Spring break 2016 is finally upon us and we are all in need of a good playlist that does not include electronic house music, or anything remotely close to what James Franco’s character in Spring Breakers would deem “sprang break” material. Roll your windows down, sit on a beach, or lay in bed and listen to good music for thirty minutes.
1. FIDLAR – “West Coast”
FIDLAR opens up with the most relatable lyrics a spring breaker could hear, “Skip school I’m already failing, told mom and dad that I’m bailing, now we’re driving up the coast,” sung in a skate punk tune. Aside from this probably being their best song off of their second album Too, the high energy “ahhs”, tied with a D-beat drum give an angelic picture to the extensive travel and mischief happening in the song.
2. Sufjan Stevens – “Chicago”
Sufjan Stevens is a gentle artist who utilizes drums, strings, keyboards and harmony to make an anthemic message that “all things go”. One of the most amazing things about the song is the fact that it’s six minutes long! The alternating line repetition makes it seamless and mindless, while still something you can sing along to after listening to it once. So, for those of you who aren’t venturing out of sweet Illinois this break, this song is the best for cruising down Lake Shore Drive with the windows down and glancing at the cityscape. (Fun fact: he wrote a song about the supercomputer on UIUC’s campus, but it didn’t make it onto the album)
3. Miike Snow – “Ghengis Khan”
As someone who just took a history midterm with this bad dude on it, I was elated to understand what the Swedes in Miike Snow were actually talking about. Ghengis Khan was the leader of the Mongol Empire in about 1300. This historical figure’s persona is put into play in falsetto with haunting piano and snare; there is an idea of being confused and controlling with a relationship that is happening and how they want to move forward with it. It’s an infectious tune, so don’t listen if you don’t have time to put it on repeat.
4. Smallpools – “9 to 5”
This song is for any Vampire Weekend fan out there because it is easily comparable to music on their self-titled album. Smallpools used this song to integrate a multitude of instruments into a poppy, working class anthem for everyone wanting to “pay the bills on time.” You’ll never get bored with the instrumental on this track even though the lyrics may be extremely repetitive.
5. Moose Blood – “Boston”
Moose Blood is a band that seemingly writes their songs in poetry, story form and adds instruments later. This song perpetuates the story of a messy break-up with the lead vocals growing in frustration and losing balance through the song. This artist is a little more on the edge of teenage angst and heartbreak than the others on the playlist, but it’s still something you can turn up and listen to with your friends.
6. The Orwells – “Southern Comfort”
Disgraceland is one of my favorite albums, and “Southern Comfort” comes close to one of the top favorite tracks. Like almost everything the Chicago-native band The Orwells does, the lyrics are cringeworthy. The riffs make up for the derogatory lyrics by being so distinct you could sing them alone. Like FIDLAR’s song on the playlist, there is a melodic string of “ahhs” that comprise another addictive tune.
7. Joyce Manor – “Catalina Fight Song”
For a one minute and five seconds Joyce Manor makes you want to go for a run or do some serious physical activity, which is something everyone should do at one point over break. Since it’s a minute there isn’t much to say other than listen to it.
8. Twin Peaks – “I Found A New Way”
Twin Peaks is another native Chicago band that is a personal favorite and a hot mess. This song mimics work by the Stones, and shows true appreciation for strong guitar riffs. Backed by (yet another) enchanting “ahh” there is a positive outlook overwhelming this song, aside from the fact that it proves rock is not dead!
9. Animal Collective – “FloriDada”
Animal Collective has never written anything formulaic, and I don’t see it in their future. With a plethora of percussion, synthesizers, and mixed vocals flying amid the song, there ends a harmonious piece of work that I attest to be the best they’ve produced in a while.
10. Wavves – “Way Too Much”
Wavves has released yet another infectious, but far less psychedelic track. This is a successful attempt for their new sound that is faster with a strong emphasis on the instruments. Since this track was also a controversy between the record label and the band it must mean it’s worth a listen!