Here is the long-awaited sequel to my blockbuster previous post, “I Like These New Songs (Pt. 1).” For any new readers who are unsure of what is going on: when we left off, I was linking to new songs I liked and then writing paragraphs about them. Since the first post was such a wild success, I figured I wouldn’t divert from that formula — it would be like making a Fast and the Furious movie without car races or whatever they’re doing in those now.
Colleen Green – “I Wanna Be a Dog”
Many words — some of them rather embarrassing — were spilt on the blog over Colleen Green’s last full length, I Want to Grow Up, which I then insanely listed as the #2 album of the decade when no other person who does things like ranking albums even thought it was good. Her new single, “I Wanna Be a Dog,” is another showcase of her unique gifts: while she may lack traditional ambition and creativity, she makes up for it tenfold with authenticity and (despite her tendency towards self-deprecation) a confidence in who she is. Green is in typical catchy and relatable form here, using various dog metaphors (the leash she puts on herself, barking at a closed door) to articulate her ongoing struggles with being an adult and overcoming insecurities. It’s fun to listen to, partially because it is so personality-driven and unpretentious compared to a lot of tedious indie dreck.
Angel Olsen – “Gloria”
In another career move aimed at me personally, Angel Olsen is following up All Mirrors and Whole New Mess with an EP of 80s covers, starting with this reimagining of Laura Branigan’s “Gloria.” If the measure of a cover’s quality is how well the artist adapts it to their own style, this scores highly. The original is in there somewhere, but for the most part Olsen has turned this into one of her typical swooning ballads, with swelling synths and some strings. Olsen sings like she really feels the words rather than the typical “wouldn’t it be cool and fun if I covered this song” vibe that sometimes makes covers boring and inessential.
Sungaze – “Body in the Mirror”
As someone who is on Bandcamp a lot and gets frustrated by soft pop artists who call themselves things like Satanic Witch Torture, I respect Sungaze’s straight-forward band name — this Cincinnati group sounds exactly like you’d expect, with a dreamy, psychedelic sound that is in the highly trafficked Mazzy Star area. What makes them just different enough from that band (and others like Widowspeak) is their embrace of more droning song structures that really let the sound wash over the listener. “Body in the Mirror” is a typical song from them, running over five minutes with some spacious guitar parts and simple lyrics that add some meaning without being too obvious about it.
Desert Liminal – “New Tongue”
It’s rare to find a band that truly has a unique sound, but Desert Liminal’s 2017 debut Static Thick had its own blurry, ambiguous, kind-of-poppy-but-not-really thing going on. The band has added a member and increased the production values a bit since then, but “New Tongue” still maintains their individuality. Sarah Jane Quillin’s rich vocals blend into the droning synths and her lyrics are real poetry, with personal details and the rhythmic sound of the words adding to the haunting, mysterious vibe of the sound.
Nation of Language – “Across That Fine Line”
This synth pop group made my coveted top albums list last year with their first full-length, Introduction, Presence, and are quickly following it up with an album that should lead to a break out of sorts. Generally I understand that the music I enjoy is wildly unpopular and most normal people would recoil in disgust at the mere sound of it, but I don’t know — listen to the soaring, anthemic chorus on “Across That Fine Line” and tell me it wouldn’t appeal to normies who enjoy bands like U2 and Coldplay. I’m already preparing my snide comments about how I liked them before they got big.