Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
I heard this kind of… accidentally. I flicked on the radio hoping to find something to listen to on my very short drive to work, and this was just starting, and it was perfect. I know I’ve heard this before, but it never really… struck me. But this time it did, a lot, and now I can’t stop with it. I’ve been a big fan of Andrew McMahon for a while—I didn’t really know about Something Corporate, but I really loved Jack’s Mannequin. He writes this catchy, fun pop that has a ton of depth buried in it, and it’s just really appealing and really speaks to me. For some reason. And Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness sounds… largely like Jack’s Mannequin. *shrug*
Anyway. This song is for Andrew’s daughter, Cecilia. The lovely, magical thing about songs is they can be anything and everything all at once. So when I hear this it has a lot of very personal meaning to me that has absolutely nothing to do with kids or even a lot of what Andrew’s singing about in the verses, but that I relate to on a sort of… universal emotional level. But at the same time, I love the pure, unconditional love that Andrew obviously has for his kid. It’s just… good and kind and the song is full of joy and sadness and I like how it’s just ALL THINGS.
Also, the tune is catchy as hell. And it has awesome dynamics. And it’s all grandiose and the production’s great. And I just like it.
Gwan by Rostam
I’ve already talked about Rostam in another itteration of the three songs blog (when I listed the song he did with Hamilton Leithauser, In a Black Out, which is freaking fantastic.) Anyway, recapping: Rostam was, for ten years, a member and songwriter for the band Vampire Weekend which, although I really tried to like, I never could get into. But now he’s doing all this stuff with other artists which is just… gold–I loved In a Black Out, and I loooooved the song he did with Ra Ra Riot, Water. And now I’m quite falling for his solo stuff.
Gwan isn’t quite like anything else I’ve ever heard, which is refreshing in its own way. But ‘odd’ or ‘unique’ doesn’t necessarily mean good. It does here, though. The song is basically a lot of cello (I thought it was violin but I read it was cello and look, I just don’t know stringed instruments well enough to tell. It sounds really nice, whatever it is!), which is awesome and unexpected and lovely, and drums, which are simple and pretty much just provide a beat to lean on, and vocals.
And the vocals are… well. They’re simple and not forced, almost like Rostam is just talking to us. And the lyrics are deceptively simple, too. But all of it combines to make this song that feels… nostalgic and a little bit sad, but hopeful. I just think it’s amazing.
Bleed it Out by Linkin Park
I’m still having a really hard time listening to Linkin Park because I miss Chester Bennington so much. And at the same time, I’m realizing how big a role Linkin Park’s music plays in just… my everyday life. How no matter what mood I’m in or what I’m feeling or what’s going on, there’s a Linkin Park song I can listen to that’ll make me feel seen, or that I can relate to, or that’ll make me feel better.
Anyway, sort of randomly, Bleed It Out popped into my head the other day. I love all of Minutes to Midnight, the album this is off of, and I’ve always loved this song, but it kind of struck me, recently, in a way it hasn’t quite before. It’s loud, it’s angry, it’s raw. There’s a lot of emotion here, and it’s like it’s all being channeled through this pinhole of music, so when you hear the song, it’s kind of like getting hit by a truck. A musical one. (An… ice cream truck? SORRY, I TOOK THAT SIMILE WAY TOO FAR.)
And then at the end, the song kind of disintegrates and everyone laughs. And I love that you can hear Linkin Park just… having fun and enjoying themselves. It’s gorgeous in its own way. And it’s the perfect end to the song.