Add This To Your Playlist: Week Twenty One- Something Sweet

Summer is just around the corner and we’re all craving that something sweet to pick us up in these dog days. With finals almost in session and projects due at the last minute, all us college students are looking to something better. So wherever you’re at right now, here’s a list of songs that will help to remind you that things to enjoy are soon to come your way.

  1. 1. "Honey Sweet" by Blossoms

    Blossoms formed in 2013 with lead vocalist and guitarist Tom Ogden, bassist and backup vocalist Charlie Salt, lead guitarist and percussionist Josh Dewhurst, drummer Joe Donovan and keyboardist, synthesist, and backup vocalist Myles Kellock. They originate from Stockport in the Greater Manchester area of England. Their sound is defined as indie pop and includes elements of synth pop and new wave as well. In 2016, the band received attention from BBC as they were featured as part of BBC’s Sound Of, a music list polled by critics and prominent figures in the music industry to find the next generation of talent. Blossoms finished in fourth place that year. Their debut album, Blossoms, also won the Mercury Music Prize in 2017. Blossoms latest work is their second studio album, Cool Like You, which was released on April 27th, 2018. Let’s hope they keep making music and gaining recognition.

     

    “Honey Sweet” is a song about uncertainty and affection. The characters represented in this track are trying to navigate a relationship that is new and they face the difficulties of knowing where to best invest their time. In the first line, the speaker asks “I’m out, will she love me?” Here, the speaker indicates his misgivings about pursuing this relationship with his “honey sweet” because he needs to know that “this road belongs to [his] eyes and only [his].” In other terms, he wants to know that his love is faithful to him. Whatever doubts he has seemed to dissipate by the second verse as he amends his previous words by saying, “There’s no doubt you still love me. You’d still love this incomplete.” Now he understands that his partner is loyal and that they are willing to reciprocate the feelings that he has for them.

     

  2. 2. "Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk" by Rufus Wainwright

    Over his 21-year career, Rufus Wainwright, an American-Canadian singer, songwriter and composer has released nine studio albums. Signed to DreamWorks Records, Wainwright’s self-titled debut album was released in 1998. Since then, he has released two live albums, an album that features the recording of his opera Prima Donna and an album, Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets, that adapted Shakespeare’s sonnets. After the release of Wainwright’s second album, Poses, he received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Album and the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album as well as being nominated for the Juno Award for Best Songwriter for his songs “Poses,” “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk,” and “Grey Gardens.”

     

    In his acclaimed track, Wainwright introduces his struggles with craving and addiction, comparing his love for sweets to his drug addictions. He describes these “cigarettes and chocolate milk” as being “a little bit harmful” for him. In making this comparison, he realizes that his habits have become unhealthy coping mechanisms and talks about when he buys a whole bag of jellybeans, he has “to eat them all in just one sitting.” By bingeing, he feels like he’s filling a void with all of the sweet sugar. However, he moves from sweetness to “those other things which for several reasons [he] won’t mention” and he feels the deadliness of their effects on his body. He knows that his choices are unhealthy, but it’s become the only form of escapism that he knows and has now become reliant on that fix.

     

  3. 3. "Sex & Candy" by Marcy Playground

    John Wozniak (lead vocalist and guitarist), Dylan Keefe (bassist) and Shlomi Lavie (drummer) make up Marcy Playground, an American alternative rock band originating in New York. The band received their name based on the Marcy Open Grade School that Wozniak attended in Minneapolis and drew his childhood inspiration from. The group is heavily influenced by artists such as Van Morrison, Neil Young and David Bowie. Their last album was released in 2012, entitled Lunch, Recess & Detention and included the single “Mr. Fisher.”

     

    Much like its name suggests, “Sex & Candy” is a song fueled by desire. It follows the story of a man who sees a woman walk by and is immediately star-struck. He describes himself as someone relatively lonely as he opens the song by saying he was “Hanging around, downtown by [himself].” As he is someone who only thinks about himself, when this girl catches his eye, we know she must be special. He describes her as being “disco super-fly” and “disco lemonade” because not only is she attractive and enigmatic, but she also puts off an air about her that she’s someone to get to know. The speaker says, “Yeah, momma this surely is a dream” because he can’t believe his luck.

     

  4. 4. "Sugarcoat" by Kid Bloom

    Kid Bloom combines the styles of pop and rock to create their own self-proclaimed “funky” sound. Formed by lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Lennon Kloser, Kid Bloom got their start in 2015 in Studio City, California. The rest of the band consists of members Blake Morell (bassist), Clayton Sewelson (drummer) and Zach Tabori (lead guitarist). Since their start, their music has been successful with their debut single “Different State of Mind,” having reached over 4 million streams on Spotify. In addition, they have toured with bigger names such as The Neighborhood. Later in 2019, Kid Bloom plans to release their EP Lemonhead.

