Just Good Bops: May
Y'all already know how I feel about April, and even though May is usually an improvement on April, it’s still not consistently warm enough to make loud, energetic, danceable, and cheerful songs feel appropriate. May is June with training wheels. Summer Jr. if you will!
This month’s tracks are best enjoyed walking down a tree-lined street, looking up at the gaps of sunlight peeking through the leaves. (Fun fact: there’s an untranslatable Japanese word — komorebi — for sunlight filtering through the trees.)
And once you’re on Spotify, you should really click through and listen to these albums in full:
The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
I included a song from this album on last month’s playlist, and I couldn’t help adding another this month. The War on Drugs sound like Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty with a side of synth. (Pitchfork has a great article on the history of heartland sync rock, if you’re that type of nerd.) Much like Mitski’s Puberty 2, A Deeper Understanding is an album I find myself returning to over and over again. It’s also great background music for parties! It’s mid-tempo enough to fill the room with warmth, but it’s not too distracting either. This is very much summer BBQ fare — the shit you should be grilling to.
Better Oblivion Community Center, Better Oblivion Community Center
Definitely listen to the Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst collab on the playlist, but — more important — just listen to Phoebe Bridgers! Regardless of whether she’s performing on her own or performing alongside Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus she’s got a folk sensibility that’s infused with an earnestness that feels genuine, not grating. If nothing else, listen to her song “Motion Sickness.”
Nilüfer Yanya, Miss Universe
I was predisposed to like Nilüfer Yanya’s new album because her song “Baby Luv” is such a banger, but I knew I was in for a treat when I read this in Pitchfork’s review of Yanya’s album: “Yanya, on her debut album, has shocked her desolate confrontations into some of the most adventurous pop-rock crucibles since Mitski’s Puberty 2.” (This blog is Mitski stan account as long as I’m involved!!!) Yanya’s synth and island vibes make for a great not-quite-yet-summer album to put into your rotation. 🎧