Yeah, things haven’t improved much since last week — if anything, they’ve gotten worse. As I write from New York, where we have entered a state of full-blown panic, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep a cool and collected head. I’ve always relied on music to ground me, whether I’m making art or working on a paper that I’d much rather not be writing. Keeping in line with this mentality, I have curated a playlist that hopefully some of you can vibe with. Here are some past and current favorites:
Tove Lo — “Shifted” (from album “Sunshine Kitty”) (2019)
(Also listen to “Thousand Miles,” (2014) “Not on Drugs” (2014) and “Don’t Talk About It” (2016))
This is one of my favorite songs at the moment. The one condition is that you have to listen to it with headphones or with the volume turned up loud — you cannot miss the pulsing beat that’s carried throughout. The chorus is subtle yet spectacular — once you’re completely immersed in the music, it becomes quite atmospheric. I’ve been a fan of Tove for a while, and the diversity in her discography, especially between her older and newer material, is impressive.
Glass Animals — “Tokyo Drifting” (single featuring Denzel Curry) (2019)
(Also listen to “Life Itself,” (2016) “Take A Slice” (2016) and the new track, “Your Love” (2020))
I was pleased to find that quite a few people have heard of this song, which diverts from the group’s usual sound. It hits harder. It’s the kind of song you might play in a car, windows down. Its rattling bass, especially in the chorus, might as well blast you into another dimension. It’s certainly hype compared to the rest of this playlist; I’d recommend listening to it during a workout to get the full effect.
Allie X — “Downtown” (from album “CollXtion II”) (2017)
(Also listen to “June Gloom,” (2020) “Life of the Party” (2020) and “Sarah Come Home” (2020))
Much of Allie X’s music is characterized by this type of sound: a lulling, drowsy instrumental, punctuated by brighter notes, that moves and breathes on its own. The soft piano in the chorus is especially delicate, and her vocals waver with a hint of sorrow. It’s pop, but just strange enough to be refreshing. This track is best suited for when you’re doing work and, with your attention trained on the task at hand, allow the music to sweep you away.
PVRIS — “Nightmare” (single) (2019)
(Also listen to “Hallucinations,” (2019) “Death of Me” (2019) and “My House” (2014))
This track is a bit more aggressive — think Paramore-esque — but frontwoman Lynn Gunn is effortlessly powerful. The bridge feels like the calm before the storm, anticipating some unseen force that continues to build and build (and when it hits it blows you away). This track is purported to be off its upcoming album, “Use Me,” which should be released May 1, and is sure to be another development in the band’s continuously maturing sound.
Kilo Kish — “Turquoise” (from EP “K+”) (2013)
(Also on “K+”, listen to “Ghost” (featuring Childish Gambino), “Goldmine” and “IOU”)
Kilo Kish’s music fits neatly into the genre of mumble-rap, but there’s something charming about her unsteady, almost childlike vocals. Her style is definitely experimental, full of synths and drums, which makes it suited for the more adventurous listener. On a side note, the lines “Yeah, I know you won’t wait/Can’t stop you taking trips out of state” seem ripe with irony at a time when most of us are stuck in place.
THEY. — “What I Know Now” (featuring Wiz Khalifa) (from album “What I Know Now”) (2018)
(Also listen to “Pops,” (2018) “Dante’s Creek” (2017) and its collaboration with Lido, “Not Enough” (2017))
I could rave about this duo for hours — they are definitely one of my favorite musical groups. This track, in particular, is one of their darker and moodier, with lots of guitar and drums that reflect their classic 90s-inspired sound. It’s hard not to love the raspy vocals. Put this on low volume while you’re video-chatting with friends; I’d recommend checking out the rest of their discography as well.
Whethan — “Aftertaste” (featuring Opia) (single) (2017)
(Also listen to “Be Like You,” (2018) “Sleepy Eyes” (2018) and his remix of Opia’s “Falling” (2016))
This 20-year-old DJ is another one of my favorite artists. Sure, it’s electronic music, but nothing crazy — in fact, this slow, moody track is easily the calmest on the list. For anyone questioning the diversity of dance music, it will surely put your qualms to rest. It’s the perfect music to listen to while laying on your bed and staring up at the ceiling, wondering why you aren’t being more productive.
Grimes — “World Princess Part II” (from album “Art Angels”) (2015)
(Also listen to “Realiti,” “Pin,” “Kill v. Maim” and “Artangels” — just listen to the whole album)
Aren’t I quirky, adding Grimes to this list? She deserves it though — the Canadian singer has attracted an army of followers who admire her dreamy, unconventional sound. If you want a song that’ll shake up your bland, repetitive routine, search no further. Some of the other tracks on this album are better suited to do work or study to, so listen to this one in particular if you’re yearning for a bit of excitement.