I have been in pursuit of the right song for as long as I can remember. What do I mean by the right song? The song that can serve as my anthem for whatever mood I find myself in, which as a self-proclaimed tortured artist can change many times within a 24-hour period. As Americans, and human beings in general, of course “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey is a go-to mood-mediator, but there’s also that natural inclination for the “right song” to also be “your song.” It could be your “get-pumped-up-its-Friday-night-and-I’m-not-wearing-yoga-pants-tonight” song, or it could be your “its-Sunday-why-didn’t-I-do-a-load-of-yoga-pants-and-towels” song. More seriously it could be your “damn-he’s-the-one” or “oh-hell-no-he-is-definitely-not-the-one” song. Whatever song you need to be yours, many of us work hard to find “our” song.
My interest in music goes back to my dad, also known as Pete the Tweet, and “Fast Women and Fast Machines.” Can’t figure out who that’s by? That’s because it’s an original score by my dear old dad that hasn’t hit the public air waves quite yet, though I’m pretty sure he’s convinced to this day that it has a fighting chance, based on how often he belts it out:
Fast women and fast machines
Fast people if you know what I mean
I’ve been cruisin’ all night long
Radio blastin’ singin’ that song
What song is the radio “blastin’,” might you ask? It remains a mystery even still, but offers a great opportunity to “change the channel,” pop your ear buds in and keep on fighting the good fight.
I’ve explored many corners of the musical world. I’ve happily sustained my love of jazz, rhythm and blues, bluegrass, folk and classic rock, a love I credit Tweety himself for fostering. I’ve pursued all the internet has to offer along with the not-so-friendly record stores in nearby trendy towns, hoping to find a new lead. In contrast, there are some musical phases I care to forget, including a mildly troubling fixation on all things Kurt Cobain. I was playing the whole troubled teen card a little hard, but I must admit I do occasionally enjoy an archaic Cobain-interview-YouTube-binge here and there, and still tear up watching Kurt Loder announce his untimely death. Then I end up watching Courtney Love interviews and the shock of her strangeness still baffles me, but I digress. Where am I going with all this? Despite a concrete, reliable and respectable repertoire built up from 23 years of musical exploration, there’s still and always room for improvement.
My latest fixation is 17 year old, New Zealand bred sensation (yes, 17!) Lorde. Being from New Zealand, number 1 on my “places-to-see-before-I-die” list, of course she’s automatically on the awesome list (I have a lot of lists…), but she takes it much further. Her catchy “Royals,” has taken the radio waves by storm, and now her equally as catchy “Team” has started making a splash as well, to use radio lingo. The seeming rush to get “Team” out there certainly serves as a testimony to the impression she has made on the mainstream radio robots. Often, and sadly, an “indie” jam hits us hard and then fades away, which is the worst kind of musical death, at least according to Cobain (“I’d rather burn out, than fade out” was one of my many concerning mantras at 14). It seems safe to say that Lorde is just getting started on bringing a little edge to our morning commutes, along with reminding me how unworldly I was at 17, and I’m more than okay with that.
If you’re looking to explore what Lorde can offer you, I encourage you to give her Pandora station a whirl. The following is a little survey of what other impressive artists you can expect while tuning in, which provides an excellent opportunity to continue the good fight:
Lorde: Of course, this is where it all starts. This is what brings you to your new go-to Pandora station. As I mentioned, Lorde is everything I wanted to be when I was 16. She is cool, sexy, and her sultry voice is haunting. Unlike many of her indie counter parts, underneath her seemingly apathetic lyrics hides pure poetry. Have you actually listened to “Royals”? It took me awhile to get beyond the catchy beat and come to the realization that this young lady is single-handedly denouncing the idolization of material goods and social status glorified by most of the music industry. Enough said. I’ll discontinue my fan-girl gushing and let you see for yourself.
Not sure where to start? Check this sure-to-be hit out:
*Warning: I’ll agree the video is a bit strange, but be open minded! Plus, isn’t she stunning?!
Birdy: You know those popular songs you want to like but secretly hate? In comes Birdy transforming what you once found just a little too “hipster” into undeniably beautiful numbers you feel you must listen to at least once a day, preferably over a cup of tea, snuggled in a family-heirloom quilt (she’s also British, increasing her awesomeness exponentially). Ready for your heart to swell?
Not enough? Try her cover of Phoenix’s “1901.”
Jasmine Thompson: If you didn’t get sucked in to listening to Birdy songs for the rest of the afternoon, you’re in luck, because Jasmine is another British sweetheart you’ll fall in love with. Also, a shocking fact I just came across, she is 13! Holy moly! At an age where I was eating fruit-by-the-foot and shamelessly belting out the latest Nysnc jam, this young lady is burning down the house producing covers of already prolific songs. I’ve heard some pretty terrible covers/remixes of Bastille’s “Pompeii,” but this little lady’s cover, in my book, is held at equal caliber. If you have anything pressing to do today, I’d come back to this YouTube link, because your schedule will need to be cleared. Also, I think she just made me like “Wrecking Ball”?
Purity Ring: Once you hear a bit of this “dream pop” (whatever that means) duo, you’ll be racking your brain trying to figure out where they got the name for this one-of-a-kind musical group. I’ll admit, it’s pretty far out there stuff, likely most appealing the fantastical, poetic type, but once you get hooked there’s no going back. Check the below jam out. The tagline “there’s a cult inside of me” comes in handy when you least expect it, namely when you “Dutch Oven” your significant other or make an awkward joke no one laughs at, which happens a lot to me (as in right now). Also, if anyone has an interpretation of the wild album art, please let me know.
Ellie Goulding: Apparently British women know how to get it done. I will admit, however, Ellie and I have had a turbulent relationship. The air waves, in their usual greedy manner, abused the hit “Lights” for just a little too long, and I gracefully bowed out of our courtship for quite some time. The Lorde station offers a great remedy to my desire for limiting my synthesized intake, providing me just enough “folktronica” (seriously, where do they come up with this stuff?) Here is an older, softer hit that first turned me on to the British beauty.
Lana Del Rey: I’ve been feeling really guilty (okay, not that guilty) because Lana used to be my go-to. I hold her in equal esteem as I do Lorde. I sort of view Lana as the 20-something-year old I hoped to be when I was a 16 year old aspiring Lorde but that I can’t actually be as a member of the real world rather than part of the sexy, inhibition-less female vocalist world. If I did anything Lana talked about in her songs my family would have me on Intervention in a New York minute. There is definitely some psychological stuff going on here. I’ll let the following speak for itself.
*Best paired with a cold shower. You’ve been warned.
Love it? Feeling risky? Like JFK references/critiques of American culture?
The dudes: There are also some pretty great male vocalists on this channel. Now that I’ve psychoanalyzed myself and this Pandora station, I’m beginning to realize that these are the equally as sexy chaps I imagine these women may be bellowing on about (except Jasmine and Lorde, they’re babies. Oh wait Birdy is 17, too…). Honorable mentions include the moody The Neighbourhood, (a group out of California despite the British spelling of the group’s name) and Mat Kearney, an old favorite who makes me believe in true love and also makes me want to drink copious amounts of fair trade coffee in a cozy coffee shop, for whatever reason.
These are just a few of the amazing artists one can be lucky enough to experience while tuning in to the ground breaking Lorde Pandora station, and bring you that much closer to “your song;” whatever song you may need to get you through your day, week, sweat session, or cry session. The power of music is in its ability to allow you to lose yourself, find yourself, love yourself, be yourself, or whatever else you need at that very moment.
Until next time.