Well, another month has come and gone. It’s time to talk about my favorite music again. I’ve dived head first into alternative and I’m not looking back. Only two songs this month are not alternative tracks. Anyway, let’s talk about songs, baby (I’m not sorry):
- “Baby” by Bishop Briggs: Bishop’s poppiest song yet (but not my sole exception this month), this funky little love song succeeds where others like it fail. Despite being a departure from Bishop’s dark, soulful sound, it’s retains her earnestness. Bishop sings about her boyfriend, an absolute paradox of a man. But she doesn’t love him in spite of that— she loves him because of that. Though I’m sad to see the Church of Scars era end so soon, I’m excited to see were Ms. Briggs takes us next.
- “Sweet Talk” by Saint Motel: If any song in the world deserves to be called an “absolute bop,” it’s this one. It swings with unbridled glee, born to be featured in a jukebox musical. Much like with Bishop’s latest single, the narrator of this song loves his girl even though she’s cruel. No matter what she says to him, it sounds like sweet talk because she’s the one saying it. It’s just so light and fun, you can’t help but smile whenever it comes on.
- “Everytime” and “Goodnight n Go” by Ariana Grande: Here we have it: my one exception to an alternative-filled month. Ariana released her long-awaited fourth album Sweetener and… I don’t love it. Aside from the singles, this album is kind of a mess. Well, these singles and these two songs. “Everytime” is a traditional Ariana song, one of the few on the record. It chronicles a tumultuous relationship, one Ariana can’t quite escape. “Goodnight n Go,” on the other hand, finds Ariana at the beginning of a new relationship. She tries to fight it, but she just can’t help but fall fast. It’s just a shame the rest of the album doesn’t live up to the potential of these songs.
- “Levitate” and “My Blood” by twenty one pilots: In anticipation of Trench, top has released two more singles from their rock opera. The first of which, “Levitate,” sounds the most like a traditional top song. Tyler Joseph spits the lyrics rapid-fire, a race to the end. Though the song sounds dark, it’s actually rather hopeful. But it’s the other song I’ve been playing on repeat. “My Blood” is absolute perfection. It’s a promise to stay with someone through thick and thin, a clichéd notion, sure, but delivered so well. If I had to compare its sound to anyone, I’d say it’s reminiscent of Chromeo or Foster the People. And honestly? I think it may be one of my favorite top songs of all time.
- “Just Cuz We’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Onto Us” and “Brown Paper Bag” by Yoshi Flower: twenty one pilots’ younger cousin (figuratively, that is), this artist is known for making introspective jams propelled by EDM. “Just Cuz We’re Paranoid” finds Yoshi either in a relationship with a troubled lover or talking to himself. Either way, the sense of urgency stay keep things how they are despite the bad is palpable. “Brown Paper Bag” is an ode to a popular anxiety tool— the paper bag. He sings “Breathe in, breathe out/My daily meditation” at just the perfect pace to actually use a paper bag. He speaks frankly about his symptoms and what he does to overcome them. His music is bold and honest, giving us each a little something to relate to.
- “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” and “Go Fuck Yourself” by Two Feet: Two Feet sets himself apart in the composition and production of his songs, more than anything else. He plays a groovy, bluesy guitar under electrifying EDM. And, while you wouldn’t think so, it’s a match made in heaven. “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” is a stark expose of Two Feet’s mental state. “Go Fuck Yourself” is a veritable earworm, one I can’t quite place. For a relaxing listen, look no further than Mr. Two Feet.
- “Do It All the Time,” “Choke,” and “Modern Day Cain” by I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND US: Some bands or artists have gimmicks that fail. That is not the case for IDKHOW, a band that is definitely from the ’80s and not 2018. If you love ’80s bands and synth pop, then this duo is the duo for you. “Do It All the Time” is the kind of song that makes you want to get up and dance. Dallon Weekes (formerly of Panic! at the Disco) has the crooning voice of an ’80s star and it shines spectacularly on this track. “Choke,” my personal favorite, is one of the best kiss-offs I’ve ever heard. It’s filled with gleeful hatred, Weekes promising to “smile while you suffocate.” It’s a swanky punch in the face. “Modern Day Cain” is the most emo of the bunch, the most reminiscent of Weekes’ prior work with Panic!. His lyrical oyprowess really shows on this song. I absolutely cannot wait for a full body of work from this band. If anyone can successfully take me back to the ’80s, it’s them.
- Lake Effect Kid by Fall Out Boy: Only seven short months after the release of M A N I A, Fall Out Boy is back and better than they’ve been in a while. This short EP was born out of a trip back to their hometown of Chicago, and is a return to their musical roots. “Lake Effect Kid” is by far the best, a journey of self-examination. “City in a Garden” is a love song to Chicago. “Super Fade” is experimentation done right, retaining just enough of that traditional FOB sound to be familiar. I don’t know why Fall Out Boy decided to give us these three songs, but I’m sure glad that they did.
- 3 by half•alive: If Yoshi Flower is twenty one pilots’ cousin, then half•alive is their little brother. Nowhere is that more evident than on this short EP. “The Fall” is my favorite on the EP, an exploration of lead singer Josh Taylor’s trust issues and depression. He sings “I jump off into your arms/But I can’t trust the fall,” a play on an old trust exercise. “Aawake at Night” finds Josh contemplating and longing for the truth of life and someone to fill a void. It’s the most unique of the bunch. “Tip Toes” finds Josh reflecting on his need to feel like somebody, while also feeling like nobody. This EP is a veritable trio of introspection and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
- grandson: As my friend Ciara so astutely put, grandson is basically twenty one pilots meets EDM. However, he often takes a more political spin. Sometimes he takes on social issues, like in “6:00,” a frank look at #BlackLivesMatter (with direct reference to Eric Garner. Garner was murdered (via strangulation) by police for selling loose cigarettes, despite surrendering immediately. The entire incident was caught on film, and yet no charges were ever filed.) Sometimes grandson is just getting deep, like in “Blood // Water” and “Overdose.” Either way, all his songs are total bangers. Get on the winning team and stan this guy.
What music were you listening to in August? Tell me about it in the comments!