By Kristan Pagliei
This month’s top seven recommendations are centered on heading back to class, saying goodbye to summer and finding that focus to get through the semester. Then there are a few songs that I recommend. Listen to these on the way to class, and perhaps they’ll speed up the time. If not, hopefully they’ll make the time sound better. Good luck, and welcome back!
1. If You’re Feeling Sinister by Belle & Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister 1996
Something about school beginning again makes me very sentimental. I don’t know what it is about this song that’s got my finger pressed to the repeat setting. It’s probably nostalgia.
I feel like I’m always writing about the past; Belle & Sebastian get this, recess sounds, reiteration the year 1995, etc. Thanks Belle, Sebastian. I’m going to go find my old yearbooks or color on my walls with crayons.
2. I Need My Girl by The National, Trouble Will Find Me 2013
Sometimes bands explain themselves. A record or a song will serve as a preamble to that band’s biography; if you listen to this song, you understand the band. This doesn’t set limitations or even expectations for them, it just identifies. If I heard just this one song, I would see one of their gigs. Listen to this one with headphones.
3. Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye by Leonard Cohen, Songs of Leonard Cohen 1967
This song sounds like acceptance followed by comfort. I’m thinking that this one is apropos for the week’s troubles due to the comings and goings of certain people. This week feels like the shortest distance between two points has gotten wider this week. Everyone is saying their goodbyes and hellos again. Perhaps this song will help with any distance you’re experiencing.
4. Your Silent Face by New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies 1983
I need this type of focus-driving music, and you probably will, too. New Order was spawned after the suicide of Ian Curtis, Joy Division’s complicated leading man. I think when they reformed as New Order, they didn’t try to replace Curtis by putting up a new lead singer with a similar aesthetic—they made a new sound. In that new sound, they made this “don’t speak to me this week” song.
5. Kooks by David Bowie, Hunky Dory 1971
If I hadn’t known any better, I’d say this song was written about my loud and kooky friends. This song will remind you of your friends, I guarantee. David Bowie often influences most of my decisions, so this song might sway you back into loving your freaky friends. I know it makes me appreciate my kooks more than usual this week.
6. Sexy Sadie by The Beatles, The White Album 1968
I don’t really know if this song is as underrated as I have been treating it, but this week sparked a firecracker about this song. I rarely write about The Beatles because what could I possibly say? All I know is that this is one of their most top-notched songs.
7. Insomnia by Electric President, S / T 2006
This is wearing a neon shirt paired with red kicks and still feeling completely overlooked. Pardon the embellishment, but sometimes there are those days. Your accomplishments feel minuscule, and your hair just doesn’t look right. Electric President is here to tell you that you and your accomplishments are still here and your hair – no matter how out-of-sorts – is fine.