When I was in college I took an internship in DC one summer with over an hour commute each way. I loved the convenience of the metro, but spending close to 3 hours in a hot train underground each day was miserable. The only thing that really got me through was listening to new music on the train. Since then I’ve refused a commute and it’s honestly served me well in LA. The 10 minute commute has its perks, but I found that I lost the time I normally listen to music & the passion I had for discovering new artists slowly disappeared over the past 2 years.
~ Well I’m back (baby) ~
In honor of this reignited passion, I wanted to share the great artists, albums and singles that I’ve been listening to for the past few months while in quarantine. Below are my playlists from April, May and June. These playlists aren’t the most concise or mood focused, but more like a bunch of great music I’ve discovered during the time. I found that it gives me enough variety to enjoy every song and doesn’t feel repetitive, giving me a boost while studying, cooking and cleaning.
April: Stay inside kids
Title sponsored by a strict quarantine. The most outdoor exposure I had during this time was 2 trips to the supermarket and frequent walks around a two mile radius from my apartment.
Totally being transparent, I’m that person that chooses the first 4 songs to make an ~aesthetically pleasing~ grid. I usually have one record artwork that I love and tend to choose from there. For April I knew I was starting with The Anxiety - a collaborative project between Willow Smith and Tyler Cole. Not only do I love the artwork, but I’m obsessed with every single song off the album and highly recommend listening through it all. Willow has been a recent favorite. Marceline and Wait a Minute being stuck in my head frequently, so it made my heart happy to hear new tracks from her.
Another favorite has been 24 by Dead Emerson. Maybe because I know Dean, but also this song is too catchy. In the same realm of fun, positive mood boosting tunes was Flaws by San Cisco who I had seen in LA a few months prior. I remember seeing San Cisco for the first time at Rock & Roll Hotel in DC (RIP) and loved them ever since. When the band was in LA I realized I hadn’t heard new songs, so I’m glad they’re back releasing new stuff.
More shoutouts to songs frequently stuck in my head:
Rootless by Saint Mela
Ma Huggies by FIG
The Steps - HAIM
May: Bandanas Required
As quarantine continued in full force, we began using masks. For me this meant washing some bandanas Conor had & using them anytime we were outside, foolishly tied around our buns. We’ve upgraded to actual masks since then, but I continue to use bandanas when I’m grabbing mail or when only going around the neighborhood.
Back to music - When I listened to Little Sims’ Might Bang, Might Not I knew it was an immediate BOP. I was hooked on the first two lines - “If I give you my time and give you my space, Know that that shit's not to waste” - and the rest of the song holds up.
I’ve been obsessed with Ambar Lucid for a few months and was planning to see her perform in LA in April, so was sad to have that show cancelled due to COVID. The good news is that she released a new album Garden of Lucid and it is amazing!! I need everyone to listen & have the same level of appreciation. Lucid is only 19 by the way and she’s probably my favorite artist at the moment. She alternates from singing in Spanish to English and it's done so smoothly - it really reminds me of my bilingual family in that switching between languages when speaking is done unintentionally. I love the intersectionality of her music and if you’re looking for a song to start at, 'Story to Tell' and 'a letter to my younger self' are my favorites from her entire discography.
Continuing with other great women artists, I’ve been playing Lorde’s Melodrama quite a bit. In all honesty, I had only listened through it once before & I don’t know why I let myself miss out on this masterpiece album for three years. Other artist shoutouts: Wynne - Saw her live opening for Earthgang in January & genuinely love her verses; Sabrina Carpenter - young talent again at it again; Zolita - Shut Up and Cry is continuously stuck in my head and the beat is to blame.
June: Open Up
Yes, it’s true states have started opening businesses. No, the spread of COVID has not stopped. However, with fears of turning into Shelia from Shameless, I do need a reminder to be open to the possibility of going outside more and hanging with friends (in a socially distant, safe way).
I added some great Brazilian artists to the mix like Lagum, Anavitoria, and Silva. Silva has always been a favorite, but Lagum is a new alternative/pop group I started listening to thanks to my cousins’ recommendations (shout out to our girl cousin group chat). In the international sphere, I discovered Grund Genug by German singer Medeline Juno. The US is a center of pop culture and music, but there are so many talented international artists to discover. Spending the next month looking in Japanese alternative and K-pop. Excited to share my eventual & inevitable love for BTS in a month.
In relation to pop icons BTS I made a conscious effort to check out the top charting songs for the US. In college I knew popular music because everyone would play it around dorms/classes/parties and now I don’t know what’s cool. Some great finds have been Jack Harlow’s WHATS POPPIN, Rosalia & Travis Scott’s track TKN and Princess Nokia’s I Like Him.
Some old favorites released new music which is always nice to see! Shoutout to Saint Raymond - although I’ve never had the opportunity to see him live since he’s never toured in the US (to my knowledge) I will continue to stan. Also discovered new Kygo while on the mission to listen to more top 40 pop & shout out to Spotify’s release radar for not missing the new Two Door Cinema Club single Tiptoes off their 'lost songs (found)' EP. Lastly, RAC released a new album BOY in early May. Every song is great and I can’t wait to eventually see them performed live again!
Final artist shout outs go to Duckwrth and Chloe x Halle. Duckwrth has been one of my favorite artists in the past year, really since The Falling Man album released in 2019. I can still listen to that album on repeat and give credit to the Spiderverse soundtrack in getting me so into Duckwrth after hearing Start a Riot. Chloe x Halle is the best sister group ever (sorry HAIM). I have yet to listen to all of Ungodly Hour (I know, I don’t know what I’m waiting for), but Do It is a BOP (yes, I’ve used this term twice now, but there is no better way to describe it). I highly recommend checking out the music video or Youtube Dear Class of 2020 performance.
Combined these three playlists are over 18 hours long. I haven’t nearly touched upon all of the amazingly talented artists included, so I recommend giving a listen. I get overwhelmed almost every time I create a playlist because there are so many artists deserving of support & success. It’s sad realizing that it’s impossible to listen to all (yet, I will continue to try). Shout out to Spotify for creating such an amazing platform for discovering new music, it’s really been the best. & thanks to whoever is reading this - let me know if there are any artists you love, I’m always trying to listen to more talented musicians