Lifestyle’s weekly Spotify playlist #66

By Northern Star Staff

Weekly Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4korRKsMe9p2sC1cWbAXOq?si=336c6c38dd064703 

Daija’s picks

  1. Taylor Swift – “You’re On Your Own, Kid”
  2. SZA – “Shirt”
  3. boylife – “peas”

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is the fifth track from Taylor Swift’s 2022 album “Midnights.” Swift details starting her career at a young age when she essentially was growing up in the public eye and how it left her vulnerable. Halfway through the song, there’s a pulsing percussive beat that I believe shows Swift’s mental state because soon after she starts singing “From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes / I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this.” Now that she’s older, she realizes that she’s always been on her own, and she is looking after herself because no one else did or will.

“Shirt” is SZA’s recent single after her 2021 release of “I Hate U.” Fans first heard a snippet of this song on SZA’s Instagram story in 2020. “Shirt” was then teased again at the end of her music video for the song “Good Days,” so it’s been a long time coming. Finally able to listen to the full version last month, I was not disappointed because the sneak peek wasn’t even the best part of the song. “Shirt” has a true ‘90s R&B sound; the vibrating bass mixed with SZA’s soft and velvety vocals make this song perfect for cozy nights relaxing in bed. 

“peas” was released on boylife’s, also known as Ryan Yoo, 2021 album “gelato.” He describes watching his partner slowly slip into a deep state of depression and wishing he could take all their pain away. Despite boylife’s partner struggling mentally, they’re “still my baby / Livin’ in a cold, cold world.” With a sound and voice similar to Frank Ocean because of the use of autotune but not too much that it overpowers the vocals. “peas” is the perfect song to listen as we slowly transition from fall to winter. 

Caleb’s picks

  1. Grant Knoche – “YOU DON’T HAVE TO TALK”
  2. Gabbie Hanna – “Rewired” 
  3. Keiynan Lonsdale – “Kiss the Boy” 

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO TALK” is a newly released independent single by Grant Knoche that came out this month. For this week’s song choices, I’m focusing more on pop ballads and songs with deep emotional impact. Knoche writes the songs himself, you can tell how real his life struggles are. “Falling back again / Know that / If you’re not ready yet / You don’t have to / Talk now.” I really loved this message because it’s about dealing with life and dealing with issues concerning mental health, coming out and just being there for the people you love. 

“Rewired” is a song released in 2022 by Gabbie Hanna from her album “Trauma Queen.” I chose this song in part because of its powerful rock and pop ballad tones. The song really hits home and helps you to connect to Hanna’s emotional struggles. This song and the album in general are infused with struggles with mental health and coming to terms with the trauma of the past. “From the ashes I rise, you can’t stop me,” “I walk the boulevard of broken dreams in stolen shoes.” I just really appreciate these lines because we all say and do things in the past that we don’t mean or don’t reflect who we are today. 

“Kiss the Boy” is a single released by Keiynan Lonsdale in 2018. I chose this song because it is another beautiful pop ballad. The song is lovely and relaxing and is reflective of my experiences. “What was the deal when your eyes locked on me / What was the deal when you smiled at me like that” I know how this feels, that moment when you lock eyes with a guy and he smiles and you long for it to lead to something more. This song really highlights the emotions of falling in love and wanting to be authentic with the person you love, regardless of what others think. In an interview with SBS Pride, Lonsdale expressed being inspired by his acting role in the gay romantic movie “Love Simon” and the classic song “Kiss the Girl,” from the “Little Mermaid.”

Sarah’s picks

  1. Hozier – “Would That I”
  2. WILLOW – “Boy”
  3. Harry Styles – “Sweet Creature”

“Would That I” is the twelfth track off of Hozier’s 2019 album “Wasteland, Baby!” The song encapsulates what it feels like to part ways with someone you love. Hozier compares the love he feels to a flame of fire and a willow tree. In the lyrics “I fell in love with the fire long ago / With each love I cut loose, I was never the same / Watching still-living roots be consumed by the flame,” Hozier compares his past loves to a fire which were like flames of passion to him. Hozier slowly mourns his past lovers and knows that he will never be the same, as his heart keeps being fed to the loneliness he feels. In the last lines of the song, Hozier describes that the love he feels right now is a glowing, blinding light, different from any other. 

WILLOW sings about the confusion of loving a boy in her song “Boy,” released in 2017. The song is different from her past electric pop vibes and instead uses a soulful, indie song base, which she continues into her next few albums. The lyrics “But they say life has a silver lining / And I say I will find it my way / ‘Cause down on Earth there’s so much pain / And way up here there’s galaxies,” suggest WILLOW is talking to a higher being about how she feels for this boy. WILLOW references bright stars and galaxies in the beginning of “Boy” as well, playing into the sub-theme that perhaps humans are meant to suffer with their own emotions down on Earth. 

