It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of the year. I thought about doing a “best of 2022” post, but then I realized that many of the songs on these playlists aren’t from ’22. So there’s that.
This month’s playlist is a weird little one. I listened to “Wake Up” a lot at the beginning because it’s kind of the perfect angst anthem. It’s really too bad that the lead singer of Arcade Fire is a trash bag. Meanwhile, “10,000 Miles” by Cam’ron and “Live & Direct” by Sugar Ray were both Tumblr finds. (How old am I?)
As for “AA” by Walker Hayes, I never thought a bro-style country song would appear on one of these playlists. Never. It’s not a genre that I gravitate towards. Yet one of my Uber drivers this month had excellent taste in music, and this song is so incredibly catchy.
We round out the playlist with “Co-Op” by the cast of “Co-Op.” It’s a fake Broadway musical that appears in the satirical TV series Documentary Now! All of the songs on the album are hilarious, but I felt like the opening number sums up the idea best.
This month started out ’80s and ended up ’10s. “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” is so, so catchy. I had to keep stopping myself from belting the lyrics at work. It’s also weirdly euphoric for the subject matter. Maybe it’s the stadium-sized production.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned Alex Melton before; he’s appeared on at least one other Monthly Obsession playlist. His cover of “Iris” is beautiful. It retains the emo of the original (“yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive”) while creating something nearly profound.
Speaking of “oof” songs, I don’t know why, but “Back In The High Life Again” just gets me. It’s both hopeful and wistful. Also, Steve Winwood’s voice was tailor-made for easy listening.
The Replacements were the big thing this month. I mainly listened to Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was, which is their remastered “greatest hits” album. Two songs off of that appear below. “Stumblin’ Home” was a recommendation from a friend, and boy is it catchy. I refuse to be shamed for my love of One Direction; “Hey Angel” is probably one of my favorite songs of theirs. The Outfield was a surprising addition. One of my best friends loves them, especially their classic “Your Love”: “you know I like my girls a little bit older” and the melancholy of that song. I guess it’s one of those things where you’re inspired to look up an artist and just fall down the rabbit hole of their other songs. (Happens to me all the time.) If you haven’t heard the Beck remix of “Get Some” by Lykke Li, do yourself a favor and put it on repeat. It makes me feel cool. Rounding out the month was frat rock, which I should do a history lesson-style post about at some point.
Once again, it’s a grab bag of genres and decades. What were your favorite songs this month?
Today’s retrospective is interesting because the playlists are usually half this length. I attribute the longer playlist to a writing project I’ve been tinkering with. I find background noise both helpful and inspiring.
I’m not able to pick out any themes this go-round, other than the presence of The 1975. I hadn’t listened to them in ages. It’s just one of those things where I’m reminded of an artist’s song and then go down a rabbit hole to listen to the others. (Also, remember when I featured “The Sound” as a new music recommendation? Hard to believe I’ve had this blog for this long!)
“So Blue” by The Jades is on here because of the Lou Reed exhibit I went to a few days ago. It was his first band. Naturally I had to go look it up after I came home from the show. “So Blue” is probably my favorite of his early releases. His voice is actually very well suited to doo-wop. He’s singing more than the softer talking style he adopted later in his career.
I have to laugh at “The Joker” because while it’s a great song, I have to file it under “lyrics I didn’t understand when I was younger.” I loved the chorus – “I play my music in the su-u-u-un” – but I didn’t know what a “toke” was. So I’d just be singing “I’m a midnight toker” as innocently as can be. Ah, memories.
It was quite the busy month for me in terms of songs on repeat. I started things off with a major throwback: I hadn’t listened to Nicki Minaj in years. Pink Friday was a big album when it came out, and it will always make me think of college. I still haven’t heard “Super Freaky Girl,” and I don’t think I will; Nicki has fallen off my radar recently. Her early songs, however, as the kids say, “slap.” I guess I needed a motivation boost because the two songs of hers that I was listening to are major brags.
