BOO! Did we scare you? Here are Artsweek Staff’s top music picks from October to make up for it.
“Live For Me” by Omar Apollo
In Omar Apollo’s newest EP release, the ballad “Live For Me” shows a new depth to him as a musician. The title track of Apollo’s four song EP, “Live For Me” is emotional, vulnerable and candid, while maintaining an incredibly captivating and catchy tune. The chorus echoes the overall theme of the ballad saying, “Won’t you live for me?/Or could I live for you? / There’s nothing I won’t carry / So you don’t have to.” Apollo portrays the experience of attempting to help someone through a dark time in any way possible. This is an experience many listeners can connect to, making “Live For Me” incredibly touching and relatable to a large audience.
– Avery Stanley, Staff Writer
“One Of Your Girls” by Troye Sivan
Australian singer Troye Sivan released his third album “Something to Give Each Other,” with the third single being “One Of Your Girls.” The track is sultry and depressing, as Sivan pines after a heterosexual man. The hard-hitting chorus reads “Give me a call if you ever get lonely / I’ll be like one of your girls or your homies.” Sonically, the track takes on a Daft Punk-esque style, perfectly using autotune and electronic additions to curate a groovy vibe. It’s deceptively catchy – masking heartbreaking lyrics with a danceable beat. The music video is noteworthy as well, starring Sivan unrecognizable in drag dancing around actor and musician Ross Lynch. Original and unbelievably catchy, 2023 marks the year of the Sivan-issance.
– Lauren Chiou, Artsweek Editor
“Rabid Dog” by Palace
The London-based band Palace released their newest single, a dreamy and dynamic rock ballad titled “Rabid Dog,” on Oct. 3. While labeled as alternative rock, the band also walks the line between indie and pop, with a self-described American blues background to round out their sound. “Rabid Dog” is an excellent showcase of Palace’s strength as songwriters, telling the story of a failing relationship from the man’s perspective as a “rabid dog” needing to be put down, climaxing in the chorus with the repetition of “And I, just put me down, again.” The song is characterized by a muddy, lazy guitar riff, supported by undertones of blues slide guitar in the background. When combined with the soft falsetto of singer Leo Wyndham, the track creates a wonderfully soft and melancholic atmosphere reminiscent of fellow British forebearers Radiohead, Blur and Coldplay.
– David Sun, Reporter
“SNEAKING OUT OF HEAVEN” by Waterparks
Their first single since their latest album release in April 2023, Waterparks is back with “SNEAKING OUT OF HEAVEN,” a song about being in love with someone who is so good that they belong in heaven and the guilt associated with the relationship. With lyrics like “You fall from the stars / And get in my car / Go to my place / And you put away your halo” and “I’ll have to jump the gates when I die / ‘Cause they won’t let me inside”, Waterparks continues to use religious imagery as a metaphor for love and relationships. The single is accompanied with a music video that included dark imagery to push the idea of corrupting someone who is incredibly good with bad energy. Lead singer Awsten Knight continues to use self-comparisons to devil-like imagery, like he has in previous work. Fans are theorizing a possible sister album to their latest release to come out of this new era of Waterparks, but, for now they can enjoy “SNEAKING OUT OF HEAVEN.”
– Diana Mateescu, Staff Writer
“Rockstar” by Jay Chang
After months of awaiting his solo debut, Jay Chang has released his debut EP “Late Night” with title track “Rockstar.” The track is written like a love song to his fans, featuring lyrics like “I’m gonna be your rockstar” promoting the idea that he’s finally going to be the rockstar he promised his supporters he would become. The song’s music video depicts him on a vintage music show, talking about his music and debut while being watched on the TV by a younger fan who aspires to be like him. In an interview scene, Chang talks about how he used to watch the show when he was younger, directly connecting to the fan watching in the music video and communicating that there is no dream too big. This track fits in beautifully with the rest of the EP, creating a diverse album with classic sounds that are sure to make anyone want to be his fan.