“Sweet Creature” is the fifth track on Harry Styles’ 2017 album “Harry Styles.” Styles sings about a particular person and calls them “sweet creature” throughout the song. Styles sings about loving this person, but it can be interpreted as familial love or romantic love. In the chorus, the lyrics “Sweet creature, sweet creature / Wherever I go, you bring me home / Sweet creature, sweet creature / When I run out of road, you bring me home” express that this person keeps Styles grounded and whenever he feels lost, he knows he can turn back home to them. 

Nick’s picks

  1. Men I Trust – “Show Me How (Album V)”
  2. Ahmad Jamal Trio – “I Love Music”
  3. D’Angelo – “Playa Playa”

“Show Me How” is Men I Trust’s breakthrough hit. Off their 2019 album “Oncle Jazz,” the track features their standard simplistic drums, melodic bass lines and relaxed singing. Lead singer Emmanuelle Proulx has a voice that is not one of a strong pop diva; rather, her voice is soft and chill, almost talkative. Her singing pairs well with guitarist Jessy Caron’s tremolo-filled guitar melodies. “Show Me How” is the epitome of chill-indie, and Men I Trust is one of the expert bands in the subgenre. This song is perfect for dancing in the kitchen while doing dishes late at night. 

“I Love Music” by the Ahmad Jamal Trio is known not for its musical content, but because it was sampled by rapper Nas on his single “The World is Yours.” The trio is made up of pianist Ahmad Jamal, bassist Jamil Nasser and drummer FrankNant. Jamal’s complex and innovative style, improvised compositions and dissonant harmonic choices are key to his sound. “I Love Music” is the second track on his album “The Awakening.” Nasser’s bass is simple enough to let Jamal’s intensive and virtuosic piano playing shine through. Gant’s drums are similar, allowing the rhythmic space that Jamal needs to experiment with rhythm and form. The trio set up a complex, but easy to listen to, piece of jazz here, forming a track that pairs well with sitting on the couch with the lights down low and a book in your hands. 

D’Angelo’s hit 2000 album “Voodoo” starts off with the smooth single “Playa Playa.” Slow rhythmic drumming and accented horn lines by legend Roy Hargrove set up D’Angelo’s vocals. The most important part of D’Angelo’s music, besides his voice, is bassist Pino Palladino’s bass lines. The simplistic harmonic choices mixed with Palladino’s patented slapped bass technique creates the perfect base for D’Angelo’s intimate, riff-heavy and almost cry-like vocals to come out over the top of the track. “Voodoo” is made for those moments when you need a pick-me-up. “Playa Playa” is there when you’re trying on outfits in the mirror, looking to find the one that fits you. 

Brynn’s Picks

  1. Kimya Dawson – “So Nice So Smart” 
  2. Margo Guryan – “Something’s Wrong with the Morning” 
  3. Mitski – “Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart” 

“So Nice So Smart” is a whimsical song popularized by the “Juno” soundtrack. Juno is a movie known for its quirky and distinct soundtrack, with many of the songs featuring artist Kimya Dawson. The song came out with the movie in 2007, but it still has listeners due to the soundtrack’s cult following status. The song features only acoustic guitar and vocals. While folkish, it has a distinct sound that is simply Kimya Dawson, categorized by her playful lyrics, rhythmic vocal pattern and simple guitar strumming. “So Nice So Smart” is a fun unique song that can still pack an emotional punch due to its lyrics being about the complexities of relationships and heartbreak.

“Something’s Wrong with the Morning” is the second track on Guryan’s album “27 Demos.” While released only in 2014, it has a more retro sound. The instrumental components, funky piano, guitar and a light quick drumming, sound like they are from the 1960s. The song is about Guryan noticing the absence of her lover and recognizing that the relationship may be fading. The song starts out by claiming “something’s wrong with the morning” if some things don’t occur, like not getting a call or attention from her partner. Guryan had fears of her partner slipping away, and the song chronicles those fears being actualized.

“Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart” is the opening track on Mitski’s second album “Retired from Sad, New Career in Business,” released in 2013. The entire album features interesting instrumentals, including various sounds of guitar, violin and piano. The song begins with a funky musical riff before transitioning into Mitski’s upbeat but emotional vocals. The song is about Mitski being in a relationship where, at first, she didn’t realize its importance, but her partner did. Now she is aware of how special and worthwhile the relationship truly is, but doesn’t know if she is good enough. The feeling of not being good enough is a common theme among Mitski’s work, also presented in “Square,” the next song off the album. This meaning is actualized in the lyric “I’m not the girl I ought to be.” It showcases how although she may love her partner, the relationship is hindered by the feeling that she may not be what this person deserves.