it is sticky hot outside and the world is ending one day at a time. here is a playlist full of songs that will hopefully feel a little bit like a cool breeze, like wading into water, like distraction, maybe like peace.
wild – troye sivan ft. alessia cara still too long ’til the weekend still too long ’til i drown in your hands
you don’t get me high anymore – phantogram man i am faking it the best i can
rotten teeth – holychild ft. kate nash i can never be the girl i wanna be no no i’m never free
blessings – chance the rapper when the praises go up the blessings come down
sometimes – ariana grande i ain’t even think of leavin’ sometimes
ice cream colours – corinne bailey rae you make me dream in ice cream colours
kick, push – lupe fiasco so we kick push kick push coast
red lights – chloe x halle turn off the world dance with myself like ballerinas
moth to the flame – chairlift i can’t help it i’m a moth to the flame
you’re the best – wet well baby you’re the best we’ll figure out the rest
i love you always forever – betty who you’ve got me almost melting away
thursday girl – mitski glory to the night it shows me what i am
god only knows – the beach boys as long as there are stars above you you never need to doubt it
boyfriend – tegan & sara i need to know the rules if you want me to play
electric love – børns she’s sweet like candy in my veins
radio – lana del rey now my life is sweet like cinnamon like a fuckin’ dream i’m livin’ in
Hello! It is April! It is the month of my birth and also Gerard Way’s and Kristen Stewart’s and many of our readers and two of my very dearest friends, who were actually born on the same day as me! So! It is a good month, a month I love, and I am very excited for all of us as it unfolds. Here we go!
Aries: “What You Waiting For?”, Gwen Stefani. Take a chance ’cause you might grow.
There is never going to be a perfect time, Aries. There is never going to be what Jack Sparrow called the opportune moment, some bright shining thing that emerges from the sky and says to you yes, now, yes. There is never going to come a day when all of your conditions are met; there is no ideal time at which everything you undertake will go well. Instead, consider this your signal. This is not the opportune moment, but it is the moment in which you have a choice. You can move, now, out of the shadow and into a light of your own making, or you can stand still and wait for it to find you. Don’t stand still. Don’t wait.
Taurus: “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)”, the Decemberists. Look for me with the sun-bright sparrow, I will come on the breath of the wind.
It is very trying to feel sad in the spring, and very lonely. It feels somehow inauthentic. But listen, Taurus: your heart does not always correspond to the seasons on Earth. There is a landscape in your soul that is yours and yours alone, dappled with sun and shadow, snow-capped peaks next to the sea. If I can quote Whitman, and I will, you contain multitudes. You are always reflected in the world, no matter what you think, but the problem lies in that often you are not looking for yourself in the right place. This month is for meeting yourself where you are, not where you think you should be.
Gemini: “Golden Slumbers”, the Beatles. Once there was a way to get back homeward.
Your world is getting bigger, every single day, by simple virtue of the fact that you are a living thing. It can make you feel small when you think about it, the tiny boat of yourself in a vast expanding sea. It can make you want to stay still. Instead I want you to try, this month, to think of this widening life as a blessing. You are the same size no matter how many directions you can strike out in; a small fish in a small bowl feels big, but it’s confined. Recognize the incredible mobility that you have and reach for the edges of your map. Carry yourself as bravely as you can.
Cancer: “Tonight I’m Getting Over You”, Carly Rae Jepsen. No more cryin’ to get me through.
Pruning is important. It is vital, this cutting, this weeping of ichor. To stay healthy, to grow, you have to prune yourself down. Examine yourself this month. Look at the core of you, the bright flourishing new growth. Follow the branches of your life out to what is withering; take hold of those things and cut them away. You must be as impassive as you can as you do this. It will hurt, but these things are sapping you, choking you. It will hurt, but you will not miss them when they are gone – this is how you will know you were right. Protect your vitality.
Leo: “Breathe (2 AM)”, Anna Nalick. You can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable.
Balance is so very important. You are a hunting creature, a seeking striving thing, and the incredible, single-minded focus you possess is a double-edged sword. There is a difference between purposeful motion and running yourself into exhaustion. It is not weakness to rest, to acknowledge that you need rest in the first place. Allow yourself some leeway this month. Be gentle with yourself; acknowledge your needs and try as hard as you can to remember that they are valid. Doing this is not straying from the path toward what you want – only pausing upon it.
Virgo: “Like Dylan in the Movies”, Belle and Sebastian. Don’t look back, like Dylan in the movies.
You will get nothing from looking back except a mouthful of salt. This month I want you to keep your eyes forward. Dwelling on what has been will not bring it back or change it; this is a hard lesson to learn but it is crucial. You cannot live your life looking at what you have left behind, at the things you have moved beyond. Start to learn to carry the past with you without taking it out, examining it, turning it over in the light. Eventually you will be able to put it down altogether.
Libra: “Everything I Am”, Kanye West. Everything I’m not made me everything I am.
