Music can have a profound impact on your environment. It can be the soundtrack to your life. Today, we have great control over the type of music we listen to. There’s radio, CDs, iTunes, and many different streaming services. The internet makes it easier to explore all music, including underground and indie that would otherwise be rare to find, decades ago.
Personally I have a deep admiration for CDs. As a young girl, I was still listening to cassette tapes, and CDs were a big deal. They were double the price, double the size, and you could actually skip songs instead of impatiently playing with the fast-forward/rewind buttons.
I have good childhood memories going to our town’s local store “CDs & Tapes” (obviously they went out of business a few years later.) It was a roulette, paying $20 (that’s A LOT of money for a 90s school-child) for a CD when I only knew one song from the radio. It was riskier back then, before you could preview all the songs online.
I can appreciate radio/streaming, but I will always prefer CDs/tapes/etc… When an artist puts out a new record, the tracks should be in a purposeful order that tells a story — instead of randomness. Many pop artists do not put as much thought in the order of their tracklist because they are trying to sell singles. They are focused on radio top hits. I prefer hearing a story rather than bop after bop.
I really enjoy creating playlists and burning mixed CDs. In a way, it’s like I am creating my own story by borrowing the pieces of others’s stories. I have made many mixed CDs for friends and family and it makes me happy to see them appreciate it. I once gave my friend a mixed CD and she told me how she could see how much thought was put into it. Never hesitate to ask me to make you a CD — just give me a genereal idea of what artists/genres you prefer!
In the past few years, I started listening to records. I bought a record player in college. I only have a few records right now, because of the high price, but someday I hope to have a decent collection I can display with pride. I’m obsessed with the whole aesthetic of records. Something so nostalgic and dreamy about it, as well as a feeling of true respect for music. It is an entirely different quality of sound.
Music is a wonderful thing. It can be a way of controlling your life, in a way. The lyrics seep into your thoughts and the melodies seep into your movements. Sometimes it’s not until you look back, when you see how much an album, artist, or genre has shaped you.
One of the best musicians from the late 60s/70s was the underrated Melanie Safka. She performed at the legendary Woodstock 1969 and was the first female artist to have three singles reach the Top 40.
Melanie Safka covered some classic artists of her time such as Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones, putting in her own unique sound and making it even better. “Ruby Tuesday,”I believe was meant to be sung by a woman. She took “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and added some spunky female pizzazz, making it stronger and more powerful.
As a talented song-writer, she wrote some extraordinary masterpieces. She is best known for her song “Brand New Key,”which she wrote by herself in about fifteen minutes. The song is cute, catchy, and carries a nostalgic 1930’s vibe to it. “For somebody who don’t drive, I’ve been all around the world // Some people say I’ve done alright for a girl.”
Yet she wrote more than just bops. Melanie Safka was ultimate hippie-inspiration, as she used her platform to make political statements and voice her unpopular opinions. She has always been a big believer in peace, individual rights, animal rights, environmentalism, equality, and feminism. Melanie labels herself as a libertarian and dissociates herself from both the democratic and republican parties.
“What Have They Done to My Song, Ma?” is another big hit of hers. The song is about the corruption of the world, how innocence is twisted and exploited into profit. “Well if the people are buying tears, then we’ll be rich someday, Ma.”
“I Don’t Eat Animals”is not only political but also somewhat humorous. “I don’t eat white flour, white sugar makes you rot // Oh white could be beautiful, but often, it’s not,” she sings as you can hear laughter from the crowd in the live-recorded version. Melanie sings about being vegetarian — very straightforward. “I don’t eat animals, I want nothing dead in me.”
“Peace Will Come (According to Plan)” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)”are also favorites of mine. They promote peace and encourage hope.
Melanie Safka is one-of-a-kind and deserves to be remembered and celebrated long after her time. Her positive impact on the world through music exceeds any other male artist.
