opening sets he played for (Sandy) Alex G during a recent tour. I don’t claim to know the creative genius behind ARTHUR, but I have spent a decent chunk of the last few years picking through all of his music, and I’d like to think I’m a fairly well-versed ARTHUR consumer.

Listed in order of release date, I present to you a short playlist of my top ten favorite ARTHUR tracks.

Note: For the purpose of this playlist, I only selected songs that were released after ARTHUR’s professional name change from Arthur Shea.

“Scared” – Challenger (2017)

Raised to a high and haunting pitch, ARTHUR grapples with the stranger at the other end of the ringing phone on this track. This alien outsider, one that is perhaps not so unfamiliar to ARTHUR or us, is the ever-present voice that calls for scary things to happen.

“AB” – Challenger (2017)

Back to the blood song. I would fervently argue that this song transcends normal critique and conversation. It will get stuck in your head and make you question every single relationship you’ve had. Frankly put, love can be draining.

“Julie Returns” – Julie Returns (2018)

This song is video game limbo. “Julie Returns” feels like hitting all the buttons on your game controller in a desperate attempt to get out of the room with no door while uncanny and robotic instrumentals urge you into nothingness. “Julie Returns” is an apology or a love letter or an existential contemplation.

“Julie vs. Robot Julie” – Woof Woof (2018)

“I’m so lonely/No-one knows me/The only thing that might help now/Is if I kill myself/But I don’t wanna do that/Cause someone might get mad/I’m so lonely”. These lyrics are a prime example of that ARTHUR-istic honesty I previously mentioned. With the above opening verse preceded by only seconds of a repetitive high-hat, this track quickly launches into its hazy exploration and questions of the duality of selfhood.

“I’m Too Good” – Woof Woof (2018)

The rising instrumentals at the beginning of this song slowly ease into some of ARTHUR’s most raw and eccentric lyrics and vocal inflections. What is one of my most revisited tracks off of “Woof Woof”, “I’m Too Good” is a practice in free association. ARTHUR’s interweaving of egotism with self-deception is novel and captivating. You’ll have a hard time setting this song down for any extended period of time.

“Wow F**K” – Woof Woof (2018)

ARTHUR’s most deceivingly upbeat song, this track is a minute and a half of pure head-bobbing, body-jumping music. While the instrumentals and delivery signal a song of youthful joy, the lyrics describe the uncertainty of recovery, growth and guilt. Just as the title reflects, ARTHUR is the master of juxtaposition on “Wow F**K”.

“I’ve Seen It” – Woof Woof (2018)

Arguably the most sentimental ARTHUR song, the last track on “Woof Woof ” is a soft whisper: self-aware, true, and hopeful. Guided by understated instrumentals, ARTHUR’s knowing and kind voice is on full-display in “I’ve Seen It” and it’s simply beautiful. This song is the gentle smile on the face of a healing person and you will likely find yourself listening to it when you’re in need of a safe place to rest.

“No Tengo” – Hair of the Dog (2020)

This track opens with a short sample from Righeira’s 1983 “No Tengo Dinero” and quickly launches into a fascinating and methodical instrumental composition. ARTHUR, making use of a more mortal voice than usual on this track (though the delivery is certainly still unearthly), sings to “she”. Shy expressions of love and recognition combined with loose promises to be better make for a classic ARTHUR track that’s just as unique and intriguing as the others.

“Fix” – Hair of the Dog (2020)

While a handful of his other tracks touch on it, no other ARTHUR song presents ideations of addiction as explicitly and fully as “Fix”. Pointedly titled, ARTHUR plays both sides of the story on this song. At the beginning, we get a glimpse at one person’s desire for this fix to be stopped, and with a seamless transition after the first few lines, we learn about the other individual’s inability to do so. The song is full, emotional and difficult. It urges self-reflection without ever asking for it.

“Something Sweet” (ft. Caleb Giles) – Hair of the Dog (2020)

The only ARTHUR track with a credited vocal feature, Caleb Giles and ARTHUR come together in an unexpectedly fitting way to create this speculative and eerie song. What I once believed were two dichotomous artists, ARTHUR’s experimental and genre-bending style blends seamlessly with Caleb Giles’ dexterous alternative hip-hop approach. Both bring intriguing and strange lyrical content to the track and you’d be hard pressed to find another song like it.

Click here to listen to the playlist on my Spotify.

Ultimately, ARTHUR is just one of those artists you have to hear for yourself. Enjoy your first listen of each song; I promise it’ll be special. Then enjoy all those repeats.

Here’s to ARTHUR’s unexplained love of dogs,

Silya Bennai