Alt­hough many pan­de­mic regu­la­ti­ons are still in char­ge, it’s sum­mer in Ber­lin. So, our aut­hor Maxi­ne shares some enjoya­ble music recommendations. 

Sum­mer is near. In Ber­lin this means that we will sud­den­ly get three warm days, then it will rain for a week strai­ght, and after that it will be too hot for ever­yo­ne to pro­per­ly func­tion (and for some rea­son it will snow at some point). But let us be gra­te­ful that win­ter is over for now!

This sum­mer might not yet be the return to nor­mal­cy many have not so secret­ly hoped for. Unless the mil­li­ons of peop­le, who have not had the oppor­tu­ni­ty, will be offe­red an appoint­ment for get­ting their vac­ci­ne, cer­tain regu­la­ti­ons will have to stay in place.  Alt­hough this means that raves with a mul­ti­ple thousand peop­le are out of the pic­tu­re, the­re still are cer­tain types of enter­tain­ment that can be enjoy­ed alo­ne (or in small groups). So, in light of the­re pro­bab­ly being ano­t­her peri­od of time with some restric­tions of all of our social lives here are some albums you can respon­si­b­ly enjoy. (The­se recom­men­da­ti­ons are in no way from a source with any aut­ho­ri­ty, as I have clo­se to zero know­ledge of music and I vol­un­ta­ri­ly deci­ded to do four semes­ters of art class)

Recommendations

The first recom­men­da­ti­on on this list is the 1967 album “The Vel­vet Under­ground & Nico” by Nico and The Vel­vet Under­ground. The­re are three main rea­sons for you to lis­ten to this album. The first being that the cover by Andy War­hol, is very cool and I am sure that you have seen it in gift shops, on socks or T‑shirts and if you lis­ten to the album, you will be able to reco­gni­ze the yel­low bana­na. The next rea­son is that by lis­tening to it, basi­cal­ly every midd­le-aged per­son will auto­ma­ti­cal­ly respect you – and who does not want to earn the reco­gni­ti­on of 53-year-olds? But the last rea­son is that it is an excep­tio­nal­ly good album. By the world of music cri­tics, it is very high­ly regar­ded and was even put on lists like the Rol­ling Stones “500 best albums of all time” or the Times “100 most important albums of all time”. If you are not a lis­ten-to-a-who­le-album-in-one-sit­ting type of per­son, I would recom­mend you lis­ten to the songs “Femme Fata­le”, “I’ll be your mir­ror”, “Sunday morning”, as well as “Run Run Run”.

This next album is also famous for it’s cover, as it is graced with the words: “I sto­le my sister’s boy­friend. It was all whirl­wind, heat and flash. In a week we kil­led my par­ents and hit the road”. But the 1990 album “Goo” by Sonic Youth is not one of the most important alter­na­ti­ve albums of the ear­ly 1990s just becau­se of its cover art. In the 49-min-and-45-sec-11 song-long-album, topics such as eating dis­or­ders, miso­gy­ny, fema­le empower­ment and lef­tist poli­tics are dis­cus­sed. This album is full of songs with memo­r­able lyrics, scratchy gui­tars and unex­pec­ted burst of ener­gy. Again, if you do not want to lis­ten to the who­le album, I would recom­mend my three favo­ri­te songs “Tunic (Song for Karen)”, “My friend Goo”, and of cour­se the bands pro­bab­ly most famous song of all time “Kool Thing”.

If someo­ne poin­ted a gun to my head and asked me to a reci­te a sin­gle line from the 1990 album “Hea­ven or Las Vegas” by the Coc­teau Twins, I genui­nely could not. None­theless this album is an expe­ri­ence. It could only be descri­bed as making you feel like floa­ting. Like I said, I can­not go into the lyri­cism or mea­ning of the songs, but this does not dimi­nish the qua­li­ty of the songs at all. I can only urge you to lis­ten to this album, as it per­fect­ly con­veys the fee­ling of abso­lu­te free­dom and total detach­ment from rea­li­ty. Even if you will not lis­ten to the who­le album the songs “Cher­ry-colo­red funk”, “Ice­b­link Luck” and obvious­ly “Hea­ven or Las Vegas”, will give you a pret­ty good idea of it.

We are alrea­dy in the year 1990, which is why we should stay here for ano­t­her album I dear­ly love. “She hangs bright­ly” by Mazzy Star, was not qui­te as prai­sed by cri­tics, as the other albums. But even if it didn’t get a spot on the list “most important albums ever made in huma­ni­ty and of all time ever”, it deser­ves a spot on the list “albums I think you should lis­ten to in ano­t­her sum­mer impac­ted by coro­na”. If you have ever lis­tened to Mazzy Star you should be fami­li­ar with the drea­my, melan­cho­lic melo­dies and lyrics. Some peop­le might say that all their songs sound simi­lar, and I can­not real­ly argue with that, but it does not take the album’s beau­ty. My very per­so­nal top songs from this album are “Halah”, “Give you my Lovin’”, “Blue Flower” and “Be my Angel”. This album may not be per­fect for a care­free day at the lake with friends, but it is per­fect for being at home and being sad about not being care­free at the lake with friends.

