Spectator Staff Playlist — February 2021

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Thursday, February 25th, 2021 at 11:45 AM
Spectator Staff Playlist — February 2021 by Teddy Rankin
Graphic: Eric Johnson

Alabama Shakes — “Hold On” 

Brittany Howard’s motivational lyrics and powerful vocals in “Hold On” has helped me get through this week. I hope this track does the same for you! Living through a once in a lifetime pandemic, while also navigating the highs and lows of virtual classes is no easy task. We can do it though, if we just hold on! 

— Teddy Rankin

Gang of Youths — “Achilles Come Down”   

This song shows that even the great warrior Achilles struggles. Everyone struggles at one point or another. It's just a song to turn on and sing along to (or yell at the top of your lungs to). Achilles lost his love, Patroclus, which brought about immeasurable grief, but there's always a reason to live. This isn't my typical music style, but I think the symbolism and meaning behind the song strike a match.   

— Alexander Beatty 

The High Kings — “Follow Me up to Carlow”  

While I enjoy a wide selection of Irish music, this song is one of my favorites. The instrumental beginning sets a fast pace that will leave you tapping your foot along to the beat. The melody is catchy, and even if all the lyrics beside the refrain are too fast for me to comprehend, I still find myself humming along. I usually play it while starting my essays, and it helps me find the determination I need to tackle the blank pages.  

— Hazel Modlin 

Ashe — “Save Myself”  

After hearing this track on the radio and getting it stuck in my head, I listened to it more and found it to be relatable. The chorus and building vocals are great, and you can use it to reflect on previous relationships or bonds in your life. 

— Emma McNeeley

Kid Cudi, MGMT, Ratatat — "Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)”  

Although I struggle with picking favorites, this song will always make the list. This is one of those timeless tunes that can put anyone in a good mood. Even though this is a feel-good track, Kid Cudi delivers a deeper meaning: avoid looking for happiness in substances. This track is also a comforting reminder that it’s OK to not feel happy all the time... but you should remain in the pursuit of happiness.  

- Julia Carden

Manchester Orchestra — “Bed Head” 

When you’ve been a band for near 15 years, it’s tough to organically introduce new elements into your sound. But “Bed Head,” the lead single from Manchester Orchestra’s upcoming spring record, opens with glitchy and synth-tinged percussion, a natural yet unexpected progression from when we last heard them. The album announcement is immensely intriguing — the album “explores the loose story of a man’s encounter with the angel of death as he's shown various scenes from his life in a snapshot-style assemblage” — while this first song is their best attempt at potential radio play in many years. It’s a great next step from a great band.  

— Chris Lantinen 

Megan Thee Stallion — “Circles” 

Let’s be real — what we all need right now is a serotonin boost. “Circles," one of 15 tracks on Megan Thee Stallion’s 2020 release “Good News,” will provide that. Calling in a sample from Jazmine Sullivan’s “Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles),” Megan, in this high-energy anthem of self-dependence, lays out the recent trauma of being shot by rapper Torey Lanez in the feet, her mother’s death, and having to keep her head above water in the rap and hip-hop industry. Don’t be fooled by her vulnerability – Megan makes it very clear throughout this track and the rest of the album that she won’t be counted down and out. And that's very good news for those who support her. 

— Kimberly Firestine

Teddy Rankin is the Music Editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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