– Diana Mateescu, Staff Writer
“Suburban House” by Holly Macve ft. Lana Del Rey
Melancholy, painful and wholly resonating, “Suburban House,” a collaboration between Holly Macve and the one and only Lana Del Rey, gives an honest and heartbreaking account of falling in and out of love. This piano ballad and Macve’s equally beautiful single, “Beauty Queen,” released earlier in October, are teasers for the Irish-born artist’s new album, expected early 2024. The short but dramatically yearning song is reminiscent of Del Rey’s collaboration with her father, Rob Grant, on songs like “Hollywood Bowl” and “Lost at Sea.” With lyrics like “I’m not waiting / I know you’ve made your mind / And love comes and goes,” the listener can reflect on love, once strong, now lost. “You always said snow looks so perfect / when it’s untouched and new” highlights the difference between a new blinding romantic flame and one nearing its end. Beautiful and poignant, Macve and Del Rey show the power of singer/songwriters at their best.
– Zack Kramer, Reporter
“Inclination” by Steven Wilson
Through layers of rhythm and sound, Steven Wilson once again reminds his listeners of his ability to bring beautiful ideas into musical reality. Synthesizing the styles of electronica, ambience and a touch of prog, “Inclination,” the opening to his newest album “The Harmony Codex,” pulses with a complex, driving rhythm, as everything else flows through. Thoughtfully mixed with spatial audio, every individual part spins and reflects all throughout the soundspace the listener is pulled into. If the ear tries to follow any specific part, it seems to fall out of focus, melting back into the ocean of sound. Indeed, much of the music feels familiar and reminiscent of his music past: the wandering, wailing guitar solos, rich vocal harmonies and underlying ambience, but nothing feels overwrought. Rather than dwell in the tonal color, Wilson’s songwriting shines through the style. Once again, Wilson effectively creates a fresh take on his signature style, proving his musical capacity and artistry.
– Noah Tang, Reporter
“Afraid of Heights” by boygenius
The boys are back in town! Following the release of their March 2023 album, supergroup Boygenius returned this month with a four-track follow-up EP, “the rest.” The standout of the album is undoubtedly the second track, “Afraid of Heights.” Sung primarily by Lucy Dacus, the song is a ballad of teenage reckless abandon. The simple instrumentation and building vocals represent the central conflict of the song, the juxtaposition of an enigmatic, thrill-seeking character and the timid speaker. The lyrics reflect this ideological clash, with lines like “I wanna live a vibrant life / But I wanna die a boring death.” The song is deeply relatable and dismantles the idea that to live fully, you have to live dangerously. Though the song didn’t make the cut for their March album, “the record,” “Afraid of Heights” is an illustration of the persistent brilliance of boygenius.
– Lucy Dixon, Reporter
“A Night To Remember” by beabadoobee and Laufey
beabadoobee tries out a new sound in a jazz-inspired collaboration with Icelandic singer Laufey. The single, “A Night To Remember,” features a bossa nova beat with seductive strings that sweeps the listener away into a steamy evening. Beabadoobee stated that their intention was to create “something grand, but a bit more sexy lyrically.” This intent was well-executed through the lyrics “Underneath the sheets / You enchanted me / And whispered sweet nothings in my ear.” When accompanied by the romantic orchestra instrumental, the listener melts into the intimate essence of the track. Whether you interpret the lyrics “Then I walked away / You asked me to stay / Know you’re thinkin’ of what could’ve been” as a rare perspective of a female heartbreaker, or suspect the blending of beadaboobee’s dreamy voice with Laufey’s velvety vocals suggests a sensual sapphic storyline, there is no doubt you will be left with a song to remember.
– Cassie Cruz, Reporter
“Bite My Head Off” (feat. Paul McCartney) by the Rolling Stones
A collaboration between two of the most influential artists of all time, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney’s punk song “Bite My Head Off” is the fourth song of “Hackney Diamonds,” the Stones’ first album in over 15 years and first since the death of drummer Charlie Watts. The song features catchy lyrics from Mick Jagger and a McCartney bass solo two-thirds of the way in (prompted by Jagger’s “Come on, Paul, Let’s hear something”), something different than what the singer/songwriter did with the Beatles. The song is upbeat and loud, perfect to play on max volume in the car with your dad, letting him reminisce on ‘60s and ‘70s rock and roll. If this is it for the Stones, they are going out with a great track and fantastic album.
– Stella Mullin, Artsweek Editor
This appeared in the November 2nd Daily Nexus printed edition.