Discover: Carly’s Playlist, Nov. 9 -18

By Carly Preston, Contributor

Spotify’s Discover Weekly thus far has really never steered me wrong.  They have brought bands such as Vivian Girls, Screaming Females and The Slits into my life, acts that are now some of my favorites.  I was excited to take on this Discover Weekly challenge and find some new jams.

However, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I will provide some insight into my history with Spotify to begin.  I listen to Spotify everyday.  I do not use digital download much, so I am typically using CD’s or records at home, but on-the-go I tune into the music streaming app.

Yes, I know I am kind of trash for using it.  Streaming really screws over musicians for what they rightfully deserve, but I am content with being trash while I continue to identify as the broke college student I am.

Any who, on a daily basis I tune into a lot of riot grrrl punk and emo.  Also, I guess if I’m being fair, Motown and indie as well.  Obviously my music taste is a bit more expansive than these genres, but on a daily basis these provide me comfort during my travels.

So why Spotify chose to infiltrate my life with generic indie folk and boring ethereal noise I will never understand.

Let’s dive into it shall we?

The playlist started with “John Allyn Smith Sails” by Okkervil River, one the worst indie folk songs to ever grace an acoustic guitar. Truthfully, it sounds harsh, but the guitars were generic and the lyrics sounded like the ramblings of a jaded white boy. This band is the music equivalent of putting mayonnaise in a record player.

To liven up the playlist after all the blandness, I heard “Misanthropic Drunken Loner” by Days N’ Daze.  A song I could not work myself up finish because the males voice sounded as if he had just smoked an entire Marlboro factory, and not in a Bob Dylan-esque way.  If the first track was too boring, this track sure woke things up.  This song itself was a form a torture, even just for the two minutes I heard.

What I then assumed to be the mandatory adult contemporary track arrived about halfway through the playlist with “Lariat” by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks.  A track I myself did not enjoy, but will pass along to my dad later.  This song was shortly followed by “Palomino” by Mates of State, a song whose chorus sounds like an advertisement used to convince hipsters to come to Coachella.

In order to convince those reading this I am not nearly as pessimistic as what I probably sound, this playlist did have some benefits. For instance it highlighted artists constantly recommended to me that I never really got around to listening. Artists such as Kevin Devine, I Kill Giants and KEY! (who I’ve heard a bit of before from his work with ILOVEMAKONNEN).  Ironically, these musicians accounted for three out of five new acts I would listen to again from this playlist.

The other tracks I liked tended toward musicians and songs I was already aware of. These non-new artists featured on my playlist included Julian Casablancas, Dads, Of Montreal, Twin Peaks, Salvia Plath and even Wilco.

The most interesting selection from the mind of Spotify was “I Wanna be a Witch” by Teen Suicide, song that I realistically listen to at least twice a week from a band that I would consider to be one my favorites.  It seemed as if Spotify put in tracks I already knew and enjoyed.

Over all, I would give my Discover Weekly playlist a C-.  It contained very little tunes I would return to and left me questioning why Spotify thinks I enjoy this stuff.

However, it did make me interested in what Spotify has in store for me next week.  While a lot of it was music I could never see myself enjoying, I kind of liked the shock of not knowing what was going to play next.  It was like a musical roller coaster or haunted house. I never knew what I was going to hear, but it still managed to excite and anticipate me.

Spotify will definitely catch me checking in on next week’s playlist.


