I’ll be honest: it’s taken me a long time to think about what I wanted to write about while introducing my most recent seasonal playlist. It’s not for lack of inspiration, as I could write a lot about each of the songs on this Spring 2018 playlist given the time, but mainly more because I often find myself writing in “waves.” Sometimes I’m inspired to write many times in a short period, only to suddenly go weeks without having the urge, or the need to write. I finished compiling this playlist weeks ago, and at this point, it feels more like a mandatory job to publish this post before I go working on other things.
I tell people that my “dream job” is to write about music for a living full time, but I don’t know whether or not I would still enjoying writing as much if I was forced to do it professionally, with deadlines (probably an issue for me), and word counts (less of an issue), and mandatory topics if I was given that opportunity. Truth of the matter is, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that – barring an unexpected connection with someone with real power in the music criticism or news sphere (if you’re reading this, hit me up!) – this blog is probably as far as I’ll ever go with my writing. I’ve been writing on this blog for a little more than a year, and I feel like it’s finally given me the opportunity to write about what I want, when I want to. That, at the end of the day, is a nice luxury to have.
Anyways, as a reminder for those who are new to these playlist write-ups, I only have two rules when compiling a seasonal playlist like this:
- In keeping consistent with the fact that I could only fit around 80 minutes onto a CD-R back in the day, the total length of any individual playlist can’t greatly exceed that same mark. I try to keep each playlist to about 20-23 tracks, or about 80-84 minutes long.
- No distinct artist can appear more than once on any individual playlist. This helps diversify what can appear on a playlist, and provide a different palette of musical sounds and memories for future listening.
This playlist covers the period of time from January through April 2018. While reading this, I invite you to think about the songs that you’ve listened to as a long Winter melted into Spring, and the memories that they conjure up.
After Laughter (2017)
Make that three out of the last four seasonal playlists with a song from Paramore’s After Laughter on it. Last year, it was my 4th highest played album despite the fact that it came out in mid May, and this year, I find myself going back to it pretty frequently already. Like most of the other songs on the album, and like its title would suggest, “Pool” has a distinctly tropical vibe to it, thanks mainly to its prevalent steel drums and chimes. It’s breezy feeling is countered by deceptively dark lyrical themes revolving around going back to an ex after breaking the relationship off. Lead singer Hayley Williams describes this feeling as “diving headfirst into shallow pools,” and saying that “if I survive, I’ll dive back in” – all told, a clever, catchy way to describe how trying to re-kindle an already dead relationship is a dangerous concept.
The Way The Wind Whips
Blac Rabbit – EP (2017)
You know that feeling when you listen to a song for the first time, and it just hits every single button that you’ve ever had? For me, Blac Rabbit’s “The Way the Wind Whips” is the first song in a long time that’s hit me dead on, and, at least at this moment in time, I’d argue it’s one of the most perfect songs I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The song has a seamless blend of hazy, dreamy, lo-fi psychedelica that swirls around you, and everything hits right on point – from the distinct, simple bass-line that weaves through the whole track, to the very tasteful melodic guitar solo, the harmonizing vocals, to the airy drums. The fact that it’s lower quality and not as crisp only enhances the dreamy vibes that this song oozes. Those who are fans of Tame Impala and The Beatles psychedelic era (you may have seen this video of twin lead singers Amiri and Raheim Taylor busking/singing Beatles tunes on the NYC subway) will surely enjoy this and the rest of their debut EP.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Stadium Arcadium (2006)
I don’t remember too many big album releases during my early high school years, since I was more wrapped up in my own musical obsessions (see: Green Day), but I sure as hell remember when the Chili Peppers released Stadium Arcadium. Both “Dani California” and “Snow (Hey Oh)” were huge alternative radio hits during 2006 and going into 2007, but unfortunately, that’s really as far as I got with the Chili Peppers at that time. Later on, I would dig into the rest of their discography, but it wasn’t really until this Spring when I finally took the time go back and dig into this double album of great hits and hidden jewels. When I paid attention and listened to “Wet Sand,” a song buried as the second to last track of the first disc of the set, I felt like an idiot, because I had passed over arguably the best damn song on the whole collection, maybe even (hot take incoming) one of the best songs of their entire career. John Frusciante took it into his own hands to really let loose, playing like a guitar god during the climax alongside a banging piano line. Shame on me for not knowing about this one sooner.
Father John Misty
God’s Favorite Customer
Pure Comedy was a disaster. As an album, its 74 minute running time was an indulgent, heavy slog. But, more importantly it revealed that Father John Misty – not too long ago a drug taking, hopeless romantic – had changed into a self-obsessed, highly opinionated and even borderline controversial figure. Even that album’s roll out, with its 1800 word accompanying essay that says the album was “the story of a species formed with a half formed brain,” stunk of pretentious and ego for someone who had, up until recently, just been a strange, weirdo born in the wrong era. Regardless of its creator seeming to be halfway up his own butt (to put it mildly), Pure Comedy was highly acclaimed for bitterly and ruthlessly saying the things that no one else wanted to say. But, the Father John Misty who I had come to love, admire, and even respect, had disappeared. Maybe Father John (real name Josh Tillman) finally got the idea that he was getting a little too serious, because just over a year later, he’s appearing to be reverting back to his old ways, weaving realistic stories with folky, dreamy, and hypnotic soundscapes on the new songs from his new album, God’s Favorite Customer. The long winded title of one of the first songs from the album, “Disappointing Diamonds are the Rarest of Them All” is anything but representative of its sound. A slinky, ELO inspired song that truly bangs, with a falsetto chorus to die for, “Diamonds” finds Tillman with his trademark lyrical wittiness in tow, asking the listener if the so called “perfect” relationship is really the one that we should all be striving for. The fact that it’s over and done with in about 2 and a half minutes make it all the better and refreshing in comparison to many of the overdone songs on Pure Comedy. It truly bounces, not unlike many of the songs from his wonderful debut album, Fear Fun, and I can only hope that the rest of his new album is as simply flat out fun as this track is.
Thanks for reading! Check out my full Spring 2018 playlist on Spotify below.
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