Monthly Obsessions – April 2022

Very mini mix this month (she said alliteratively). I think I just didn’t keep as good of a track, as it were, of what I had on repeat like I usually do. That said, I did want to call out one of the gems on here. Alex Melton has been in the game for a while, and I was listening to/rediscovering his work. He primarily does “y’allternative” covers, a genre he seems to have developed; it’s essentially country-style covers of pop-punk classics. In April, one of the covers I had on repeat was “Miss You” by blink-182. I’ll have to do a longer entry on Alex eventually for my Covers Corner series.

Monthly Obsessions – March 2022

It was ’60s and ’70s vibes around here this past month, apparently. I love “America” by Simon & Garfunkel. Not sure if it’s my favorite song of theirs, but it’s pretty high up there. (I may have mentioned at one point that I like the soundtrack version of “Mrs. Robinson” better than the original. #hottake) There was a time when I’d turn it up at the chorus: “it took me four days to HITCHHIKE FROM SAGINAW/I’VE GONE/TO LOOK FOR AMEEEEERICA.” Think you can’t belt along to ’60s folk crooners? Think again!

“Morning Has Broken” is such a romantic song to me. It’s so hopeful and joyful as well: today is a new day, just like the first one ever made. “Medicine” is romantic, too, though obviously in a different way. It’s a paean to someone that’s literally healed the narrator. The song is softer and more sweeping than the others in The 1975’s catalogue, and is definitely my favorite.

“Stealin'” by Uriah Heep was a new discovery this month. I love it! The song starts out like an echoing version of a country song and crunches into hard rock made for jamming. Now that’s something you can belt along to.

Monthly Obsessions – February 2022

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? What with Current Affairs, both at home and abroad, maintaining a culture blog felt…small somehow. Let me know in the comments if you run a culture blog and feel/felt the same way. But I love doing these “scrapbook” posts, so without further ado, here’s what I was listening to last month. It’s a mini list this time, but let’s dive in.

I had “I Eat Boys” on repeat actually. It’s this cheerful little ditty that has major Jennifer’s Body vibes. “Want You Like That” was a recommendation from my roommate. Looks like this was something of a Peter Gabriel month as well. “Sledgehammer” is catchy and has pretty ridiculously suggestive lyrics. Sexy songs these days are much more overt; let’s see what you can do with fruitcakes and airplanes.

“Two Points for Honesty” shows me veering into angsty territory. I really should do a Throwback Thursday post about it. It majorly takes me back to college. (Or perhaps that’s not a time I’d like to remember? Interesting tension there.)

Prince provides a nice palette cleanser to the above (and alliteration as well). “When Doves Cry” is a dance song with deeper themes. No wonder Purple Rain is one of the best-selling soundtrack albums of all time.

What are you listening to these days?

Monthly Obsessions – January 2022

Better late than never! I always like doing these as a scrapbook of sorts. Last month’s theme seemed to be “cheese”: see “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me.” Both are such ballads, and both urge you to sing along: ooh, ooh, ooh, no, baby please don’t go! Those high notes rival the Bee Gees.

I can’t really explain why I had “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” on repeat last month. Maybe you can take the girl out of the drama class, but not the drama class out of the girl? Either way, it’s also a pretty stirring ballad.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have “Godstar” which is a random and wonderful song that echoes ’80s pop. It’ll get stuck in your head on first listen: trust me. (I have one of my best friends to thank for that.)

Monthly Obsessions – December 2021

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s take a look back at what I had on repeat in December. This month was mostly ’80s-themed, with Liquid Liquid, Aerosmith, and, unironically, A Flock of Seagulls. What inspired this time capsule? I read Walk This Way: Run-DMC, Aerosmith, and the Song That Changed American Music Forever. It made me revisit my favorite Aerosmith song, “Angel,” and also helped me discover “Cavern.” “Cavern” was an instant add to the DJing playlist I have on a separate Spotify account. (Daydreaming of a time when I can go dancing again!) Meanwhile, I don’t think I had ever actually heard “I Ran,” but because I was in an ’80s mood, I just kept falling down that rabbit hole. Aside from the one-hit wonder status and the distractingly ridiculous hairdos, it’s actually a good song.

We’ve also got a perennial favorite, “Get on the Road” by Tired Pony. It may or may not have appeared on other Monthly Obsession playlists. Whoops! It’s just so good: stirring guitars, poetic lyrics, and heartfelt delivery. “Invented” by Jimmy Eat World has a similarly emotional sound, down to the acoustic-tinged electric guitar. It was a happy accident of a discovery for me. I had been listening to one of my other perennial favorites, “Littlething,” and I must’ve left autoplay on because “Invented,” the next song on the album, started playing immediately after. I love when things like that happen. What are discoveries of yours from this month?

