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Monday, September 28, 2020

Music Monday: Summer 2020 Playlist

It's been a while since my last playlist, but as I mentioned recently, there's been a lot of good music released lately, so I feel like this would be a good time for a comeback. Not everything on it technically came out this year since I can't listen to everything the exact moment it comes out (although I did keep it entirely to at least "modern" acts), but it is at least all stuff that I've been listening to over the spring and summer, and this is as much a time capsule for me to look back on as anything else, so it makes the cut. I've also included a few thoughts about some of the songs included below.

I already wrote a full article about SUPERBLOOM by Misterwives, so you can go check that out here.

You ever just really, really love an album, and then the next one comes out, and it’s not as good, so you’re overly harsh on it, but then you go back later and realize it’s fine, it just the one before it hits you so hard that it would be difficult for anything that came after it to make you feel the same way? Anyway, that was sort of my thought process on The Chain Gang of 1974 between 2017’s Felt and this year’s Honey Moon Drips.

You ever just really, really love an album, and then the next one comes out, and it’s good, but the artist went in a really different direction, so you appreciate it but also recognize that you’re just really not on the same wavelength with it like you were for the last one? Anyway, that probably best describes my evaluation of RAC between 2017’s EGO (which I partially covered at the time here) and 2020’s BOY

I didn't do a Best of 2019 Playlist last year (although maybe I could do a retrospective look? I kind of miss having one, and it could be fun. Watch this space), but Carly Rae Jepsen's Dedicated was one of my favorite albums of the year. I don't know if I liked it as much as Emotion, but the fact that it was in the conversation was already a high bar to clear. And much like with Emotion, CRJ released a follow-up B-Side album the year after, hence, this year's Dedicated Side B. And I think I like it better than Emotion Side B? And I kind of wonder how the full Emotion + Side B versus Dedicated + Side B comparison shakes out? 
Also, I was tempted to use “Stay Away” as one of the songs since I really appreciate the gimmick of it and “Felt This Way” using the same lyrics back-to-back on the album for entirely different songs, but ultimately decided to spread things out a little more.

Speaking of “things that would have made a hypothetical 2019 list”, I liked MUNA’s sophomore album Saves the World a ton as well, but their only release this year has been “Bodies”, a collaboration with The Knocks. I also really liked it!

I feel like at least once a year, there's a band or artist that I get to a little late, just in time for a new album, and I end up going back through their older stuff and really liking that as well. Anyway, The Midnight filled that role this summer, so enjoy two songs from July release Monsters plus their older song "Jason".

I guess that statement almost applies to Alex Lahey as well, except that her most recent album came out last year rather than this year. I decided to go with a smattering of her stuff rather than focus on her most recent album. This is because the passage of time is fake and this list is entirely arbitrary anyway, so I do what I want. This is also the approach I took with Snail’s House (although I focused on his Alien Pop EPs from last year, plus 2020’s “Twinklestar”).

Speaking of "things I missed", I had kind of forgotten about Anamanaguchi's album [USA], which they had been teasing since as far back as 2014 and which had been hit with a ton of delays as the band went on to do other stuff. But it finally did come out last fall, and I'm glad that I found out about it this summer! And then they released a few more singles actually this summer, so I added one of those as well.

I was glad to see Neon Trees come back with their first album in six years without losing a step. I don't know that I have much else to add here.

Speaking of long hiatus's, I loved Youngblood Hawke's debut album back in 2013, and even saw them live in college. It's been pretty quiet since then, with a handful of singles, but they're finally releasing their sophomore effort this fall, and a few songs have already been released! Besides "Criminals", also of note (mostly since I only learned it by looking into it this upon the song's release) is "Find a Way", which you might recognize if you listened to RAC's EGO back when I recommended it in 2017. As it turns out, RAC's collaborator on the track, ALICE MK, was the side project of Alice Katz, one of Youngblood Hawke's singers, so the band's version of the track will be on their upcoming album. Sorry if this is a kind of long and winding side story that doesn’t mean much to most of you, but it blew my mind a little when I investigated it, so I had to share.

I think I liked COIN and Mystery Skulls' previous albums to their 2020 ones, but their new efforts are still perfectly respectable. 

On that note, I preferred The Aces' debut album to 2020's Under My Influence, but it wasn't without bright spots. All in all, not too shabby for a sophomore effort.

I know very little about the Icelandic pop scene (…” he said, while including Of Monsters and Men on the same playlist), but I found out about Daði Freyr’s Eurovision entry “Think About Things” from the wonderful music video that took off online. The follow up “Where We Wanna Be” was similarly great, even if it could only get a shot-from-home video. 

Scavenger Hunt really got “Next to You” in under the wire (it came out on Friday), but I love most if not all of their output and really vibed with it, so it was an easy last minute addition. It’ll be a good marker for “the end of summer” in my mind.

I've included a few of the bigger pop hits that I listen to the most. On that note, I'm still shocked that "Break My Heart" by Dua Lipa has taken up most of the radio air time, since I've massively preferred "Hallucinate", but then again, I generally don't understand the Billboard lists, so whatever.

I never thought I'd like a Machine Gun Kelly song, but it turns out, he's actually pretty solid as a pop-punk act. "bloody valentine", as well as 24kGoldn's "Mood", while I'm thinking about it, have this really earnest simplicity in their style that really accentuates the feel they're going for. I kind of hope Kelly sticks with this approach going forward.