You are made up of other people, of places and books and movies and paintings, the things you learn from them and the world as a whole. Everything that has ever taught you is a part of you, and this does not make you inauthentic. Even natural things are constructed – think of crystals, think of snowflakes, think of the perfect fluid grace of any skeleton. You can make your own way even as you follow in the footsteps of others – this is how you make yourself better. This is how you make the world better. Don’t be afraid of losing yourself; everything you are is yours.
Scorpio: “BeFoUr”, ZAYN. I can’t be bothered to fight it no more, no.
Try to find it in yourself to be soft this month. It is natural, when the world becomes sharp and hard, to steel yourself against it, to spark against it like flint. It is natural to bite when you are cornered. This is against your instinct – against the instinct of all animals, really – but sometimes the unexpected move is what wins the fight. Let yourself be pliable this month; let yourself yield. Slip out of the grasp of the things that would hold you, crush you, even as you drew blood from their fingers. Live to fight another day.
Sagittarius: “Birdhouse in Your Soul”, They Might Be Giants. Keep the nightlight on inside the birdhouse in your soul.
Things flourish when they are safe. They bloom when they are nurtured. There is always the temptation to dismiss the mundane, the familiar, but there has to be a harbor. There has to be a place where you can put down roots, spread yourself upward and outward and unfurl all your tiny wings. Think, this month, about the places you feel safe, and the people you allow there. Remind yourself of your foundation, the things you can rely on, the ground out of which you will grow. Learn to take these things with you as you navigate the world. Make a home inside yourself, and know that it is safe there.
Capricorn: “Changes”, David Bowie. Turn and face the strange.
Do not be fooled into thinking that you deserve your suffering. Do not be fooled into thinking that sadness is a matter of course. Remember: feelings are finite. This is a beautiful, daunting gift. Everything you feel at every moment is new, no matter how familiar it seems – you are a new person every moment, every breath that you take. There are shades and shades of everything you will ever feel and no two are the same. Listen carefully to yourself this month, the way you would try to make out a very distant, half-remembered song. Witness the minute, dizzying, endless variations of your emotions, and know that you will feel different.
Aquarius: “Out is Through”, Alanis Morissette. I think there must be easier ways.
The forest is very dark, but the only way back into the sun is to go through it. It is so difficult, in the moment, in the middle of the darkness, to remember this, but this month I want you to try. I want you to remember that the sun always rises. There is always, always a way forward – there is always meaning. There is a reason you are in the dark in the first place, but the forest tries to swallow it up and keep you there. Do not let the weary actuality of the struggle make you forget what you are struggling towards. Do not lose hope.
Pisces: “Benson Hedges”, fun. You’re beautiful for all your big mistakes.
Memory is a fluid and fickle thing, something ruled by the head and the heart, something ruled by the soles of the feet. It is tempting to ignore it, to dismiss it, to try and escape it, but this month I want you to turn and face it head-on. Your memories are a part of you as much as your blood and your bones, even the ones you don’t love. Let your past exist within you, and know that it does not make you weak. Know that to hold all of these things inside you is a great and terrible thing, something to aspire to, something to be proud of. Know that it is a kind of home.
It is springtime, and springtime can kill you (just like it did poor me). The light is clearer and hangs on longer in the sky each day, the birds are all singing riotous songs in the treetops. A few days ago, it was seventy degrees; I drank iced coffee and resisted the urge to cut the sleeves off all my t-shirts. It is springtime, and I am so damn restless I’m about ready to tear my skin off. I can’t focus on anything. I pick up a book, read a few pages, put it down again. I start a poem, write a few lines, quit. My notebooks are full of Jenny Holzer-esque truisms that I write in all caps. YOU WILL GET SO TIRED OF WEIGHING THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES. SOMETIMES YOU WILL BE READY TO SAY “FUCK IT” AND FOLLOW YR HEART. BE A DRUNKEN SLUT. STOP THINKING. IT’S SO TIRING. TRUST YR STUPID FUCKING HEART.
I just want to trust my stupid fucking heart. Or maybe I just want something that makes my stupid heart beat faster.
I am so tired of weighing the potential consequences. When I was younger, I usually leapt into things without caring what the result would be. (And now I can’t believe I didn’t put that Shivvers song on this playlist: when I was younger, when I was younger, when I was younger.) I went for what felt good, or even bad, as long as I was feeling something. As long as it made me feel alive. But there were enough adverse consequences that I began to grow afraid. I was often on the verge of eviction, because I did things like spending my rent money on road trips. I hurt people. I disappointed people. Friends and family started telling me that I was wasting my life.
…some might say that you and I have wasted our lives so far. Yes, we have had our hearts broken more than most. (We’ve broken some hearts, too.) We’ve had brushes with the law; and we’ve dealt with pregnancy scares and unemployment and spent many mornings too hungover to even move. But we have also experienced so much poetry, seen so much beauty, received so much love. We have had more fun in our short lives than most people ever get to have; so how could we ever consider it a waste?
