One of the most beautiful* things about fall – besides the trees, the temperatures, the pumpkin spice lattes (sue me) – is new music. Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately – a mix of some old and some new:
*I say beautiful A LOT. I know. I just find a lot of things truly, truly beautiful. Music happens to be one of them.
1. WALLS – Kings of Leon (2016)
I’ve loved Kings since I was a sophomore in high school – and enjoyed the gritty southern garage-rock of their earlier albums. PSA: please listen to Aha Shake Heartbreak (2005) and Because of the Times (2007) if you haven’t already, they’re two of KoL’s best. Somehow though, they’ve been able to successfully transition into mainstream rockstars, and still create beautiful, well-done music. Their 7th album is no exception. Besides ‘Waste A Moment,’ the album boasts a variety of greats, such as “Over,” and “Conversation Piece.” “Reverend” is a clear favorite, and “WALLS,” the album’s only ballad, finishes out the album (true to KoL fashion) and is outstanding.
2. ANYTHING Bob Dylan (duh)
Dylan has been one of my favorite artists for a long, long time (which I’m aware doesn’t say much, as I’m a mid-20’s white girl), and sometimes I go through phases where all I’ll listen to for months is Dylan’s discography. How can you NOT just delve into your Dylan collection and admire his genius with the recent Nobel Prize win? I’m constantly finding new favorites, gushing over lyrics, and in awe and appreciation of his talent.
3. We’re All Gonna Die – Dawes (2016)
4. 22, A Million – Bon Iver (2016)
5. Almost Famous – Music from the Motion Picture – Various Artists (2000)
6. Use Your Voice – Mason Jennings (2004)
Check out ‘The Ballad of Paul and Shelia.’ I can’t help but be moved by Mason’s beautiful tribute to Paul Wellstone, a United States Senator from Minnesota, and his wife, Shelia Wellstone, who died tragically in a plane crash in 2002, 11 days before an election where he sought to remain in his Senate position. Earlier that month, Wellstone was the only United States Senator facing reelection to vote against the Iraqi War.
As Mason sings, “Hey Senator, I wanna say / all the things you fought for did not die here today/ Hey Senator, I’m gonna do/ all the things I can to live my life more like you lived” it’s a significant reminder (especially during this election season) of the importance politicians can play in our lives, and how the causes they fight for and the values they espouse play a significant role in the way our lives are shaped.
7. Mermaid Avenue – Billy Bragg & Wilco (1998)
If this isn’t one of the coolest, most genuinely inspiring creations to come out of music in the last 20 years, I don’t know what is. An album of previously-unreleased Woody Guthrie lyrics taken and set to music performed by Billy Bragg and Wilco. It’s marvelous. It attests to the power of music, truly.
I don’t have time to write much more – school. But these albums are giving me peace and happiness during this stressful semester. Maybe they can provide some of the same for you.
Peace and love,
PS: One final note – I’m always, always listening to Ryan Adams. Always.