For the March edition of the collaborative blog, members of the collective curated a playlist to celebrate the spring equinox. These songs both accompany the mood of beautiful, sunshine days as well as cover spring motifs of creativity, innocence, and rebirth.
Song: “Days of the Phoenix”
Album: The Art of Drowning
“Days of the Phoenix” is AFI’s ode to the band’s early days as an unsigned band playing shows at the Phoenix Theater in the North Bay Area. I’ve been to the Phoenix - it’s a fantastic place to catch a show. The walls are covered in colorful murals. There are skate ramps on either side of the pit. You can feel the youthful energy from all of the shows that it has hosted throughout the ages just walking into the place. Frontman Davey Havok’s lyrics evoke romantic imagery as he reminisces and romanticizes his early days of youth, beauty, and creativity in a punk rock band. It’s a song for the spring of life.
Album: Spark Seeker
Now this is a spring song if I ever heard it. Some might say upbeat reggae songs such as this might be more well suited for summer days at the beach, but as the title suggests, this song’s feel good vibes hit you like the warm weather as the earth’s axial tilt starts to shift and expose you to more of the sun’s rays after the cold dark days of winter. The lyrics, rooted in Matisyahu’s (at the time) Orthodox Judaism, are words of optimism and rebirth. It’s a fitting theme for the season in which life is renewed and in bloom.
Album: Cheaper than Beer
With springtime comes the notion of losing innocence, stemming from the Biblical myth of Adam and Eve and since explored throughout famous poetry by the likes of Robert Frost and William Blake. Though it’ has actually become a celebrated experience since these myths usually tie in with ideas of free will, blooming sexuality, etc., I think that initial phase of losing your innocence can be a really lonely and terrifying time. This mock lullaby by early 90s punk group Blatz captures that feeling of desperation, singing to a child to sleep well because soon it’s going to “open [its] eyes and see that [it] lives in a fucked up place.” This song yearns for a more innocent time before knowing all the harsh truths of reality. I’d say this song is best suited for the end of winter, to wallow in any last shred of uncertainty of the new season or next phase in your life.
Artist: Marilyn Manson
Album: Antichrist Superstar
I’ve written about this track on our previous favorite concept albums collab post, but similarly to the Blatz track, this song thematically explores the loss of innocence in a way that’s painful while also accepting that there is a bigger reality ahead. This track is a bit more hopeful, knowing that there is a big personal shift approaching but being aware that the pain is just from the transitional period itself. This is a good song to easy you out of that aforementioned-Blatz phase and assure you that the new season will eventually bring something greater in your life.
Artist: Cocteau Twins
As with most any Cocteau Twins song, it’s almost impossible to decipher their lyrics or understand what they mean. Nevertheless, I think this is a beautiful ode to the springtime goddess Persephone just based on the mood alone. The sullen, gothic attitude of the song accompanied by the ethereal vocals reflect both the dark myth of Persephone’s abduction and her time spent dwelling in Hell, as well as her mystical qualities of rising back to Earth and providing flowers and vegetation in the spring. This track is recommended for dreamy, hazy springtime days or for anyone who is goth at heart but still secretly wants to enjoy the sunshine.
Score: “The Rite of Spring”
Artist: Igor Stravinsky
It’s a bit on the nose, but Stravinsky’s play and orchestral score The Rite of Spring still has to be the most strange, beautiful musical celebration of the spring season to date. This work represents a pagan Russia unified by the creative surge of Spring. It’s not what you’d typically think of spring music, you know...bright and sunny melodies you can bop along to. The Rite of Spring is chaos. It’s dissonant, erratic, and so avant-garde that it actually caused a near riot at its premiere. However, I think Stravinsky’s score is more tapping into the primal aspects of spring. The music, accompanied by striking choreography, brings us to the mercy of nature’s elements. We are swept up in a flurry of wind instruments, pulled in multiple directions at once through the bi-tonality experimentation, and yet still grounded by the beauty of the overall composition.
There’s a lot of music theory I couldn’t begin to understand in this piece, but the story itself is what’s most alluring. This orchestral celebration takes us on a journey of a sage blessing the ground and kissing the skies to a young woman invoking her ancestors and sacrificing herself to the Earth by dancing herself to death. I think there’s a lot we can learn here about how to welcome in the spring season. Dancing is a good start.
Song: “Tip Toe Through the Tulips”
Artist: Tiny Tim
Album: God Bless Tiny Tim
Well damn, so far on this list I really went astray from any sort of feel-good springtime tracks...but if there’s one song to top ‘em all it’d be Tiny Tim’s rendition “Tip Toe Through the Tulips”. What’s a more classic spring image than tip toeing in a field of beautiful, blossoming brightly-colored flowers with someone you love? Plus, Tiny Tim’s high falsetto evokes that carefree and innocent joy of springtime, soaking in the sunshine and a beautiful breeze.
It’s springtime! Be a cheese, go outside, grab your best friends hand, skip through some flowers, and enjoy life.
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