Friday, January 4, 2013

Whatever Finals Want, Finals Get: A Playlist.

My finals playlist this past semester was weird, guys. Like, really, unrelatably weird.

I mean, sure, last winter, I managed to bring together Brahms & Demi Lovato—admittedly not the world's most readily accessible duo (though I'm now honestly trying to imagine what their collaborations would sound like). But this year, for whatever reason, things just got fundamentally, pathalogically odd. I'm talking multiple-songs-from-musicals, I-admit-to-digging-a-Ke$ha-song odd. Ah, well—the heart (that is, the caffeine-zapped fizzbrain) wants what it wants, I suppose, & these are the songs that happened to echo right across my weary synapses. (Still do, for the most part, as I hack furiously away at my thesis on these icy Bostonian shores—25 pages to go...)

I mean, I really do recommend giving them all a chance, as many are tried & true favorites (see: Pixies). But, to be fair, if you find yourself simultaneously psyched & comforted (the two essentials of any good finals music) by every single one of the songs herein, call me—I think we might be soulmates. Otherwise, pick & choose as you will from this lumpy smorgasbord of a playlist.

Oh, & as to the name: it comes from a dream I had, feverish & sleepless between bouts of paper-writing, in which I was attending a hologram lecture of some famous modernist thinker (whom I'm almost positive I made up). As he was reaching the peak of his speech, I could feel myself waking up, so I did my absolute best to hold on to what he was saying, & as soon as I opened my eyes, I rolled over & scribbled it on the back of a receipt. What I managed to get down: "a scary, changing disrapture of furor."

Does it make the tiniest bit of sense? No. "Disrapture" isn't even a word, as far as I'm aware. Nonetheless, I think it sums up a lot of my general feeling as of late—about academia, about people, about the fact that the world was supposed to end a few weeks ago but then just, you know, didn't, & another year trickled on by. So, without further ado, I bring you:

12-13-12: Disrapture.
[ ^ All together. On the YouTube. Check it. ^ ]

On the Rise—Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Though not a diehard Whedonite, per se, I do have fairly unflinching reverence for several of his creations (see: Firefly, Dollhouse—both of which I watched in their entirety during the week of December 10th), so when I first heard about Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, I thought it only prudent to explore. I'll admit, I wasn't hooked upon first viewing—it seemed little niche, lopsided, over before it really began. But it's the kind of thing that grows on you, I suppose—if only because I found myself spontaneously humming this song as I trudged back & forth from the library, despite not having seen or thought about it in years (perhaps a subconscious grasping toward the villain anthems that so often sustain me in times of crisis).

Cockney Thug—Rusko.

I saw Rusko by accident in my freshman year of college, as the first of four openers at Proxy's first ever US show. (This was just after "Raven" had come out, hence my desire to see live electronica in the first place.) All I remember (as I was not, shall we say, in peak frame of mind at the time) is that I found his set rather boring & his hype man—whose incessant chants of "RUSKO, LET'S GO" will forever be burned into my eardrums—fundamentally annoying. So, in the years that followed, I avoided even the tracks of his recommended to me by friends, having already written him off as unremarkable. Then, a few weeks ago, I accidentally unearthed this song from the depths of my iTunes, & I fell in love. It's nice companion piece to "Biggest Monkey," which I posted back in September—somewhat more amped, but equally flush with slurred British rancor & synth-brass, & therefore rather excellent.

11:11—Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire.

An oldie but goodie—that is, in the life of me. This song haunted my high school playlists, & with good reason: its rolling, wheedling orchestration, that blithely ominous chorus. It's perfect to curl up to—savoring the notion, at once comforting & damning, that the end's coming soon.

Wild World—Me First & the Gimme Gimmes (Cat Stevens cover).

Everything sounds better sped up & punked out, says I—& Cat Stevens is no exception. I mean, sure, the original is threaded through with lovely chords, but I've always found it bit lagging, energy-wise. However, with help from my beloved MF&GG, it becomes the perfect anthem for thrashing away frustration at how hard it is to get by just upon a smile.

The Quartet—The Secret Garden.

