The Daily takes the aux: May music staff picks

May 31, 2022, 3:01 p.m.

Don’t know what to listen to? The Stanford Daily is here to help. We have compiled a playlist of our staff’s latest jams. Listen to our picks playlist, and check out our article to learn more about the recommendations.

Alec Benjamin — Dopamine Addict (Recommended by Vanessa Chen ’25)

I discovered this song after listening to Alec Benjamin’s newest album, Un(Commentary). The rhyming of the phrases “dopamine addict” and “psychosomatic” caught my attention the first time I listened to this tune, and I have been listening to it ever since. Alec Benjamin also has a great voice, so make sure to check out his other songs!

Wet Leg — Ur mum (Recommended by Richard Coca ’22)

This diss track written by Wet Leg will have you yelling out “I feel sorry for your mum” in the middle of Green Library with its engrossing storytelling and catchy chorus. The repetition in the pre-chorus feels playful and juxtaposes nicely with the song’s story about a failed relationship. Culminating with screaming, this song oozes catharsis.

Mitski — That’s Our Lamp (Recommended by Kyla Figueroa ’24) 

“That’s Our Lamp” was released in 2022 on Mitski’s newest album “Laurel Hell.” While lyrically sad, reflecting on a time when the speaker and their partner used to love each other, the instrumental is upbeat and optimistic. The contrast in tones shows the emotional layers of ending a relationship — there’s sadness in the present but hope for the future. 

Sarah Kinsley — What Was Mine (Recommended by Kyla Figueroa ’24) 

A new month, a new Sarah Kinsley single. “What Was Mine” was released with the announcement of Kinsley’s forthcoming Cypress EP — available on all streaming platforms on June 10. The song follows the artist’s journey through heartbreak, with the lyrical epiphany being that what she’s mourning the loss of was never hers to begin with. The second verse is my favorite part, featuring a musical build that gives me chills.

Rina Sawayama — This Hell (Recommended by Kyla Figueroa ’24) 

After getting hooked to her first album “SAWAYAMA” and attending her concert in SF, I was ecstatic when Rina Sawayama announced her newest album “Hold The Girl” (out in the fall). The album’s first single, “This Hell” was released on May 18. While containing the usual unique pop aspects that Sawayama is praised for, the blend of elements from country music makes the song a euphoric hit. The song is also filled with allusions to mainstream media and pop culture, one lyric even claiming, “F*ck what they did to Britney, to Lady Di and Whitney.” Ultimately, as Sawayama said in a press release, the song’s message of reclaiming hell and sticking it to prejudice is the best part of the track.

Harry Styles — Grapejuice (Recommended by Kyla Figueroa ’24) 

Harry Styles is entering his mainstream-but-feels-indie era, and I am all for it. On May 20, he released his third album, “Harry’s House,” and “Grapejuice” began trending on Twitter immediately. The entire album is a must-listen, but the track “Grapejuice” features funk pop elements emanating the pleasure and charisma Styles is known for. This one feels like falling in love with the same person over and over and over again, never leaving the honeymoon phase.

Fatboy Slim — Praise You (Radio Edit) (Recommended by Chloe Walsh ’25)

Out of all the great truths in this world, I believe that there is no happier song in this universe than “Praise You” by Fatboy Slim. Anyone who loves a good 1990s movie will instantly recognize this from the film “Cruel Intentions,” and anybody else who loves a good throwback will also already know this one. But whether this is a song you are familiar with and love or one you are just now hearing for the first time, there is an unlimited supply of happiness to go around in that simple piano riff (and in the music video)!

The Neighbourhood — Devil’s Advocate (Recommended by Chloe Walsh ’25)

If the only way you know The Neighbourhood is through their hit song “Sweater Weather,” be prepared for this song to completely swap your perception of the band. The guitar riff in this track is absolutely sick — it’s catchy, danceable and, above all, cool. I challenge you to listen to this song a couple of times and try not to lip-synch with Jesse Rutherford when he says “light speed” eight times in a row on beat. The final breakdown at 2:21 when the bass and guitar distortion loudens and hammers the song home is well worth the wait. Caution: I promise you that this song is one that will be on repeat for a while. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

The Doors — Peace Frog (Recommended by Chloe Walsh ’25)

If you’re anything like my dad, you most likely hate The Doors for their “god-awful droning organ sound.” But, if you’re anything like me, you probably think that even though the organ can get a bit much sometimes, The Doors are pretty awesome all things considered. The song hits the ground running with a funky hook that sounds a lot like “Jive Talkin’” by the Bee Gees. This song is a great one to move, walk or strut to — wonderful 1970s vibes all around.