-from something I wrote in 2006
Maybe I still want to waste my life, if wasting my life is what it takes to feel alive. To paraphrase Dazed & Confused, a movie I watched over and over when I felt those first reckless, restless stirrings in my teenage body: I need some good old, worthwhile, visceral experience. I want to go out into the wild, twisting night, want to take drugs, get laid, maybe get in a fight. Except I don’t do drugs anymore and I don’t get in fights anymore and no, I won’t spend all my rent money on a road trip. There are certain things I’m not willing to risk, and that’s for the best. But I am tired of worrying about what other people think; tired of not doing what I want to do because it might hurt or disappoint someone in my life. I don’t want to hurt anyone, of course not, but it’s my life and it’s springtime and my heart is saying go. I want to fuck. I want to dance. I want to smash it up. I want sudden intense connections with interesting strangers. I want to take long drives in search of coffee and trouble. (Remembering that spring so long ago when I drove the seven hours from Chicago to St. Louis just to get coffee at a Waffle House.) I want to rip my tights, walk along the train tracks, get my boots all covered in good mud. I want, I want, I want. No, I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I am tired of not being myself. And I’m bad news, baby, I’m bad news.
I’m just a traveling girl with a wild mane of wavy red hair, holes in my tights, all my clothes smelling of smoke. I can roll a cigarette while driving down the freeway at eighty miles an hour. I can get drunk as shit and get two hours of sleep and drive from one town to another, then do it all again the next night. I can find my way anywhere. I can get lost anywhere.
-from something I wrote in 2007
I dye my hair red again every spring. No matter what other colors I might dye it the rest of the year, in spring I metamorphose back into a redhead. I was born with red hair but it faded to a drab brown when I hit puberty, some shitty twist of fate, so I became a bottle redhead. Red hair is fiery, brazen, witchy. (Redheads used to be burnt at the stake as witches, because it was believed they had magic powers.) Red is the color of anger and lust, love and rage. The color of blood and lipstick and my stupid, wildly beating heart. Girls like me are meant to have red hair.
It’s springtime, and I’m a wild redheaded girl for life. So take me out tonight. Take me anywhere, I don’t care, I don’t care. Take me to where the rough edges of the night meet the back alleys. Take me to the rooftops and fire escapes of your town. Take me to all-nite diners, where we can get coffee-buzzed and plot to take over the world. Let’s walk around. Let’s drive too fast on backroads. I don’t need your love, I just need a friend.
I still want all the same old dumb shit I’ve always wanted. Spontaneous adventures, crushes, mix tapes. Music I can feel in my guts, in my bones, whether it’s hip-hop or the punk rocks. Sneaky eyes and sleeveless t-shirts. Sex and danger. In the immortal words of Henry Rollins: I want to fuck on the floor and break shit. Yeah, I like fucking. I’m always restless, and next to wandering, sex is one of the few things that eases my restlessness. And I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure, babe. I do, I do, I do.
I’ve lost some friends because I’ve failed to grow up properly. These friends used to be just like me (you fuckers used to be just like me), but they went straight. I don’t mean straight as in heterosexual, I mean straight as in normal. They became capital-G Grown Ups. They got advanced degrees and nine-to-fives and stopped making zines and got their tattoos removed. I’m an adult, too. I have a kid, and a writing career; I pay my bills instead of going on ill-advised road trips, I don’t go on benders or do drugs anymore. But I also haven’t given up crushes or adventure or art or punk; I’m still making zines and giving myself stick ’n’ poke tattoos. I’ve still got that steel-toed spark and that teenage j.d. twitch. Maybe they’re bitter because they thought growing up meant giving all that up.
We can have all of it! We can be mamas and healers and have love and morals and sweetness and good things in our lives, but we don’t have to give up the rest—we can also be wild punk rock goddesses of destruction and fuck and fight and drink and smoke and swear and make mad art, goddamnit!
-from something I wrote in 2013
I should’ve known something was up the last time I saw M.—before she decided she hated me, when I still thought we’d be friends for life—when she said: “I’m over Amanda Palmer. It’s not cute to tell young girls that it’s okay to be fucked-up.” That stunned me, because she was once a fucked-up girl, just like me. She and I used to listen to Dresden Dolls albums and talk about how eerily close to our own lives they were, how it was like AFP had looked into our souls and made songs out of them. But maybe that’s the other thing. It’s not just that M. and the others gave up their former passions. They also regret that they ever lived that way. They regret the days of chronic unemployment and ill-advised road trips, the crazy-mad love affairs, the all-nite diner marathons, the epic meals we made from what we found in dumpsters. And I don’t. No matter how I’ve changed, or how many of those things I don’t want anymore, I could never ever regret those days. They made me who I am, and they gave me so many stories to tell. To all the ones who thought they knew me best, a test to prove your prowess. Who was mine in ’99? I want last names, and current status.
