*drum roll, please*
Welcome to the first Guest Playlist, where friends of mine will provide all of you lovely readers with a new list of songs you may or may not have heard before, but are sure to enjoy! We have a new playlist every Wednesday, and some weeks will feature a guest author, and others will be playlists from yours truly!
The playlist for this week, and the first guest playlist EVER, comes from Miss Brenna Diehl!
About our author…
Hi everyone! My name’s Brenna Diehl. I’m en route to be a senior at Millersville University. I major in Music Business Technology with a concentration in voice. I love all genres and styles of music, especially R&B and hip-hop. I love music with a message, and I’m a sucker for key changes. I plan to get into either talent buying, booking, or A&R representation, but endgame? You’ll be seeing me up on a stage. 😉
1. “American Money” by BØRNS (Virtu Remix)
Ahh, my first song choice for this week. Not too long ago, my sister introduced me to BØRNS. He’s just one guy, but his sound is huge. While listening to his spotify radio, I discovered this fine-ass beauty of a remix. For lack of a better descriptive phrase, this remix punched me in the metaphorical dick. It’s one of those remixes of an already incredible song that makes you stop and stare at your phone, wondering what the hell you just stumbled upon. I highly suggest listening to the original first (which is bomb enough on its own), then listening to the remix. It brings a completely different feel. The beginning verse is ethereal, introducing a sensual pre-chorus in half time. Of course, it’s followed by the chorus overtop of a beat that builds anticipation. Classic remix. But WOW…the pitch-bending drop just makes me use my stank face, which I reserve for only the nastiest of songs. The entire rest of the song just adds more surprises around every bend. DEFINITELY worth the listen.
2. “Lifetimes” by Oh Wonder
Again, another musical act my sister introduced to me. Oh Wonder is a British alt-pop duo with a killer sound. I’m definitely a sucker for music that doesn’t fit the mold, and this song is chock full of misshapen beauty. Not only that, but they NEVER end vocal phrases on the tonic note. *Shudder*. That’s some tasty stuff right there. If I’m correct, they don’t even play the tonic CHORD. Slay me, Oh Wonder. This song is also pretty ethereal, and very vibey. It makes me think of hipster coffee shops, but also night clubs (?). The verses just plunk out seventh chords that are very relaxed, but the chorus explodes into major chords that just make you feel. You know those songs that just make you want to throw your hands up and yell the lyrics? That’s this song for me.
3. “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran
Oh sweet mama, this song. This song is how I first discovered the ginger miracle that is Ed Sheeran. It came up in the suggested tracks on YouTube when I was looking up songs from *cough* one direction *ahem*. I found this gem, and thank the lawd that I did. This entire album is pure genius to me — simply gorgeous. But this song will always have a special meaning for me. And sometimes, you just need songs that you listen to when you want to curl up in a ball and be no one for a while. This is one of those songs. It’s this plea for love, so sad yet so hopeful. Music from the soul, to be quite honest with you. I have a special place in my heart for songs that are bursting with emotion. And not only does this song do just that, but it builds so heavily with harmonized chants and screams from Ed Sheeran to just LOVE HIM, IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY PLEASE LOVE HIM. It breaks way to this heart-wrenching chorus of Eds singing over simple strummed guitar, continued with claps (on 2 and 4, thank you very much). It’s absolutely one of his most powerful songs. Do give it a listen. And while you’re at it, listen to everything else he’s ever done.
4. “Never Can Say Goodbye” performed by Jennifer Simard, from Disaster on Broadway
To lighten the mood, my next song is absolutely ridiculous. This song has been covered several times, but this is by far my favorite version. A friend showed me this song a couple of months ago, and I haven’t been able to extract it from my brain ever since. This song contains elements of smooth jazz and disco, which contrast so heavily and add to the comedic tone of this cover. As for vocals…well, there are vocalists that make certain awful sounds with their voices due to their lack of training. Then, there’s Jennifer Simard, who has such disgusting control over her voice that she purposely adds rasp and strain to her voice for the sake of comedy. BRILLIANT. And if that’s not enough, she belts a HIGH B. AKA, THE B ABOVE C ABOVE MIDDLE C. In layman’s terms, it’s not human. If you’ve ever wanted to feel alive, listen to this song.
5. “From the Dining Table” by Harry Styles
Getting back into the sad stuff here — sorry. I felt compelled to include a song off of Harry Styles’s new album. I’ve been a fan of this man from the beginning of his career, and I will support him until the day I die. To leap from boyband-pop to alternative rock took a lot of guts and talent. Conclusively, I think this is a huge step forward for him in the music world. Specifically in terms of lyrics, his music has matured tremendously. That being said, speaking as a completely objective third-party observer with absolutely no personal interest in the matter (disclaimer: I do not own She’s The Man) who just discovered a new album, I am not entirely floored.