Discover: Van’s Playlist, Nov. 2 – 8

By Van Williams, Contributor
Spotify was something that I never found particularly interesting. It just seemed like a boring, more convenient YouTube where people could listen to music for free and not give money to the hardworking artists making it.
When my friends insistence became more than I could handle, I finally got around to downloading it… but not without complaint. After all my user name is spotifyhater420.
However, for something that I gave so little credibility, it hit my playlist right over the head this week. For having what I’d consider an obnoxiously diverse music palette, this playlist was pretty good. I mean, my last four artists listened to were Rage Against The Machine, The Cure, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. To talk a little about the songs on my Discover Weekly, I’ve chosen the ten songs I was the most excited about.
1. “Heavy Gloom” – The Story So Far
I heard this song when it was released as a single, and it’s still one of my favorites from their newest record. I just saw them slay live last Sunday night so this seemed fitting.  
2. “Everything Is Alright” – Motion City Soundtrack
Now that the warm, sunlight days of autumn are fading away, whenever one comes around I play this album. There’s always been a hopeful chord found in Commit This To Memory that has resonated with me, whether it be Justin Pierre’s bouncy vocals or Mark Hoppus’s obvious touch, it always leaves me smiling.
3. “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then” – The Wonder Years
In 2013 The Wonder Years released The Greatest Generation, and personally it left a little to be desired. Regardless, excited would be an understatement to describe my anticipation for this record, and this was the first song that really hit home with me.
4. “The Joker” – Steve Miller Band
Not entirely sure how this song sneaked on here but I’m so happy that it did It surprised in the best way.
5. “Flagpole Sitta” – Harvey Danger
This is a song that I feel flies massively under the radar for catchy 90’s alternative music, it takes me back a much younger high school version of myself watching American Pie for the first time in my basement.
6. “Sweetness” – Jimmy Eat World
An absolute staple in early 2000s’ emo and pop punk infused music. I don’t go back to Bleed American as much once it starts getting cold out, so I’m glad spotify gave me one last taste of one of the best bands.
7. “Friday I’m In Love” – The Cure
This is not my favorite songs by The Cure, but it is however one of my favorite songs (take that how you will). Released as the second single off of 1992’s Wish, the song achieved instant success, and for good reason.
8. “There Is” – Box Car Racer
Box Car Racer, as I’m sure most know was Tom Delonge from blink-182’s post hardcore influenced project that featured ⅔ of blink’s members and indirectly lead to the dissolution of pop-punk’s most immature heroes. However you look at it, it lead to an amazing record from Box Car Racer, and this was the second single from one of 2002’s best records.
9. “Tiny Raindrop” – Balance & Composure
In 2013, Balance & Composure released the Will Yip produced The Things We Think We’re Missing to acclaim from pretty much everyone who would listen to the record. “Tiny Raindrop” is the track from the record that sticks with me most, constantly echoing it’s grungy tones and scratchy vocals in the back of my mind.

10. “Gum” – Moose Blood
Moose Blood have recently become one of my favorite bands to watch progress, constantly growing from their
Moving Home EP. This song is a good example of that, only made better with it’s American Beauty name drop.

Discover: Jon’s Playlist, Nov. 2 – Nov. 8

By Jonathan Fuchs, Contributor

For people like me who rarely use Spotify, Discover Weekly is a really weird experience. Because of my lack of activity, Spotify thinks I like acoustic pop that acts as the soundtrack for YouTube “pranksters” who just harass women on the street.

The Diamonds in the Rough:

“Afterglow” by Wilkinson – As soon as the song started, I immediately held my head in my hands in pure embarrassment in the terrible lyrics. But as soon as I heard the faint sound of drums, I knew that this was going to be good, and as soon as the song dropped, I couldn’t stop dancing. Good dance track all around.

“Ulay, Oh” by How I Became the Bomb – This band reminds me a lot of The Flaming Lips if they kept their sound from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. It had some interesting synths and drums, and everything sounded really nice and smooth.

“Cavalier” by James Vincent McMorrow – This was probably the best song I listened to on this playlist, which makes sense because James Vincent McMorrow was one of the only names I could recognize. His high-pitched vocals were smooth and relaxing and his synths were brilliant. The drums also had effects that were hard to describe but very nice to listen to. This and How I Became the Bomb are most likely the only two artists I’ll go back to.

Close But No Cigar:

“Made for You” by Alexander Cardinale – This sounded fine, but it was like literally everything I’ve ever heard on the radio. If I didn’t know the artist, I would’ve thought this was Phillip Phillips or whoever else is relevant.

“Overload (The Chainsmokers Remix)” by Life of Dillon – For those who don’t remember, The Chainsmokers are responsible for the song “#Selfie” that went viral because it was terrible, so I groaned when I saw their name. The rhythms on the song were interesting and the melodies were nice, but its repetitive style got pretty boring.

“I Do” by Holley Maher – The lyrics on this song were pure garbage, but the vocals were pleasant enough to encourage me to not just skip to the next song. I also really liked the production on the guitar, pianos and drums.

“It’s Just a Prank, Bro”:

“I’m Still Here” by Benjy Davis – The beginning of this song was great; I loved the vocals and guitar, and his melody was nice. Then the chorus kicked in, and for a second I thought that a random tab on my laptop was playing a trailer to a John Green movie. The cheesy lyrics made me sick and its way too clean production made me stop the song before it ended.

“Paradise (On Earth)” by Cris Cab – I have a feeling that Spotify hates me because this has some of the worst singing I’ve ever heard in my life. It sounded like if Adam Levine caught a head cold before a live show. This was generic, boring and just plain awful.

“Jackpot” by Jocelyn Alice – I really can’t tell the difference between unknown female pop singers and this song is the perfect example. From the bland singing and god-awful instrumentation, I would’ve thought this was Halsey or Tove Lo or some other singer we’re all going to forget about in five years.

“You Got Me” by Gavin DeGraw – My sister loves Gavin DeGraw, and because this terrible song was made for the freaking DOLPHIN TALE 2 SOUNDTRACK, I will never know why. The singing was boring, the production was way too loud, and the lyrics were laughable. I guess I’ll never understand, sis.