Two years ago I put together a playlist to perfectly describe the season of autumn/fall. It starts with saying goodbye to summer and accepting that autumn is here to bring many changes; after a serotonin-filled summer of warmth and relaxation, the weather is now about to get cooler and a sense of loneliness is coming upon us. It’s easy to feel lonely as the days get darker and we see less sunlight. The playlist continues with the theme of Halloween and all the spookiness that comes with it — scary, yet fun at the same time. Spirits, ghosts, demons, etc. can represent all things that are buried so far deep inside of us that we pretend they don’t exist, all things that haunt us until we confront them. And as the days grow darker, we understand what it means to let go — by starting a fire and burning down the past. By now the leaves have turned a beautiful gold to mirror the beauty of letting go. Finally, the night is here and we are ready to breakaway.
1. Fall Into You — [Sunny Lax Remix] by Cosmic Gate & JES
“I’m gonna fall into you, just fall into light, under the midnight sky.”
Here comes Fall, before we are even ready for it. It’s time to let go, it’s time for an uncomfortable transition that we must embrace. But it’s not about running away, pushing anything away, or any sort of forced movement. It’s time to go with the seasons and do what feels most natural.
2. Season Of The Witch — Lana Del Rey
“When I look over my shoulder, what do you think I see? Summer kept lookin over his shoulder at me.”
This 1960s cover song is absolutely perfect for autumn. Welcome to the season of the witch.
3. Summer’s Gone — [Yoel Lewis Remix] by Alexandre Bergheau
“The night tells the truth, but I don’t wanna know it now.”
It’s time to accept that summer is over. Autumn brings loneliness as the days get darker. It’s vital to remember that darkness comes to bring us truth and understanding. It is the only way we can face our demons in order to set them free.
4. Harvest — Of The Trees
In the olden days before grocery stores, autumn was a season of harvesting crops and conserving them in preparation for the dead of winter. In modern times we can still relate — collecting fun summer memories in anticipation of the lonely winter. As we gradually spend less time going out, and more time cozying up in bed with a heated blanket, we transition from “doing” to “reflecting.” We harvest our experiences and think about what we learned, what we would do differently, what we should change.
5. Sweater Weather — The Neighbourhood
“Head in the clouds, but my gravity’s centered.”
As we get into October, it’s officially time for snuggly sweaters… yet still warm enough for high-waisted shorts.
6. Darkside — Alan Walker
“Don’t be afraid, the shadows know me.”
The more you fight the darkness, the stronger it gets. The more you suppress the darkness, the greater power it gains. Slide into the darkness naturally and without fear.
7. The Veil — Black Sun Empire [ft. Noisia]
“It has been a long journey of deep sleep and automation, but now the veil is no longer.”
Halloween marks the time when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. The veil is what blocks us from awareness. Once removed, we see things that we believed could not exist. What would happen if you removed the veil between the consciousness and the unconscious?
8. Ghosts – Japan
“Just when I think I’m winning, when I’ve broken every door, the ghosts of my life blow wilder than before.”
This is an experimental track from 1982. It is an eerie song about feeling cursed. I really like the use of xylophone here.
9. Don’t Get Spooked — Dubloadz [ft. Virtual Riot]
“There a many strange happenings, my boy, many mysteries beyond the power of the human mind the comprehend.”
This spooky song totally captures the mischievous nature of the season. Play with your fears, have fun with them!
10. Friend of the Devil — Grateful Dead
“I set out running but I take my time.”
This reiterates “making a deal with the devil.” What goes up must come down, all highs come with lows, everything catches up to you, no such thing as free lunch, etc. “The devil” is generally used as a symbol that represents everything that is negative. However, symbolically speaking, “the devil” essentially represents “the deal” — giving something up in order to get something else. It is not necessarily evil, nor is it holy. The things we fear the most in life are the things that can give us great pleasure and great pain, simultaneously.
11. Insanity — Mangal Suvarnan [ft. Eshani S]
“You’ve made a slave out of me with your memories.”
To lose your mind means to give up everything you know. It’s not uncommon to find yourself in situations when you are forced to reconsider everything you thought that you knew was true.
12. Cry Murder — Sumo Cyco
“Gonna go off on a tangent like a bandit thief in the night.”