We’ve also got JAMC on there, because of course. “Sometimes Always” was a cover that I talked about this month. But the other songs on the list are, by and large, throwbacks as well, primarily to the ’80s and ’90s. Prince came on rotation, and “On the Dark Side” was a newer discovery.
“Spanish Sahara” is one of those iykyk songs: Misfits, anyone? Beach House was part of my early “indie” music tastes, bundled in with Cults and Sleigh Bells.
The newest song on the playlist is “American Teenager” by Ethel Cain. Wow. Sweeping Americana and a chorus that makes you want to pump your fist and yell along. Her voice has an amazing poignancy. I listened to this one over and over and over this month.
Welcome to another retrospective! “Good Intentions” was on repeat for me a lot early in the pandemic. Listening to it now feels like a weird sort of reclaiming. It’s like I’m taping over the old memories. Same for “Worried About You” – I can’t remember when I last had this on repeat; it might’ve been early in the pandemic as well. Either way, the new listening has taken on a different context. I really like how it starts out so softly: we see a different part of Mick’s range, especially on the “go up in smoke” line. The “kuh” stands out.
“On the Wall” is probably pretty obvious. When am I not listening to the Mary Chain? I discussed this song in one of my Covers Corner posts. I haven’t listened to the cover version in a while. I’m just really diving into the original. The synthesizers are a hallmark of the Darklands and Automatic era.
A recurring theme this month was isolated drum tracks. Unfortunately, none of them are on Spotify that I can find, so you’ll have to settle for one of the originals that I was listening to. “Fool in the Rain” is a favorite of mine in the Led Zeppelin catalogue. The line “Well there’s a light in your eye that keeps shining/Like a star that can’t wait for the night” is so lovely to me and gets stuck in my head a lot.
This month was a blend of throwbacks and dance songs, looking forward and looking back. With “Rosanna” and “Inside Your Skin,” I visited the ’80s. I was looking up “obscure ’80s songs” for another project I’m working on, and that song by The Outfield came up. They’re best known for “Your Love,” of course, but I really like “Inside Your Skin.” It has a lovely echo and the lyrics are romantic and yearning. “Rosanna” is definitely not an obscure ’80s song; I just love the drums.
“Cold Heart” came out of the early days of the pandemic, but I didn’t discover it until recently. I think the samples of “Rocket Man” are so clever. “Always” is another dance song. It has the distorted pulse that appears in lots of songs from channels like MrSuicideSheep and Chill Nation.
I read about Arcade Fire’s new album WE in a magazine and, being the ’00s girl that I am, I had to check it out. “Age of Anxiety I” is the standout there for me. It captures the ennui that Arcade Fire has perfected.
Speaking of ennui, I closed out the month by listening to “The Freshmen” on repeat. I had that song on repeat when I was a freshmen, so it was interesting to revisit it. Now that enough time has passed, I really don’t feel the same angst that I was overwhelmed with when I first listened to it so often. I can appreciate the song for what it is, and it actually is a really good song. The blend of drums and rough guitar are an echo of Nirvana.
This month features two of my all-time favorite songs: “Rolling Waves” by The Naked and Famous and “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills & Nash. The latter is definitely a summer song, so I tend to break it out around this time of year, but it also just gets me. Something about lookin’ for that woman girl and the line, “she is all that I have left, and music is her name.” For “Rolling Waves,” I can’t really explain what I love about it; maybe the lyrics, maybe the heart-pounding way the beat ultimately crests.
We’ve also got some dance music on the playlist. This speaks to my former life as a dancer, but also, in all honesty, it’s just great background music for while I’m working. (Sometimes that’s all you need in a monthly obsession; music serves a lot of different purposes.)
Meanwhile, “Red Red Wine” was a new discovery. Who knew that it’s actually a cover, and that the original was by Neil Diamond? Not me, that’s for sure. I may talk about it more in depth for a Covers Corner feature, but what I’ll say here is that Swamp Gold, Vol. 2 has delivered another gem.
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.
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.