The album “Pot­ty­mouth” by Brat­mo­bi­le from 1993 is kind of the oppo­si­te to the last album. It is fast, punk and feels a bit like a slap in the face. It is a par­ti­cu­lar­ly important album for the Riot Grrrl move­ment of the ear­ly 90s, which incor­po­ra­ted ele­ments of punk, femi­nism and poli­tics. The­se aspects can also be iden­ti­fied in this album. It is only rough­ly about 27 minu­tes and 46 seconds long, but full of real­ly good songs. May­be you should not lis­ten to some the­se songs in front of your con­ser­va­ti­ve rela­ti­ves, who dis­agree with swea­ring in music, unless you want to inci­te an argu­ment – then plea­se do. Again, my favo­ri­te songs from this short album are “Love thing”, “Cher­ry­bomb”, which is a cover from the Joan Jett fron­ted band “The Runa­ways”, “Fuck Yr. Fans”, “Cool Schmool”, “Bitchthe­me” and “Jus­wan­na”.

If you ever wat­ched the 2009 movie “Juno” with Elliott Page and Micha­el Cera, you are pro­bab­ly qui­te fami­li­ar with the Mol­dy Peaches. The self-tit­led album “The Mol­dy Peaches” by (sur­pri­se, sur­pri­se) the Mol­dy Peaches, was coin­ci­dent­al­ly and infa­mous­ly released on Sep­tem­ber 11th, 2001. I think it can be best descri­bed as “a litt­le bit weird”. While some of the songs are very ende­a­ring with sad but smart lyrics, other songs are very absur­dist and may­be even a bit stu­pid. Even though not every song is the most intel­lec­tu­al, it doesn’t real­ly have to be, becau­se the album as a who­le is fun and feels spe­cial. As of now I pre­dict some of the songs being in my 2021 Spo­ti­fy Wrap­ped. I real­ly love the songs “Lucky Num­ber Nine”, “Jor­ge Regu­la”, “Lazy Con­fes­si­ons” and “Lucky Charms”.

Wil­low Smit­hs album “WILLOW” from 2019 is unde­nia­b­ly full of gre­at songs, which is even more of an achie­ve­ment as it only has 8 songs and is just about 20 minu­tes long. It again is dream-like and talks about fee­ling like being born in the wrong genera­ti­on (in the least crin­gy way pos­si­ble) and fema­le empower­ment. Wil­low being only 18 or 19 at the time of record­ing and rea­li­zing makes this album even more remar­kab­le. The cover loo­king abso­lute­ly stun­ning, just fur­ther­mo­re heigh­tens this albums excel­lence. At this point you should now the pro­ce­du­re, so I will not let you fur­ther­mo­re endu­re the anti­ci­pa­ti­on of wan­ting to know my favo­ri­te songs. I would espe­cial­ly recom­mend you the songs “Pret­ty­Girlz”, “Time Machi­ne”, “Samo is now” and “Fema­le Ener­gy, Part 2”.

Honorary mentions

Sad­ly, enough space and time are limi­ted, so if you are still rea­ding, here are three hono­ra­ry men­ti­ons of albums you defi­ni­te­ly should lis­ten to. 

The first being the 1993 album “Souvla­ki” by Slow­di­ve, once again being drea­my, slight­ly intel­li­gi­ble and won­der­ful, with my favo­ri­te songs inclu­ding “Ali­son” and “When the sun hits”. The second album, which isn’t on the main list, but still feels like it should be inclu­ded is the 1994 album “Live through this” by Hole, which is angry and femi­nist, so what more could you want? If you feel a bit mad at the world, may­be lis­ten to “Vio­let” or “Plump”. The last hono­ra­ry men­ti­on is sur­pri­sin­gly enough not thir­ty years old, but only six. “Befo­re the world was big” by Girl­pool is sweet, while still being raw. It is tru­ly a good album and lis­tening to “Cher­ry Picking” and “Befo­re the world was big” can only impro­ve your end­less summer.

This will most likely not be the sum­mer of everybody’s dreams and I can only recom­mend (in my hum­ble opi­ni­on good) music, as I am not equip­ped to vac­ci­na­te all of you.

Wenn du mit Maxi­nes Play­list durch bist, dann höre doch mal in unse­ren Pod­cast „Hör­auf­ga­be” rein. Im letz­ten Jahr haben wir über Coro­na-Ver­schwö­rungs­theo­rien gespro­chen und schon bald kom­men neue Epi­so­den.

Bild: kirsty/Twenty20
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