Alt­hough many pan­de­mic regu­la­ti­ons are still in char­ge, it’s sum­mer in Ber­lin. So, our aut­hor Maxi­ne shares some enjoya­ble music recommendations. 

Sum­mer is near. In Ber­lin this means that we will sud­den­ly get three warm days, then it will rain for a week straight, and after that it will be too hot for ever­yo­ne to pro­per­ly func­tion (and for some reason it will snow at some point). But let us be gra­teful that win­ter is over for now!

This sum­mer might not yet be the return to nor­mal­cy many have not so secret­ly hoped for. Unless the mil­li­ons of peo­p­le, who have not had the oppor­tu­ni­ty, will be offe­red an appoint­ment for get­ting their vac­ci­ne, cer­tain regu­la­ti­ons will have to stay in place.  Alt­hough this means that raves with a mul­ti­ple thousand peo­p­le are out of the pic­tu­re, the­re still are cer­tain types of enter­tain­ment that can be enjoy­ed alo­ne (or in small groups). So, in light of the­re pro­ba­b­ly being ano­ther peri­od of time with some rest­ric­tions of all of our social lives here are some albums you can respon­si­bly enjoy. (The­se recom­men­da­ti­ons are in no way from a source with any aut­ho­ri­ty, as I have clo­se to zero know­ledge of music and I vol­un­t­a­ri­ly deci­ded to do four semes­ters of art class)


The first recom­men­da­ti­on on this list is the 1967 album “The Vel­vet Under­ground & Nico” by Nico and The Vel­vet Under­ground. The­re are three main reasons for you to lis­ten to this album. The first being that the cover by Andy War­hol, is very cool and I am sure that you have seen it in gift shops, on socks or T‑shirts and if you lis­ten to the album, you will be able to reco­gni­ze the yel­low bana­na. The next reason is that by lis­tening to it, basi­cal­ly every midd­le-aged per­son will auto­ma­ti­cal­ly respect you – and who does not want to earn the reco­gni­ti­on of 53-year-olds? But the last reason is that it is an excep­tio­nal­ly good album. By the world of music cri­tics, it is very high­ly regard­ed and was even put on lists like the Rol­ling Stones “500 best albums of all time” or the Times “100 most important albums of all time”. If you are not a lis­ten-to-a-who­le-album-in-one-sit­ting type of per­son, I would recom­mend you lis­ten to the songs “Femme Fata­le”, “I’ll be your mir­ror”, “Sun­day mor­ning”, as well as “Run Run Run”.

This next album is also famous for it’s cover, as it is gra­ced with the words: “I sto­le my sister’s boy­fri­end. It was all whirl­wind, heat and flash. In a week we kil­led my par­ents and hit the road”. But the 1990 album “Goo” by Sonic Youth is not one of the most important alter­na­ti­ve albums of the ear­ly 1990s just becau­se of its cover art. In the 49-min-and-45-sec-11 song-long-album, topics such as eating dis­or­ders, miso­gy­ny, fema­le empower­ment and lef­tist poli­tics are dis­cus­sed. This album is full of songs with memo­rable lyrics, scrat­chy gui­tars and unex­pec­ted burst of ener­gy. Again, if you do not want to lis­ten to the who­le album, I would recom­mend my three favo­ri­te songs “Tunic (Song for Karen)”, “My fri­end Goo”, and of cour­se the bands pro­ba­b­ly most famous song of all time “Kool Thing”.

If someone poin­ted a gun to my head and asked me to a reci­te a sin­gle line from the 1990 album “Hea­ven or Las Vegas” by the Coc­teau Twins, I genui­ne­ly could not. None­thel­ess this album is an expe­ri­ence. It could only be descri­bed as making you feel like floa­ting. Like I said, I can­not go into the lyri­cism or mea­ning of the songs, but this does not dimi­nish the qua­li­ty of the songs at all. I can only urge you to lis­ten to this album, as it per­fect­ly con­veys the fee­ling of abso­lu­te free­dom and total detach­ment from rea­li­ty. Even if you will not lis­ten to the who­le album the songs “Cher­ry-colo­red funk”, “Ice­b­link Luck” and obvious­ly “Hea­ven or Las Vegas”, will give you a pret­ty good idea of it.

We are alre­a­dy in the year 1990, which is why we should stay here for ano­ther album I dear­ly love. “She hangs bright­ly” by Maz­zy Star, was not quite as prai­sed by cri­tics, as the other albums. But even if it didn’t get a spot on the list “most important albums ever made in huma­ni­ty and of all time ever”, it deser­ves a spot on the list “albums I think you should lis­ten to in ano­ther sum­mer impac­ted by coro­na”. If you have ever lis­ten­ed to Maz­zy Star you should be fami­li­ar with the dre­a­my, melan­cho­lic melo­dies and lyrics. Some peo­p­le might say that all their songs sound simi­lar, and I can­not real­ly argue with that, but it does not take the album’s beau­ty. My very per­so­nal top songs from this album are “Halah”, “Give you my Lovin’”, “Blue Flower” and “Be my Angel”. This album may not be per­fect for a care­free day at the lake with fri­ends, but it is per­fect for being at home and being sad about not being care­free at the lake with friends.