     

    “Sugarcoat” explores feelings of self-doubt and a lack of self-worth through the lens of the narrator. In this track, the speaker opens by saying, “Not sure if anyone has the time for me.” He feels like he’s someone that is easily overlooked and not worth appreciating. It’s easy to think this way when he notes that he’s been “mistreated” in the past. Even though he seems to have a strong position here of an outcast, he still claims that he doesn’t “know who’s at fault” for making him feel so miserable. From the sound of things, he’s been in a toxic relationship for too long and hasn’t gotten the attention he deserves. Do yourself a favor buddy, and get out of it before you “choke.”

     

  5. 5. "Cookie Jar" by Jack Johnson

    Multi-talented and multi-faceted artist Jack Johnson is a multi-instrumentalist, actor, filmmaker and record producer, but most importantly, he’s a killer singer-songwriter. Working with mostly soft rock and acoustic, Johnson’s success began after the release of his debut album, Brushfire Fairytales. Since then, his album Sing-Alongs and Lullabies was recorded for the 2006 movie Curious George. On Billboard charts, Johnson’s album In Between Dreams reached the number 2 spot in 2005 and charted again at number 2 in 2013. In addition to being an active musician, Johnson has a passion for environmentalism and created the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation to focus on saving the oceans.

     

    The concept behind “Cookie Jar” is one that has become all too prevalent within our current society. The song concentrates on the topic of gun violence, introducing the influence of the media on young minds and how people often blame television violence for real-life violence. The narrative begins as Johnson sings, “I would turn on the TV, but it’s so embarrassing to see all the other people I don’t know what they mean.” The opening lines are a commentary on how hard it is to stay informed about the news when so much is constantly going on, but they also serve to look at media more through the innocent lens of a child. The song takes a dark turn in the first verse when the speaker switches to “the boy with the gun” who claims that “You can’t blame [him] because [he’s] too young.” The song comments on the blurred lines between assigning blame to the perpetrator of the action and assigning blame to the culture for desensitizing young people to violent acts.

     

  6. 6. "Popsicle Toes" by Michael Franks

    Leader of the Quiet Storm movement (a genre of contemporary R&B), Michael Franks, is an American musician and singer-songwriter. His music style of choice is jazz, but he has also dabbled in pop. He’s become a well-established artist through his collaborations with other big names such as Art Garfunkel, Patti Austin and Claus Ogerman. He’s also had his songs recorded by several famous artists including The Carpenters, The Manhattan Transfers and even Ringo Starr. His latest album, The Music in My Head, was released in 2018.

     

    “Popsicle Toes” is a song about admiration for a lover. Through his lyrics, it is clear that Franks has a deep appreciation for the person he’s dedicated his song to, inside and out. He begins by complimenting her dancing by saying, “When God gave out rhythm, he sure was good to you.” We quickly realize however that’s not the only thing he appreciates about his “Popsicle Toes” (a term here used instead of saying “cold feet”) as he describes her as “Miss Pennsylvania,” meaning she’s so beautiful that she could enter (and win) a beauty pageant. The song slowly goes from sweet to more suggestive as he remarks that she’s “got the nicest North America this sailor ever saw.” Now your guess is as good as mine as to what exactly North America represents here, but the message seems clear: she’s pretty, and this guy clearly wants her.

     

  7. 7. "Lollipop" by MIKA

    The Lebanese-born English singer-songwriter MIKA was named by BBC’s Sound Of to be the number one predicted breakout artist of 2007 for his EP Dodgy Holiday. Additionally, in 2007, MIKA released his first full-length album, Life in Cartoon Motion, which sold a whopping 5.6 million copies worldwide. Following his overwhelming success, MIKA won a Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act and gained more recognition by reaching the number one spot on UK charts for his single “Grace Kelly.” In June of 2015, MIKA released his latest album, No Place in Heaven.

     

    “Lollipop” is a song that covers the difficulties of navigating love in all its capacities. MIKA stresses that “Love’s gonna get you down” if you don’t slow down and assess what you really need from it. Here, the “lollipop” is used as a metaphor for the relationship and by “sucking too hard” on it, one can create distress within the relationship when moving too fast or by not being attentive enough. In the third verse, MIKA lets us in on some life advice by saying, Mamma told me what I should know. Too much candy gonna rot your soul.” By having “too much candy” MIKA suggests that people who go through relationships too quickly or who use up their love too fast are missing out on the true experiences of real love.

     

If something’s going to bring you down, it might as well be sweet. We all need a little indulgence in our lives sometimes, so make sure you don’t deprive yourself of that something sweet you might just be needing.

Listen to the full playlist here!