I think this album was pretty good, but nothing really stood out. Now — hypocrisy time! I actually did thoroughly enjoy this song. I think a big part of where my opinions of this album came from is based on the release date. This was 100% an album that should have been released in late fall or early winter. As a marketing strategy, the music that is released in the summer is very upbeat, in a major key, etc. It’s the type of music people tend to play while they’re at the beach or driving with the windows down. Darker music tends to be released in the cold months; it’s a tactic that matches music with seasonal moods. Regardless, this song is well-written, full of great raw harmonies, and has instrumentals that remind me heavily of Hozier (whom I just adore). I would have to say this song is my favorite off of the album. If you’re a big fan of today’s alt scene, I would definitely check this album out.
6. “Slow Hands” by Niall Horan
Not to pit former bandmates against each other, but my gawd if you want to talk about a song that was released at the perfect time, here it is served on a silver platter. Niall was always my favorite 1D member, no lie. So maybe I’m biased, but I think this song is perfection *cue angelic chorus*. Niall Horan as a solo artist gives me life. Bless his marketing team, because they made some brilliant decisions. Niall wasn’t immediately in the spotlight after One Direction’s breakup, but it wasn’t too long after that he released “This Town,” which is an adorable song. It was instrumentally simple, lyrically pleasing (aka made all the girls blush and faint), and garnered enough attention to stay in the top 10 for weeks.
THEN. OH, AND THEN. He releases this stunner of a song that, sue me, oozes sexual energy. Everyone up until this point has viewed him as some young guy — a kid even, that is innocent and sings in a sweet voice and sometimes strums his guitar. Well LOOK OUT WORLD. In walks a very adult Niall Horan and his sensual lyrics. Well played, sir. I love how simple the instrumentals are — a straightforward beat beginning with straight eighth notes on the guitar (or straight eighth note beat with straight sixteenths on guitar if you want, I’m not picky). It’s so catchy! The vocal recording is very George Michael-esque, and the rhythm of his vocal melody is incredibly emphatic. It’s melodically simple, therefore memorable, and I don’t ever want it out of my head. To put it lightly, I’m obsessed.
7. “There Will Be Time” by Mumford & Sons and Baaba Maal
A best friend of mine introduced me to this song a while back. I met up with her recently and this came over the radio. I was flooded with memories of my emotions when I first heard this song, and I became so excited to hear it again. I had forgotten to look it up the first time I heard it, and for the life of me I couldn’t think of the name. Luckily, I can count on this friend to deliver excellent music. When I think of Mumford & Sons, I think of fast-paced folk rock. To say this song shocked me is an understatement. Of course the uptempo folk sound had to come in sooner or later, but it builds after this introduction of a beautiful world sound brought by singer Baaba Maal. This song speaks to me in ways that not many songs can. It makes me feel calm and hopeful, and fills me with love and a sense of simplicity. If you’ve never heard this song, I highly recommend you take a listen.
8. “Machine” by Misterwives
One of the reasons I like bands like twenty one pilots so much is because their music challenges the system. They “stick it to the man,” if you will. I enjoyed Misterwives’s music enough before, but I saw them open for Panic! At The Disco in February and they drew my attention with this song. Musically, I love songs that switch from a minor to major feel, which is what this song does. What drew me in about this song, though, was what they offered lyrically. In this song, Misterwives calls out the industry for attempting to computerize and generalize music. The lead singer states that she believes in “individuality.” She explains that she and her band make music for their peace of mind, not for others to recognize their name for fame. It’s an anthem. I’ll gladly sit here and sip my tea while Misterwives reads the industry for filth.
9. “Handlebars” by Flobots
Wow. Where to begin with this one. I discovered this song because of my dad, actually. He was giving me a lecture on early rap (probably), and I was fascinated by the groove of the song. When I actually sat down and analyzed the lyrics, I was hooked. At first, it seems like Flobots are bragging about the ability to simply “ride [a] bike with no handlebars.” As the song charges on, though, the lyrics continually brag about actions that become more and more ridiculous and, frankly, terrifying. By the end, the lyrics are screaming about having the ability to “mend a planet in a holocaust.” The message of this song is timeless, somewhat unfortunately. It speaks to the egos and blind beliefs of leaders in the world who think they are able to do anything. The more absurd the task in the song, the more I began to realize how people, let alone world leaders, become so consumed by power that they have no sense of what is good and bad. This song is a real eye-opener, and has been a favorite of mine for years.
10. “Dig Down” by Muse
Muse is without a doubt one of my favorite bands of all time. Musically speaking, there is no wonder this song has been deemed “Madness Part Two.” The instrumentals and groove of the song are very similar to their 2012 hit “Madness.” Lyrically, this song is another one I sat down and really thought about. Matt Bellamy mentions that a “clown takes the throne,” and given the current condition of these United States of America, I think we all know whom he is referencing. This is a song about finding strength, even when you have been beaten down, even when it feels like love is lost, even when it feels like you have no fight left in you. The lyrics beg you to dig down inside you and find the courage to stand tall despite the odds. This is exactly the kind of art we as a people need right now. This is more than just a song. It is a call to stand up for yourself and those you love, even in the face of despair.
You can listen to this playlist on Spotify!!
That’s all for this week! BIG thanks to Brenna for her playlist this week. It’s always great to hear what everyone is listening to! Check back next Wednesday for another Guest Playlist courtesy of Miss Kiana Corley!