Monthly Obsessions – November 2021

This month I listened to isolated drum tracks from iconic songs – “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Rosanna,” and “Fool in the Rain” – but obviously those aren’t available on Spotify, so I’ve included the full songs instead. Listening to just the drums was an interesting exercise. It shows the bare bones of a song. In the case of Rosanna in particular, the isolated drums almost are the song itself; the rest is a ghost above it.

“DON’T TELL THE BOYS” is a recurring favorite. Petey is a great new artist and his success is well-deserved. I posted about his full-length debut a few months ago.

“Sometimes Always” is an obvious choice because, well, The Jesus and Mary Chain are my favorite band full-stop. I love so many of their songs, but “Sometimes Always” was one of the first that introduced me to them.

Speaking of favorite bands, The Limousines are here again. “Parachute” came out awhile ago, but it’s still their most recent release. I’m bummed that they don’t seem to be active anymore. They got me through high school in a lot of ways and were one of my original entries into indie music.

Monthly Obsessions – October 2021

This past month was much more “vintage” than usual: see Elvis, T. Rex, and the inclusion of swamp pop. That genre was a new discovery for me in October. First of all, I love the name, and its uniqueness is fun to listen to: blues combined with Cajun music combined with a smattering of big-band in the background. It goes down as smoothly as any drink you’d find in Nola.

I feel a bit late to the Olivia Rodrigo party. I know that SOUR has been out for a while, but in all honestly, it wasn’t on my radar until I saw the music video for “deja vu.” She is a great addition to the pop music canon: delicate vocal fry, deep emotion, and lyrics that cut you deep. “You said forever now I drive alone past your street.” I mean…oof.

“HEAVEN” by Troye Sivan is actually an older favorite of mine that I rediscovered this month. I listened to it a lot last year. I hadn’t heard “WILD” before, but it contains similar themes: yearning, contemplating a relationship, ready to dive into whatever it might bring despite the risks.

“You & I” and “Old Time Rock & Roll” were majorly stuck in my head. They’re both just so catchy!

Enjoy the playlist below and get ready to have them both stuck in yours.

Monthly Obsessions – September 2021

This month features more slow jams than usual. “Mrs. Robinson” and “Oh! Sweet Nuthin'” are both acoustic icons straight from the ’60s and ’70s. I was humming “Mrs. Robinson” for weeks, which is probably why it eventually made its way into a post.

I was surprised that I revisited 1989, Taylor Swift’s album from 2014, during this month. I’m not a “Swiftie” by any stretch of the imagination, but 1989 is definitely my favorite of her albums. It’s refreshingly spare, and uses softer electronics to support, and even enhance, her voice without washing it out. “Blank Space” is chilling but catchy, and “This Love” is sad but lovely. Hopeful, too, in an odd sort of way.

I mentioned in my post about The Naked and Famous’s debut album that I revisit their work a lot. When I do, it’s typically the two songs you see in the playlist below: “Rolling Waves” and “Hearts Like Ours.” They’re just such forceful songs that are full of emotion, and I think the lyrics are also beautiful.

Take a listen below. What was on repeat for you this month?

Monthly Obsessions – August 2021

Welcome back! This month’s playlist kicks off with something fun and ridiculous. The movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga follows a fictional duo (the titular Fire Saga) trying to win the Eurovision Song Contest. They participate in a “Song-A-Long” (singalong) stuffed full of cameos from previous Eurovision winners. It’s such a joyous song and I listen to it when I need a pick-me-up.

As I mentioned in my previous post about my “monthly obsessions,” some songs on these playlists are the result of other posts I wrote. See “My Girls” by Animal Collective.

This playlist also features one of my favorite songs: “Lola” by The Kinks. It is just so catchy (and subversive), and I love singing “C-o-l-a co-la” and “L-o-l-a Lo-la“; there’s just something fun about that. And speaking of songs that are fun to sing along with, “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes definitely fits that category. You can’t help but shout the chorus.

What was on rotation for you in August?

Monthly Obsessions – July 2021

I was listening to several songs this month that aren’t available on Spotify – remixes, covers, and the like – so the playlist below is shorter than I’d like. But let’s dive into it anyway! As usual, many of the songs are tied into posts I’ve written. For example, listening to “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap grew into my Throwback Thursday about “Whatcha Say” by Jason Derulo. Meanwhile, “She Will Be Loved” appears in my recent post covering Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane.

One of the songs on here is one that isn’t a post yet, but I’ve got it bookmarked. It’s “Lean into Life” by Petey, a single off his forthcoming album of the same name. I’ve enjoyed his music since “Pitch a Fit!”, so I’m excited to see his full-length efforts.