Ⅱ. summer 2022 music review
summer is not my favorite season. in fact, it's my least favorite season. yes i know, i'm a cancer! i have a summer birthday! i simply do not care. it's hot. i grew up in the southern united states, so it was really hot and really humid, from may to september. consequently, i spent a lot of summer breaks cooped up in my [gratefully] air conditioned house playing video games and listening to music. a time-honored tradition that i preserve to this day.
i should go ahead and bring up the usual summer suspect: オメガトライブ (omega tribe). kiyotaka sugiyama's tribe and carlos toshiki's tribe. every summer since 2018 i enjoy their discography, especially ふたりの夏物語 NEVER ENDING SUMMER. it's the ultimate summertime song. this year, 夕凪通信 (Yunagi Tsushin, translating roughly to "evening calm communication") and Trade Wind were both tracks that got replayed many times. a hefty majority of omega tribe's songs are centered around summer, so it's only fitting that i mention them! i try to abstain from listening to them in excess outside of the season, so when summer inevitably rolls back around, i have something to look forward to! another artist i've gotten into who's along the same sound as omega tribe: junichi inagaki (稲垣潤一). the songs i've really enjoyed are サザンクロス (Southern Cross), 夏のクラクション (Summer Klaxon), and エスケイプ (Escape).
ふたりの夏物語 NEVER ENDING SUMMER
this summer was definitely the summer of ween. i can't remember what possessed me to dive into their discography (having only been familiar with Ocean Man and Loop de Loop), but whatever it was: thanks, numbnuts! the first song i remember enjoying was Don't Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy). the laid-back essence of the phaser guitar, the ziggy stardust sound, the oddly, personally comforting lyrics (emotionally absent father-havers rise up), the buildup to the acapella ending — i can taaaaste the guaaaava when i hear this song. back to back to back to back all summer long.
more importantly, it was through Don't Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy) that i was introduced to an album i now consider to be one of my all time favorites, Quebec (2003). this album has nearly zero skips and many different sounds and feelings. like a big chunk of ween's discography, it's pretty varied musically. the first track slaps you upside the head and calls you a shithead, while the immediately following track is that blissful moment your SSRI "kicks in". Transdermal Celebration, while i don't fully understand the meaning behind the lyrics, sounds like you're shedding your skin into a newer you. Tried And True is haunting and beautiful, whose lines "i felt the cries of healing" and "i see the light in you" got me through some terrible bouts of loneliness. Chocolate Town might be the song i've listened to the most from this album; i've surmised it's about addiction recovery, something with which i don't have experience personally, though i can symphathize with. I Don't Want It is incredibly sad, it feels like falling out of love with someone you've known your whole life...
the other, lighter-hearted ween album i had on repeat was White Pepper. i don't love it as completely as i love Quebec but the majority of the album i really do enjoy. Stroker Ace is a very high-velocity, getupngo song, not unlike It's Gonna Be A Long Night. the line "it smells like poo and it sure is crappy" will always get a smile from me. Pandy Fackler is one of my favorite ween songs, i really love the fact that these two goofballs can evoke the sound of steely dan with what seems like such ease. aaaand the steel guitar. Stay Forever makes me think of my partner of nine years (and best friend of twelve years!). catch me on a bad day and i will simply bawl my eyes out when i hear it. Falling Out reminds me of a friend i had in the past who really didn't understand boundaries, which ultimately ruined the bond we had.
both Quebec and White Pepper altered me, in some way. those two ween albums felt like the friends that weren't there. 2022 so far as been an intensely lonely year for me, so deaner and gener's company had been a great comfort to me. honorable mentions: Joppa Road, Big Jilm, Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off My Brain, You Fucked Up, and Push Th' Little Daisies.
as this summer dragged on, i found myself craving some metal (as one does), so i looked into candlemass. spotify had reccomended Bewitched to me through my discover weekly playlist (an invaluable asset to me) and it hooked me in. after a while, i discovered the music video to this song—it's super goofy, though charming enough to get me to listen to Nightfall (1987) in full.
i appreciate atmosphere (especially in metal) and Gothic Stone sets the atmosphere for the album effectively. it's heavy, but not unbearably so. At The Gallows End and Black Candles have faint softness to them that balance out the heaviness. i love the sound of messiah marcolin's voice--so much that i haven't yet looked into the candlemass discography that doesn't feature him, save for Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986). Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is an album that has a net total of ZERO skips, it's nice and heavy, and it's obvious why it's considered a cornerstone of doom metal. even the album art, simple but effective in nature, is iconic on its own.
a new discovery, i heard vacillate back in may and i immediately enjoyed how playful it sounds. it sort of evokes the undertale soundtrack in ways. espial, at first, has a rather distant and melancholy sound, then slowly transforms itself into a sense of wonder and expanse. a real beauty of a composition. backroom labyrinth—as the title references—makes you feel like you're wandering the backrooms; very liminal and almost taunting, it samples some eerie sounds and voices near the end of the song and fades out like your cassette player's batteries just died.
i came across doon kanda (a music and visual artist who has created album art for FKA twigs, bjork, and arca) all the way back in march with the song Polycephaly, which refers to the condition where a creature has more than one head. the song itself sounds vulnerable and lost. i found axolotl not long after, enjoying the pulsing rhythm and droning, dark sound. i listen to these tracks when i'm feeling especially vampiric. :-}
teresa teng — 酒醉的探戈 (drunken tango)
i was having lunch at a local chinese spot with my parnter when i heard this song for the first time. the glistening sound of the first strums of the guitar instantly struck me. teng's soft, lilting voice lamenting lost love, drowning the pain with alcohol. the guitar solo. what a track. i love when i discover music out in the wild!
deli creeps — buried deep stays buried still
buckethead's original band, deli creeps! admittedly i hadn't really given them much of a listen before their 2005 album Dawn of the Deli Creeps got put on spotify, but Buried Deep Stays Buried Still has been on repeat for a while. the biggest reason is because when maximum bob isn't screaming, his voice actually sounds nice! he's in my (new, thanks testosterone!) vocal range, so this song is fun to sing as well.
dj shadow — building steam with a grain of salt
i heard this song at work for the first time and really enjoyed it, especially because the bulk of what i hear at work is the same rotation of top 40 pop songs. it reminded me of atmosphere and wax tailor, mainly because that's the extent of my familiarity with turntable-based music. i really enjoy the beat of the song and the sample of a woman talking about the traits of the cancer zodiac sign (that's me!).
that about wraps it up for my summer music review. please note, when i use the word "review" i don't mean rating the music and talking about what makes it good or bad. i'm simply looking back on the music of my summer. i don't really believe in good or bad music; i believe in liking music if it strikes something inside you, if you crave how it sounds... regardless of things like production quality or market value. be sure to check out the webamp player to hear some of the songs mentioned in this entry. i'll see you all again when fall ends. :-}