Better Than Ezra — Juicy (Recommended by Chloe Walsh ’25)

I first heard this song sitting shotgun in my dad’s car at three years old, and together we’ve been listening to it ever since. I love the falsetto voices in the song, and the ways in which the singer mimics the instruments themselves. It’s an instant mood booster of a song, and I hope you can see why we’ve loved it for so long!

Beck — Girl (Recommended by Chloe Walsh ’25)

For anyone who doesn’t already know — Beck is beyond cool. Of course, you can listen to “Loser,” “Think I’m In Love” or even his feature on the “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” soundtrack. But there’s something special about “Girl” that just puts a smile on my face with every listen. Maybe it’s the fun little 12-second techno intro that seamlessly transforms into a twangy country-pop beat. Maybe it’s the way the chorus repeats “my sun-eyed girl” — a phrase that always makes me smile — over and over again. Maybe it’s just the fact that this song is three minutes and 29 seconds of infectious joy over a track that sounds like summer.

Purr — Boy (Recommended by Zach Zafran ’25)

This song perfectly embodies the feeling of sitting in the shade on a hot summer day. Even though it’s spring, we’re entering the part of the quarter where sights like fountain hopping, daytime activities and constant music could convince any onlooker that it’s already mid-July. “Boy” starts off with 16 straight drum beats that leave you simultaneously grooving and relaxing, which is the perfect combination for this point of the school year.

Alex G — In My Arms (Recommended by Brandon Rupp ’25)

An achingly beautiful song, “In My Arms” represents the best qualities of Alex Giannascoli’s songwriting — simple yet emotionally dense; vague yet packed with unique imagery. Like everything else on its parent album, “House of Sugar,” this track shows that Alex G has mastered his craft. This track is the perfect soundtrack for a long and cathartic cry session. 

The Magnetic Fields — Smoke and Mirrors (Recommended by Brandon Rupp ’25)

When songwriter Stephin Merritt’s voice finally enters the mix of “Smoke and Mirrors,” it’s always surprising to hear just how well his rich bass vocals fit into the mix of synthesizers and reverberated drum machines. One can only wonder about the strings the Magnetic Fields were pulling behind the scenes to concoct such a beautiful and timeless pop gem.

Kendrick Lamar — Father Time (Recommended by Nick Sligh ’23)

Father Time is one of the best songs of the past few years and Kendrick Lamar’s whole career. The lyrics, the chorus from Sampha and the production all combine to make a flawless track addressing Kendrick’s issues with his father.

Ab-Soul — Hollandaise (Recommended by Nick Sligh ’23)

Ab-Soul’s return single comes with an absolutely electrifying presence. “Hollandaise” saw him display all of his generational talents as a rapper over an extremely captivating beat.

Pusha T & Kanye West — Dreamin of the Past (Recommended by Nick Sligh ’23)

Pusha T and Kanye West deliver another fantastic collaboration — this one over a vintage and beautiful Kanye soul sample of Donny Hathaway’s classic “Jealous Guy.” The delivery from Push is wonderful, and Kanye’s verse to close out the song adds depth and heart.

Cory Wong and Cody Fry — Golden (Recommended by Michelle Fu ’24)

This is a great summer bop! It’s high-energy, funky and super catchy. It has a neat instrumental interlude as well. It only caught my eye because I liked the album art, but I’m really glad it did.

Ricky Montgomery — Settle Down (Recommended by Kristofer Roland Nino ’25)

Bright, bubbly and surprisingly heartfelt, “Settle Down” is Ricky Montgomery’s brand new release that feels like a sunny day. Although its lyrics dive into Montgomery’s complicated love life, his voice bounces against an infectious drum beat and beautiful backing vocals, creating an experience full of both yearning and warmth.

The Head and the Heart — Rivers and Roads (Recommended by Andrew Gerges ’25)

In line with my The Head and the Heart pick last month, I heard this song a while ago but had forgotten about it until a recent Stanford International Affairs Society trivia night category was named after it. It’s a slow song and a bit melancholic, but it aligns with end-of-year sentiments of missing your friends. 

