Written by Claire Schroeder
Happy Casimir Pulaski Day! Unfortunately, most people (even in Chicago) do not consider this day to be a real holiday. I, on the other hand, love the day. But those of you who don’t know what czarnena is need not feel excluded today. Who says you have to be Polish to treat yourself to pierogi? Whether you decide to recognize the holiday, or you choose to simply go about it like any other Monday, here are some songs to keep you company.
1. “Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens
Though the words in this song have very little to do with the title, it is hard to overlook the appropriateness of including Sufjan’s song in the mix. It may be sad, but it is also beautiful and reflective.
2. “Chester’s Burst Over the Hamptons” by Kishi Bashi
Kishi Bashi provides the complete opposite to Sujan Stevens’s song. The song opens with an explosion of energy, and pushes forward with a catchy melody.
3. “That Old Black Hole” by Dr. Dog
This song is packed with great lyrics, but my personal favorite line occurs toward the end, when the singer exclaims, “‘These are tears of joy,’ cried the weeping willow.” Sheer genius.
4. “I’m Not Living in the Real World” by Belle & Sebastian
It was recently announced that Belle & Sebastian will be going on tour this year, so people who felt their worlds change upon first listening to If You’re Feeling Sinister, yet were a bit too young and/or oblivious to see them in the past, can now die in peace. Here is a song from their 2010 album, Write About Love.
5. “Skies Over Cairo” by Django Django
Django Django is a great up-and-coming band from the UK. Though they released their self-titled debut over a year ago, they are finally picking up momentum in the US. This song is an example of their ability to make music that people could either dance to or just unwind to.
6. “I Left Town” by Julie Doiron
Julie Doiron has a knack for writing poignant songs without becoming whiny or pathetic. This song is simple, but not boring, and her voice is gentle, but not meek. In other words, she benefits from things that are the weaknesses of many other artists.
7. “Half Light II (No Celebration)” by Arcade Fire
Rumors are circulating that Arcade Fire hopes to release their fourth album by the end of this year, including a few collaborative tracks with James Murphy. I cannot wait. Here is a song from 2010’s The Suburbs.
8. “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” by The Talking Heads
This song turns the clocks back a bit, but it seems to be a nice follow-up to “Half Light II,” as it takes all of the angst and turns it into a feeling of calm happiness.
9. “Fall” by Devendra Banhart
This song is from Devendra Banhart’s wonderful Rejoicing in the Hands. Like the rest of the album, it is hard to listen to the song only once. It is relaxing, but also darkly folksy.
10. “Baby Birch” by Joanna Newsom
Finally, here is a song for anyone willing to sit still for over nine minutes. Like most of Joanna Newsom’s music, “Baby Birch” is in no rush to get to the point, or even the first chorus. Yet, listening through to the end is rewarding, because the song unfolds with stunning beauty.