Mirabella Miller ’23
March 12, 2020
Are you experiencing an intense and specific emotion that you want to communicate in a casual way? Do you have a nice picture you want to share immediately? If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, consider posting one or more songs to your Instagram story, as that usually does the trick. If you are stuck in a loop of posting the same few songs repeatedly, or not sure which songs would best convey your current state of being, look no further. Here are some of my favorite recently released songs, paired with the emotion that would necessitate posting them on your Instagram story.
Garden Song – Phoebe Bridgers
Post When: You’re laying in bed staring blankly at the ceiling
“Garden Song” is indisputable proof that Phoebe Bridgers has mastered the achingly bittersweet coming-of-age ballad. She illustrates her Los Angeles upbringing in the opening verse, alluding to the Rose Festival in Pasadena and the recent wildfires. “They’re gluing roses, on a flatbed / You should see ‘em, I mean thousands,” she sings, followed by “I grew up here ‘till it all burned down in flames”/ Except the notches in the doorframe.” Sadness mingles with generational apathy in the second verse, where she sings “And when I grow up / I’m gonna look up / From my phone and see my life.” The song feels haunted, partially due to the impact of a deepening voice effect that parallels Bridgers’ usual voice. This gives the impression of uneasiness, a feeling that someone or something is watching. When Bridgers closes the song with “I get everything I want / I have everything I wanted,” the listener sighs, mildly hopeless, knowing that she doesn’t really. Post this one on your story so people know you’re sad, you’re indie, and you’ve been doing some serious emotional processing regarding growing up.
Want more dramatic indie songs about young adulthood? Try “bloodstream” or “circle the drain” by Soccer Mommy, whose new album “color theory” is full of monotone melancholy.
Delete Forever – Grimes
Post When: You feel hopeless because of all the problems in the world
This song off Grimes’ new album titled Miss Anthropocene is resoundingly disparate. It is a meditation on the current opioid epidemic, an issue that is personal to Grimes. But on a deeper level, the song considers what it means to be an observant citizen of the world. The chorus is anchored by the repetitive mantra of “I see everything, I see everything,” sung in such a resigned manner, you would think Grimes believes seeing is a curse. In some ways, it is, and being an observer to suffering is difficult. Couple that intrinsic difficulty with the way social media allows tragedy and pain to circulate, and the obligation of observation seems impossible to escape. While these themes are undoubtedly dark, the deceptively buoyant emo-pop inspired beat coats the lyrics and makes this song accessible in a way most Grimes songs are not, accessible enough to post on your story to signal hopelessness without setting off too many alarm bells.
Still feeling irrevocably hopeless? Try “To Die For” by Sam Smith.
Intentions – Justin Bieber
Post When: You have a major crush (maybe they’ll swipe up!)
Sometimes, popular things are actually good. That’s why they’re popular. This is how I feel about Justin Bieber, especially this song. It’s an ode to the newfound stability of Justin’s life, stability that his marriage to Hailey Bieber has played a major part in cultivating. He takes this feeling of stability from abstract to more concrete in the metaphorical lyric “Heart full of equity, you’re an asset.” Bieber’s voice is as smooth and sonically perfected as ever, his falsetto in the latter half of the song ascendant. The beat is bubbly and inviting, literally, with sound effects that resemble the opening of a soda can. This song is the perfect vehicle to make your case to a crush via Instagram story, an opportunity to argue that, like Bieber, you too have the best intentions at heart.
Don’t want to swallow your pride and listen to Justin Bieber, but are still crushing? Try “Ignorantes” by Bad Bunny, who just released his third album.
Lilacs – Waxahatchee
Post When: It’s Sunday morning and you’re feeling reflective
If you’ve ever said or thought the phrase “My life is a movie” unironically, this is the song for you. And it’s a beautiful one: lyrical metaphors abound as frontwoman Katie Crutchfield sings of “spinning silence into gold,” and compares her day to both a silent movie and a violent song. The opening lyrics “I wake up feeling nothing, camouflage the wavering sky / I sit at my piano, wander the wild whereby” set up a personal tug-of-war between asserting independence and acknowledging dependence. “If I’m a broken record run it in the dust babe / I’ll fill myself back up like I used to do,” she sings on the chorus, followed by “And if my bones are made of delicate sugar / I won’t end up anywhere good without you.” Post this one to showcase your contemplative and vulnerable side, then follow it up by writing a poem in your notes app.
Still trying to tap into your meditative side? Trying to build an entire soundtrack to the movie of your life? Try “Fire”, also by Waxahatchee, or “Bad Decisions”, a new single from The Strokes.
Image Credit: Pitchfork