The album “Pot­ty­mouth” by Brat­mo­bi­le from 1993 is kind of the oppo­si­te to the last album. It is fast, punk and feels a bit like a slap in the face. It is a par­ti­cu­lar­ly important album for the Riot Grrrl move­ment of the ear­ly 90s, which incor­po­ra­ted ele­ments of punk, femi­nism and poli­tics. The­se aspects can also be iden­ti­fied in this album. It is only rough­ly about 27 minu­tes and 46 seconds long, but full of real­ly good songs. May­be you should not lis­ten to some the­se songs in front of your con­ser­va­ti­ve rela­ti­ves, who dis­agree with swea­ring in music, unless you want to inci­te an argu­ment – then plea­se do. Again, my favo­ri­te songs from this short album are “Love thing”, “Cher­ry­bomb”, which is a cover from the Joan Jett fron­ted band “The Runa­ways”, “Fuck Yr. Fans”, “Cool Schmool”, “Bitch­the­me” and “Jus­wan­na”.

If you ever wat­ched the 2009 movie “Juno” with Elliott Page and Micha­el Cera, you are pro­ba­b­ly quite fami­li­ar with the Mol­dy Pea­ches. The self-titled album “The Mol­dy Pea­ches” by (sur­pri­se, sur­pri­se) the Mol­dy Pea­ches, was coin­ci­den­tal­ly and infa­mously released on Sep­tem­ber 11th, 2001. I think it can be best descri­bed as “a litt­le bit weird”. While some of the songs are very endea­ring with sad but smart lyrics, other songs are very absur­dist and may­be even a bit stu­pid. Even though not every song is the most intellec­tu­al, it doesn’t real­ly have to be, becau­se the album as a who­le is fun and feels spe­cial. As of now I pre­dict some of the songs being in my 2021 Spo­ti­fy Wrap­ped. I real­ly love the songs “Lucky Num­ber Nine”, “Jor­ge Regu­la”, “Lazy Con­fes­si­ons” and “Lucky Charms”.

Wil­low Smit­hs album “WILLOW” from 2019 is unde­ni­ably full of gre­at songs, which is even more of an achie­ve­ment as it only has 8 songs and is just about 20 minu­tes long. It again is dream-like and talks about fee­ling like being born in the wrong gene­ra­ti­on (in the least crin­gy way pos­si­ble) and fema­le empower­ment. Wil­low being only 18 or 19 at the time of recor­ding and rea­li­zing makes this album even more remar­kab­le. The cover loo­king abso­lut­e­ly stun­ning, just fur­ther­mo­re heigh­tens this albums excel­lence. At this point you should now the pro­ce­du­re, so I will not let you fur­ther­mo­re endu­re the anti­ci­pa­ti­on of wan­ting to know my favo­ri­te songs. I would espe­ci­al­ly recom­mend you the songs “Pret­ty­Girlz”, “Time Machi­ne”, “Samo is now” and “Fema­le Ener­gy, Part 2”.

Honorary mentions

Sad­ly, enough space and time are limi­t­ed, so if you are still rea­ding, here are three hono­ra­ry men­ti­ons of albums you defi­ni­te­ly should lis­ten to. 

The first being the 1993 album “Sou­v­la­ki” by Slow­di­ve, once again being dre­a­my, slight­ly intel­li­gi­ble and won­derful, with my favo­ri­te songs inclu­ding “Ali­son” and “When the sun hits”. The second album, which isn’t on the main list, but still feels like it should be included is the 1994 album “Live through this” by Hole, which is angry and femi­nist, so what more could you want? If you feel a bit mad at the world, may­be lis­ten to “Vio­let” or “Plump”. The last hono­ra­ry men­ti­on is sur­pri­sin­gly enough not thir­ty years old, but only six. “Befo­re the world was big” by Girl­pool is sweet, while still being raw. It is tru­ly a good album and lis­tening to “Cher­ry Picking” and “Befo­re the world was big” can only impro­ve your end­less summer.

This will most likely not be the sum­mer of everybody’s dreams and I can only recom­mend (in my hum­ble opi­ni­on good) music, as I am not equip­ped to vac­ci­na­te all of you.

Wenn du mit Maxi­nes Play­list durch bist, dann höre doch mal in unse­ren Pod­cast „Hör­auf­ga­be” rein. Im letz­ten Jahr haben wir über Coro­na-Ver­schwö­rungs­theo­rien gespro­chen und schon bald kom­men neue Epi­so­den.

Bild: kirsty/Twenty20
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