I’ve finally gotten around to posting words on the Musical Mondays page. It’s a Monday Miracle (and now it’s Tuesday)! The goal of these posts is two-parted: Firstly, I’ve had it on my to-do list to make a long list of songs that I love. Being the expert procrastinator that I am, it’s taken me several years to finally sit down and begin compiling a running, weekly list of songs that evoke some feeling (anger, joy, pain, aggression, etc). Secondly, I’ve been complimented on my taste and appropriateness of music so I thought I’d share some of my picks with the world.
This post and all Musical Monday posts in the future will follow the same format: most inspiring song of the week, favorite album of the week, favorite artist of the week and best song for building a playlist.
A throwback to Tony Hawk and the mid-2000s
Song: “Kick, Push”
Artist: Lupe Fiasco
Album: Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor (2006)
Favorite Lyrics: “And it wasn’t like they wasn’t getting chased no more, Just the freedom was better than breathing they said”
Musical Charts: Australia (ARIA): 66; UK Singles: 27; US Hot 100: 78; US Hip-Hop: 56
Appearances: EA Sports NBA Live 2006 and Tony Hawk: Downhill Jam
“Kick, Push” invokes feelings of teenage freedom, relaxing sunday strolls, rebellion and an inner urge to follow YOU. The song is “dedicated” to all those “out there grindin’…legally and illegally.” The story revolves around a young man (starting at age 6), focused and dedicated to his first love: skateboarding. As alluded to in the intro of the song, we can view skateboarding as a metaphor. The underlying message is about following your passion: getting back up even when you fall, coming back when you’re ousted or mocked by friends and stepping up when you find yourself in unfamiliar or challenging situations. As Lupe evolves the young man’s life arc, there’s always a familiar undertone: “Kick, Push, Coast”. It’s how every chorus begins and ends. When life challenges who you are, just kick, push and coast. Remember who you are, remember how you got to where you are today and most importantly keep pushing forward.
A snowy trail guiding you towards your thoughts
Album: If I Was (2014)
Artist: The Staves
Favorite Song: “Steady”
Musical Charts: Billboard: Next Big Sound (1); Heatseekers Album (14); Americana/Folk (17)
Fun Facts: The album was produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver; The Staves toured with Bon Iver and Florence and the Machine in 2015 and 1026
If I Was is the second studio album released by The Staves. As mentioned before, If I Was, was produced by Justin Vernon and you definitely get a sense of his involvement if not heavy influence. From the dreamy, floating guitars to picking banjos, the americana and folk genres are clearly at the forefront of this album. However, as is common with Bon Iver (Justin Vernon’s band) and other folktronica bands, there’s a consistent and purposeful use of synthesizers and keyboards to create mental dreamscapes. The beautiful use of synths and keyboards develop the album’s theme. The Deluxe Version has 17 songs (5 more than the standard release), which includes a cover of “I’m on Fire” and 2 live versions of “No me, No you, No more” and “Damn it All”. Whether you’re in the mood to sit back and dream or get all introspective by interpreting the lyrics, you’ll be extremely happy to have found this album. If I Was is a fantastic and easy-to-listen-to album that I’ve had on repeat more than once.
Trap Muzik by “The King of the South”
Artist: Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. (AKA T.I. and TIP)
Studio Albums: I’m Serious (2001), Trap Muzik (2003), Urban Legend (2004), King (2006), T.I. vs T.I.P. (2007), Paper Trail (2008), No Mercy (2010), Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head (2010), Paperwork (2014), The Dime Trap (TBA)
Favorite Album: Paper Trail (2008)
Favorite Song: “No Mercy” w/ Eminem on No Mercy (2010)
T.I. is a controversial, in-your-face, non-apologetic legend of rap music. He’s successfully released 9 studio albums, 3 straight chart-topping albums (from King to Paper Trail), and has had only one of his released albums (I’m Serious) not reach RIAA Gold. However, T.I. is no stranger to struggles and legal issues. He’s been arrested several times with charges ranging from drug possession to felony federal weapons possession. But he’s never let those challenges prevent him from becoming the 27th best artist of the 2000s. In fact, the subgenre of rap (trap music) he helped bring to prominence, is defined by those very hardships. And it’s because of those very hardships that help give T.I. a voice and a basis for rapping a story for “the masses”.
“With the exception of Outkast, let me think, Goodie Mob… with the exception of that, before I came in the game, it was Lil Jon, Outkast, Goodie Mob, okay so you had Crunk music and you had Organized Noise. There was no such thing as trap music, I created that, I created that. I coined the term, it was my second album, Trap Muzik it dropped in 2003. After that, there was an entire new genre of music created. An open lane for each of you to do what you do, and live your lives, on T.V., and be accepted by the masses. The masses have accepted you ’cause I opened the door and you walked through it. Don’t forget who opened that door cuz.”
Let’s all just feel good
Song: “Burn It Up” (2016)
Artist: HIGH HØØPS
Other Singles: “Ultramood” (2016),”Sexophone” (2015), “Magic Rain” (2014), “Heatwave” (2014)
Playlist Link: Spotify
HIGH HØØPS is a solo project by Jordan Arts who calls Auckland, New Zealand home. The project is “all about the good vibes and is excited to share them with you” and I’m really happy Jordan wants to share these great vibes. HIGH HØØPS proclaims to have a “penchant for escapism and a wandering cinematic mind” and that’s clear in the newest single “Burn It Up”. The newest single is silky, flowy, and conjures up visions of a magical carpet ride into space. HIGH HØØPS claims influencers being from the electronic and late-90s dance hits and both of those influences come through clearly in “Burn It Up”. His electronic vibes share a similarity with fellow Australiasian Chet Faker and that’s awesome.