The 1975's Notes on a Conditional Form, at 22 songs and 80+ minutes, probably could have used some trimming, but I feel like that's kind of standard for them at this point. I will note, though, that "If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)" might be their best song yet, which is an impressive feat. 

If I had a "Promising Newcomer" Award, it would either go to KennyHoopla or Beabadoobee. Their most recent EPs (how will i rest in peace if i'm buried by a highway?// and Space Cadet, respectively) were my favorites of the summer.

My hypothetical Final Four for "Best Album of the Summer" would come down to Carly Rae Jepsen, MisterWives, The Midnight, and The Naked and Famous (with honorable mentions to Neon Trees and Anamanaguchi). The Naked and Famous is the only one of those four that I've yet to at length about, so I'll just add that all four of their albums, from 2010's Passive Me, Aggressive You to this year's Recover, have been great, and "Bury Us" might be my favorite song of theirs.

A full list of the songs:

eighty-five                                                                 again&again
You Don't Think You Like People Like Me                 Alex Lahey
I Haven't Been Taking Care of Myself                         Alex Lahey
isabella                                                                         Alex Lahey
Air On Line                                                                 Anamanaguchi
On My Own                                                                 Anamanaguchi
Styla                                                                         Anamanaguchi
Train Song                                                                 August Hotel
Unstable                                                                         Bad Suns
Helicopter                                                                 Bad Veins
WHAT YOU GONNA DO???                                       Bastille
survivin'                                                                         Bastille
She Plays Bass                                                         Beabadoobee
Worth It                                                                         Beabadoobee
Not a Love Song                                                         bülow
Get Stüpid                                                                 bülow
This Love Isn't Crazy                                                 Carly Rae Jepsen
Felt This Way                                                                 Carly Rae Jepsen
Let's Sort the Whole Thing Out                                      Carly Rae Jepsen
Outside Inside                                                                 Castlecomer
Gone                                                                         Charli XCX & Christine and the Queens
Into My Arms                                                                 COIN
Valentine                                                                         COIN
Maniac                                                                         Conan Gray
Think About Things                                                        Da∂I Freyr
Where I Wanna Be                                                         Da∂I Freyr
Hallucinate                                                                 Dua Lipa
TALK DEEP                                                                 E^ST
Is It Just Me                                                                 Ezra Jordan
Leave Me Alone                                                         I DON'T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME
All I Need                                                                 Jacob Collier, Mahalia, Ty Dolla $ign
Coming Apart                                                                 Joywave
thinkingoutloud//                                                         KennyHoopla
how will I rest in peace if I'm buried by the highway// KennyHoopla
Malibu                                                                         Kim Petras
Cool                                                                                Knox Hamilton
International Woman of Leisure                                 La Roux
Stupid Love                                                                 Lady Gaga
bloody valentine                                                         Machine Gun Kelly
Be Kind                                                                         Marshmello & Halsey
Tidal Wave                                                                 Midi Matilda
Can of Worms                                                                 Midi Matilda
love me true                                                                 MisterWives
muse                                                                         MisterWives
SUPERBLOOM                                                         MisterWives
Easy                                                                         MIYAVI, Betty Who, RAC
Weight on Me                                                                 Mowgli's
Fighting With Yourself                                                 Mowgli's
Glass Casket                                                                 Mystery Skulls
Fight For Your Life                                                         Mystery Skulls
Nights                                                                             Neon Trees
Used to Like                                                                 Neon Trees
Holy Ghost                                                                 Neon Trees
Wars                                                                         Of Monsters and Men
Hallelujah                                                                 Oh Wonder
I Wish I Never Met You                                                 Oh Wonder
The Heat                                                                         Penguin Prison
Down Low                                                                 Penguin Prison & Lyrah
ICIMY                                                                         Phoebe Ryan
Something Comforting                                                 Porter Robinson
Mirror                                                                         Porter Robinson
a million other things                                                 pronoun
stay                                                                                 pronoun
Oakland                                                                         RAC
First Time Feeling                                                         RIPE
Next to You                                                                 Scavenger Hunt
Religion                                                                         Shura
Summer Nights                                                         SIAMES
Slowdown                                                                 Smallpools & morgxn
Twinklestar                                                                 Snail's House
Cosmo Funk                                                                 Snail's House
Invader                                                                         Snail's House
Odyssey                                                                         Televisor
If You're Too Shy                                                         The 1975
You & Me Together Song                                         The 1975
Daydream                                                                 The Aces
Zillionaire                                                                       The Aces
Do You Mind?                                                                The Chain Gang of 1974
Ydlma                                                                         The Chain Gang of 1974
Ariel Ariel                                                                       The Griswolds
Aliens                                                                         The Griswolds & Transviolet
Exit Sign                                                                         The Knocks & Gallant
Bodies                                                                         The Knocks & MUNA
Deep Blue                                                                 The Midnight
Dance With Somebody                                                 The Midnight
Jason                                                                         The Midnight
Bury Us                                                                         The Naked and Famous
Come as You Are                                                         The Naked and Famous
Everybody Knows                                                         The Naked and Famous
Blinding Lights                                                               The Weeknd
American Cynic                                                         VHS Collection
Dreaming                                                                 VHS Collection
AUTO                                                                         Wave Racer
Tokyo                                                                         White Lies
Too Hot in L.A.                                                         Woody and Jeremy
Criminals                                                                        Youngblood Hawke
Ringtone                                                                         100 gecs
Mood                                                                         24kGoldn

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