One of the constant companions in life is music. If you are sad or happy there will always be a song that can articulate how you’re feeling when you don’t have the words within. The power of curating a playlist specially designed to render you and give you hope is one of the most cathartic exercises you can do. Aldous Huxley once said, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” I wouldn’t mind peeking into a playlist of his creation for his existential moments if Huxley was living now.
Listening to lyrics – the experiences of others – enables you to try and make sense of certain things that happen in life and how we react to those instances, subsequently. When you don’t feel like talking to someone it is much easier to connect with a song. A song is a friend. It is there for you at 3am, it’ll never judge you, or tell you to cop on. Music only ever wants to console and enrich. It makes you feel less alone and more importantly it assures you that everything will be ok. That’s how you feel after listening to The Beach Boys offer the words, ‘Don’t Worry Baby.’
There are particular events, places and people, then, in our lives that we will always associate with a certain band, album or individual song. That can be both a good and a bad thing. Music makes things feel a bit more real, it can make a moment come to life in your mind and bring you back to the feelings you had at that time. The connections and visuals you have with albums can be so obscure and far from the sound of that album, which makes you realise just how magical music is. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam’s record, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine reminds me of house sitting in during the summer and more specifically of an afternoon in October going to buy five pumpkins, crackers, tomatoes, cheese and then struggling and walking all of these essentials back to watch an episode of Rick and Morty. Having that makes that album even more special with each listen.
There are times though when you go through something for the first time and you don’t really know what’s in store for you. I have always found that if I feel a little lost I will always go straight to music as a way to figure out how I’m feeling. I’ve begun to notice songs that I instantly fell in love with a few months ago and would have returned to constantly in a different headspace and not taken a lot of notice to the lyrics, now those words feel weirdly prophetic in my life. This happened to me only yesterday, and it has made me feel that there is nothing more magical in the world than music. It also really, really terrified me.
If none of that helps or resonates, then perhaps this will, “Music… will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.”
Leonard Cohen – ‘Traveling Light’ (Sony)
Earlier this week a video featuring footage of Leonard Cohen in his final days talking about how he struggles to lift his legs out his bed (don’t we all) which then transitions into a lyric video filled with images of a younger Leonard compiled into a companion piece to ‘Travelling Light’, from the songwriter’s final album, You Want It Darker. That’s the other amazing thing about music, even if an artist has left the world physically they’re always nearby when they leave behind a body of work and wisdom.
Lana Del Rey – ‘Love’ (Polydor)
‘Love’ is the first single released by L.A. pop serenader, Lana Del Rey since her 2015 album, Honeymoon. The video shows an uncharacteristically cheerful Lana singing to a room of young lovers. It prompts the imminent release of her fourth album, which Del Rey has said features songs that are more ‘socially aware.’ In the meantime, while we wait for a body of new material from the singer she has been busy trying to oust Trump through the medium of witchcraft. I suppose desperate times call for extreme measures.
Alex Wiley feat. Hippie Sabotage – ‘Time’ (Self- Released)
It’s unbelievable that Alex Wiley was only twenty-one years old when he released his beloved second album Village Party. In the short three years since the Chicago born rapper has put out four records, including his most recent Village Party III: Stoner Symphony. Wiley does not garner the attention that he deserves, which is unfortunate to think that his music is not reaching as many people as it should.
Holy Motors – ‘Sleeprydr’ (Wharf Cat Records)
Holy Motors are an Estonian band that are bringing shoegaze pop back at a lovely tempo with their current single, ‘Sleeprydr.’ The four piece formed in 2013, when they went under the name Heavenly Motors. They are sort of an enigma, they do not share new music frequently or perform often. Four years of honing their sound and building more of an online presence with the sleepy video for ‘Sleeprydr’ may just be their breakthrough year.
Spoon – ‘Can I Sit Next To You.’
Spoon are a tricky band. When they’re good they’re excellent. When they’re not so good, it’s bad. Gimmie Fiction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga are just two examples of Spoon at their best when considering their discography. However, the band cannot be accused of maintaining the status quo, in 2012 singer, Britt Daniel formed Divine Fits along with members from Wolf Parade and New Bomb Turks before Daniel returned to Spoon in 2014 for They Want My Soul.
‘Can I Sit Next To You’, will feature on Spoon’s ninth studio album coming in March. It’s a funkier tempo for the band that may leave fans divided. The video is more than enjoyable, though.