Dear 100 Hour Board,
Annual music question time! What should we have listened to since the last reunion?
Dear George ~
Yellow's brother started a band called Hawker Roam. This is my shameless plug to help a local band. They just got accepted to Velour's Battle of the Band this summer.
Also while I'm shamelessly plugging local bands to whom I am related, let me also suggest Roadie. They won Velour's Battle of the Bands last year and are on tour right now. The singer is my cousin's daughter and once played Anna (from Frozen) for Niffler Baby's birthday. I also really like their folk sound.
~ Dragon Lady
I haven't been listening to a lot of music lately but what I have been listening to are the following albums:
- Dedicated by Carly Rae Jepsen
- WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? by Billie Eilish
- Cuz I Love You by Lizzo
- Acrylic by Leikeli47
I haven't listened to much new music, but I've listened to a bunch of music that's new to me. A few albums that I consider highlights:
- In the category of 90s Emo Before It Went Mainstream And Got Ruined: Designing a Nervous Breakdown (The Anniversary), American Football (American Football), Everynight Fire Works (Hey Mercedes), The Power of Failing (Mineral), Look Now Look Again (Rainer Maria)
- In the category of Spanish Punk: Ahora que se ha ido el sol (Konsumo Respeto), Arde Ribera (Piperrak)
- In the category of Turns Out He Sang Stuff Other Than "Werewolves of London" Too: Life'll Kill Ya (Warren Zevon)
- In the category of Acoustic Albums That Shouldn't Work But Somehow Do: The Ghost Note Symphonies, Vol. 1 (Rise Against)
- In the category of Apparently I Like Swedish Metal Now?: Prequelle (Ghost)
- In the category of All The Other Writers Said They Love Billie Eilish So I Listened To Her And Now I Do Too: WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? (Billie Eilish)
- In the category of Actually This Was A Huge Disappointment And You Can Skip It: Simulation Theory (Muse)
- In the category of Upcoming Albums To Ask Me About Next Year: as-yet untitled tenth album (Jimmy Eat World); Miracle Pill (Goo Goo Dolls); Fever Dream (Of Monsters and Men)
Dear music lover,
My picks for 2018-2019 are as follows:
Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
Gorgeous, dreamy, bittersweet pop country with impeccable production. It won the Best Album Grammy this year, and in a shocking twist for the Grammys, it actually deserved it. Listen to "Slow Burn."
Janelle Monaé - Dirty Computer
I've been a fierce promoter of Janelle Monaé for years, and it feels like pop culture has finally caught up. She's the most exciting creative energy in pop right now and demands your attention. Listen to "Crazy, Classic, Life."
Kurt Vile - Bottle It In
This dude knows his way around a trippy guitar groove. Check out "Bassackwards."
boygenius - boygenius
This is a collaborative project between three folk singer-songwriters: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus. The EP is short but the harmonies are gorgeous and the songs are gold. Good luck listening to "Me & My Dog" without crying.
F---ed Up - Dose Your Dreams
This Canadian hardcore punk band has been a critical choice for several years, but last year's album represented a giant leap forward in stylistic progression. They actually have some melody this time around! Try "Raise Your Voice Joyce." If the vocal style immediately jars and repels you, go back and reread the first five words of this paragraph and reflect that you may have some preconception about music worth challenging.
Mitski - Be the Cowboy
Another powerful indie singer-songwriter. If you hear "Geyser" and don't feel something rising in your chest urging you to raise your fist and declare your undying love for someone, well, what are you even doing with your life?
Parquet Courts - Wide Awake
A garage rock band that only a few years ago was making lo-fi records about being stoned and starving. Now, they're branching out and incorporating all kinds of sounds and to everyone's surprise, they're really good at all of them. Check out "Wide Awake" for a full-throated dose of Talking Heads.
Foals - Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost
Some quality synthy 80s-style pop with layered production and great harmonies. The whole album is solid. Listen to "Exits."
Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated
CRJ's return to the stage after her last record Emotion conquered the hearts of pop lovers everywhere. It's hard to say if Dedicated will be as well loved since it's so new, but I think it's fantastic so far. And the music video for "Now That I've Found You" is easily my favorite of the year.
Shout out to The 1975, whose new record is actually pretty good when they're not trying to be new Bon Iver or Radiohead circa OK Computer. Also, shout out to Lil Nas X, whose single "Old Town Road" went viral through the power of memes, got kicked off of the Billboard Hot Country charts for not being "country enough," and is now celebrating its TENTH WEEK at number 1, 8x Platinum and still going strong. Suck it, gatekeepers!
We've gotten some really good music this year; here are some of my thoughts.
Trench (Twenty One Pilots) - Definitely one of the best albums to come out during the past year. Van Goff's ranking of the tracks below is wrong, but what's important is that we all love Trench.
The Fox or Flower (Fox Running) - Last year, I recommended my friends' album, Pipes. Since then, the band has gone their separate ways, but they recorded this single together, along with a couple of other very talented musicians. If you only listen to one song from my recommendations, make it this one.
Post Traumatic (Mike Shinoda) - I mentioned it last year, but the album (plus a couple bonus tracks) is fully out now, so I'm gonna say it again. I especially like "Brooding", "Promises I Can't Keep", and "I.O.U."
Art of Doubt (Metric) - If you haven't heard Metric, you should check them out. They rock.
Simulation Theory (Muse) - My feelings on this album are mixed. I don't think it's fair of yayfulness to say that it's a total disappointment, but I agree that it's not one of their best albums. From the standard album, I particularly like "Pressure", "Break it to Me," and "Thought Contagion". "Dig Down" is only good on the acoustic gospel version from the deluxe album, and I think the alternate versions of "Algorithm", "The Dark Side", "Something Human", and "The Void" are also better than the originals.
Weezer (Weezer) - Oh wait, there were two self-titled albums from Weezer this year. Teal is a bunch of covers; "Mr. Blue Sky" and "No Scrubs" are pretty good. Black is original music, and I really wanted to like it as much as I liked the white album, but I just didn't. "High As A Kite" and "Can't Knock The Hustle" are okay, but the rest is boring.
Thank You For Today (Death Cab for Cutie) - I didn't like this album as much as Kintsugi, but it's still super solid.
amo (Bring Me The Horizon) - As far as I can tell (I haven't really listened to their previous albums), this album is very different from the music they've made before. I like "MANTRA", "why you gotta kick me when i'm down", and "heavy metal".
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Soundtrack From & Inspired by the Motion Picture) (Various Artists) - Great movie, great soundtrack. I really like "What's Up Danger", "Start a Riot", and "Elevate".
Be the Cowboy (Mitski) - This is sad music. If this is you, this album is a good option.
Dans ma main (Jean-Michel Blais) - This album technically came out right before last alumni week, but it's really good so I don't care. It's very chill and mostly piano. The acoustic tracks from the deluxe version (or from Eviction Sessions) are nice sleeping music.
WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? (Billie Eilish) - As others have mentioned, this is good stuff. My favorite track is "you should see me in a crown".
Trench was the highlight of 2018 for me and like a ray of sunshine after two years of "twenty one pilots hiatus" darkness. All I had was half-alive's pilots-esque music to get through it and it was nice, but not enough. So I'm gonna rank all the Trench songs like that one person did with Sufjan Stevens (warning: some swears in that link):
14. "Pet Cheetah": It's hard putting any song as the worst because they're all good songs. For me, "Pet Cheetah" had good bits but didn't live up to its potential. I wanted it to be more like "Levitate" but its lyrics and beat just didn't hit quite as hard.
13. "Morph": This is probably a little controversial because it's one of the more popular singles. Loved the verses, couldn't get into the chorus for some reason. They just didn't feel as connected and fluid as I wanted them to be. Excellent lyrics, though.