No, I don’t want to wind up on the verge of eviction, or have my electricity shut off. I don’t want to hurt anyone. But it is springtime, and I am so tired of weighing the potential consequences. And I’m just a redheaded restless punk rock goddess of destruction for life, and I still want all that shit that makes my stupid, reckless heart beat faster. Loud music, caffeine, adventure, sex. If you’re like me, you’re feeling the same way. So:
WHO CARES WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. STOP THINKING. IT’S SO TIRING. TRUST YR STUPID FUCKING HEART.
You have asked him three times already if it’s actually his name, because everyone knows “Ralph” is some bullshit you’d call a cat, not a grown-ass person. You slur that line into his ear as you stagger together towards the door at last call and he looks at you with the artless incredulity of an infant encountering “peek-a-boo” for the first time. That makes you the cooing aunt, the crinkled adult face promised to emerge from hiding with a grin each round. Good. He’s laughing, because you’re funny maybe, probably because you’ve let him put his arms around your waist and he doesn’t really have to convince you to duck into the cab he’s already called to Cambridge. You careen on hot, loose legs in the general direction of a parked Uber, “Ralph” in tow. “Ralph” smells like the first floor of a JC Penny. Ralph might be thirty-seven. “Ralph’s” hands feel weightless, like they could be hollow, but you’re quick to credit any upper thigh numbness to the liquid ton of gin you’ve consumed over the last three hours. You wonder what you’d have to stuff his fingers with to make them heavy enough for your skin to respond. Steel? Conversation? Cigarettes? “Ralph” doesn’t smoke, you asked already. He won’t taste the way you want him to. He’s talking to you about the things drunk men talk to potential one-night-stands about: how he misses hiking in Australia, how he’s only in law school so he doesn’t disappoint his dad, how badly he wants to drop out and become a rock-climbing instructor. You reassure him blandly and fiddle with your false lashes and wonder if he could ever grip you tight enough to leave a bruise.
TUESDAY: “Turn It Up” by Kelly Rowland
His apartment might be cute if he didn’t decorate with faux-Buddhist head shop tapestries. Dorm-room remnants, probably. There’s already a host of reasons you should stop having sex with Philosophy graduate students (e.g. rampant condescension, uneven beard growth, clinginess) but the fact that they all seem to live with ex-partners of one form or another features prominently in the top five. This one’s moving out, at least. Boxes of her shit crowd every spare inch of the kitchen he’s stumbling around in service of your cider. You’re too drunk to identify the metaphor. She is (was? is?) also a painter, you learn—a bad one, alarmingly bad, and prolific in the effortless way that seems exclusive to bad painters. You imagine how you’d critique the six-foot collaged city-scape of Boston on his bedroom wall while he tries to navigate the zipper on your miniskirt. You wonder what makes her laugh. Later, when he’s finished availing himself of your least interesting secrets, you ask him how it ended, why she’s leaving. If you are going to get fucked while staring at another woman’s closet, you deserve a little background. He starts to cry, because of course he does, and you hold him against your breasts and tell him he is perfect while his snot runs down your sternum. Two weeks later he will try to rip your dress off at a train station in Brighton after you make it clear you should stop seeing each other. A cabby on his way to Tremont for closing time spots the struggle, slows down without stopping, swings open the passenger’s door and pulls you in by the elbow. He delivers you silently back to your mother’s house without asking any questions.
WEDNESDAY: “Ghost” by Ella Henderson
The moment Andrew’s door latches shut you are overcome by a thick wave of loathing, but the truth is that you loathed him from the moment he bought you your first shot of Patron. You wouldn’t have gotten in the car if you didn’t want him to hurt. You hate his five o’clock shadow and his ice-blue button down and how he’s trying to find a way to get you into his bedroom without acknowledging that he wants to get you into his bedroom. He would never, ever date you, of course. Real estate Southie guys like girls who jog, you’re guessing, girls with planners and blithe, effortless motor control, not cackling barflies who pick up and move north to make bad art and vomit in public and prick their hearts on self-made spindles. You don’t know this for sure, but tequila has no time for criticality, or for undoing the ripe adolescent taxonomies that prevent you from approaching men like him when you’re sober. Oh, you approached him, by the way. Don’t forget. That’s another reason you hate him. He fell for it.
“Do you want a drink?”
“The fuck do you think?”
You toss your purse onto his faux-leather ottoman. You bare your teeth in the shape of a smile.
“I think you need another drink, is what I think!”
“You’re a prince. Thank you, sir.”
He taps his index finger on the highest point of your knee every time he makes a point. The point he is currently making concerns his timeshare in Cape Cod. He’s pressed his lean body into the softness of yours on a creaking Craigslist couch with an urgency that numbs you further. He’s telling you how beautiful you are, which more or less equates to telling himself he is beautiful. His breath is hot and sticky. You kiss him to make him stop talking.
