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Five Song Recommendations for Adventurous Listeners 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

Like many other college students, I have my headphones on pretty much 24/7. But between hot girl walks and study sessions, the music I have meticulously sorted into perfect playlists can get repetitive. I sometimes find myself skipping 10+ songs to find one that fits the vibe perfectly, usually just to end up frustrated and bored with my taste.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got to switch things up every once in a while just so nothing gets stale. As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life, and music is no exception. Listening to new music facilitates opportunities to connect with other people’s cultures, interests, languages, politics and more. There are so many phenomenal tracks just waiting to be given a chance. I love going on the hunt for fresh sounds and creative musical techniques to enjoy for myself and share with others.

Below are my top five song recommendations for listeners interested in expanding their taste in music, one track at a time.

“Germfree Adolescence” by X-Ray Spex

“Germfree Adolescence” from X-Ray Spex’s 1978 album of the same name has been a long time classic in the alternative rock community and is listed on “Rolling Stone” magazine’s top 500 albums of all-time. The punk rock group is known for their eclectic compositions and creative lyrics. The British band’s unusual blend of new wave and art punk gives them a distinctively erratic, almost nonsensical sound that has earned them a cult following. 

I really love the reggae-inspired instrumentals and groovy melody that make this song irresistibly danceable. The sound production also adds a really fun, futuristic feel to the track that has allowed it to stand the test of time and keeps me hitting the replay button constantly.

“Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” by Sophie B. Hawkins

“Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” is the first single on Sophie B. Hawkins’ debut album, “Tongues and Tails,” released by Columbia records in 1992. The song’s hypnotically catchy beat and seductive lyrics made it an instant hit, charting number five on the Billboard Hot 100 for 21 weeks.  

The first time I heard this song was on season four, episode eight of “Community.” The character Pierce books Hawkins to perform at the fictional Greendale Community College’s campus after another character, Britta, mistakes her for prominent women’s rights activist, Susan B. Anthony. For weeks afterwards, my mom and I listened to that song every chance we got. It’s so easy to get stuck in your head because it’s catchy and genuine, two of the best things music can be. 

“Badala Zamana” by Zohra

Algerian-French singer-songwriter Zohra’s relatively unknown “Badala Zamana” was released in 1977. The song is performed entirely in Arabic, and was well received among Arabic speakers as well as French listeners. 

Born in Algeria, Zohra grew up singing and playing the guitar, talents she continued to develop even after her family moved to northern France. After a chance encounter with composer Joël Hannier, Zohra agreed to record and release one single with him. Thus, “Badala Zamana” was born. 

The talent and creativity Zohra clearly possesses makes me sad that she never released anything else, but there is no record to indicate if she ever intended to establish a music career. I still wish “Badala Zamana” received more attention beyond being picked up by a few Arabic radio stations more than 40 years ago. Hopefully, this gem will be discovered by mainstream audiences soon so more people can enjoy this absolute hit. 

“Bees” by Caribou

Canadian musician Dan Snaith released his third studio album, “The Milk of Human Kindness,” under the moniker Caribou in 2005 via The Leaf Label and Domino Recording Company. The album is incredibly short, clocking in at just 40 minutes and seven seconds. 

The first song I heard off this album was “Bees,” thanks to my Spotify “Discover Weekly” playlist. The instrumentals create a whimsical atmosphere without being too overwhelming. This track’s quick tempo and syncopated rhythms lend a unique feeling of tension while still being light and playful, reminiscent of chase scenes straight like those in the film “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” This track is approachable and easy to listen to but still retains a sense of uniqueness. 

Even though this album will soon be 20 years old, I believe the production would be received well by modern audiences. There is something magical about “Bees” that makes it stand out against other pieces I’ve recently discovered.

“I’ll Come Running (To Tie Your Shoe)” by Brian Eno

Island Records released Brian Eno’s third solo studio album, “Another Green World,” in 1975. This piece was a marked shift from his previous collaborative work, which was rooted predominantly in rock influences. “Another Green World” relies less on instrumentals than his earlier work, with most of the tracks featuring relatively simpler melodies and lyrics. This simplicity is what makes “I’ll Come Running” so refreshing; reducing the layers in his music allowed his composition skills and individual voice to shine. The charming delivery and nostalgic piano track makes this piece memorable, which keeps me coming back to sing along again and again. 

I hope these recommendations add some variety and groove to your listening this week. I love actively expanding my taste in music by seeking new genres and artists and encourage you to do the same. It’s very easy to limit yourself to one section of the musical spectrum, but a potential new favorite is well worth the effort required to find unexplored frontiers.

My name is Anna Marlin and I am from Arlington Heights, IL. I am a current undergraduate student at Saint Louis University, studying History and Political Journalism on the pre-law track. I hope to work in the arts as a museum, art, and cultural heritage attorney. I am a very outdoorsy person; I love to go on hikes and work on my vegetable garden at home. Besides the outdoors, I am very passionate about art history and music. I love to learn about prominent figures across both disciplines in my free time. I especially love works from Francisco Goya, my favorite painter, and The Clash, my favorite band.