If Lorde is still playing music when she’s actually old enough to worry about ‘getting old’ the songs that made her famous will have an entirely different context. The petty concerns and posturing of youth, which the music industry is almost entirely built around, are notoriously difficult to outgrow, even for artists who were at least technically adults when they established themselves. Lorde came to fame as a teenage prodigy; outgrowing the material that made her famous will be a particularly hard challenge. Lorde is 21 now and just released her second full-length album. As a legal adult writing about breakups and life in the spotlight, she’s going to be sorely tested to keep her voice as fresh and original as it was when she was a precocious adolescent writing about getting on her first plane. How she makes her way remains to be seen, but she is gifted beyond her years and the ball is hers to drop. If she never matches the angst and innocence of her first set of songs, she’ll surely do something equally interesting.
This is my second favorite Savoir Adore song. Dreamers is obviously the best Savoir Adore song, but this deserved to have been almost as popular. It sounds like the 80’s, which I’m a sucker for, as you well know. This would be great for the soundtrack of some ridiculously peppy TV show. Heck, it would be great in a commercial. Since those two things are the new modern measures of success in the pop world, and also the main avenue for artists to earn a living nowadays. But both of those things have probably already happened. I wouldn’t know.
This is a song for speeding through the Texas prairie at 100 miles per hour in a black muscle car, in the dark of night. The shrubbery whips past and there isn’t a single light to be seen on any horizon. The rhythm is propulsive but you feel a sense of stillness. You’re suspended in space and time. Time may be a flat circle, but Texas is a globe you can circumnavigate indefinitely. Your dog is snoozing in your lap and you’re in love with the drive, though only as much as the money he spends on you. At four minutes and 50 seconds in, David Bowie enters to remind you, for the nth time, that there is no resurrector. It’s September 9, 2013 the world premier of Arcade Fire’s soon-to-be hit single, brought to you by Sirius XM satellite radio. It’s one of the most unforgettable moments of synthesis between music and sensory experience, completely undrugged, for once, a memory to take to your deathbed. The rest of the album is pretty good, too. End of story.
The pop scene moves at blazing speeds nowadays, what with the instant gratification culture of the internet, the social media news cycle, etc. So timespans of only a few years begin to feel like decades stretching forwards and back toward infinity. 2013 feels like a life cycle ago, but it was practically yesterday. Time is a flat pancake, is it not? I discovered a lot of new things in 2013, because that was the year I listened to the radio a lot. So when you discovered the same things two years later, I can confidently say that I’ve known about those things for ages, just ages and ages, like eons of geological time. Ahem.. I was listening to Chvrches before they became well known. Four years ago. Do you know how many fruit flies have lived and died in that timespan?
As promised, I’ve made an effort to learn more about the Arctic Monkeys. Since some of you like them so much. And I have to admit that I’ve come to regret that time I didn’t stick around to see them play at ACL. I mean, I’m sure that whomever I did end up seeing that day was much better, but I was right there and if I’d stayed I probably would have been converted right then and there, instead of several years later. Anyway, they’re a rock band, in the unpretentious classic sense of writing songs on guitar, and this is a rock song. The title is a either a millennial colloquialism or a Prince homage.
Here’s another indie radio favorite, complete with a video that belongs in a time capsule of 2013 hipster aesthetics. The images of a dude smashing a television in an alleyway aren’t trying to say anything. They just look cool in slow motion. Totally average looking people in normal clothes look cool in slow motion. Everyday activities look cool in slow motion. Everything looks cool and nothing is meaningful. Welcome to #HipsterBait. The band in this case is Generationals. They’re two scruffy white guys from New Orleans and they’re indistinguishable from every other electro-indie pop duo in the world. They made a pretty good album. You should check them out.
This has to be one of my favorite hits in recent memory. I think about this song when I go to ride the subway. It’s so indelibly catchy and it should have been on every radio on the planet 2013. As it was, it was only on indie radio and most of you probably don’t know Portugal. The Man from Portugal the geographic location. But you should. (They just released a new album a few days ago, which I’ll get back to you on.) The world needs more ironic club kid anthems like this one. It’s upbeat as fuck, but it speaks to The Way We Live Today, or rather a specific subset of young adults whose personal aesthetic and hashtag lifegoals were formed by Paris Hilton’s sex tape. There’s no higher aspiration than a well documented joyless performance of the act of partying. Because Millennials, amirite? It’s a little disturbing and once again begs the question what is reality and is it even worth experiencing without chemical and technological filters?