THURSDAY: “Cruel” by the Veronicas
You accidentally leave your copy of Irreality by Max Blecher at a fourth date’s condo in Ferndale, Michigan, and when he texts you to confirm how attentive and dull he was after you bounce in an Uber, he confesses to leafing through the first chapter. He likes having your book in his kitchen, he says—it makes him feels like the prince in a nerdy version of Cinderella. You call him from your cab and tell him sharply to stop. That’s your property, after all. He can’t just change it to mean something. The next time you see him he slides the book across the table to you in a Ziplock bag while you try to explain why you can’t get drinks next week.
FRIDAY: “Little White Lies” by One Direction
The same day your shrink suggests that maybe this abiding interest in casual sex falls a little short of productive, you book a plane ticket to Brooklyn to see a guy you have only known in person for about ten hours total. The distance makes you far more interesting to him than proximity ever could. He is short and bright but not difficult and defines himself through things and the rituals he ascribes to those things, a characteristic painters shouldn’t be averse to, theoretically. He lights candles as a preamble to sex. He loves Maggie Nelson but does not want to talk about feminism because he feels ill-equipped to talk about feminism because he is. You drop your dress to the floor when he asks you if you’ve seen Lethal Weapon, but he ignores the bait and persists in playing you the clip where Mel Gibson tries to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. He laughs at Mel’s accent. You have no idea what to do with your face.
SATURDAY: “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” by Adele
The government worker from Walpole with a recently dead mother and nervous fingers has asked you to write him a letter. He likes the way you talk, he says. You want badly for the epistolary impulse you reserve for men you love to stretch in his direction, but disappointment has left you mean, and you can’t think of anything helpful to say. You could tell him that, of course. You could tell him that he clogs your pores in choking weaves of noun-ness, of slippery experience slicked to slide over purpose. You could let him know he’s just another bearded signifier feeding his own flesh back second-to-second in endless, stake-free loops of multiple choice. You sometimes wonder if you molded him from scraps of rage and breathed air into his dick so he could blush and lie like a real man. That’s not what comes out, of course. You put pen to vellum and call him beautiful like a good girl. That is what straight men want to hear, you have learned, especially from you, since your particular breed of beauty seems to swallow viewers whole against their better judgment. An art critic would call that quality “immersive.”A painter would call it “maximal” without actually knowing what the term meant.
SUNDAY: “Don’t” by Bryson Tiller (Sevyn Streeter Remix)
You know full well that your memories lie, in the same way a photograph lies mimetically, in the same way a painting of that photograph tries to lie less. Socrates thought all human knowledge was recollection, since Hades more or less recycled its tenants after feeding them liquid amnesia. So, if learning is recovery, then forgetting should feel like home, not like bereavement, right? You split a plate of poutine with a Literature PhD candidate who tells you how shocked he was that MFA kids so often proved such lazy readers—their responses were always based on taste, not analysis. Creatives are scavengers, you argue. Your kind doesn’t read; you comb rocky shores for gold. You need meaning to shine so badly you forgo scrutiny to grab transcendence faster. You crave sublimation. And you bite his neck because that’s how you recall intimacy now, in negatives. The men you fuck form the contours of an empty space exactly the depth of your divestment, and their absence inhabits your skin beyond a haunting. You’d kill to be lonely. If you aren’t trying to shed shadows, you’re desperately salvaging details you didn’t even know you coveted before they began to fade. The sex is fine. He texts you the night before he moves to Wisconsin to see if you want to come watch Blackadder reruns on his couch. You put your phone on silent.
Torey is an east-coast gin enthusiast currently wrapping up her painting MFA somewhere needlessly far from the ocean. More grown men have caught her eating ham out of a bag than she is comfortable reporting. Her mom is way, way funnier than she is.
It’s December, and the year is ending, and so are a lot of other things. It’s my last year of high school, and I can’t not be thinking about that all the time. I keep telling my friends we made it through, we really made it, because we’re only a few months away and we’ve been waiting for so long. There’s a time to think about the future and a time to set goals and plan ahead and motivate ourselves for a sparkling new year, but that time is not now.
I can’t not think about how it’s my last year of high school, and I can’t not get sentimental about that fact. I think one of the reasons the world is so irritated by teenage girls is because they forgot, they just forgot what it’s like to feel everything so deeply, to have every high and low stretched to the point of bursting. I am constantly in fear that my heart will break. People don’t like to remember what it was like being a teenager, mostly because it’s embarrassing, we’re all so embarrassing at 16, but also partly because it hurts a little too much to remember who they were when they first felt the cracks form.
I don’t know if I want to forget, because I don’t know if I’ll ever feel full to the point of bursting ever again. Maybe it’s not the best thing to feel that way, but damn it if it’s not satisfying. I sit with my friend in the car and we’re dancing even though she should really be looking at the road and we scream the words together, and I know in that instant that she cares just as much about this moment as I do. Isn’t that just gorgeous? That I can be sure that someone is feeling just exactly the same thing as me? That I can be sure that I’m not the only one who’s terrified her heart will break?
