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”.
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.