Peach Tree Rascals — Mariposa (Recommended by Vivian Wang ’25)

Mariposa is my go-to biking song. It’s the perfect track if you’re looking to channel your inner main character energy while biking from your dorm to Main Quad, with the cool spring breeze blowing in your hair. This song translates to “butterfly” in Spanish, and it’s all about learning, growing and improving as a person. Mariposa is a super wholesome song with the perfect summery vibes — it’ll be on repeat in my AirPods for quite a while. Shoutout to my roommate for sharing this song with me. 

Rostam — 4Runner (Recommended by Malia Mendez ’22)

Along with Yoke Lore and Lupin, Rostam is among my favorite solo projects in recent history. 4Runner employs gentle vocals, an unhurried interlude and a rolling acoustic guitar to tell a queer love story steeped in nostalgia. It’s a warm welcome to an all-around charming EP, but it’s also begging to be added to a beach/drive playlist. I imagine I’ll have this gem in my rotation all through summer. 

Harry Styles — Music For a Sushi Restaurant (Recommended by Kirsten Mettler ’23)

After reading Victoria’s Hsieh’s nuanced review of “Harry’s House,” I had to check out the ex-One Direction star’s latest album. Honestly, most of the songs didn’t stand out to me, but “Music For a Sushi Restaurant” got stuck right in my head as a creative pop of sunshine. I played the song over and over on a warm, Sunday afternoon as I headed over to a baseball game, and it felt nothing short of idyllic. 

Tame Impala and Diana Ross — Turn Up The Sunshine (Recommended by Aditeya Shukla ’23)

As the first single of the Minions movie soundtrack with a lineup better stacked than most festivals, Turn Up The Sunshine is an explosion of color. Diana Ross’ charismatic and saccharine vocals mixed in with Tame Impala’s production, almost similar to his “Lonerism” era, form a song full of joy. The track is filled with 1970s energy but still has shades of contemporary pop music, making it a truly unique listen. 

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.

Richard Coca '22 has previously served as editor of The Grind for volume 258, managing editor of Satire in vol. 257, and CLIP Co-chair in vol. 255. He is majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Anthropology. Contact him at rcoca 'at' Figueroa ‘24 is the former Vol. 260–262 Managing Editor for The Grind, the 263 Screen DE for Arts & Life, and a staff writer for News. Throw pitches and questions her way — kfigueroa ‘at’ Anne Walsh ’25 is from Chicago, IL, studying English and Film & Media Studies. She is a columnist for Arts and Life. Talk to her about 70s counterculture, MCU films or frozen raspberries at arts 'at' Zafran was the Vol. 262 managing editor for the sports section. Now a senior staff writer, he has previous experience reporting and writing with SFGATE. You can find Zach around campus wearing swim trunks no matter the weather. Follow him on Twitter at @ZachZafran and contact him at sports 'at' Rupp '25 is a columnist for the Arts & Life section who served as the Vol. 263 Music Desk Editor. Contact him at rupp 'at' to tell him how much you respect his rigid journalistic integrity (or to send him music to take a look at). He appreciates that you are reading his bio.Nick Sligh is a Senior from Athens, Georgia, studying Economics and Psychology. Nick is always open to discuss anything relating to music, NBA basketball, and movies/TV. As somebody with a deep interest in hip-hop/rap, r&b, and pop music, he primarily covers these genres through his articles. Feel free to contact him at nsligh ‘at’ stanforddaily.comMichelle Fu ’24 was the Graphics Managing Editor for Vol. 262-264. Before graduating, she could be found grinding out p-sets, shredding on the violin, and taking stealthy photos of fluffy dogs.Kristofer Nino is a writer for the Arts & Life section. contact arts 'at' stanforddaily.comAndrew Gerges '25 studies economics and international relations and writes for News. He enjoys playing GeoGuessr. Contact him at news 'at' Wang ’25 is a staff writer at The Daily. She is from Orange County, California and is currently studying Symbolic Systems. Contact her at imvivian ‘at’ to talk about tech, journalism, Disneyland or anything else.Malia Mendez ’22 is the Vol. 260 Managing Editor of Arts & Life at The Stanford Daily. She is majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, Prose track. Talk to her about Modernist poetry, ecofeminism or coming-of-age films at mmendez 'at' Mettler '23 is an Executive Editor of The Stanford Daily. She is a former Managing Editor for Arts & Life and Desk Editor for News. Contact her at kmettler 'at' Shukla '23 is an Executive Editor of The Stanford Daily. He is a former Managing Editor for Arts & Life. He enjoys making indie pop music and watching Formula 1. Contact The Daily’s Arts & Life section at arts ‘at’

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