Weekly Playlist

REVA: Nana Grizol – ‘Cynicism’ – Ruth (2010) Ruth

A song about regaining perspective, ‘Cynicism’ finds complacent delight in reflecting on a chronology of vivid, poignant details—a gorgeous sunset, the loss of a lover, a rain shower, and a sincere farewell from a reunited friend. There’s an honesty and comfort found in Theo Hilton’s nasal twang. As the recounting catches our attention with, “Cynicism isn’t wisdom / It’s a lazy way to say that you’ve been burned,” it converges to its final outlook, “It seems, if anything, you’d be less certain after everything you ever learned.” Following this conclusion, a blaring instrumental erects itself as a triumph over regret, detachment, and of course, cynicism.

REVA: Sleater-Kinney – ‘Modern Girl’ – The Woods (2005) thewoods

Nineties’ punk grrrl band, Sleater-Kinney, is hailed as a feminist beacon in a decade of male-dominated punk rock. Arguably their most popular song, ‘Modern Girl’ is also one of their milder, replacing an iconic punk sting with a satirical bite at society’s oft reductive take on women’s values and needs. This shines through in every lyric, including “My baby loves me / I’m so {happy/hungry/angry} / {Happy/Hunger/Anger} makes me a modern girl” and “My whole life is like a picture of a sunny day.” Amidst succumbing to an online argument over women’s issues and the disillusionment which followed, I was more than happy/hungry/angry to revisit this anthem.

INDIA: Arctic Monkeys – ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ – Favourite Worst Favourite-Worst-Nightmare-coverNightmare (2007)

Is a house party really a house party if Alex Turner’s bad-boy Sheffield accent isn’t blasted out in a fit of indie angst? This iconic track has become a theme song for going-out nights with my friends, and so it’s really perfect for the beginning (and probably end) of term.

NICOLA20-20-experience-cover: Justin Timberlake – ‘Let the Groove Get In’ – The 20/20 Experience (2013) 

Recently I’ve been loving ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’, so I thought I’d rediscover some older JT tracks. ‘Let the Groove Get In’ is one of my favourites from this fantastic album – it’s catchy, varied and original, demonstrating an all-round skillful musicianship. It uses a sample from the recording ‘Alhamdulillaahi’ (from the 2002 Explore Series: Africa-Burkina Faso: Rhythms of the Grasslands) as the basis for the chorus, which I think is pretty clever. Timberlake has taken what the phrase sounds like in English, and used that as the lyrics. He maintains a world-influenced style with the violin and brass riff, combined with jazz influences such as a descending aeolian scale in the middle eight. It’s on the long side for a pop song at 7 minutes 10 seconds, but worth listening until the end to hear the song finish with a chilled-out, reverb-filled harmonised vocal outro. (Fun fact: Timberlake wrote and arranged the vocal parts himself, which makes the snazzy chords even more impressive!). There is so much to listen to in all the different sections that I promise you won’t be bored.

SOPH53b1a39ec67e6IE: Moose Blood – ‘Swim Down’ – I’ll Keep You in Mind, from Time to Time (2014) 

Combining literary allusions with references to iconic alternative albums, Moose Blood are every overgrown emo’s dream. They also happen to be a ‘home-grown’ emo band, formed in Canterbury, Kent in 2012. ‘Swim Down’ is my favourite song simply for the heart-wrenching beauty of their lyricism: “Let me hold your hand / We can talk about our favourite bands / And how Nevermind still blows me away” – how is this not perfect?

SOPHIE: Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Universally Speaking’ – By the Way (2002) by the way

A feel-good, toe-tapping tune appearing after (but not overshadowed) by the heavier classic ‘By The Way.’ I have been playing this song at least 20 times a day – sorry neighbours.

MIA: Pet Shop Boys – ‘West End Girls’ (1985) Pet-Shop-Boys-West-End-Girls.jpg

Who would have guessed that this defining 80s synth-pop classic was influenced by T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land? Released and re-released on a number of albums, the haunting voice of Neil Tennant has transcended more than two decades, and this song stands as a testament to their 50 million+ records sold worldwide and title as the most successful duo in UK music history.


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