It’s that time of year where the dorm rooms are cleared out, finals are completed, and paths diverge as the summer holidays roll in and the semester comes to a close. Feelings of relief, nostalgia and regret mix in the air as friends hug, enemies shake hands and crushes receive a final awkward nod. The promise of another great semester looms in the background but for now, there’s a potentially awesome internship or holiday waiting to make your summer. Alas, it has been a pleasure churning out mini-soundtracks for everyone this semester. Thanks again for supporting your friendly, neighborhood college radio station. Keep in touch! xx
1. Eliza Doolittle (UK) – “Pack Up”
Coming from a family that has been extensively involved in music and theater, it’s no wonder Eliza Caird, known by her stage name, Eliza Doolittle, has also taken a step into the world of music. Recognized by her trademark short shorts paired with high-top sneakers, it’s this eclectic, cheeky sense of style that is also apparent in her 2010 eponymous debut album. It reached #3 on the UK charts released by Parlophone Records who have also released albums from Bat For Lashes, The Verve and Sky Ferriera, among other notable artists.
“Pack Up” is the second single off her debut album and it peaked at #5 on the UK charts. It’s a charming, carefree song that is appropriate to blast while you’re, naturally, packing up to leave. The main hook is from a World War I marching song, “Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag,” and is sung by a British gospel singer, which lends to the retro feeling of the song. Somehow, it feels appropriate for an old war song to be used in such a bubbly, summery song as Doolittle sings about leaving behind your worries and shrugging off the haters. Though it’s not a particularly challenging song vocally, Doolittle’s whimsical voice keeps things interesting, never lingering too long on a note and giving just the right amount of attention for each lyric.
2. Tame Impala (Australia) – “Music to Walk Home By”
These psychedelic rockers hailing from Western Australia have had a successful last year. Their sophomore album, Lonerism, peaked at #1 on the Australian Albums Chart and has enjoyed top spots on various lists for the best albums of 2012 . They’ve played at large festivals such as Coachella and Sasquatch and had a thriving international tour (their show in D.C. sold out)!
“Music to Walk Home By” is the fifth track off of Lonerism. Though there isn’t a discernible chorus, it really doesn’t need it since the guitar riff acts as the hook to ground the song. While the lyrics are hard to pick up, it’s one of those songs that speak for itself. It’s a full body experience as you feel that steady beat and moving synths to guide you on home. It’s the perfect song to put on when you hop on the plane, bus or train. Let the bright instrumentation keep you optimistic, despite leaving your friends for a few months as you begin the start of your summer adventures alone.
3. Rizzle Kicks (UK) – “Traveller’s Chant”
At times, international hip hop is hard to get into what with incomprehensible accents, obscured cultural references and halted flow. However, Brighton duo Rizzle Kicks, comprised of Jordan “Rizzle” Stephens and Harley “Sylvester” Alexander-Sule, has managed to avoid most of these problems. While their British accents are unmissable, they add to the style of their songs rather than make them understandable. While Rizzle raps on the verses, Sylvester croons on the hooks, his smooth voice complimenting Rizzle’s steady rhythm. “Traveller’s Chant” is the fifth single off their debut album, Stereo Typical, released in 2011 under Universal Music Group. Though it wasn’t as commercially successful as their other singles, it’s fitting for this mini-soundtrack, as it captures the solitary feeling travelers feel en route to their destinations. With a melodious backing instrumentals marked with sweeping violins, a lonely guitar riff and a resonating bass line, this track rightfully embodies the wistful reminiscing you get as you travel, staring out the window of whatever form of transport you’re taking, thinking about all the beautiful memories you’ve made in the places you’re leaving behind.
4. Calvin Harris (UK) – “Flashback”
Speaking of wistful reminiscing, “Flashback”, the third single off Calvin Harris’s 2009 sophomore album, Ready for the Weekend, is the embodiment of today’s nostalgia. The hook is sung by Jordanian singer, Ayah Marar, and the reflective lyrics are fitting, “This is like a flashback / This is like a dream / This is like all the things you can fit inside a memory.” Besides being a song you can listen to when you feel like flipping through photos on your phone and reliving memories on your way home, it’s also ideal for dancing away your blues and shaking out your sorrows.
5. Edith Piaf (France) – “Non Je Ne Regrette Rien”
What fond farewell is complete without a nod to songstress, Edith Piaf? And what better song to end the year with than, “Non Je Ne Regrette Rien”? Translating to “I Regret Nothing”, the track showcases Piaf’s powerful and distinct voice. She belts out this decree with the support of a rousing orchestra and a particularly triumphant brass section. Originally dedicated to the French Foreign Legion during their fight in the Algerian War (1954-1962), this song is now used as personal anthems, ranging from the romantic to the violent. In any case, it is always used as a song of inspiration, a song that lifts the spirits of anyone listening and helps them hold their head up and look forward. Though this semester may be coming to an end and you’ll miss the good times, you’ll have plenty more memories to make.