Martin – Car Seat Headrest
by Quint Iverson
“Martin” might just be the best expression of musical loneliness I’ve ever listened to. It’s a song about living in the happiest moments of a relationship, ergo its bouncing, lively chord progression and rhythms. But the lyrical undercurrent is secretly about the loss of memory about love that happens after being alone for so long. It’s unclear if the singer even remembers his lover’s name, as the name of the song and its subject are different. The song’s final main line is a rhythmic chant of the words “remember” and “forget”. But it’s clear that even with clear memory of a physical lover gone, the memory of how you felt continues. “Martin” is about what happens after you move on and learn to settle with the loneliness—and the inherent pain trapped within.
Don’t Go Outside – Poppy
By Brendan Swogger
Poppy’s latest album, I Disagree, arrived in January, but its relevance to the world around us has grown in the months past… almost in an eerie fashion. Though the album dropped well before COVID-19 came to the forefront of the public eye, a few songs on the tracklist seem to be almost too fitting. One particular cut that strikes this note is the closing track, “Don’t Go Outside.” The song itself is a genius way to close the record, harkening back lyricially to previous hooks and packaging them together into a stadium rock epic. But in the face of social distancing, the lyrics hit even closer to home: “Now is not the time to go outside / crawl back into bed and close your eyes,” she sings. “The TV says we’re out of time / suck the fear in through your eyes.” Perhaps, unwittingly, Poppy had predicted the intensive media storm and stay-at-home orders that we were soon to face. But luckily, she also gives us a bit of hope: “Everything will be okay,” she sings in the song’s refrain. Whether prediction or pure coincidence, I think we can at least take a bit of advice from Poppy at this time: don’t go outside.
Endless Summer – The Strokes
by Quint Iverson
Did anyone think Julian Casablancas had a protest song in him? “Endless Summer” is a ripplingly angry song about knowing the world can change to solve climate change, but won’t do anything about it. “They got the remedy/They won’t let it happen”, letting his rarely-used, angelic falsetto fall into raging singular protest chant over discordant guitar in the song’s post-chorus. That’s nothing to talk about the song’s stone-cold bop status, its modern-80s-styled synth chords, bass, and guitar letting the lazy summer days pass behind Casablancas’ falsetto. “Endless Summer”–and, in fact, all of the new Strokes album, “The New Abnormal”–is a declaration that this band still has it after 13 years. It’s their best record since their very first one. If you like this song, set aside an hour and let the rest of the roller coaster of a record wash over you.