Time Capsule

Spotify recently blessed me with a personalized playlist compiled of “throwback” songs that I robustly consumed at a previous time. I will admit my preferred choice of music has become more refined and a bit snooty over the years – and I would be hard pressed to claim I’ve ever enjoyed the songs on the playlist. However, I can’t deny that initial thrill I felt when pressing play on this compilation, and so: here’s a link for you, my dear reader, to click on and listen along while you read! Note: I won’t put you through the struggle of listening to and reading shallow analysis of 25+ songs – I’ll give you a few highlights. Death Cab for Cutie: “I Will Follow You into the Dark” Plans: Undeniably one of THE most depressing songs that I have ever had the pleasure – or perhaps displeasure – of listening to. Sometimes your go-to emo song is a little too loud, a little too cluttered, and you need something cleaner. Enter: this song. “I Will Follow You…” is beautifully presented – only guitar and vocals, and the guitar strumming pattern never changes, either. At face value, this repetition may seem a little, for lack of a better word, repetitive. However, this song is too outwardly bleak for any extravagance in any part of the song, instrumental or vocal. DCfC’s singer, Ben Gibbard, has a ridiculously calming voice, and his peaceful intonation creates an even starker contrast between his rich sound and the emptiness of his words. Miley Cyrus: “East Northumberland High:” Hannah Montana 2: In my highly unprofessional opinion, early Miley Cyrus music showcases her best work. “East Northumberland High” is the epitome of bubblegum pop: the first few bars of guitar intro envelops you in a sugary rush of pubescent excitement. The squareness of the entire song is incredibly satisfying – from quarter note background rhythms to cutesy dotted half note syncopations. To top it all off, the lyrics are perfectly cliche! There is nothing better or more wholesome than singing about a boy you were once into, but you’ve since moved on to bigger and better things! (or boys!). The Killers: “Mr. Brightside:” Hot Fuss: One excellent evening, I was exiting a local U-District Thai restaurant (Little Thai, in case anyone was wondering) with a warm box of takeout salmon curry, and I happened to hear a girl ask her friend an important question about “Mr. Brightside.” If I remember correctly, she queried: “Do they even say ‘Mr. Brightside’ in “Mr. Brightside?” The answer, my fellow Thai food lover, is a resounding yes. Brandon Flowers sings it in the first iteration of the chorus, or perhaps more (maybe less?) accurately: the 46th measure. “Mr. Brightside” has become a modern-day legend – almost everyone knows the song, and its ubiquitousness is not undeserved. It’s angsty, it’s raw, and it’s realistic; oftentimes, angsty pop-rock songs give off an artificial vibe, but The Killers dish things out real and unfiltered. Lupe Fiasco: “The Show Goes On:” Lasers: Lupe Fiasco is a gifted rapper, not that I know anything about rap, per se. But, he’s a rapper with a real way with words; he doesn’t put forth random rhymes about nothing with substance (at least not on “The Show Goes On.” This song is honestly quite uplifting, if the title didn’t already give it away; listening to this song feels as though Lupe Fiasco is telling you directly to keep on going. I will say, though, that this song has more to it than just surface-level motivation – he refers to young black women and men and how he does what he does for them. He raps about supporting these young kids living in ghettos, and he encourages a positive outlook in a rather bleak moment of the song, telling listeners to keep going even if they see “brown grass or green grass…[or] picket fence[s] [or] barbed wire[s]…” The metaphorical applications of this song are just part of what makes Lupe Fiasco an incredible artist. Another piece of trivia to this song: the melody is not original! Although I’m not sure if he bought rights to use the melody, “The Show Goes On” is melodically based off “Float On” by the band Modest Mouse (and its bass line is based off Pachelbel’s Canon in D). As an additional note not relevant to any of my Time Capsule songs, I’d like to briefly discuss the recent release of Taylor Swift’s cover of the timeless Earth, Wind & Fire song “September.” I am appalled! She took a beautiful piece of funky and traditionally black music and desecrated it. Taylor Swift is talented in her own right, and she has released some excellent albums, but why did she have to pick “September?” To reference my personal favorite interpretation of TSwift’s cover: “It sounds like housing discrimination.” In any case, I hope my Time Capsule brought to light some of your favorite songs from the recent past. Perhaps you will be even motivated to cultivate your own list!- Elizabeth Abel (feel free to send me your playlists through Twitter! click on my name for a direct “line” to me).  Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!