You have to release all your rage and anger or else it will bubble up inside of you as resentment and come back later to haunt you. Halloween is when we dress up in costume and disguise ourselves in order to let our evil parts come out. Suddenly we all have a morbid sense humor and an admiration for horror films, as we decorate our house with skeletons and bloody vampires. (Sure some of us are like this all year, but this is the only socially acceptable time to embrace it.)
13. Dead AF — Krewella
“Dancing with the skeletons out of all the graves you dug.”
Zombies walk among us. This song is about lifeless people who are still alive (zombies) because the only thing that they live for is money. They buy all their “friends” and rely on money, instead of good character, to win people over. Watch out for the zombies, steer clear of them if you want to stay alive.
14. bury a friend — Billie Eilish
“When we all fall asleep, where do we go?”
The message I get from this song is, “should I forgive you or kill you?” — to “kill someone” by cutting him/her out of your life and making him/her feel dead to you. And to “kill someone” means to kill a part of yourself — the memories and feelings inside of you that are tied to that person — essentially committing suicide. As dark as the song may seem, it is actually a positive message of forgiveness.
15. Eyes on Fire — Blue Foundation
“Felling any foe with my gaze.”
I see this as having the bravery to defeat your enemies — and the greatest enemy we have is ourselves. All of your ghosts, demons, etc. can be taken down as long as you believe in yourself. This song comes just as Halloween has ended, as the veil begins to close again and the dark begins to give up its fight with light. After making it through the scariest part of the year, you can now relax and have faith in your ability to overcome darkness.
16. The Gold It’s In The… — Pink Floyd
“Count me in on the journey, don’t expect me to stay.”
November brings falling golden leaves. I see this song as feeling detached from the world and comfortable with letting go. Just going with the flow. There is great confidence that comes with embracing insecurity.
17. Fire and Gold — Bobby Saint
“Believe it, you’re a phoenix.”
Autumn is the process of burning down and surrounding yourself to death, so you are ready to be born again the winter.
18. Burn — Ellie Goulding
“They gonna see us from outer space. Light it up like we’re the stars of the human race.”
You burn down the past by letting go and learning to live in the moment. Worries, anxiety, and stress are all of the negative things that prevent us from fully feeling the present. Free yourself!
19. Golden Hair — Syd Barrett
“Watching the fire dance on the floor.”
Syd Barrett is an interesting man who must’ve had the strangest, most colorful mind. This song is a balanced blend of eeriness and tranquility. How can someone make you feel so comfortable yet uncomfortable at the same time?
20. Good as Gold — Greyson Chance
“I see the light at the end of the dark”
As we enter December, we truly feel the cold in this world and it becomes harder to keep your head held high. Everything around us has died — now we are ready for a fresh start. We made it through the darkest part of the year, we took down our personal demons, and now all that’s left to do is forgive. Keep going, the light is on it’s way — December 22nd.
21. Breaking Ties — OceanLab
“How could we be so right and so wrong?”
Guilt is a heavy chain we wear that prevents us from reaching our higher selves. Forgiveness is freedom. Break free from the past and embrace a beautiful new beginning.
Imagine the last couple weeks of summer, enjoying one last wild boat ride across the sea, in the beautiful country of the USA. Then you go relax with a drink and an enchanting woman comes in to play tunes on the piano and sing songs with her lovely voice.
Yet this is no ordinary woman, this is Lana Del Rey, and she does not hold back.
“Goddamn, man-child,” is her opening line. Her first track, “Norman f******* Rockwell,” is a beautiful piano ballad that portrays a man with a paintbrush, ready to paint your heart blue. You too, will feel the heartbreak.
And by the second track, “Mariners Apartment Complex” you can already get a feel for the whole vibe of the album, classic LDR but also something completely different. Very chill and also catchy with a lot of piano and acoustic guitar.
“Venice B****” has a similar sound. It is the longest track on the album — over nine minutes long.
“**** it I love you,” is just a beautiful and absolutely cheesy song.
I really like the Sublime cover of “Doin’ Time,” how she made it a little different and made it her own. I also really enjoy the music video.
