Having trouble sleeping tonight?
Folk music is the main cure to my insomnia (as well as lovely melancholic piano instrumentals). These songs are usually repeated when I am up at 2am and I am tossing and turning at night.
Sprained Ankle- Julien Baker
Julien Baker’s voice travels though vast amounts of space with only the sentiment of her voice, witty lyrics, and that resonating and echoing guitar. A lot of her songs could easily fit into this playlist, but sprained ankle is just perfect to listen to at 2am. The awkward and anxious character of “Sprained Ankle” is metaphorical to a runner in a race but is struggling to make it to the finish line. The overall delivery is simple, raw, and fragile. Julien Baker taught me that you can pierce someone’s soul with just the simplest phrases. Less is more, and sometimes, even more captivating. If you like this, listen to “Funeral Pyre” or “Something”. Dangit, just do yourself a favor and listen to her (as well as her recent group “Boygenius”).
Santa Monica Dream- Angus & Julia Stone
I actually listened to this while walking on the Santa Monica pier as the sun went down. And just like the song, I was thinking of the people who slipped away from my hands. It was that moment when I realized that I was in a new place, and I traveled across the biggest ocean imaginable. I left behind so much, and the feeling is bittersweet. It’s that moment of looking back to what could have been, but in the end it just… didn’t happen. You are leaving what could seem so good, something you can easily find comfort and settle down with, but in the end, you didn’t take that road… okay, I am getting too personal.
I haven’t dived completely into Angus and Julia Stone, but I really need to. If you guys have any recommendations on other songs I need to hear, let me know.
Between the Bars- Elliott Smith
Elliott Smith is one of my top favorite singer-songwriters. He knew how to describe depression so well, the way he wrote his progressions, the lyrics that are so vulnerable and personal to his journey and stories. If you watched “Good Will Hunting”, you might have heard his tunes in the movie in many of the scenes. In this song, he cleverly puts the lyrics in the perspective of a drink talking to an alcoholic, and the toxic yet tempting relationship between the both of them. It is Between the Bars is one of his most well-known songs, and I could name so many other underrated tunes on this list, but this song is a good place to start for people who are just starting to discover who he is.
If there was any musicians I would like to meet that passed away, it would be him. I could state reasons why, but I don’t think it can accurately describe how much he has influenced my writing. Watch this legendary interview he had with Carson Daily. The first thing he says in that interview just foreshadows the rest of it and even indirectly describes how he handled his life and fame. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSqumt6Bt-g
“The bull who doesn’t want to go to the bull fight, but he does.”
Voice Like a Bell- Gregory and the Hawk
Gregory and the Hawk is my hidden treasure.
Not a lot of people know her, but she is one of those artists I am happy to keep for myself (and of course, to the special people who view my blogs). This song makes me feel first love again, somewhere in a sunny field and I picture two young people looking at each other, smiling, while the wind blows through their hair. Dandelions fly away in slow motion when the chorus appears in my head. The world is so colorful and vivid that it transports me into a dreamy state.
She is so imaginative and youthful in her vocal delivery and her arranging choices that she makes me feel like a kid again. This song is fairly old, and I can’t find any recent music of hers, but I will always play this album. If you like this too, stream Moenie and kitchi here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMZOtHIL7QM