Mixtape for the Milky Way – “Video games”
-I’ve been a gamer since 1989. I suspect that the artist and I overlap in a lot of ways in that regard. When I heard the quality of this recording, I was blown away. I was nearly moved to tears from the clever, beautiful lyrical work. I’ve never heard a song about something I love so much like video games or anyone tackle the existential puzzlement around gaming that I’ve experienced over the years. As the kids say, “I felt seen.” Then I found out this is the side project of Jeremy Messersmith, a songwriter who won my album of the year in 2018. Suddenly, I’m less surprised but still just as moved by this incredible song that I consider a 2020 song of the year candidate.
Sianon – “Boring, Happy, Beautiful”
-The calming composition of the piano work here caught my attention right from the first listen. Sianon has a beautiful voice that comes across with an intimate, engaging fashion here. The phrasing is conversational in a delicate, satisfying way. By the time the chorus hits, I find myself ready for the resolution of the relationship that is at the center of the lyrical conflict. It’s unconventional, certainly, but innovative and rewarding. Spin it, fam.
Laden Valley – “Gone”
-I am always going to be a sucker for good vocal harmonies. There’s a gospel sense to the opening from Laden Valley here. The haunting timelessness of the vocal style make me think of the mountains; it reminds me of people and times that are long gone. I will say this; stick around for the piano solo. It can be easy to feel like you’ve heard what this song is all about with just the vocal part. I find the gospel heart of the ending to be particularly rewarding.