Music is good for the soul.
Especially, truthful music that combines catchy melodies with lyrics that say something richly meaningful.
Never has this been more apparent to me than when a loved one, especially a parent dies or is close to death – my mother is dying of ovarian cancer at the moment which is as painfully drawn out and heart-wrenching as you might expect – and while these songs don’t address death, they do dive deep into the marrow of life, in real and honest ways, and you are all the better for listening to them.
“The Fool” by Overcoats
Hailing from the music-drenched borough of Brooklyn, pop duo Overcoats have crafted a hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark song in “The Fool”.
Surging with a propulsive melody, a strident beat that will not be denied and a bitey emotional resonance that suits the track to a tee, this is a song with a compelling sense of self, euphoric chants and attitude to burn.
Described by Atwood Magazine as a “powerful message of empowerment, independence, and self-determination”, “The Fool” is a pop gem, the kind of song that immediately inspires you and makes your commute, your work day, hell your entire life, just that bit better.
It’s all feelings and insightful thought, raw emotions and truth about the human experience and it sounds AMAZING.
Can a song feel both ethereal and energetically powerful all at once?
It can if it’s “Violence” by Canadian musician, singer, record producer and visual artist Grimes and L.A. musician i_o which is all, in the words of Pitchfork, “swooning synths and propulsive melodies” and in my words, possessor of a towering lyrical and musical presence.
It’s goosebumps on the arms territory that comes with a few meanings according to Pitchfork:
“Lyrically, ‘Violence’ seemingly addresses an abusive relationship that thrives on an unequal power dynamic. ‘I am, like, begging for it’, she coos, before illuminating the toxic cycle: ‘You feed off hurting me.’ But ‘Violence’ can also be read as a metaphor for humans’ exploitation of the environment. In a now-deleted Instagram post, Grimes wrote that each song on Miss_Anthrop0cene ‘will be a different embodiment of human extinction as depicted through a pop star Demonology.’ If it’s uncomfortable to hear her revel in the damage, perhaps it’s because we’re complicit in its cause.”
“Violence” is one of those brilliant tracks that definitively and absolutely ticks a slew of boxes, conjuring up a song that arrests the mind, seizes the soul and fills with the heart with an insightful euphoria that is there for the duration.
“Stayaway” by MUNA
Keeping the past in the past can be a monumental challenge.
Just ask L.A.-based electronic pop trio MUNA – Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson – whose song “Stay Away” issues an almost desperate plea for the past to stay put and keep the hell out of the here and now, while recognising that for that to happen, some changes need to be made.
“‘Stayaway’ is a song about trying to rid yourself of a negative pattern and realizing that it requires you to make a whole network of other changes, like pulling at a small weed to reveal a dense and mighty root system,” the trio said in a statement. “If we try to just rip the pattern out on its own, maybe it will stay gone for a little while, but soon enough it will grow back because it’s supported by all the other things we do and how we do them — by our way of life.
“Staying away for good requires a careful dismantling and reconstruction of the whole root system, down to the way we think,” the band continues. “For us, today, this song is a reminder of how hard it once was. We listen to it and feel free, proud, and grateful.”
This great existential epiphany sits over a stirringly-confessional synth-laced pop melody that perfectly captures the great roil of emotions that accompanies these kinds of lifechanging realisations.
“bad idea!” by girl in red
Norwegian singer/songwriter Maria Ulven knows a “bad idea” when she sees one.
So much so, in fact that she’s penned a song with that self-same title, channelling, according to Northern Transmissions, her “trials and tribulations with mental health and sexuality”.
Set to a jaunty, upbeat light rock beat, “bad idea” is imbued with the artist’s emblematic honest approach to life situations, specifically bad affairs of the heart:
“i got the idea for the song after being on and off with a girl. i found myself going back to her repeatedly even tho i knew i shouldn’t have. for me bad idea is about wanting something very intensely and going for it without thinking about the consequences.” (Northern Transmissions)
“Tell It Like It Is” by Opus Orange
Paul Bessenbacher aka Opus Orange is a man who knows his way around a driving pop song.
Literally it seems with “Tell It Like It Is” the perfect for hitting the road and singing your lungs out, with or without the windows wound down.
A rollicking synth-drenched beat effortlessly conveys the essence of a song which is all about honesty and truthfulness, no matter how painful it may be to say or hear.
The appeal of this song, apart from a buoyant melody that never lets up to gloriously-uplifting effect, is the way it marries the light and the dark, the exuberant and the introspective to compellingly listenable effect.
SONGS, SONGS AND MORE SONGS EXTRA!
Coldplay have a new album — and rather handily two new singles! Everyday Life, their eighth long player releases 22 November 2019 with the new songs, “Orphans” and “Arabesque” already available.
Eurovision 2020 has a slogan. Well kind of …
The theme is “Open Up …” which has been left intentionally open, says Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer Event of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.
“The slogan ‘Open Up’ is intentionally incomplete: Open up to each other. Open up to music. Open up to Rotterdam. Open up to… whatever you choose! Feel the freedom to complete the slogan in your own way. That way we get to know each other better.
“We have looked for a theme and slogan that reflect what the Netherlands stands for and which the Dutch can identify with; a country with an open mind to the world, where we speak our mind, with respect for each other. We also found it important to choose a theme that reflects the spirit of our times. People are concerned about increasing polarization and freedom isn’t as self-evident for everyone as it should be,” emphasised Sietse. “With the slogan ‘Open Up’, we warmly invite people to open up to others, to different opinions, each other’s stories and of course to each other’s music.”