Praising: New Music

Over the past few months, I’ve been having a rough time. Frustrating technology, unsolved medical questions, and mysterious hit-and-runs that put my car in the shop for two weeks made it difficult to actually enjoy some of the simple pleasures in life. But through it all, I found some new music that just moves my soul and can often bring me out of my wallowing slump. Here are some of the newly released songs that I am enjoying, now that I have my newly repaired car back on the road.

“Green Light” and “Liability” by Lorde

After a mainstream hiatus following the release of her first full-length album Pure Heroine, the queen of deeply-felt alternative music and general quirkiness that makes you feel like you could never be as cool as her, is back. I became endlessly obsessed with Lorde’s first album, as it made my 2-hour bus trip to my college internship so much more bearable. The exact day the first song, “Green Light,” was released, I had been wondering if she had anything new out yet. The song, having been written about a recent break-up, takes on a tone that is both regretful of the ending and vengefully hopeful for the future. In one sense she’s angry about what has transpired, and in another, she is throwing those feelings to the wind and working on letting go while realizing the time it takes to move on. While most would think a moody anthem would be the way to mend a broken heart, Lorde’s pulsating dance music seems so much more healing and cathartic — encouraging us to embrace the new opportunity, rather than wallow in what could have been.

Soon after “Green Light” shook the internet with the promise of a great artist’s return, Lorde released another single from her new album,  Melodrama, set to release in June. “Liability” is the slow, sad song we would have expected from the newly single. The solo piano is a marked diversion from Lorde’s normal style, and one could almost mistake her for Regina Spektor. The song narrates the ending of a relationship, and as her partner leaves, an inner demon takes the sad girl into her arms as she struggles to come to terms with the realities of her own personality and the nature of her relationships. While I do like the shift in style, and I adore the subject matter of “Liability,” as one who can more than relate, I am hopeful that the rest of the album will strike a nice balance between Lorde’s normal energetic tone and her new subject matter.

“Believer” by Imagine Dragons

When we all fell in love with the band’s hit song “Radioactive,” the deep tenor beats and the release of the melody moved something carnal in us. That is what I love about Imagine Dragons’ overall style. They are exactly what alternative rock should be — deep, dark and gritty in their composition, yet redemptive with sweet, even tones that draw you further into their world. The single, “Believer,” is a return to that rhythmic melody that motivates us to rise above our adversity and believe in the possibility of moving on to something greater, despite the pain of the process.

“Machine” by MisterWives

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I just have to say that the more I listen to this song, the more it becomes my motivating, anti-politics anthem. I’m sure it probably wasn’t written for that reason, but I just can’t help but apply it to our current political climate. While “Machine” has the iconic energy that feeds off of lead singer Mandy Lee’s infectious voice, it takes on the new life of rebellious anthem that I think fits the band perfectly. Instead of sticking with a continuous level of energy and spunk, “Machine” flows through the foreboding build at the beginning to full-blast melody that is complicated by a minimal drumbeat and strong declarations that, “We’re not part of your machine.” I don’t know if there is anything more motivating than this combination of music and lyrics.

As a result of my obsession with this song, I have become a full convert to MisterWives (and Mandy Lee) fan. I’ve got their most recent album Our Own House on repeat while we wait for their next album, Connect the Dots, which is set for release next month. And can we talk about that cover art? I just love all of their designs so much — they are so colorful and mimic the bands music perfectly.

My honorable mentions for this month include two lovely dark and gritty songs: “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man and “Horns” by Bryce Fox. I can’t get enough of them.

What do you think of these artists and their new music? What do you expect of or hope for from Lorde’s and Mister Wives’ new albums? How do you think Lorde’s music will continue to change in both music and subject matter? What new music would you recommend? Let’s talk.

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