(Summer is ending. Yes this is late and we’re not sorry).
Every year when I tell my husband that I’m in the process of making a summer playlist, he always says one thing: “You know that summer’s almost over, right?”
First of all, summer officially ends on September 22nd and besides, I need to feel what the year’s summer is like—and this year is a real…UGH. Remember this is a subjective playlist, which means that it’s my personal opinion. So, before you Keyboard Karen’s unite and start sending me hate emails because “this song sounds like Halloween,” you don’t have to agree. In fact, I’d prefer it if you didn’t. Here’s an idea: DIY. Now, let’s get on with it. If you’re having a bummer summer, this one’s for you.
Fear the Dawn—Jack White
Jack White’s album of the same name, “Fear the Dawn” is beautifully chaotic with White’s signature, strained, and stressed guitar. It’s full of rage, which is glorious. I’m speechless over it—and all that feeling is there. It is lyrically vague and open to interpretation. It’s like a bad time at a summer camp you never wanted to go to in the first place. “Fear the Dawn” is a wicked, eerie shriek of love in the dark…(now that I think of it, maybe it is a Halloween song, Keyboard Karen).
We Are All We Need—Joywave
This track was difficult for frontman Daniel Armbruster to write, saying: “There was a bitterness in my personal life, left over from anyone who ever told me I couldn’t do something or made fun of me growing up. You hear those types of things enough times and you form a prickly, sarcastic shell as a defense mechanism,” —yikes.
Despite that, this song is also about letting things go, something I’ve had to face quite a lot this year to not be consumed by past pain. Cheers to forgetting shit that doesn’t matter, becoming Zen, and growing positively into who we are meant to be. (P.s. Spiritual growing pains are a killer).
Rebel Girl—Bikini Kill
To say “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill is a call to arms and incredibly iconic, would be an understatement. When Katheleen Hanna realized there wasn’t a safe space in punk for women, she didn’t scream and cry about it; but punched her way through and MADE one. Not just for herself, but for women like her. In other words, if no one’s making space for you, make it yourself. Hell, that’s the fuel that this magazine was built on!
Tell them to go fuck themselves and live your best life: that’s fucking punk rock and it’s certainly feminism. But wait, what does that mean? Idk man, figure it out like the rest of us. That’s what Kathleen Hanna did and now we have “Rebel Girl” until the end of time.
Destroy Boys shutter at being labeled a riott girl band, but it’s hard not to compare them to the likes of Bikini Kill. Their fast-paced “Muzzle” is brilliant with its razor-sharp edge of “fuck you, you don’t know me,” if there ever was one. It certainly captured how I felt after hacking through a sexual harassment case this year that left me reeling with anger.
“Muzzle” was released in 2021 on Hopeless Records, and according to press material, it “is a blistering track exploding with aggression and energy,” and “the song tackles feelings of being seen as disposable and subhuman, feeling out of control and taking your power back,” —yeah…about that.
Summer Skin—New Desert Blues
I am almost appalled that I had not heard of New Desert Blues before. “Summer Skin” was released in 2016, and it’s just beautiful, surreal, and reminiscent of a summer memory you can’t quite place. It’s summer love, alright, but doesn’t end with a Ford De Luxe Convertable flying into the sky (RIP Olivia Newton-John). Regardless, New Desert Blues has love to give, and BLOCK THE NOISE! Magazine is happy to add them to the list.
Headspace—Sharon Van Etten
“Headspace” is off Sharon Van Etten’s latest album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong. Van Etten is the alt queen of depth and cool, and she delivers her message of disconnection and reconnection with “Headspace.” The accompanying music video is about peeling back loss, dreams, confusion, and stepping into reality in order to find ourselves—and one another. It’s difficult to put Van Etten’s “Headspace” into words, but as usual, the music says it all for us.
Blue Bannisters—Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey gets a lot of unnecessary flak from people, but you know what, she’s an icon. Lana is a modern-day tortured, torch singer and I’m willing to die on that hill. Anyway… “Blue Banisters,” off Lana Del Rey’s 8th studio album of the same name, is as much about going home as it is running away from it. Whether you’re running towards or from something, there’s just something about Oklahoma…
For a long time after their 2009 album, In This Light and on This Evening, it felt like Editors had lost something—energy or soul, take your pick. “Karma Climb,” off their upcoming album EBM slated for release this October, brings back the postpunk revival full circle with the original bite heard on their early albums. “Karma Climb” follows the release of their latest singles “Heart Attack” and “Kiss,” also on EBM (2022). Pair this with Interpol’s The Other Side of Make-Believe and we have a complete nostalgic reformation of the 2000s postpunk movement.
Sof dropped her single, “Ataraxia” in July to celebrate herself and her fans. “Ataraxia,” following “Limerence,” her infamous breakup track, and her Astro-obsessed “Gemini Moon” ; is about coming through the other side whole and reborn. Recently, the pop singer gave a farewell show in NYC before she heads to the West Coast to conquer fresh territory. “Ataraxia” is the most upbeat song on this list and carries the sense of hope one needs after the end of a long, dark tunnel (or in this case, season). Whadya know? It’s gonna be all right after all.
Cover photo of Lana Del Rey, screenshot via Youtube.