Monday, March 14, 2016

#MusicMonday: My Favorite Kitchen Appliance.

Microwaves are possibly the best invention of all time. I mean, who doesn't use them on a near daily basis at the least? They make our lives easier; they let us be lazy. Don't feel like cooking? Pop leftovers or a frozen dinner in and nuke it for a few minutes. Problem solved. What would the average college student/young adult do without one?

As exciting as it would be for me to write a full article on the wonders of modern kitchen technology, I'm talking about a slightly different type of microwave. One that you wouldn't mind making loud noises that scare you.

Microwave is a 4 person band from Atlanta, Georgia. I discovered them about a month ago on Twitter when the lead singer for a band called The Wonder Years tweeted about them. They were advertising for a future tour and it just so happened that the band was giving away their album "Stovall" for free on Bandcamp that day. Of course, me being a sucker for free music of any kind, I - after first taking a moment to laugh at the band name - immediately got my online copy of the album.
I think I listened to it once, and instantly fell in love with Stovall, which in this case means the first song of the album. After that, I got busy with other things and didn't revisit the album for a few weeks. When I did, however, I fell even harder for this unique sound. So much so, that I chose to write about them in my first Music Monday article!

Below I have listed each track and a link to listen to each as well as their music video if applicable. I state my favorite lyric, summarize the song in one sentence, and talk about how I view and what I like/dislike about the songs.

(Note: All of this commentary is based on my interpretation. It could be entirely wrong or spot-on. I encourage you to discover for yourself how accurate I am!)

1. Stovall (Listen/Video)

  • Favorite lyric: "Sometimes a few more steps is hard to do."
  • One Sentence Summary(OSS): "I wish I didn't have to watch you destroy yourself, but you've made me stay."
  • I think I'm much more a fan of this musically than I am lyrically, but my favorite lyric in this song is my second favorite lyric on the album. I love the melody and listening to the singer's voice. It's the perfect opener to this album.

2. Grass Stains (Listen)

  • Favorite lyric: "And I'll probably never be a famous writer, but I can read and write okay. And I'll probably never be all that successful. Would you love me still the same way?"
  • OSS: "I love you, but I can't change for you."
  • This is hands-down my favorite song off the album. The music makes me want to jump around and the lyrics are on point. It's all about knowing where you are isn't where everyone wants you to be, but you have to be okay with that. Words just can't describe how much I love this song.

3. Labor Day (Listen)

  • Favorite lyric: "You probably thought I wasn't listening but I clung to every word you said."
  • OSS: "You've made it so hard for me to continue."
  • Lyrically, this is probably one of the heaviest songs on the album for me, but musically it's one of the lightest. That seems to be a common theme in this genre of music. Someone close to the writer commits suicide, and it seems the writer contemplates going out the same way for a while. They realize that's not the way they want to go, and it feels like the only way to move on is to forget totally about the person, as much as they don't want to.

4. Something Right (Listen)

  • Favorite lyric: "I can't help but think that after all the things I've done wrong, maybe I did something right."
  • OSS: "I love you, even though I don't like you."
  • Now, no angsty indie album is complete without the Unhealthy Relationship Song. If there's any song on this album that makes me laugh, it's this one. These people clearly hate each other, but they keep coming back and getting deeper into this sticky situation. When one of them ends up pregnant, they try to push their differences aside for their unborn child, because even if they can't stand each other sometimes, they're committed to this family.

5. Mansion In The Sky (Listen)

  • Favorite lyric: "I was told in Sunday school that 'God's got real big plans for you.' I hope it's true."
  • OSS: "Even if my beliefs are wrong, at least I believe in something."
  • The first two-thirds of this song, I relate perfectly. Religion and what I believe in are something that I think about a lot, most specifically about how we can never really know what's real and who's "right" until we're dead. Still, I choose what I believe in and hope that it's right. I hope that there's something great waiting out there for me and for everyone. This is another high energy song that makes me wish I could dance around to it in a pit at a concert.

6. Trash Stains (Listen/Video)

  • Favorite lyric: "I know I said I'd never stop believing in myself, but honestly I've said a lot of s-."
  • OSS: "Thanks for being there for me when everything was going wrong."
  • I almost see this as an ode to an ex-significant other or someone the writer was close to in the past, but not anymore. Everything seems to be going wrong for the writer, and the only person they have left to turn to is their ex-whatever. They talk about hating relying on this other person, but not really having a choice to go anywhere else.

7. Work It Out (Listen/Video)

  • Favorite lyric: "Let it be, nobody's really in control of anything."
  • OSS: "Opposites don't attract."
  • In this song, you have your pessimist and your optimist. Narrated from the view of the pessimist, they can't seem to understand how their counterpart can have so much blind faith that things will just fall into place in life. They find it too exhausting to be around this other person and trying to show them why they can't just run on faith.

8. Tar (Listen)

  • Favorite lyric: "I guess if you're gonna be stupid, then you gotta be tough."
  • OSS: "Even though you messed up, I still want you home."
  • Although this might be my least favorite song off the album, the lyric I call my favorite is my favorite lyric here. I find myself thinking that the person the lyricist wrote this about is in jail. They talk about "the pigs that locked you up." But maybe this person ran away, as the singer begs them to come home. I've spent a lot of time trying to decipher what it means to me personally, but I haven't quite worked it out yet.

9. The Last (Listen)

  • Favorite lyric: "Everybody bleeds the same. Isn't that right?"
  • OSS: "We're more worried about death than our future."
  • This is kind of like a shout into the void song. It prays for something we all want: recognition, for our lives to mean something. No one wants to die thinking that they did nothing to change the world in some way, no matter how small.

10. The Fever (Listen)

  • Favorite lyric: "Am I the only one who feels lonely even though I know I'm surrounded by friends?"
  • OSS: "I'm lost, but that's okay."
  • I interpret this as someone who has lost themselves in a crowd, changed themselves to fit in and as a result, don't know who they are anymore. They feel as though they're the only one in this position. When they finally confide in someone about this, they're more or less blown off. That's when they realize that everyone around them is just trying to do the same thing and find themselves. This gives them the courage to be the person they want to be.

My most to least favorite songs ranked:
  1. Grass Stains
  2. Stovall
  3. Something Right
  4. The Fever
  5. Mansion In The Sky
  6. Labor Day
  7. Trash Stains
  8. Work It Out
  9. The Last
  10. Tar*
*Let it be known that I found it extremely difficult to pick a least favorite.

Why I like (read: love) this album:
It's not super polished, and it feels so original and raw to me. A lot of people might not like it for that aspect, but I think that's what makes it work so well. I feel like the musicians put a lot into this. You can hear such emotion in the words and the flow of each song is superb. I'm truly glad I logged onto Twitter when I did, or I would have missed out on what I now consider to be one of my favorite albums.

You can buy "Stovall" on Bandcamp and iTunes.
You can follow the band on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and subscribe to them on Youtube.

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