Happy Sunday, everyone!
It’s February now, and what better way to start the month off than with an excess of Super Furry Animals? I hereby claim no responsibility for any damages caused by any bipedal, masked, bear-like demon-creatures that may cross your path. They’re best deterred by repeated screaming, if you want my advice. And look out for the chupacabras while you’re at it.
Enjoy this week’s songs!
SUNDAY SONGS: 2/5/23
I finally listened to all of Radiator (which I seriously think boasts one of my favorite album covers…ever, really. You really won with this one, Pete Fowler.) earlier in the week, and it just felt like pure fun all the way through. I know how vague of a description that is, but listening to almost every track (save for the downer “Download”) gives me the sense that Gruff Rhys and company had a blast recording every single song. Knowing that this comes an album or two before the masterpiece that is Rings Around the World, Radiator feels like the band keeping the cheerful, carefree spirit that they’ve always maintained, but just starting to get weird with it—they haven’t quite gotten into the flat-out experimental territory of Rings just yet, but you can see it peering through the cracks just as well. My only criticism that I can think of for Radiator is that some of the songs blend together a bit, but it’s not a complaint if they all sound almost as good as this one. “The International Language of Screaming” is a clear standout—it’s a concentrated shot of Britpop fun straight to the heart, pure and simple. Maybe it isn’t as weird as some of my other SFA favorites, but I can’t help but nodding my head to every “la la la la” and ecstatic “WOO!” every time it comes around on shuffle. It’s joy with a side of popping colors and punchy guitars.
Apologies for the whiplash from going straight from “The International Language of Screaming” to this eeriness. But, as with far too much with this post, there’s an inevitable Super Furry Animals connection.
I first found out that this song existed because of “Hello Sunshine”; I distinctly remembered a part at the beginning that creeped me out as a kid, so, naturally, I set out to find it. Sure enough, it was a sample of this song (0:00-0:47 in the video), and the rest of the song is…just as creepy. Recorded when Wendy and Bonnie Flowers were 17 and 13, respectively, it’s a chilling, atmospheric song that feels just as gray as a cold, churning sea crashing against a rocky shore. Punctuated by seemingly random fills of soft drums and out-of-sync guitar strums, there’s a strange discordance about it. It’s clear that the vocals were intended to be the main attraction here, their lilting harmonies shining through the cloudy fog of the rest of the song. It’s a great listen, but at the same time, it’s strangely comforting to think that I’m still creeped out now by the same thing that I was creeped out at when I was 5. I still don’t get why I was freaked out by some random clip from Baby Einstein, but this is understandable. There’s really something about Wendy & Bonnie, huh?
“Everyday Sunshine” takes on a whole new meaning when you wake up on Monday morning and see that it’s -6° outside. Anybody else sick of winter? No? Just me?
Aaaaaaaand another whiplash-inducing left turn, but we’re back to happy songs, don’t worry! We’re back to what’s close to the epitome of happy songs, as a matter of fact. I found this one courtesy of my amazing mom, and I haven’t stopped nodding my head ever since. If Super Furry Animals tried to embody joy, this is inches away from the pinnacle of the feeling itself. Just like the colorful murals and fields of blue and orange wildflowers in the music video, “Everyday Sunshine” is a sunburst (no pun intended) of carefree ska happiness. Every note from the brass section and every drumbeat brings armfuls of hope, and you can’t help but look out at the cloudy skies and try and find that tiny sliver of sunshine poking through. It’s the perfect bandaid for every mood: happy? Play this song. Neutral? Play this song. Sad? Play it and dance by yourself until your troubles are but motes of pollen drifting away from the aforementioned field of wildflowers. Again, a big thank you to my mom for this one. ☀️
With that, we’re…back on the sadgirl train, but…this one’s at least not nearly as heartbreaking as “Emily I’m Sorry,” so…
The harmonies of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus obviously fit together like it was written in the stars, but even so, you can see whose songs are whose—and this is Lucy’s song, without question, even if the handwritten in the lyric video didn’t give it away. It has their signature melancholy written all over it, but somehow, it feels more on the tender side, like learning to love somebody after you’ve only just started to heal yourself. Dacus’ voice is a soft but pushing force, gently letting the song form itself around her as it swirls into the night sky, while the higher harmonies of Baker and Bridgers seamlessly flow through to the chorus and the bridge—I particularly love how Baker’s high notes come through on the bridge—”Because it doesn’t matter anymore/Who won the fight?/I’m not keeping score.” Songs like this really display the two sides of boygenius—it’s a song where one member takes the lead, but they still come together as a single, cohesive force of nature.
“Out of focus ideology/Keep the masses from majority/Head space brainwashed, tumble dried/Left to bleed whilst vultures glide…”
…oh, so they just went and gave the GOP their own theme song, huh? On second thought…no. The GOP doesn’t deserve such a monumental banger.
I hate to double up here, but the Super Furry Animals train has left the station, and it’ll be an eternity before it reaches its destination. This song has quickly risen to become one of my favorites of theirs; it may not be as weird or experimental as some of my other favorites, but it’s a tight, four-minute burst of head-banging. From the deceptively slow build of the first minute, the music cascades into pure fuzz and drumbeats, and though the music drops out for short intervals, it never once loses its unstoppable momentum. It’s easy to see why this was one of their most popular songs: even though the chorus dominates almost the entire song, you can’t help but get up on your feet the minute the drums kick in. The slow creep of the vocals and jingle bells that starts at around the 2:30 mark builds suspense with a gradual layering of harmonies, building to a raucous screams that pushes right back into the ecstasy of the chorus. Almost 5 minutes of the same line (“you know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else”), and it never gets tiring—on the contrary, it’s already my second-most played song of the year, according to Apple Music. That’s an earworm for you.
Since this post consists entirely of songs, consider all of them to be today’s song.
That’s it for this week’s Sunday Songs! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!