It is a hectic, exciting time of year. An intersection of endings and beginnings, of burnout and ambition. As writers for the TeenTix Newsroom go about their lives, hunkering down to get work done, or sitting back and enjoying the warm weather, music is essential. Music follows us throughout our lives. As some teens below aptly put, each person has their own personal soundtrack. These songs are those soundtracks, the music that is captivating us right now.
5 Seconds of Summer - Long Way Home (Acoustic)
I'm a notoriously nostalgic person and also a big fan of early 2010's music so this song has been showing up on my playlists a lot. I think it has a reminiscences for a lot of people out age reaching graduation (even if they haven't heard the song) just because it's writing style is the same as all the songs we grew up on and the lyrics paint a picture of a certain teenage romance notion that we saw a lot as kids.
Harry Styles - Fine Line
In this song I like to live out my wildest movie climax, running through a grand open field and crowded city streets fantasy. I think this song has an amazing production and orchestration that can transport the listener somewhere else. When I listen to it blasting through my headphones it's easy for me to create all these different scenes and scenarios that I think would be underscored by this song in some kind of fictional musical world.
Niccolò Paganini - La Campanella
I’m actually currently playing this on the viola as part of my repertoire. I suppose the reasons why I enjoy playing it bleed into why I enjoy playing it – for one, it’s bloody difficult. Paganini was abnormally skilled (literally, he had long fingers) and knew it so he deliberately composed pieces that presented that showmanship, and you can hear that in the piece. The “low-energy” places are definitely breaks compared to some parts of the piece, but even they are technically challenging, and there are multiple parts of the piece that push the limits of what is possible on a stringed instrument. Hearing professionals play the piece seemingly without effort, wildly difficult notes and articulations flying off the strings, compounds the reverence I already have for the piece.
Toby Fox - BIG SHOT
There’s something deeply unhinged about this Deltarune song that I really enjoy, something about it that keeps sticking in my head.
Technically speaking it is impressive, reusing leitmotifs set up in previous parts of the game but with a different pitch, tempo, and instrumentation and occasionally breaking off in almost improv-like fashion with dissonant alternating scales and arpeggios that add a unique energy to the piece along with the metallic instrumentation and already-odd rhythm. On top of the solid foundation, Fox adds interestingly integrated voice lines that further add to the unsettling catchiness of the piece, and drops in musical lines from his previous game Undertale – “Power of ‘NEO’” and “Dummy!” – almost teasingly. It’s a simpler piece compared to some of his other works but still among his best.
Daniela Mariz- Frankel:
John Philip Sousa - Semper Fidelis
I was doing Sousa's March Madness, where various musical marches compete to the top march. I really loved Semper Fidelis and have listened to it frequently, despite almost never listening to music. Though short, I love its melodies and call and response sound.
Andy Grammer - Honey, I'm Good
Recently, I have listened a lot to Andy Grammer's "Honey, I'm Good." I appreciate that its cheerful portrayal of monogamy aligns with my values rather than challenging me as a listener. I also enjoy the frequent use of the word "nah," as I believe it is a fantastic word that should be used more often in pop music and other artforms as well. However, I do not understand why he has to repeat the fact that he "will stay true" so many times; it makes me wonder if he's struggling to do so or if he simply wants to make sure everyone knows that he isn't cheating on his partner. Seems a little suspicious to me...
Inkpot Gods - The Amazing Devil
A recent favorite song of mine is “Inkpot Gods” by The Amazing Devil. As a whole it’s an anthem hailing the defiance of destiny, whether that be by way of directly challenging deities or simply living a better life than a parent did. The cacophony of background vocals comes together to support the notion of going away, providing a stable foundation for a deviating and uncertain journey. The song ends with the triumphant repetition of the line, “If I don’t make it back from where I’ve gone just know I loved you all along.” As the final song of their most recent album, this echo provides an answer to a question posed in the same repetitive manner in the penultimate song of their debut, Two Minutes: “If I’m good, will you come back to us?” This question is the plea of a single desperate voice; in contrast, the answer comes in the form of hundreds expressing surety through a shared vow. They don’t know whether or not they will return from this path that they travel alone, but they are safe in the knowledge that their love will not waver.
yipee - No Me?
Picture the scene: I was scouring the shelves, looking for something small, preferably a cassette, to buy as a gift for the holidays. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted lovely, charming, albeit twee, sketched cover art. Steaming mugs, smiling faces, flowers, and cats traversed the cassette. The graphics evoked memories of Daniel Johnston’s Hi How Are You. Sweet, childish, yet knowing images that implant themselves in your mind. The album was yipee’s Field of Dreams. I took a gamble and bought the cassette.
When I listened, I was not let down. Yipee’s songs are immediate, catchy, and minimalistic, oftentimes not even cracking the one minute mark. “No Me?” is no exception. The song begins with a guitar tone akin to a harmonica, playing a melody that sounds familiar and instantly grabs your attention. The song is cautiously hopeful in its exploration of a new friendship. In a sea of moments and things that discourage hope, “No Me?” makes me hopeful too.
Female Species - Till The Moon Don’t Shine
Female Species were a garage band girl group, based out of Whittier, California, who were active in the late sixties. Their recordings rarely saw the light of day. That is, until recently. “Till The Moon Don’t Shine” is timeless, as timeless as love itself. This gem that the algorithm has thrown my way has become one of my favorite love songs. Songs that are able to authentically represent nebulous ideas and feelings that are hard to pin down, like love, are just as jaw dropping as they are rare. Check it out!
Norma Fraser - First Cut Is the Deepest
There are many takes on this well worn classic, most of them we would associate with grandpa rock. However, the most interesting cover is a reggae single, cut in 1967. The signature arpeggiated chords being played on a keyboard rather than a guitar immediately distinguishes this version as something different, as do Norma Fraser’s emotive vocals.
Bladee, Ecco2k - Faust
There was a time where it felt like all I could think about musically was the ethereal, ghostly voices of these Swedish men. While that is just a memory now, Bladee and Ecco2k still loom large in my thoughts. Every now and then, particularly when they release a new project, I return to their music and my interest is reaffirmed. Earlier this year, Bladee and Ecco2k released “Crest,” a collaborative album. What struck me about “Crest” is the songwriting, this is some of the most melodic material either of them has released thus far. This adjusted sound, particularly tracks like “Faust,” may win over even Bladee’s harshest skeptics.