The point is that it’s not over yet, but it’s ending. It was forever and it’ll be gone soon, and these two things exist in conjunction with each other. I wish I knew a way to not ache over this, but there’s no way not to hurt over the end of a forever. All I know right now is that I can sing along to the music that made me and be sure that this feeling passes through all of us, at least until the song ends and our voices start to break.
Wake Up – Arcade Fire If the children don’t grow up Our bodies get bigger, but our hearts get torn up
Heroes – David Bowie Though nothing will keep us together, We could steal time, just for one day, We could be heroes, forever and ever
XO – Beyonce Your heart is glowing, And I’m crashing into you
Don’t Forget Where You Belong – One Direction If you ever feel alone — don’t, You were never on your own, And the proof is in this song
Long Live – Taylor Swift For a moment, a band of thieves in ripped-up jeans Got to rule the world
Smile – Mikky Ekko Got nowhere to turn, And we’ve got nothing but time But the future is forever, The future is forever
The Kids from Yesterday – My Chemical Romance Here we are and we won’t stop breathing Tell it out ‘till your heart stops beating
Outro – M83 I’m the king of my own land Facing tempests of dusts, I’ll fight till the end
Asif Becher is a 16 year old recently discovered cat lady who lives in the desert. She is often asked to “chill” about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Taylor Swift, a suggestion she finds absolutely ridiculous. You can find her on Twitter and on tumblr.
Let’s start with the most anticipated in music news (since yesterday, as that’s when Jeppo announced this song). What better avenue to choose for a Christmas 2k15 anthem than Wham’s 1985 hit, “Last Christmas?” E•MO•TION, which we all know is a love-album to 1980s smooth-jazz new-wave, is a canvas for this gem of a pop song. Sax riffs abound in short, spicy spurts, like cloves and oranges resting atop a plump Christmas ham. Carly Rae’s voice floats over scales and murmurs the melody as if she doesn’t even need to be there. Sweetly sing-humming Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas with a familiar sigh, the height of nostalgia and absolutely perfect for the holiday season. Basically, where is the Christmas album???
Miike Snow ft. Run The Jewels: “Heart Is Full”
Of course, the Etta James hook is enough to keep anyone listening. This is the remix of the original, released on October 29, and it does not disappoint. Stereogum called the original song “Chaotic, but beautifully so,” and Run The Jewels adds some balance to “Heart Is Full” that it didn’t know it needed. Killer Mike’s verse, sharp and clear over a muted melody, gives it structure and a subject after the controlled chaos – the buildup — of the hook and chorus. Plus, the pithy delivery – Iced out in Iceland in the blue lagoon, dead of the winter/Stop listenin’ to your loser family, come fuck with a winner – makes for a bundled sound I want to listen to on repeat.
Sofi de la Torre: Mess
It’s hard to talk about the greatness of this EP. Four absolute bangers have dropped today, all broken out into their own theses, part of a larger scheme. “19 in Mexico” reeks of longing, again and again, the antithesis of her chorus: We’re not 19 in Mexico. A song you’d think would be about growing up is about giving in to what you need, losing your virginity and gaining your innocence. Throwing yourself into a relationship you’ve resisted, but it’s so natural you don’t need to let go. “Mess” (the song, not the EP) hits you with a sweet pop beat and the same innocence reiterated in “19 in Mexico,” but the lyrics themselves are tired out and determined. Self-confidence in so much more than just imperfection – more like her own ruinous persona – oozes out of this song by the gallon, and all of Sofi de la Torre, as she says herself, is #popdoneright.
FLETCHER: “Live Young Die Free”
Getting some serious Tarzan vibes from FLETCHER’s “Live Young Die Free.” Both in terms of subject matter and in terms of the Peter Gabriel drums pounding out a beat to the souls of young people sliding down tree branches and swinging on rope vines everywhere. Add in a strong chorus of backing vocalists, the occasional jab of an electronic animal sound, and church bells, and you recreate the heart of a fast- paced Disney musical. “Live Young Die Free” embodies invincibility and palpable strength, daring its doubters to say “You can’t pull this off, you aren’t good enough.” In response: I like the rush; need to feel it on my skin… Don’t tell me what I want/And if I’m gonna bet, I’m gonna bet it all.
You think you know where this song is going, and then you start hearing the Bop-It sounds, and suddenly it’s all over. “Your Love” starts out like your typical, rushing dramatization of a love dance-pop song. And sure, some of those elements persist throughout its duration. When you add in the “Ow!” and the “boing,” though, chaos reigns and Hit me with your love becomes the mantra of a now-unstable Max Marshall. Every bend and twist in “Your Love” makes for a water slide with limited control. You can just catch a dimly-lit glimpse of where you might be headed, but Alizzz has a few curveballs to throw at you first.
