The past few months have been a wonderful discovery of new music, or recent music I hadn’t heard before. I can’t even remember the last time I had so many good choices to listen to in the car, rather than relying on just one or two albums or artists (which isn’t too bad a situation either). Now, there’s a kid-in-a-candy-store feeling to driving.
I now see that ‘the album’ is no longer the way to listen to an artist’s songs. Sure, the artist could arrange their songs in an order that feels most right to them, but then the listener doesn’t have to keep with that, instead rearranging the songs in a playlist of their own.
Here are the artists, and the Spotify playlists I’ve made of them:
Hey VioLeT – First heard them with the song ‘Break my heart’ last October. It was interesting enough to save the album on Spotify. But then, I really got into them this April, with my favorite songs still being ‘Hoodie’ and ‘Where have you been (all my night).’
Allie X – Apparently, Katy Perry made Allie famous in 2014, but I had no idea she existed until April, when I heard ‘Tumor’ randomly played by Spotify (Thank you, Algorithms, whatever you are!). The song is one of my less favorite ones of hers, but it was enough to arouse my interest in her two albums, of which apparently ‘Collxtion II’ is a stronger work. I love the instrumentation, simple melodies that don’t get tiring within one minute (not even three), and she belts it out like Sarah Brightman (but with better songs).
Great Good Fine Ok – Very little representation of male vocalists in this list, and my favorite musical discoveries of the past decade are of people with vaginas (Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, Carly Rae Jepsen), but the melodies and beats of this group are just very great good fine okay.
Fickle Friends – Solid songs. It was in discovering the song ‘Velvet’ that I realized what a great age of pop music we are in right now, for which I’m so grateful. I mean, it would be so easy to have never heard of this group.
MUNA – Holy shit. ‘About U’ is the first album in more than a decade that I like all the songs of. The weakest song ‘Winterbreak’ is apparently a favorite of many, and the only reason it’s my least favorite is because the verse reminds me of The 1975, who are okay I guess but all their songs sound the same. And MUNA’s Tegan and Sara collaboration cover ‘Relief next to me’ is better than any Tegan and Sara song that I’ve heard.
Tegan and Sara – I’ve tried listening to their stuff from the early 2000s, but they only get interesting to me when they began working with producer Greg Kurstin in 2013.
Shura – This woman is brilliant. She recreates the 1980s more convincingly and authentically than anyone else I know. It’s only been a week, but I just love her melodies.
Paperwhite – Haven’t really gotten into them, but they sound good.
Betty Who – This artist kept showing up randomly on my Spotify, and I liked what I heard enough to listen to her albums. Just good and happy stuff. She sounds like Katy Perry.
Assorted – This is my playlist for artists whose one or three songs I like enough to want to listen again. My current favorite song is ‘Sing me to sleep,’ which I found out was a big hit two years ago – the YouTube video has been watched 425 million times!
You probably notice my predilection for the 1980s. With the current indie-ish music scene, it feels like the mid-1990s that gave us TLC, the Backstreet Boys, the Spice Girls, etc. (who have their good songs too, to be fair) was a detour and we’re now back on track. In the current golden age, there is renewed emphasis on the power of reverb (not too much though), atmospheric synth, and probably most importantly, creative, atypical melodies uncontaminated by hip-hop, which is not totally a negative thing, though I’m using it in a negative sense here, where rhythm and lyrics take precedence over melody instead of work with it.