12. "The Hype": A fun and lighthearted song with some of that good ukulele that I'd been missing while they were on hiatus. Speaking of the ukulele, it really blends well here.
11. "Cut My Lip": Relatable lyrics from the first line onward: "I'll keep on trying... might as well." I respect that.
10. "Chlorine": This seems like it's the most well-known single to come from Trench. And I think that's well-earned. Upbeat rhythm that somehow still meshes well with the lyrics' theme that pain can be cathartic and healing.
Also: now that they've released the acoustic version, I'd rate that as at least somewhere between #5 and #4. To quote those weird CDs that I used to see commercials for but never actually bought, now that's what I call music.
9. "Levitate": Twenty one pilots returning to what they're best at: intense rapping, impressive drumming, and oddly symbolic music videos.
8. "Neon Gravestones": One of the darker songs on the album but asks powerful questions about the way the media glorifies suicide and isn't helping people while they're still alive. I loved this song and the only reason it isn't ranked higher is because sometimes, the rhymes felt a little too heavy-handed for me. But still very thought-provoking.
7. "Smithereens": A solid 10/10 and a wholesome love song to Tyler Joseph's wife. The only reason that it's not an 11/10 is because it has "Tear in My Heart" to live up to, which will always be the better twenty one pilots love song.
6. "Leave the City": It took me a while to get into this song, but I've turned around and come to appreciate it. Tyler mentioned that he wrote this album during a particularly heavy faith crisis, and you can really feel his conflict in this song.
5. "Nico and the Niners": Probably the most overtly connected song to the "Bandito" subplot. I enjoyed it but know that not everyone did. It's an odd song and hard to compare to the other songs on the album, but I still find the whole Dema story and what it possibly represents interesting.
4. "Jumpsuit": J U M P S U I T J U M P S U I T C O V E R M E
3. "Legend": One of two songs on the album that makes me tear up. My grandma on my dad's side has dementia and hearing Tyler's heartfelt tribute to his late grandpa, who had Alzheimer's disease, was touching. Also, excellent rhythm.
2. "Bandito": It's like "Leave the City", but even better. When I first started my new job, I used to listen to this song on the morning Frontrunner commute and just get so pumped.
1. "My Blood": A hard-hitting and beautiful song about sticking by who we love in their darkest moments with some nice spiritual allusions. On a personal level, this single came out in August when I was having a pretty serious mental health crisis and I cried hard the first time I heard it. It reminded me that even though I felt so afraid and alone, I had my partner, my family, and also, y'know, Heavenly Father who loved me and weren't going to give up on me. Also the music video is so tender.
P.P.S. Fight me, Ento.
- Jade Bird. Story time: My friends and I went to see Hozier a few months ago. The venue was the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, about as outdoors as it can be. It was freezing cold and so windy that the mic stands and other items on stage kept flying away. Out comes this opener, a teeeeny tiny blonde in a jumpsuit, who could barely stand up straight in the wind. But then she started playing, and I am not exaggerating when I saw there was a silence come over the crowd as we all looked around, shocked at how insane good this woman we'd never heard of before was. She spent 30 minutes fighting the wind and standing on her mic stand to stay upright. It was one of the most energetic, fun sets I've ever seen. As soon as she was done, the rest of the concert was canceled due to wind. We weren't even mad. That's how good Jade Bird is. Here's a taste.
- Lewis Capaldi. He's a Scottish singer-songwriter whose debut album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, just dropped a few weeks ago. It's definitely more mellow than most of what I usually listen to, but the writing is superb. And apart from the music, his IG stories are the funniest thing I watch every day. Just an all-around good dude. Here's a taste.
- Jenny Lewis: She just released On The Line, her first album she produced in Nashville. While it's a bit of a departure from her previous work, the lyrics and sound are just as typically raw and beautiful as you'd expect from her. And if you never listened to her album The Voyager, do that now. Here's a taste.