Scroll back up top for the playlist, which also has more tracks you should check out this week from: Kyla La Grange, Allie X, Satchmode, Kaptan, and Adele (!)
Carson is a 23-year-old who discovered the joys of the Backstreet Boys two years ago, when she fell down a pink fur-lined rabbit hole into the world of pop. She has since taken it upon herself to make an exodus into the underbelly of the glitter-covered beast. You can find her Spotify account here and you can also find her on Tumblr.
you wouldn’t like me – tegan and sara up the wolves – the mountain goats violet – hole all your favorite bands – dawes swan dive – waxahatchee something bad – julia nunes atoms – nana grizol if you’re feeling sinister – belle and sebastian me and you again – kelsey waldon blowin’ in the wind – bob dylan chinatown – girlpool fast car – tracy chapman the sound of settling – death cab for cutie anywhere but here – chumped gypsy – suzanne vega fuck was i – jenny owen youngs running on empty – jackson browne
i have been trying to pray, as an act of comedy and desperation, which are the same. i cannot bear myself so i make my mind a telephone and all the thoughts for someone else who is listening who does not exist who does not care about me who loves my soul because it’s criminal who will deliver me (deliver me!!) who lives above my grandmother’s piano on a glossy piece of woodwork, a maudlin t between the picture frames. at mass on all saints day in black jeans i was ruined already i said, have me, anybody, any of you. take these pieces. i have been trying to pray.
when i think of all the girls i have tried to be i think of pink bubbled fingertips burnt on ironed hair like pretty fake five dollar fried silk disgusting on the floor and chair and bed sheets after the rain messy soft and broken smooth. i was trying. and so many dressed like boys and moved like cats and more smelled like sugar. sugar on fire and sticky prom palms. when i think of all the girls i have tried to be i see my new white sneakers stolen at the mall, from a display of sweaters, from a plastic bag. and i cried because i had known exactly what i was when i walked circles in those shoes across the speckled carpet and the loss seemed unsurmountable and the loss was an attack and i think maybe they cost forty dollars and i cried. i was nine they were nikes they were like my best friend’s. she ran faster than me. i didn’t know her anymore in middle school i let my hair grow out in middle school i found denim skirts in middle school. when i think of all the girls i have tried to be i am playing redbutt on the blacktop and it is important not to wince when the ball hits you and it is important to wish it came harder to show no tears when you turn to taller boys who understand you as a creature that should be embarrassed all the time it is important to splay your fragile fingers without fear and i put my face right on the bricks. when i think of all the girls i have tried to be i am thirteen and i put my ponytail up higher and i run and i run and i know the sound of so many pairs of purple cleats in the same dirt and i shave away the untouched weakness on my thighs so they won’t see it in the sun and we sit in spandex laps later and we smell like sweat if sugar sweat we smell sweet when we’re tired we taste like when something is ending already at the very start. the flipbook fast heartbreak of something almost like ease.
when i think of all the girls i have tried to be i get religious i get religion i get god from their discarded t-shirts like fallen soldiers from the sun through pink curtains part where they saw me over their shoulders saw me saw me i say the rosary and every bead is a noise of barely choked exuberance when she made a mean joke is a mangled pinky finger from a preschool break is a lie to spare my feelings that i caught and pretended not to is thick & full biotin & collagen shampoo and only blue m&ms. i see the slant of their handwriting badly imitated on my own papers and i think everyone who has ever died knows now exactly how afraid i am of living. when i think of all the girls i have tried to be i am dressed as a football player for fourth grade halloween i am abandoning soccer for field hockey and girls with glossed mouths i am buying rap music i am running until i am sick and sick and as happy as i’ve ever been there to fall over helpless take me i’m yours. when i think of all the girls i have ever tried to be i am giving back their secrets i am braiding them with my own unspoken songs i am in a small dark room somewhere forever writing each of them a book of love poems that read like an apology. all of yours that was golden turned green against my skin, i say, and i am sorry that i took it. i was trying.
when i think of all the girls i have tried to be i see them as their parts i feel their old jeans i smell their skin taste crooked nailbeds and fine points of fraying baby hair at the base of so many necks. smiles full of teeth a doctor fixed and purple under beige under eyes and all the soap. every scar and cruel impulse i detected i devoured and it made them only more the magic it made me lean my head in closer yes tell me you are the monster i’ve been waiting for i need someone to fear. it wasn’t like that. it’s not that way. i look inside my closet all the time still, won’t someone eat me alive? when i think of all the girls i have tried to be i’m counting up my own pieces to see what can be saved. can i salvage the new electric bodily animation of being in love? swallow the want back into me til my tired stomach lining says no more, revolts, my insides are asleep out of self-preservation. you’ve fucked us up bad. weak ankles and swollen eyes and spite like spoiled red wine i carry i keep in new costumes with new faces. if i laugh in a booth with my friends, their vibrating builds and shaking hands, if i pretend i am a person does the small death at my center feel betrayed? eating breakfast seems inconsiderate when your minor organs are at war. when i think of all the girls i have tried to be i’m naked at the grocery store waiting for a sign in warbled fingerprint writing on the frozen aisle glass. what will you be?
