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Friday Faves: Boston Manor, MNYS, and More

This week I've been confronted with terror, confusion, and guilt. 

I'd imagine that so many people right now are tackling their own unnerving whirlwind of emotions, whatever they may be to them personally. This pandemic has led us to an ongoing void of uncertainty where the next day is less stable than the last. Plus, we've had to find a way to progress forward in these uncomfortable times. Due to this, we're no longer on 'pause' and I'd argue we never really were.

It's getting harder every single day to justify pushing off responsibilities. So, I and many others are learning how to change avoidance into a confrontation. With every good life change, it deserves a solid playlist.

So, here's what I have been listening to this week:

1. "Modern Loneliness" -  Lauv

March 10, 2020 was probably the last "normal" day that I can remember. Ironically, only six days prior, Lauv had released his debut album ~how i'm feeling~ meaning that I spent my last normal day on March 10th at an intimate performance on the top floor of an Urban Outfitters.

Maybe that was the first moment I realized how crazy COVID really was. We were supposed to get a meet and greet with Lauv, but it had to be canceled out of fear of him contracting the virus. However, Urban was perfectly comfortable packing the fans in tight to watch. I can't complain, though, since that's the last real memory I have of feeling that concert intimacy with a crowd.

The point is: Lauv couldn't have predicted that the final song on that album-- "Modern Loneliness"-- would actually come to be an even more universal experience than it already was. Much of the song deals with depression and feelings of isolation that come with it. Lauv identifies this feeling of always being "on" for the world with social media and technological or superficial connection. However, he questions the authenticity of this and if it's really just avoidance after all.

Love my friends to death
But I never call and I never text

In the song, Lauv claims we "love to get high, but don't know how to come down". Truthfully, COVID has really forced a lot of people including myself to take a step back and fall through that downfall for better or worse.

While the song itself is simple and calm, that just adds to the power of it even more. Unlike many songs, it doesn't take a lot of mental energy to listen to and connect with, which for so many people experience fatigue and mental drain is so important. The lyrics speak for themselves and of course, Lauv's ever beautiful smooth voice does wonders. 

Who would have thought one of the last songs I heard live would define the next several months of my life so perfectly? Feels too foreshadowing to be real life.

2. "Spiders" - MNYS

One of the perks of the job is getting to work with some talented artists and listen to unique music.

In case you missed it, this past week I reviewed the single of an up-and-coming artist named MNYS for All Punked Up. While you can read more of my nitty-gritty thoughts there, I wanted to include the song here for a few other reasons.

Firstly, it is genuinely such a great song. I know that statement sounds to incomplete, unfulfilling, basic, and not in my usual well-thought-out metaphoric writing style. However, it's my candid thoughts. "Spiders" is really emo for the next generation. Having had time to reflect over quarantine about my life up until this point, I know that "Spiders" is the type of song that high school Alex would have devoted herself to. Due to this, I have absolutely been playing it non-stop and not just because that's part of my song review process.

Second, I wanted to touch on the topic of avoidance and fear. Thankfully, "Spiders" snapped me back into writing more and reminded me why I love what I do. Before the adventuring, touring, traveling, guest lists, backstage passes, and more... music for me has always been about passion and dreams. MNYS's music and working on this brief review has pushed me back into that people-first mindset.

If you feel like you're missing a little bit of passion in your life, maybe this song will be a gift to you and you'll finally feel a little jogged back into reality. It worked for me.

3. "mad woman" - Taylor Swift

If there's one thing I don't tolerate in my life its Taylor Swift slander.

Hating Taylor Swift is often just misogyny dipped in a deep-seated desire to be different. Taylor gave us the gift of folklore over quarantine and every day I find a new reason to love it. This week, for me, it's been the song "mad woman", which resonates way too close to home.

If you're unfamiliar with Taylor's story and the way the media and music industry nearly broke her, I recommend watching Miss Americana on Netflix. Understanding her complex story on a deeper level, provides so much more profound context through her music. For "mad woman" nearly any woman can relate, which is sad, but our reality.

This week, I often found myself pleading to people that "I am going insane" for a variety of reasons. Taylor, though, reminds me that while maybe it's true it's also not my fault. The world (and often the patriarchy) categorizes nearly any reaction a woman has as "crazy" and eventually I need to start accepting that being a mad, angry, crazy woman isn't some radical idea to avoid. Perhaps, it's more about leaning into it and letting yourself feel it before finding the stability to change those things which cause you to go "insane" around you.

4. "This Song Is Dedicated to Nobody" - Boston Manor

Comfort album? Comfort album. 

Since I was a senior in high school, this album and more specifically this song have become a beacon of light in any time that seems to be too full of a foggy dilapidated mess. 

Not only are the tempo and instrumentals hypnotic, mesmerizing, and soothing, but the message put up against the backdrop of the current pandemic takes on a whole new night. That's what I love about most of Boston Manor's music.

While you can tell the band crafts songs from very true, personal experiences, they can nearly always be adapted to hold a specific place of significance to fans in various phases of their lives. In this case, the song emulates the feeling of trying so desperately to stay calm in a time of despair, keeping your head down just to get by.

However, living like this is truly so unfulfilling. Everyone, including myself, keeps talking about the perspective this virus has given them, but sometimes that mindset feels so empty and meaningless. Of course, I doubt in 2016 Boston Manor expected this song to radiate this way with me. Even myself back then had a completely different (and probably more canonical interpretation) of this song, but this week this is all that's on my mind.

As I seek out comfort in my old media, I'm still matched with the same feelings of patterns that never end and feelings that are unfading.

Sorry for a gloomy one this week, y'all. You should definitely check out the before mentioned songs and artists. Plus, if you missed it, the Z100 Jingleball lineup has been announced, so I can't wait to see the logistics of that this year (as I assume it will be online).

I'll keep you updated and share some more musical thoughts next week.

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