Lifestyle’s Spotify playlist features haunting melodies, heartbreak


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By Northern Star Staff

Haunting melodies, smooth hip-hop and heartbreak all grace this week’s playlist.

Nick’s picks

  1. Little Simz – “Angel”
  2. De La Soul – “Eye Know”
  3. Ms. Lauryn Hill – “Lost Ones”

Little Simz’s “Angel” is an almost six-minute-long lo-fi rap track that opens the British rapper’s 2022 album “NO THANK YOU.” The intensely edited vocal pads that make up the beat are soft and entrancing. The “ooohs” and “ahhs” create a simple, seemingly arrhythmic melody for Simz to rap over. When it comes to rapping, Simz’s voice is one of my favorites in the game right now. Her flow is as smooth as I’ve ever heard, and on this song, that’s certainly the case. The beat stays pretty static throughout the song, but Simz flips back and forth between singing and rapping, keeping the song moving. My favorite moment is when Simz says, “Give me a second to let the beat ride” and then pauses so that the beat has a moment to stand alone. When she comes back in, her voice is stronger than before, pushing the song forward and keeping the energy going. 

 De La Soul’s discography hit streaming services Friday after an almost decade-long battle with their label. To celebrate the jazz-rap group’s win, I’ve been jamming out to them since. “Eye Know” is one of their most iconic songs. One of the singles from their hit album “3 Feet High and Rising,” “Eye Know” is a perfect image of what the group does well. The beat is booming with bass drum and the vinyl scratches of a turntable are clear to the ears. The song sounds current which is amazing because it’s almost 35 years old. Each verse on this song is full of swagger which makes it such a fun listen. 

If you can’t tell, I’ve been in a massive hip-hop phase this week. For me, you can’t listen to hip-hop without listening to Lauryn Hill. Though her discography is limited, to say the least, Hill is an icon nonetheless. Her debut solo album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” is a masterpiece. The album’s smooth beats pair well with Hill’s singing and rapping. “Lost One” is the prime example of a Lauryn Hill bop. It has reggae influences throughout, paired masterfully with hip-hop, R&B and neo-soul. Hill’s flow is constant and always hitting. She hits every beat and her lyricism is some of the best I’ve ever heard.

Sarah’s picks

  1. SZA – “Broken Clocks”
  2. Grimes – “Genesis”
  3. Taylor Swift – “right where you left me – bonus track”

SZA expresses her independence in “Broken Clocks,” one of her singles from her debut album “Ctrl.” SZA’s lifestyle has felt fast-paced for her and she feels as if she’s too busy for any breaks or relationships. Taking life day by day is a central theme that the lyrics express. The song mentions how she has all these broken clocks because she doesn’t have time for anything. The tone of the song emulates the pop genre, and comparing this 2017 bop to her songs now, SZA has come a long way in the music industry. 

“Genesis” by Canadian singer Grimes is very instrumental-driven accompanied by soft vocals. The chorus and refrain repeat throughout the song, talking about how it feels to have your heart fall for someone, a feeling the singer has never felt before. She realizes she’s falling in love and almost rejects this possibility as she believes she can’t allow anyone to love her back. To really feel what the song is conveying, the listener almost has to be in a state of questioning themselves. The song feels like you’re falling, whether that be into your own feelings or into an abyss of realization. 

Once again, Taylor Swift does what she does best – she uses her storytelling to portray a relatable, heartbreaking story. “right where you left me” tells the story of a girl getting her heart broken. This girl, who can be assumed to be Swift, feels as if time froze her in that shattering moment when her lover told her he met someone else. As everyone around her moves on with their lives, Swift is stuck in that moment and feels as if her ex-lover left her there involuntarily. The song focuses on the details of that moment and how Swift felt after: betrayed and angry. 

Eli’s picks

  1. Spiritualized – “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space”
  2. Ultravox – “Hymn”
  3. Crowded House – “Fall At Your Feet”

One of the most grandiose compositions of ‘90s indie-rock, Spiritualized’s “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space” is a symphonic masterpiece. Interpolating both “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and Pachelbel’s “Canon In D,” as well as adding their own original melody, Spiritualized manages to create a soaring, romantic anthem. If you lay down, turn off the lights and put on a pair of noise-canceling headphones, this song will make you feel like you’re floating in space yourself.

Some ‘80s songs are melodramatic to the point where they’re almost comical, but that doesn’t make bands like Ultravox any less fun to listen to. Though on the surface “Hymn” sounds like a dated synth-pop song, there is a much darker gothic atmosphere lurking under the surface. The punchy, reverb-laden drums and textured synth pads plant this song firmly in its era, but the intense, desperate emotion present in the track makes it worth listening to in any decade.

