From left to right: Patience by Mannequin Pussy, Lotta Sea Lice by Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett, Reading, Writing & Arithmetic by The Sundays
Author: Ella Rustin
As the cold, gloomy weather slowly disappears, I can feel the city of Seattle slowly exiting the winter slump and entering the vibrancy of spring. Sunny weather is approaching, which means that there are some music essentials you need for the season. Here’s a breakdown of my favorite albums that remind me of the warm, beautiful months of spring.
Patience by Mannequin Pussy
Female-fronted Philidelphia punk band Mannequin Pussy leaves their fans in awe with every piece of music they release, but my personal favorite album from their catalog is Patience, their 3rd studio album that has been widely recognized. In Pitchfork’s review of the album, they explain that the album is short and sweet, yet unforgettable, calling it “one of the best punk rock records of the year” (2019). “Drunk II” off the album also ranked #16 in Pitchfork’s “Best Songs of 2019”. The duration of the album is just shy of 30 minutes, with 10 songs. Throughout the album, the main themes discussed are being in love, the experience of heartbreak, and empowerment.
Grammy-nominated producer Will Yip also paid large contributions to the creation of this album. Yip is known in the punk community for his talent, as he has worked with artists like Title Fight, Code Orange, Turnstile, and many more. Yip’s influence and style are heard throughout the album and complement MP’s songwriting and sound perfectly.
The opening track, which is also the album title, Patience, starts off the album on a strong note, with an unbeatable combination of beautiful melodies and heavy guitar riffs. Throughout the album, there are smooth transitions from song to song, which contributes to the fluidity of the album.
The fourth track “Fear/+/Desire” is one of my favorites on the album. It portrays this sense of vulnerability and weakness, specifically within relationships. The first line of the second verse is one of the most powerful lines of the album, outlining abuse in relationships while simultaneously taking a jab at the way these kinds of power dynamics are portrayed in the media.
“When you hit me, it doesn’t feel like a kiss” directly contradicts with certain lyrics seen in other songs including The Crystals’ 1962 single “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss) and Lana Del Rey’s “Ultraviolence”.
One of the reasons I love MP so much is because of the ways they speak out about ideas and actions occurring throughout the music industry, and the toxicity within it. They take their music to another level by not only inspiring their fans, but lifting them up to stand up for what is right.
So, why is this album fitting for the springtime? Patience is an album that never gets old to me, and when listening to it, there is this overpowering feeling of bliss. This album to me is a soundtrack for sunny days, being in nature, and enjoying the beauty around you.
Lotta Sea Lice by Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett
The next album on my list is the iconic collaboration between folk artists Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett. These two have been regarded as some of the best folk artists of our time, with multiple successful albums already under their belts (Also, both of them just released new solo albums!!). Vile and Barnett go together peas and carrots, and this project is proof of how in tune they are with one another.
The album starts with the track “Over Everything”, the most popular song from the album. Heartwarming lyrics describe each of their loves for music, their process of songwriting, and how they would rather play around with their guitars than do anything else.
As the album progresses, Vile and Barnett explore many ideas including relationships, desire, friendships, and music. Each song is vastly different from the previous, but still contain that Barnett and Vile sound that their fans love.
The album closes with the track “Untogether”, one of the more somber yet beautiful tracks on the album. “Untogether” originally sang by the 90s dream pop band Belly, is given a fresh twist with this cover. I think that this choice is a perfect closing piece for the album, and truly ties it all together.
The playful back and forth dynamic between Barnett and Vile is something that really makes this project stick out. They present their lyrics in a conversational way, making the songs intimate and emotional. The sweet guitar sounds complemented by their deep, bluesy voices make this a perfect spring album to relax and unwind to.
Reading, Writing & Arithmetic by The Sundays
Reading, Writing & Arithmetic released in 1990, was the Sunday’s first studio album. The group from London gained a cult following in the 90s and is still continuing to grow in popularity, Blending influences like The Smiths and Cocteau Twins together, The Sundays created a sound that no one could replicate. This album is one I truly cherish, and almost anybody can relate to the lyrics.
Reading, Writing & Arithmetic addresses the fears of growing up and being on your own in the world. The idea of constantly moving forward can be scary, but the Sundays seem to find a way to make it comforting. The opening song Skin and Bones sets the tone of the album. The lyrics of the song, written by singer Harriett Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin address Gavurin’s perception of himself, as Wheeler seems to be comforting him by saying “we are just flesh and bones”. This gloomy yet beautiful song is a great opener for the album, as they both continue to discuss their personal anxieties about life.
Throughout the album, The Sundays mix a combination of serious lyrics with pop melodies and instruments, giving each song so many layers. Tracks like ‘“Here’s Where the Story Ends” illustrate the way Wheeler and Gavurin feel about moving on with life after college, and how they feel like they know so much, but still nothing at all.
The Sundays is a band that truly needs to be cherished. This is a perfect spring album for any listener, and leaves the listener with such a bittersweet feeling.
As spring gets closer and closer, it’s always fun to have new music to listen to while you enjoy what’s around you. I hope you enjoy my Spring favorites as much as I do!
Ella Rustin | “I’m more than flesh, I’m more than love” – Mannequin Pussy | KXSU Music Reporter & Promotions Director |