Sunday, July 17, 2016

Penny's Music Recommendations: July 2016

Another summer weekend has come and gone and with it, I've managed to avoid another sunburn. That's a small victory in my book. While everybody else is concerned with trying to pick which Top 40 song deserves the merit of "Song of the Summer," I continue to mine the depths of the indie genre for my next favorite. This month has a mish-mosh of genres, but most of them are artists you've probably heard or read about here. Time to plug in my bass heavy earbuds and get to sharing my favorite songs during the month of July.

  • New Americana by Halsey

Recently, Halsey has gained some pretty big popularity and she has a notable cult following, but for the longest time I resisted. She, like many of the artists I love, is solidly in the electropop genre, but I couldn't get into her music. All that changed this month when I gave her album, Badlands, another listen. Let's just say I changed my mind. There are a couple of songs off of the album that I liked, but "New Americana" is the one that I finally settled on. 

The song is just so catchy and it's one of those earworms that you can't get rid of once you hear it. While some claim this song is "plastic-y" and superficial, I'd hazard a guess that those are the same people that frantically whisper "millennials" under their breath, without unpacking the meaning of the word or their disdain. With the lyrics, Halsey seems to be tapping into the fact that the youth of today is growing up in a different culture altogether, with different influences and different ideals.  
  • Ride by Twenty One Pilots

For the life of me, I swear I've put "Ride" on one of my Music Recommendation posts and after going through my archive, I was surprised to find that it wasn't the case. It's doubly surprising considering this happens to be the second Twenty One Pilots song that has made it onto Top 40 radio. In fact, this is the only song on popular radio stations that I can stand to listen to. I'm going to be honest and say I didn't like this song when I first heard it. I wasn't 100% on board with the band's genre bending sound and the reggae influences put me off. After the third or fourth listen, I was and am still hooked. "Ride" is one of my favorite songs to listen to on the radio and I'm determined to memorize the whole song. All I can say is don't let the song's recent popularity put you off. I say like music regardless of whatever anybody else thinks.  
  • The Arena by Lindsey Stirling

If you've spent even a few minutes on YouTube and haven't listened to anything by Lindsey Stirling, you have no idea what you're missing. While she originally gained mainstream fame with her choreographed violin performances on America's Got Talent, she has a large discography of amazing music on her YouTube channel. 

Some days I'm in the mood for classical music and some days, like today, I'm in the mood for classical crossover. When that happens, I turn to Lindsey Stirling's music. A week or two ago, I was shocked to find this video for "The Arena" in my subscription feed and even more shocked to learn she will be releasing a new album, Brave Enough, in August. I seriously can't wait. This song is currently my favorite song to work out to and for good reason. It combines the classic sound of a violin with the intensity of dubstep, which doesn't sound like it would meld together well, but it does. Trust me and give it a listen.
  • Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It by Stars

Here we are. Back to the indie pop genre again where it feels like home. Periodically, I get the urge to binge watch movies, particularly romantic comedies, so I just type the genre into Google and watch whatever sounds interesting. I've watched some pretty weird movies that way, but there were some gems in the mix. During one of those movie binges recently, I came across this song in the movie "After The Ball" and the minute the movie was over, I had to listen to it all the way through. Stars is a Canadian indie pop/rock band that I'd never heard of before. Again it has this catchy upbeat sound that you can't help but sway along to. It's got this inspirational note to it in the lyrics, but it doesn't beat you over the face with it like other songs.
  • Hell No by Ingrid Michaelson

Why don't we round out the post with another indie pop/folk pick shall we? Ingrid Michaelson is one of those artists that I admit I do really like, but for some reason I never seek out her songs. I don't think I've listened to one of her albums all the way through, but every one of her songs I come across I like. This time I found out about her most recent single, "Hell No," through the popularity of its insipid music video compiled using snapchat filters. I hated it to say the least. When I heard the song again apart from the video, I liked it so much more. The tone of that video just didn't match the tone of the song for me. That being said, it's an upbeat break-up song that you can belt along to.

Those are all of the songs that I've been listening to in July on repeat. They might not be the songs of everybody else's summer, but they're certainly mine and it's been one indie upbeat soundtrack. See you back here next month for some more of my recommendations!