Crowded House frontman Neil Finn has always had a knack for writing bittersweet love ballads and 1991’s “Fall At Your Feet” is probably the best of them. The song focuses on the narrator’s frustration with the growing emotional distance between him and his girlfriend. The lines “The finger of blame has turned upon itself / And I’m more than willing to offer myself / Do you want my presence or need my help? / Who knows where that might lead” devastatingly paint a picture of the narrator desperately trying to understand and connect with her to the point where he is practically begging her to open up to him.

Anika’s picks

  1. Panic! At the Disco – “There’s a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought of It Yet”
  2. Nirvana – “Dumb”
  3. Palaye Royale – “Sick Boy Soldier” 

Artists do not title songs like early 2000s emo bands used to – this one having 16 words and a comma. Panic! At the Disco included this mouthful of a track on their debut album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” which remains one of my favorite album titles to this day. This song falls on the second half of this album, which possesses cabaret-esque instrumentals different from the electronic sounds of the first half. Although it does not have a massive popular culture influence, it is an incredibly catchy track immediately recognizable by the kick drum and cymbals. The lyrics don’t particularly make sense without context, but they flow at a quick pace. Plus, there is the irresistible urge to flamboyantly sing along to the line “And keep telling yourself that ‘I’m a diva!’”

“Dumb” is a song that was always playing in my parent’s cars. Off of the album “In Utero,” the track has a mellow sound instead of the grunge guitar featured on most other songs on the album. Even though the song is about people who are easily amused and choose to remain in ignorance, it still holds up against the darker songs on Nirvana’s discography.

Palaye Royale is one of those “if you like *insert band here*, you’ll love them!” bands. With a pop-rock type sound, they released their first album, “Boom Boom Room,” in 2016, on which “Sick Boy Soldier” is featured. The song tells the story of someone who was always positive and kind but then went off to war. During the bridge of the song, the snare drum is played how it would be in an army march. This adds to the somber mood of the track, suiting the narrative that is sung by lead singer Remington Leith.

Margaret’s picks

  1. Basement – “Covet”
  2. Nicole Dollanganger – “Runnin’ Free”
  3. Dominic Fike – “Why” 

The second track off of Basement’s 2012 sophomore album “Colourmeinkindness,” “Covet” is arguably their most well-known song. This post-punk, grunge song speaks of a love/hate relationship with a good yet demanding and predictable partner that the narrator no longer wants to be with. This song highlights how the narrator has grown bored of their partner, saying “your inside / is on your outside / I need / a pleasant surprise.” The narrator needs something more from the relationship, their partner’s “good heart and desire to please” now makes them wish they had a “fatal disease” so they don’t have to deal with their partner’s emotional needs. 

Off of her recently released seventh studio album, “Married In Mount Airy,” Canadian singer-songwriter Nicole Dollanganger’s soft, feminine voice covers a darker theme of loneliness that is so deep that she becomes suicidal. The song’s opening lyrics provide an overview of the whole song, she begs someone not to leave because she can’t trust herself to be alone. As they leave, she burns her wrists on the stove as a form of self-harm and a way to feel something other than loneliness. The song’s bedroom-pop and soft indie influences make the song feel romantic and light in contrast with the emotionally heavy lyrics. 

“Why” is the sixth track off Dominic Fike’s first full-length album “What Could Possibly Go Wrong,” released in July 2020. The song is truly about introspection and asking yourself why you put up with all of the things that you wish you could change. Through this song, Fike implores the audience to ask themselves why they put up with mediocre things when they really deserve more. The alt-pop vibe and catchy, upbeat tempo make this a really fun song, and the lyrics, although simple, are meaningful.

Daniel’s picks

  1. Yung Frown – “Macintosh Plus 2k17”
  2. Home – “Resonance”
  3. My Chemical Romance – “Welcome to the Black Parade”

“Macintosh Plus 2k17” by Yung Frown is part of a micro-genre called vaporwave. The album the piece originated from, “Floral Shoppe,” (presented in the album with the title in Japanese) is seen by many fans of vaporwave as the defining album for the microgenre. “Macintosh Plus 2k17” is the stand-out piece of the album. The song contains every aspect vaporwave listeners identify with the microgenre, such as pitch-shifted vocals and a nostalgic buzz within its instrumentals.

On the topic of vaporwave, “Resonance” by Home is another piece that carries a nostalgic feeling within its chords. “Resonance” is fully instrumental, unlike “Macintosh Plus 2k17.” The song’s title means a quality of sound that is deep, full and reverberating. The song has a reverberation that leaves you in the right mood with a transcended state of mind.

“Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance is a song about the notion of death and the journey through the afterlife depicted in the song as the “Black Parade.” The song features several allusions to the Bible, mainly the father and son in the song’s beginning which is reminiscent of God telling Moses to be the savior of the broken and damned. The song features a bombastic yet upbeat tempo that brings a sense of power and freedom to its music. The song is also notorious for the g-note in its intro that is goosebump-inducing and begins a build-up to a powerful ballad.