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“Margarita” – Mas Ysa (Lyrics by Thomas Arsenault)
No Margarita don’t you leave us too young, if it’s only to touch, it’s only to trust the next one.
Thomas Arsenault masks a deeper meaning into his new wave-esque tune. The song is a complicated thank you of sorts to his mother which is featured on the cover. It’s the moment when you realize your mom is not as flawless a person as you grow up to believe and with that you carve your own identity. The line I decided to pull out in particular seems to illustrate a complicated childhood where the mother would leave for either another man or perhaps something else (a religion or more likely, a drug).
“Floodplain” – The Weather Station (Lyrics by Tamara Lindeman)
I don’t expect your love to be like mine. I trust you to know your own mind. As I know mine.
There are so many great lyrical moments throughout The Weather Station’s Loyalty it was incredibly hard to pick just one but I went back to an emotional line that stuck out to me after first hearing the record as a whole. Lindeman (or the song’s narrator) tells listeners that your feelings are valid and it’s good to accept them as they are. What’s important to remember though is that everyone is different and as a result their reactions and feelings will be as well. Later when Lindeman sings, “I feel like I’m seeing double, all joy and all trouble” the divide between you and them feels so massive, all joy (on your part) but fraught with potential trouble. For more on “Floodplain,” Lindeman unpacks the line in this great interview with Stereogum.
– Laura Stanley
“Rapids” – The Acorn (Lyrics by Rolf Klausener)
Are you caught up in a memory, or a path to the future? ‘Cause I don’t know what I want to see when I look at you.
High in the running for the sexiest song of the year, “Rapids” is a soothing song best enjoyed lying in bed on a sunny morning. But tugging at this serene setting is a hint of doubt: is this going to last forever, so to speak? It’s why the lyric is so cutting—both lovers don’t seem to know what they want. Are they still hung up on the past, or are they willing to build something new together? Interestingly, when this phrase is repeated later in the song, the “don’t” is dropped. So perhaps the narrator has a plan in mind, but will it align with the other’s? “Rapids” finds beauty in the ambiguous.
“Tivoli” – Rayannah (Lyrics by Rayannah)
I threw out my prayers, they went flying like balloons, and got caught on Gothic ceilings, the most ornate in the world. What a sight, what a privilege to feel those heights, but my prayers stayed up there spinning…
In what is essentially an electronic folk song, Rayannah sings sweetly about a journey, both in literal and metaphorical terms. However, it is these opening four lines that caught my ear and lingered with me. The ceilings in gothic cathedrals can be magnificent and are often very lofty. It is no wonder that people would often think they were glimpsing heaven as they raised their eyes in prayer. But here the prayers get caught up and bobble in the elaborate upper structure. There is no heaven beyond that ceiling and those prayers are going nowhere.
It is great food for thought and a wonderful visual image. I have been picturing those balloons all month.
“Emerald Dripping Flat” – Fountain (Lyrics by Fountain)
Cauliflower smile / Up in the bad room / Eyes made of ice / Under the pillow / Sugar water cream water
Fountain knows how to say something important without speaking too much. In just five lines, the dual vocals paint a compelling scene: a narrative tableau where the actors take on aspects of the natural world, repelling the displacement of the artificial room and pillow. And yet, however much sorcery goes in to a song’s lyrics, it really all comes down to synthesis, something as simple as a baking list. Sometimes it’s best not to water things down by overdoing it. Love this record.
– Jack Derricourt