“Love song” is nice but does not necessarily stand out to me, maybe it will grow on me.
What a sweet and sugary melody “Cinnamon Girl” has — but the lyrics, not so much, very sad. One of my favorites on the album.
“How to disappear” is an interesting song. In the first verse she sings about one man, in the second another, and in the third no one in particular except for a nameless “you.” And in the end, she says she will always be there and never disappear.
“California” is about missing someone who feels they have to conceal that they are missing you back.
“The Next Best American Record” is similarly about missing someone with more of a nostalgic feel. It also has a little more rock to it.
“The greatest” continues with the theme of aching for the past — not so much a specific person but times of the past. There is also worry about having already “peaked” in life and things looking downhill from here on.
“Bartender” is a cute song but also does not necessarily stand out to me. Although I do like the t-t-t sound she makes.
“Happiness is a butterfly” is another one of my favorites on the album. I find it inspiring. I love the ending, great way to wrap up the album.
Finally, we end with “hope is a dangerous word for a woman like me to have — but I have it.” This is a wonderful song! It feels raw, vulnerable, yet also empowering. Another favorite!
NFR! covers everything from heartache and total despair, to true love and unshakable faith — all the colors of the paint palette. I like her deliberate use of upper and lower cases of the song titles. This unique album stands out on its own and each song fits together like a beautiful masterpiece. It is an album of reflection and being completely honest with oneself and one’s emotions.
Melanie Martinez just dropped a visual album, “K-12.” The film, essentially a sci-fi musical, is over an hour-and-a-half long. It’s a continuation of her first album, “Cry Baby,” which is the introduction of the persona of Crybaby. Her style is very unique and specific — cute and creepy, a theme of childlike innocence mixed with adult context. Her music tackles serious issues with a splash of creative imagination. It has been four long years since her previous album but it was certainly worth the wait.
The story starts with Crybaby waking up in her bubblegum-pink home and preparing herself for the very beginning of her school years that will take her from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Crybaby looks in the mirror and brushes her half-black-half-rainbow pigtails. Heading into the kitchen, she pours cereal and is pleasantly surprised to see her pet spider fall out of the box.
The pink school bus scene is when her first song plays, “Wheels on the Bus.” Crybaby is getting bullied and feels anxious about making friends. But she has already found herself sitting next to a girl she seems to have already clicked with, and they share their fears about not fitting in. A boy walks onto the bus and they smile at each other, but he has been snatched by an aggressively jealous mean girl.
Now they have arrived to the school building, which looks like a beautiful haunted mansion. Ghosts fly by through the hallways. Crybaby and her new friend head to class, located in room 222. It’s time to say pledge of allegiance but one boy refuses because he’s angry at this country, so a group of people barge in and take him away.
At recess, “Class Fight” plays. The jealous girl from the bus ride attacks Crybaby and cuts her. This somehow “activates” Crybaby’s powers as her eyes turn black and the two girls float above the ground, and then she chokes her with her hair. This song is about the difficult feelings that come with jealousy, questioning if you should give the person up or fight harder for them.
The class fight causes the girls to get sent to the principal’s office. “The Principal” is about blindly following a leader who abuses his/her power. The students wait outside the office while a teacher is getting fired for being transgender. After the students enter, the song plays, and the scene is set like a traditional courtroom mixed with a ballet dance floor.
Later we see the principle drinking a mysterious substance that causes him to pass out, then a group of people with rabbit heads come in and stick him with a needle. If you haven’t figured it out yet, by now we can clearly see that something is very wrong with this “school.”
Crybaby returns to class for “Show & Tell” and every person in the room turns their head and stares her down, conveying the feeling of being watched and judged, causing one to become controlled. By now we are around the age of third grade, generally the time when a child becomes much more self-aware.
“Nurse’s Office,” plays as evil nurses drug the students with needles that causes them to go crazy. This represents reaching puberty and becoming flooded with hormones. After being locked up by the evil nurses and rabbit-head people, a magical goddess-like figure appears out of nowhere to save them and offer deep words of wisdom.