- Maren Morris: You probably know her from the Zedd song "The Middle," but she's a country girl at heart. Her sophomore album, GIRL, dropped in March. Here's a taste.
- Betty Who: Australian dance pop queen Betty Who released her third studio album in February. Every song is fun; the album could be a party playlist all by itself. She can do no wrong. Here's a Taste.
- SOAK: She's a wonderful Irish singer-songwriter who I found out about through her appearance on QUEERY with Cameron Esposito. Her music is lyric-driven pop that has made my commute much more enjoyable. Here's a taste.
- SASAMI: Sasami Ashworth used to be in Cherry Glazerrr, but she's branched out and released her own album this year. The first time I heard her was in a friend's car. I asked him who it was, because I was enjoying it, and then very quickly realized she's my good friend from childhood's older sister whose Facebook postings about her music I'd just been scrolling past. Oops! But now I can vouch for her character *and* her music! Here's a taste.
- Goldmyth. My favorite from the Provo scene! Go see her! Do it! Here's a taste.
No new Coldplay music. Instead, please listen to Someone That Loves You '19 (Izzy Bizu) and Heaven (Avicii) (it'll be out by the time this question posts, so it counts) which both feature Chris Martin. I also suggest you revisit Viva La Vida (the whole album, in order). Masterful. Perfect Flow. Storyline. Well-timed ebbs and flows for an emotional experience. Energetic and Raw. 5 Stars.
The last while I've been really jamming with some old funk, soul, etc. "Sir Duke" (Stevie Wonder), "She's a Bad Mama Jama" (Carl Carlton), and "Play That Funky Music" (Wild Cherry) are what's in my queue right now.
To continue staying on brand, there's some good Americana/Folk Rock/Folk Pop stuff out. See: "Gloria and "Donna" (The Lumineers), "Call it Dreaming "(Iron & Wine), "Sedona" (Houndmouth), and "Real Love" (Imaginary Future).
Beyond that, I've been loving "If I Can't Have You" (Shawn Mendes), "Catch & Release - Deepend Remix "(Matt Simons), "Like a Girl "(Lizzo [MY QUEEN]), and Golden Hour (Kasey Musgraves) .
I'll just say that the new Big Thief album, U.F.O.F., is astoundingly beautiful and I highly recommend a listen.
Other then that, from this year and last I recommend Carly Rae, Nilüfer Yanya, Janelle Monáe, Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo, Mitski, Tierra Whack, Ariana Grande and Beyoncé live.
In other words, women have been killing it in the music scene lately.
Most of my "new" music comes from my roommate, ViolaSaint, who has broad and fascinating taste. Two distinct traditional regional styles I have learned about are:
- Georgian Table Singing. As I understand it, they're often sung around a dinner table, as part of a pleasant evening with a group. Check out this example, actually around a table, and this other video (maybe the same song, maybe just a similar one) of four very-skilled guys just standing there.
- Inuit Throat Singing. Throat singing is where there's a double-sound coming out of one person, often using overtones. This particular style (again, according to my very-imperfect understanding) came about mostly among Inuit women, as the menfolk were out hunting, as a way to occupy the time and keep warm. It is sometimes played as a game between two women (who get right up in each others' faces, hold each other's elbows, and sway to keep time), where the first person to break or mess up loses, though many of the videos you can find aren't actually games, they're just people recording the traditional songs. This video is just educational and they go through several songs, this one has bonus Mongolian throat singing (one of the overtones types) from the dude in back, and this one is the first I could find where it's a game, though they take forever to get started and then one breaks almost immediately once they do.
Ever since Russian Doll got that earworm, "Gotta Get Up", stuck in everybody's head, Sauron and I have fallen head over heels for Harry Nilsson. He's not new. But he is brilliant. I've also been enjoying Rubblebucket lately.
Waldorf & Sauron