Music We Love: Photographer, Sami, Shares Her Favorite Bittersweet Songs
Meet Samantha Brinkley, a photography major who loves video games and music
1. "Settle Down" by The 1975: The 1975 sure know how to make some funky fresh beats. Many of their songs are great to dance to, with fun bass lines, guitar riffs, and catchy choruses. This song off of their first, self-titled album is no exception. It starts with a build-up of some groovy beats before [lead singer] Matty starts to sing about what seems like an almost lamenting take on a secret relationship with an overly excited girl. Not only is this song incredibly fun to dance and sing to and an absolutely smooth listen, but it delivers some sassy lyrics as well. The lyric "You're cold and I burn / I guess I'll never learn" is one of my absolute favorites. This song is a banger that I never tire of and I always come back to no matter what mood I'm in.
2. "Blue" by Marina & The Diamonds: I'll try to keep this explanation professional and not just me screaming about how much I love Marina... This track off of her third album Froot is half dance club banger, half pitiful break-up song. Marina's lyrics are always painfully self-aware and real, with her admitting her faults at every corner. Not only is the main lyric "I don't wanna feel blue anymore" so simple yet so sad, but the second verse really hits me -- "No, I don't love you / No, I don't care / I just wanna be held when I'm scared / And all I want is one night with you / Just cause I'm selfish, I know it's true." The painfully raw lyrics always tug at my heart while she still gets me to stomp my feet.
3. "Razorblade" by The Strokes: The Strokes!!! This list could have just been filled with songs by them, but I held back. This track off of their third album First Impressions Of Earth is a hidden gem. It starts out with a catchy guitar pattern (I don't know music terms!) that repeats throughout the song and it's fun as heck. Then in typical Strokes fashion, [frontman] Julian starts to sing in what always sounds like a half-interested tone with snarky lyrics to match. The refrain goes "Oh no, my feelings are more important than yours / Oh, drop dead, I don't care, I won't worry, let it go." They are always so unabashedly brutal, sarcastic, and downright rude, but I love it. The way Julian sings at the end "Sweetheart, your feelings are more important, of course, of course!" perfectly captures the pure bitterness that I love about The Strokes.
4. "Walls Could Talk" by Halsey: When I first sat and listened to Halsey's new album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, I don't think I was prepared for this song. The 1:41 track left as fast as it arrived, and it packed with it a punch that left me thinking about it long after I was done with the album. She's managed to pack a lot into a small amount of time. Her singing is smooth on the surface but with a hidden, raspy edge, and the way she bounces flawlessly to the rhythm of her lyrics along with the string background (a dramatic change from the rest of the album) pull you into the song like you're being hypnotized. Before you know it, you're getting a sneak attack from the intense and dizzying chorus, and before you can even process that, the violins are playing the song out, and it's over. It's amazing that one of the shortest songs on the album ends up being the best one.
5. "Hard Times" by Paramore: Oh, After Laughter. Paramore's newest album is so good in so many ways that I would need at least ten pages to explain it all, but I'll try to wrap it up with one song. Paramore has gone through a lot, both musically and personally. What started as what might be called standard mid-2000s alternative music slowly progressed into a more experimental blend of alternative and indie-pop. Now with all of the lineup changes and personal issues that they have gone through, their new album has the motto "Cry Hard Dance Harder," which "Hard Times" perfectly emulates. The whole song is incredibly fun to dance to, starting right out the gate with almost a tropical sounding beat. The guitar and bass only get more fun from there, and the way [lead singer] Hayley sings "and I gotta get to rock bottom!" only adds to the fun mood of the song. However, the lyrics are quite sad and raw. "Tell my friends I'm coming down; we'll kick it when I hit the ground." As the past year and a half have been pretty hard times for me personally, this is a song I constantly go back to whenever I'm feeling down, or even when I'm feeling happy. Long story short -- Paramore nailed it.