“Drama Club” is about the roles we are expected to take on, especially as men vs. women. “Strawberry Shortcake” is about body issues that come with puberty and will follow for the rest of your life. It also covers how women are expected to cover up and feel ashamed of their bodies because of how men might react. Both tracks do a great job at addressing sexism.
“Lunchbox Friends” deals with navigating friendship and surrounding yourself with supportive and open-minded people. During lunchtime, Crybaby goes to the bathroom and discovers a classmate with bulimia, then goes onto comfort her with “Orange Juice.” Both tracks deal with social pressures.
Next in the film, a food fight breaks out and the principal’s son has the rabbit-head people send Crybaby to “Detention.” The evil nurses are back to once again stick the students with needles. Crybaby is dragged onto a stage where she is forced to dance with two other girls. She then seems to have used her “powers” to cause the principal’s son to set her free and she successfully escapes detention. The girlfriends gather together and make a plan to set the students free from school, but the son is spying on them and listening to their every word. On another note, Crybaby find a love letter in her locker.
A student falls for a teacher as “Teacher’s Pet” plays, yet luckily Crybaby sees that this girl is being controlled and comes to her rescue. “High School Sweetheart” is a very sweet love song. Crybaby sings it while gracefully dancing around the school.
The film wraps up at the school dance. She is asked to go with the principal’s son and only accepts his invitation in order to help with the plan to get free. Unfortunately it was too late for the other boy who genuinely adores her. But she ends up taking down the principal’s son, gaining access to the loudspeaker so that she can tell everyone to exit the building immediately. “Recess” is about running away and breaking free.
Finally, Crybaby unites with the boy who had been originally planning on asking her to the dance — who confesses to writing the love letter — and the two of them blow a conjoined spit bubble which causes the school to blow up. FREEDOM!!! A magical portal opens up, and Crybaby hesitates to enter, and then the screen goes blank!
I was blown away by “K-12” and all the symbolism and metaphors that came with it. Not only does it cover the joys and challenges of our childhood school years, it also emphasizes the fact that we never truly graduate because life itself is school. The traumas from our early years follow us into adulthood. That inner child sticks with us, for better or worse. Adulthood still comes with insecurities, peer pressure, authority figures, and drama. Most importantly, we must wake up to the injustice of the world and realize our own power.
Last weekend, I was in New York for Electric Zoo festival. I went with my friends and it was all of our first times at E-Zoo. It was similar to the time we all went to Electric Daisy Carnival NY in 2015, but even better! It’s a three-day event that takes place on Randalls Island, which we took a ferry to get to.
Friday was the most exciting day because it had just begun! I was nervous not knowing exactly what to expect. For my outfit, I dressed as Harley Quinn — Suicide Squad era. I loved all the random statues and artwork, and of course I had to get pictures with them. I also have pictures of Laura Sofia and a random girl doing a kandi bracelet trade. Kandi bracelet trade is a special music festival ritual — you do a peace-love-unity handshake and then trade handmade beaded bracelets that are colorful and sometimes have messages spelt out. My favorite sets were Kaskade, Oliver Heldens, Getter, and 4B.
There were WAY more people on Saturday! It really gave me anxiety, how many people were there. We had to wait 45 minutes for water (as apposed to less than two minutes Friday and Sunday). All the lines were long, everywhere. Still, it was a lot of fun and the DJs were killer! So upsetting that we missed Benny Benassi… how dare they schedule him at 3:00 PM? (We got there around 5ish.) Above & Beyond, Zedd, and Flux Pavilion were my favorites! At the very end of the night, some girl came up to me for a kandi bracelet trade!
Sunday was awesome! We had rose slushies with strawberries on top… so delicious! I also had a very tasty (yet ridiculously expensive) pizza. I had yet another kandi bracelet trade! We still went hard that day, but were definitely feeling a little worn. Favorites: Alison Wonderland, Armin Van Buuren, Dog Blood, Boombox Cartel, Cash Cash, and GTA. Sunday had the BEST setlist! So many good ones, too bad we were unable to see them all!
It was an unforgettable experience but now I am incredibly tired…