Soul, Folk & Lounge

Feeling tired lately? So are these songs. I rounded up some stuff that’s perfect for leaning back and filtering through whatever has you stressed, the audio equivalent of a back massage or epsom salt soak. Let’s skip the pleasantries (they’re too tiring, anyway) and get straight to the good stuff.

Check out my last list where I rounded up some of my alternative rock favorites!

september superior elevation

1. “September” by Foner (sample of ‘(It Was) September’ by Superior Elevation)

It may not be autumn anymore, but it doesn’t mean we can’t relish in music that makes our soul crave chilly evenings and turning leaves. Foner‘s ‘September’ is a lovely little piece that should be a staple at most cafes, because it’s a song I want to curl up with a mug of tea every single time I press play.

Almost groovy in its sound, ‘September’ hearkens to its signature season and oozes nostalgia out of every pore — considering it samples and mixes up 1981’s single ‘(It Was) September’ by Superior Elevation, it’s small wonder it feels a little timeless. A little shorter and more focused, the guitar is still lovely and flows throughout the entire piece with a strong bassline, the lead singer rounding out an already full package with great vocals. The subject matter is only touched on briefly, adding an air of mystery that soon dissolves into a wonderful horn outro. I’ve been a fan of this song for a few years and I don’t see this love fading anytime soon. Give ‘September’ a try, or even check out the original, when you’re feeling nostalgia’s itch and need something to scratch it out.

Oh, September, it’s when she went away

She said she’s gonna stay

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Alternative Rock

I’m behind. I’m so, so, so behind. Forgive me, goddess of rock, for I have sinned.

I am astronomical levels of overdue for getting some good rock songs on Sharing The Goodness. This is the genre that all but defined my childhood (besides non-stop disco and bad europop) and I’ve got a proverbial pick-up truck to unload over the next few posts. Let’s get this show on the road!

Check out my last post where I looked at alternative R&B and soul if rock doesn’t do it for you!

valerie june shakedown

1. “Shakedown” by Valerie June

A new reoccurring favorite on Sharing The Goodness, Valerie June continues to impress with her iconic pipes and musical flair. ‘Shakedown’ is a song I’d love to hear at an outdoor porch party and, come to think of it, I really should throw one of those once I actually get a porch. It’s lively, charming and just a little on the short side — perfect for constant repeats while enjoying an evening drink. At least, I think.

A bit of bluegrass, a bit of classic rock, there’s a little bit for everyone to love here. The lyrics are simple, more for shuffling your feet than contemplating your navel, and I’m totally fine with that. …Have I also mentioned I love her fashion sense? Because I really do. Valerie June somehow strikes this tender balance between old-fashioned and modern with one of the most incredible hairstyles around. Short and sweet, you need to get this woman on your playlists pronto. It’s the least you can do!

Feel it when you sing it

That shakedown breakdown showdown

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If you could change your fate…would you? That’s the question posed by Merida in Brave, a movie that probably didn’t want the fate of being considered the runt of the recent Disney line-up of CGI animated princess films.

Disney princesses are practically their own genre. They’re role models for kids of varying ages. Their films combine a mixture of adventure, romance and just enough drama without getting too heavy. They’re often musicals, though not always. The formula is pretty tightly woven into Disney’s commercial fabric, so it’s really the smaller changes that separate them from one another. Merida is interesting because she’s neither the least popular (sorry, Pocahontas) nor the most iconic (hello, Ariel). She exists in this weird limbo between ‘oh, yeah, the one with the huge curly hair’ and ‘…who?’. Merida is a princess I find myself liking and not because I view her as some shining beacon of independence in a female character.

In fact, this is one of the most baffling interpretations I see made about her on the regular and one I want to take a deeper look at. Let’s start off with the checklist. She’s ‘tough’ (usually a shorthand for being physically active and/or able to throw a punch), is ‘independent’ (another shorthand for doing whatever one wants) and is basically a girl who’s got a brain and always speaks her mind. Basically, a stockpile of traits we’ve seen before. What makes Merida stand out is how she seems to be a critical eye on all of the above while remaining a flawed and dynamic character in her own right. In layman’s terms, a rich white kid whose rich white kid mannerisms aren’t cute or funny — they suck!

You see, Merida’s ‘tough and independent’ personality is what gets the kingdom in trouble and her mom turned into Baloo.

merida 6

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Alternative R&B And Soul

Fell behind on these, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of songs. In fact, I’ve found far more than I even know what to do with. I’m learning more and more about all the varied categories, sub-categories and what-the-fuck categories as I go. Terms for specific genres I didn’t even know existed are popping up left and right, making it easier than ever to find songs that make my eyes glaze over with delight. That’s not just me, right? That can’t just be me.

If this isn’t your style, check out my last post where I looked at hip-hop and jazz!

glass animals gooey
1. “Gooey” by Glass Animals

Damn if it doesn’t feel great when you find a new group and discover they don’t just have a few decent singles, but their entire repertoire is addicting as candy. With only a few years to their name and an incredibly varied sound that gets more eclectic with each hit they put out, I can see Glass Animals only getting more successful from here. (They’ve actually got another fantastic single that I’ll have to put on another list for its entirely different genre)

‘Gooey”s title fits the song’s style perfectly — it’s like if melted butter was put to sound, almost bizarrely smooth and utterly sultry with each whispering note. A dreamy harp and the signature hissing croons of the lead singer create a brilliant atmosphere right off the bat, eventually pulling you into a rhythm that sways like a lullaby. I looped this song without mercy the first time I heard it, with each listen progressively better than the last to the point I had to share it with everyone I knew as soon as possible. It’s one of those.

