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Friday Faves: Lil Huddy, Ed Sheeran, Wilbur Soot, and more

I'm back & giving you my weekly round-up of my favorite music and pop culture moments as it relates directly to my mood. If you may recall, this little blog column is not only a form of self-expression but hopefully, a way for you all to relate to the crazy tribulations we're finding ourselves in and the escapism we've been seeking.

Before I get too much more philosophical, let's dive right into what's been on my playlist this week:

1. "21st Century Vampire" - Lil Huddy

I was just as surprised as the rest of the world when Lil Huddy announced that he was releasing a song. I was probably even more surprised to find out that I actually really loved it. 

As someone who still claims "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers as her anthem, this Lil Huddy original track reached deep into my subconscious and plucked out the exact soft-rock-inspired nostalgia that I had been missing. Lil Huddy (otherwise known as Chase Hudson) has claimed his inspiration comes from growing up with bands like blink-182, which totally makes sense given the sound of this song.

However, it definitely is shocking considering his rise to fame comes from the ultra popularized app TikTok, where there is a clear divide between alternative and mainstream, with Chase falling on the mainstream side of that rift. 

I couldn't really tell you what it was about this song that piqued my initial interest. Perhaps it was the word "vampire" that appealed to my clearly Twilight-infatuated brain or it was just blatant curiosity. Nonetheless, after hearing the song, I knew that I immediately wanted more. I wouldn't say it's some earth-shattering, deep song, but it's definitely worthy of a playlist slot and some fun. It also bodes well for the future of Lil Huddy's career if he can continue making music for himself and doesn't bend to fit the mainstream image and light he's been painted in. There may just be a place for him in the new-alternative scene next to artists like YUNGBLUD or the softer artist Conan Gray. 

2. "Afterglow" - Ed Sheeran

This song has absolutely been out for a while and I am so far behind.

However, the moment it came out, I listened to it and was in love. It took me a couple of months, though, to sort of accept it into my rotation for no particular reason. 

What is absolutely amazing about Ed Sheeran is he very rarely lets the music industry tell him what to do, but instead enjoys releasing music on his own terms. In this case, he popped up during a lengthy hiatus to bestow us with this beautiful, love-infused song before quickly and peacefully returning to the quiet life of nurturing his newborn daughter. He wanted to release this song for his fans because he just loved it that much. It wasn't meant to top any charts, but, of course, any Ed Sheeran original will do just that.

This sweet song is full of every whimsy and charm of any Ed Sheeran song, but also feels like the calm within the storm of all the turmoil in the world. It's so easy to get lost in the enchanting melody and romantic lyrics. In so many ways it is like a sweet lullaby, easing my anxieties and reminding me to breathe.

3. "Your New Boyfriend" - Wilbur Soot

Released in early December, this Wilbur Soot original has been played nonstop, no matter what I'm doing. Homework? Wilbur. Watching TV? Still Wilbur. Eating? Wilbur. 

Not only is the song upbeat and catchy, but it also has the same interesting twist as most of Wilbur's music. That is: you're not meant to relate to it.

Wilbur is known to write from the perspective of a character, an amazing technique that gives music a new meaning. He takes on the persona of an Internet "incel" who is fantasizing over a girl online who simply doesn't love him back. The lyrics are meant almost as back-handed compliments or questionable morality. In this particular song, the story shows us that he is jealous of who the girl is dating, comparing himself to the other man endlessly and believing he deserves the girl more -- as if she's a prize to be won.

The sick irony in the song makes it fun to laugh with, but Wilbur's clear talent also makes it endlessly fun to let loose and dance to. Plus, fans have run with the song, doing covers from a different perspective and developing the story further. I've had so much fun falling into this story and can't wait for the next Wilbur Soot release. 

4. "Blank Space" - Taylor Swift

A classic throwback, need I say more?

Taylor's back-to-back releases of Folklore and Evermore have caught a lot of attention. However, as a long-time Taylor fan, I've been playing the classics on repeat a lot lately. For some reason, the torturous aspects of "Blank Space" just feel so empowering and exciting, as does the entirety of 1989.

While we await the re-recording and re-releasing of her old music, I also have to remind myself to reflect on everything Taylor has been through in the music industry and just how terrible she was treated. Every day I remember just how far she has come and I am endlessly inspired by her diligence and dedication. "Blank Space" is just one of many of her hits that hovered on the carts upon their releases and are burned into the minds of any Gen Z or Millenial just from how iconic they truly were.

It's one of those songs that when you throw on, you're teleported back to the same mindset you were in when you first heard it and can't help but revel in how far you have come... just as Taylor has, too.

5. "December" - Neck Deep

As I haven't done a little round-up in a while (since I've been taking my winter break), I haven't gotten a chance to highlight this very special song particularly, which is what always gets me through the gloomy, tiresome winters.

While I listen to "December" year-round, there is definitely something different when it comes up when the snow is coating and sticking to the ground. The song itself resonates so much with that feeling of never-ending cold that itches its way up my spine year after year. The band echoes my fears of the length and loneliness we find here but leaves me with a chilling realization that I am not the only one frozen in fear right now.

Technically, the song follows a lost love and has that romantic pining entangled into it, but that only goes to elevate the storyline and meaning. What really gets me every time I listen to it is the way it's recorded to let us into the soft fragility behind the lyrics. I hate to be dramatic and say "you can hear the pain in his voice", but you can. 

Every year this song is blasted on repeat and every year I take something new away.

That's it for this week! I'm super excited to get back in the habit of writing these for you all so you can get a sense of some music that I've been jamming to and that you might enjoy yourself. See ya next week!

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