Note: The actual song starts about 42 seconds in. ]

When I was in 7th grade, my school put on "The Secret Garden" as our winter show: I played the composite choral role of a ghost, a moving piece of ivy, & a maid with one line, of which I was impossibly proud ("Beg your pardon, Doctor—it's Ms. Winthrop, sir"—a show-stopper, I assure you). Though I'm not generally a huge fan of traditional musicals—& this one in particular is a bit odd: austere, antiquated, essentially what you might expect from a faithful adaptation of a novel written in 1910—because it entered my consciousness early, every note clangs with pleasant nostalgia. Moreover, I find this song musically delightful—its four voices intertwining, disparate lyrics overlapping, backed by orchestral surges. Also, for reasons yet unknown, I tend to sing along to it repeatedly, for hours, in times of strife. Real talk. 

All the Time—Diamond Rings.

I posted about Diamond Rings recently, I know—but I simply can't get enough of him these days. His songs fall into one of the categories I deem ideal: Smart Dance Music—sounds that genuinely make you want to move paired with lyrics that don't make you feel guilty for knowing all of them. Especially after seeing him live a few weeks ago, I'm more committed than ever—caught up, as I was, in the catharsis of jiving, manic, sweating out academic toxins with every thump of bass.

Alcohol—Gogol Bordello.

Another old favorite—its Romanian strains chugging & asymmetric, Eugene's thickly accented lyrics wrought with hand-wringing (if, at times, ESL-ish) empathy.

Monkey Gone to Heaven—Pixies.

Simply put, the kind of song that makes you glad music happens—that sound waves turn into songs & guitars have the capacity to wail. Doolittle will always explain my brain best.

I Knew You Were Trouble—Taylor Swift.

Yep. T-Swift. Get into it. But really: this song was a staple during my final days in the Eye offices (yes, it's over—stray tear / monumental-sigh-of-relief-cum-fist-pump), & since then, I haven't been able to get it out of my head—nor have I necessarily wanted to. I honestly dig the change-up from quick-strumming guitar to crooked sways of dubsteppian synth, & as usual, Taylor's tale is woefully relatable. On that note, the music video (linked above) is priceless beyond measure—its de facto lesson: never get involved with a man in a porkpie hat & jean vest who spends most of his time standing on things he shouldn't & posing Jesus-like. That, or never dye your hair in a scrubby pink emo gradient. Works either way.

I—Nicola Roberts.

Roberts's more upbeat pop single, "Yo-Yo," made it on to my finals list from this past spring, but this semester, I've found myself drawn to this more subdued number—its slow, thick groove, its hypnotic battery of "I" statements (as the title would suggest). Though on some days I find her Kate-Bush-ian soprano flights somewhat grating, on most I find this oddly confessional track somewhat of an anthem—or, at the very least, a decent jam.

Chum—Earl Sweatshirt.

Tumbling piano riffs, tongue tripping over honest rhymes—everything I loved about "Luper" amplified tenfold. Because sure, there's something sinister to it, but also something kind of lovely.

He Hit Me—Hole (The Crystals cover).

This is one of those songs that you just hate to love—far guiltier than the traditional guilty pleasure, like when you catch yourself singing along to the at once impossibly sexist & impossibly catchy "Under My Thumb." In my mind, this song is even worse message-wise, with its apparent championing of domestic abuse & toxic jealousy—in the neighborhood of "Love the Way You Lie," but without even a modicum of self-awareness. Still, if any voice could do this conflicted masochism justice, it's Courtney Love's—scratchy & worn, tracing the words of an old factory hit & imbuing it with new, sinister significance.

Die Young—Ke$ha.

Say what you will—cast your stones—but it's happening. I genuinely get a kick out of this song. Maybe it's because I find the idea of dancing to death oddly romantic; maybe I lost some small chunk of my mind in this sea of caffeine & verbiage; or maybe it's just that this fucking parasitic chorus has taken root in my brainstem I've since been unable to leech it out. But for whatever reason, I find it compelling—at least enough for a despairing 3 AM lip sync (or five).


Then, towards the end of the chaos, for whatever reason, I started to have a hankering exclusively for women (plus a stray Michael Stipe) singing about death & ghosts. So, though they're not officially part of the list, here's these—a post mortem / Part II, if you will:

Lonely Ghosts—O+S.

The End of the World—Skeeter Davis.

Your Ghost—Kristin Hersh (feat. Michael Stipe).

&, last but certainly not least, a message from the man who singlehandedly got me through many a sleepless night in the final weeks of 2012—& will surely get me through many more as I barrel toward this fast-approaching January 22nd due date:

Happy New Year, y'all.

No comments:

Post a Comment