I mean, when it comes down to it you just can’t go wrong with lyrics that include the lines ‘peanut-butter vibes’ and ‘icky, gooey womb’.

Ride my little pooh bear, wanna take a chance

Wanna sip this smooth air, kick it in the sand

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A load of extra work and an inconvenient cold (also known as ‘a cold’) has me falling behind on updates something fierce. Got more pieces planned for the rest of the month, though, with a feature coming soon on the Ontological Geek!

Thinking of trying a new layout, too. I like this one, but it still seems like it’s missing something…

The Importance of #KeepNightwingRomani

Geeks of Color

When it was announced that WB/DC had tapped  LEGO Batman director Chris McKay to direct a live action Nightwing film set in the DCEU the internet immediately caught fire with many beginning to fancast. Many people fancast the likes of Matt Bomer, Zac Effron, Taylor Lautner, Ian Somerholder, and even Steven Yeun. The obvious problem with this is that the majority of the actors that people chose to cast as Nightwing were white, but another problem is that people of color aren’t interchangeable. For the better part of 15 years Nightwing has canonically been recognized as Romani. This was established Pre New 52, New 52, and during Rebirth. Nightwing was initially established as Romani back in the early 2000’s during Devin Grayson’s run on the character. In recent years DC has had writers reestablish and commit to the concept that Nightwing is of Romani descent, while the percentage of…

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Hip-Hop & Jazz

I’ve got some real good stuff this week. Songs that get me jazzed up (heh) are ones that blur the lines between genres, bringing in the best of each and something entirely new all at the same time. Some of the hip-hop picks here are going to have some distinctively jazzy influences, but there’s bound to be something here for fans of both genres and all the little overlaps. Let’s just get to it!

If you’re interested in past posts, check out the last one where I revisited more of indie and acoustic.

 

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1. “Rose Golden” by Kid Cudi ft. Willow Smith

 
It’s a damn good feeling when you click on a song and know it’s gonna be good from the first few seconds. Kid Cudi and Willow Smith’s talents have crashed into one another like two planets, creating a result that’s as bombastic as it is unique.

 
Drawn in with classic harps and crooning only to suddenly swing into a pounding beat, the song all but grabs the listener by the proverbial hand and leads them on a journey — hip-hop, classical and indie are just a few of the influences on full blast here and make for something that’s as interesting as it is plainly catchy. Their vocals are fantastic — I’ve become a huge fan of Willow Smith over the past few years and Kid Cudi’s voice has taken a turn for the gravelly, providing a stellar contrast for an overall stunning piece.

 
It’s a full-package song through and through. I was drawn in by the lush instrumentation, swayed by the fascinating lyrics and left tingling by the sheer personality of all the incredible talent on board. There’s just so much to talk about to the point I risk overhyping. Just check ‘Rose Golden’ out — you won’t regret it.

 
Oh, since I was young, been grooving to my own drum

 
Ain’t that many teachers show me my potential

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A Millennial While Black

Tori's Story

As a millennial, it seems like everybody is giving you unwanted advice left and right. Anything we do is up for criticism. We don’t work enough for corporations? We’re lazy. We work too much? Suddenly, we don’t take enough vacation time. Received participation trophies when you were growing up? That’s probably why you’re not excelling now. It’s totally something that you’re doing wrong. Won’t accept abusive management tactics? It’s because you’re clearly an entitled little shit. How dare you ask for a good work-life balance and a company that treats you like a human being?

When houses aren’t selling enough, Millennials are blamed for not buying them. Never mind the all-around inflation in prices while minimum wage is pretty much stagnant. If we go to college and don’t get the desired career job, it’s something we did. Maybe not enough unpaid internships, not enough extracurricular activities or just not enough…

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Tales From The Borderlands: Redefining Unconventional Families

Tales From The Borderlands is more relevant to the average twenty-something living in America than most shows on television.

 
Here’s why.

 
The United States is a rough place to live in when you’re part of a marginalized group. Even more so when you’re part of two or three. This is seen in more fruitless job searching, lack of healthcare and ongoing workplace or day-to-day discrimination getting in the way of financial stability and proper mental health. This is even more evident in ongoing trends of more and more twenty-somethings moving back in with their parents for reasons relating to shifting healthcare norms, chronic illness and/or disabilities and lost jobs. Not everyone can afford to get their own place and even a roommate can be off-limits depending on your background.

 
Media, however, is pretty disinterested in acknowledging this beyond the occasional mean-spirited quip. Stereotypes in popular culture aren’t kind to adults who live with their family — there are plenty of films and shows with one-off characters used as walking punchlines due to living with their parents or even having them in the regular vicinity. Heck, one of the most common insults flung around the Internet is the ‘loser who lives in their parents’ basement’. The lofty and idealized ‘accomplished twenty-something with a degree’ and American nuclear family (established as white, Christian, middle-class, able, heterosexual and cisgender with the occasional ethnic variance) are the standards and fuck you if you dare deviate from it!

 
When I hear ‘conventional’, I don’t really think of a four-bedroom house with an immaculate lawn and white-picket fence in secluded suburbia. My mind more runs along the lines of the twenty-something juggling a studio apartment and two part-time jobs with no health insurance wondering if they’ll get jumped for a hate crime on the way back home. What can I say, I’m biased!

 
The onslaught of tone-deaf shows like Big Bang Theory and Girls and countless romantic comedies reinforce day-in and day-out the myth that to not be financially independent is to be burdensome or a raging loser. What makes Tales From The Borderlands stand out amid the pack of ‘tee hee you live with your mom’ commentaries and ‘why are Millennials so lazy and dependent’ thinkpieces is the more nuanced approach to ‘unconventional’ families and living situations.

 

tales-from-the-borderlands-fiona-sasha-felix

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