Lifestyle's weekly Spotify playlist #61 – Northern Star

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Weekly Spotify playlist: 

Daija’s picks

  1. Billy Joel – “Everybody Loves You Now”
  2. Paramore – “This Is Why”
  3. Nick Wilson – “Lead Me to the Water”

“Everybody Loves You Now” was released on Billy Joel’s 1971 album “Cold Spring Harbor,” which is actually a lyric in the song. The song describes a spoiled suburban kid who grows up and enters the real world with no clue as to what to do when faced with life’s challenges. Joel sings about how growing up can be lonely when you constantly have to hide behind a facade to pretend everything is alright. The instrumental is a fast-paced piano sound, played by Joel, and a funky drum beat that echoes a kid growing up, leaving their hometown and stomping around the big city. 

“This is Why” is Paramore’s first release since their 2017 album “After Laughter.” If you enjoyed their last album but missed Paramore’s old-punk sound like from “Riot!” then this is the song for you. Hayley Williams, the lead singer, discusses in the song the challenges of being in the public eye as a woman frontrunner of a popular band and wishes that “If you have an opinion / Maybe you should shove it.” It is good to have Paramore back making music, and I will be patiently waiting for the album of the same name to be released on Feb. 10, 2023. 

“Lead Me to the Water” is a single from independent English singer-songwriter Nick Wilson off the album “Now I’m Falling.” Wilson’s specialty is being able to convey strong emotions effortlessly, and “Lead Me to the Water” is no different. The song explores a relationship where Wilson wasn’t the best partner, but is now asking for forgiveness and is willing to fight to make it work. The emotional lyrics are accompanied by an acoustic guitar with a soft, but powerful background violin sound. 

Sarah’s picks

  1. Billy Joel – “Vienna”
  2. Cigarettes After Sex – “Apocalypse”
  3. girl in red – “we fell in love in october”

“Vienna” was released by Billy Joel in 1977 as the fifth song from his “The Stranger” album. In “Vienna,” Joel is singing about a person who has a lot of passion. They have a dream and want to accomplish it right now.  Joel sings about slowing down and letting things play out at their own pace. The lyric “Why don’t you realize Vienna waits for you” can be interpreted as waiting for the right time to accomplish a dream. There’s no need to rush that dream when you’ve got your whole life in front of you. The song has moments where Joel’s singing takes a pause and melodic music, which would be found on a street corner, plays for a few beats. 

“Apocalypse” is sung by Greg Gonzalez, lead singer of the band. With his soothing voice, Gonzalez sings about his lover being too afraid to open up to him. The lyrics “Your lips, my lips / Apocalypse” means that when they kiss, Gonzalez’s partner fears the world will fall apart. His lover keeps herself locked away, scared to come out. The song is slow-paced with a melancholy ambiance. “Apocalypse” was released as part of the band’s debut album “Cigarettes After Sex” in 2017.

girl in red, also known as Marie Ringheim, released her single “we fell in love in october” in 2018. girl in red is reminiscing about a time when she fell in love with a girl in October. She sings about that moment and how she accepted that this girl was hers to fall in love with. The chorus “My girl, my girl, my girl / You will be my world” is girl in red shouting to the world that she loves this person. “we fell in love in october” is an indie rock song with a soft bass in the background. 

Nick’s picks

  1. Minnie Riperton – “Baby, This Love I Have”
  2. Brittany Howard – “Stay High”
  3. Genesis Owusu – “A Song About Fishing”

Minnie Riperton’s “Baby, This Love I Have” is the first track on her third album “Adventures in Paradise.” The song starts with a funky combo of mild drums, rhythmic bass and soft synth sounds in the background. Riperton’s voice slowly fades in, crescendoing into her strong forte by the beginning of the chorus. The chorus is the highlight of the track. Riperton belts out “Baby, I’m tryin’ to show you that I love / Baby, I’m tryin’ to show you that I care.” This simple back-and-forth riff allows Riperton to show off her vocal expertise. By the last chorus, Riperton is singing so high that listeners cannot believe her vocal flexibility and precision. Riperton happily shows the listener her talents and gives them this funky, vocally intense love song.

“Stay High” by Brittany Howard is a mild and chill love song that makes its money with Howard’s raspy and soulful voice. Starting with a cutesy toy-piano-sounding melody, Howard’s experienced voice comes out of the blue. This contrast of simple and fun backings with Howard’s bluesy sound sets up a juxtaposition that fills the song with the propelling energy that runs throughout. Howard’s lyrics are nothing to scoff at either. Howard compares the feeling of being in love with the fact that after a hard day, “There comes a time / At night where we get to play.” This comparison is so simple, yet it works so well. Howard’s basic lyrics about love and the simplicity of the backing, combined with the multi-layered nature of her voice, build a song that is the musical embodiment of love – simple and enjoyable but full of layers and complexities. 

“A Song About Fishing” by Genesis Owusu has one of my favorite choruses of all time. Its simple drums and vocal backings are precisely placed and focused. Owusu’s calm vocal delivery is somehow both fun and almost trance-inducing; the reverb-covered guitars envelop the listener’s ears, but somehow also sit beneath the other parts of the track. The high-pitched end to the whispering post-chorus is entertaining and mild. Its refrain of “Each day like a retake / Fisherman inside a sweepstake” takes this fun song and reveals the extended metaphor within the lyrics. Owusu’s life takes the role of fishing in this song. He feels like each day is just another “retake.” This upbeat music contrasted with Owusu’s sad lyrics makes for a compelling listening experience. 

Gino’s picks

  1. Phillip Phillps – “Love Like That”
  2. Mitski – “First Love / Late Spring”
  3. Dawid Podsiadło – “Little Stranger”

“Love Like That” by Phillip Phillips was released in 2022 and is the artist’s most recent song this year. Philips was the winner of American Idol in 2012 during season 11. The song is about how there’s no guarantee about what will happen in the future and not every relationship lasts, but his wife and himself have a love that will persist, simply because they have a love like that. 

“First Love / Late Spring” by Mitski was released in 2014 and details the pain of first love and depression. The song pertains to someone in love and how that love pains them: “So please hurry leave me / I can’t breathe / Please don’t say you love me.” From what can be interpreted through those lyrics, Mitski sings about wanting to move on from love. However, if the person they love tells them that they reciprocate the same feelings, it will be too much for them to bear. The song brings back feelings of what it’s like to have a first love and wanting to give up hope that they’ll love you back. 

“Little Stranger” by Dawid Podsiadło was released in 2013 on the album “Comfort and Happiness.” The song is about someone trying to make up for the mistakes they have made in the past, as the sins of their past begin to weigh on them. They find themselves seeing a stranger who draws forth feelings of guilt, prompting Podsiadło to sing, “What is the answer can you tell / I swear I feel like I’ve never felt / I look around and there’s no one here / Don’t tell me you’re just another one of my dreams.” The stranger can be a representation of the person they’ve become or used to be, and that they no longer recognize themselves.

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