i like confession, keep a Mary candle at my bedside i tell her hey girl please. please. cross myself until my arms ache i pull my hair out still I’m grown. first penance is a ceremony and i wore red shoes. first penance gave permission from god to be sorry all the time and i took it i was thirsty. O my god i am sorry for having offended you and I detest all my sins. O my god because of Your just punishments. Just punishments. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good i have sinned against you i am seven years old please strike me down so that i can be born again with ashley’s fine bones and worth loving i am sixteen years old please whip the skin he ever touched my mouth and other open spots stained with whiskey and doritos i am trying O my god. i am twenty three years old and i only believe in my horoscope and no indoor heating before thanksgiving please cleanse me of the foolish notion that i know anything of love. in choosing to do wrong and failing to do good i made my heart into a new age smoothie my god have mercy.
I like to imagine a little world, floating above our own, in which things don’t end. Everything, from the lights at the concert glowing brighter and brighter and that amazing conversation you had with someone you barely knew about how Taylor Swift totally wrote a Paramore song that one time, to the worst nights and all the crying fits. It sounds kind of horrifying, it is kind of horrifying, but there’s also a comfort to perpetuity, isn’t there? In a little world where nothing ever ends, there can be infinite you’s, all running parallel existences. Every second of your life, every single incarnation of you there has ever been, would have its own place as a completely separate entity in this world, and it makes a strange kind of sense because every second of your life is different, isn’t it? You are different every second of your life. What I’m trying to say is a little world in which nothing ends isn’t all that different from an actual lived reality. (Sidenote: this idea of endless existence is the whole basis of fanfiction and even fan culture in general. The space for the thing you love is all filled up, so you take what you love and you make a new home for it–an object in motion stays in motion and you have no reason to jump in its way).
In this world where everything runs in straight lines, unobstructed and never ending, I like to think that there is always music. It’s in this world that songs that end on a fadeout are never quieted, they just repeat those last lines over and over and over and over and over and—you get my point. The beat syncopates on, the humming synth breathes in-out forever. Songs that aren’t just immortalized, but actually immortal. A memory, a feeling, in a form where it can last on and on.
Each of these songs promise forever in their own way, whether that be eternal love or longing or pain or loneliness. I’ll never want to let you go is different than I never want to let you go is different than I’ll never let you go. You can’t promise the latter, but you can be sure that the wanting is forever. Forever isn’t a concept in these songs; it’s a place. A place where the people are talking people are talking people are talking (but not you), where all I want to be is yours yours yours. The days are long here on these endless road trips with a girl who can see right through you. In this place of forever, you are ever spinning, a voice caught in a round that echoes on and on, threads of melody endlessly weaving themselves together and ripping themselves back apart. No time, no time, no time, sure, but also there’s no time here, in this place where you repeat words often enough that they float off into the little world where everything is endless. It’s a strange notion, that things don’t have to end. But like all the strangest things, it’s just a little bit magical.
You always seem to miss how things were. You always seem to be missing something, even as it’s still happening. The writer of the song has probably changed genres, the band has probably rearranged their lineup, the singer may have gotten sick and stopped making music. But the song lives on, lingering in a world where nothing ever, ever, ever ends.
Run Away With Me – Carly Rae Jepsen Hold onto me I’ll never want to let you go
A World Alone – Lorde People are talking, people are talking Let ’em talk cause we’re dancing in this world alone, our world alone We’re all alone
I Wanna be Yours – Arctic Monkeys I wanna be yours I wanna be yours I wanna be yours I wanna be yours
Hannah Hunt – Vampire Weekend Our days were long and our nights no longer Count the seconds, watching hours Though we live on the US dollar, you and me, we’ve got our own sense of time
Take Care – Beach House Deep inside the ever-spinning, tell me does it feel It’s no good unless it’s real, hillsides burning Wild-eyed turning till we’re running from it
Eyes – Rogue Wave We’ll be washing my hands of attachments, yeah, Land on the ground, one thing I’m missing is in your eyes
The Chain – Ingrid Michaelson I’ll never say that I’ll never love But I don’t say a lot of things And you, my love, are gone
Wait – M83 No time, no time There’s no end, there’s no goodbye Disappear with the night No time, no time
God Only Knows – the Beach Boys If you should ever leave me Though life would still go on believe me The world could show nothing to me So what good would living do me?
Strange Magic – Electric Light Orchestra You’re walking meadows in my mind Making waves across my time
Asif Becher is a 16 year old recently discovered cat lady who lives in the desert. She is often asked to “chill” about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Taylor Swift, a suggestion she finds absolutely ridiculous. You can find her on Twitter and on tumblr.