If you’re in a relationship in 2020 you might feel like you are living in a strange social experiment. Making sure we do not come into contact with anyone outside our household means you and your significant other are forced to stay near each other 24 hours a day, every day for who knows how long (even Love Island has an end date).
While all this extra time with your partner can be wonderful and an opportunity to really get to know one another, inevitably it will come with moments of frustration. This week’s ‘Quarantunes’ isolation playlist focuses on the heaven and hell that is being stuck in the same space with the person you love.
MisterWives – “whywhywhy”
This beautifully crafted pop song will have you jumping around before you even realise what it’s even about. MisterWives’ “whywhywhy” is a masterclass in pop song writing.
The group’s strong guitar and piano chords along with a clever spin on the heartbreak that comes with realising your relationship isn’t working makes this one of the best pop songs I have heard in months.
I always get stuck on Mandy Lee singing, “I should have known when you were grinding your teeth/that you were hiding your feelings from me.” It feels so true to what is happening now. There are so many emotions permeating our spaces, sometimes we keep them inside and hide them to make living with our partner just that more bearable.
New York based MisterWives are known for their unique approach to pop. Signed by Fueled by Ramen, they come from a long line of pop-rock royalty: Paramore, Bleachers and Panic! At the Disco to name a few.
I found them when scouring the internet for new pop tracks to sink my teeth into and found “Coloring Outside The Lines” off their sophomore album Connect the Dots. Like “whywhywhy” this track is everything you want from a pop song.
On the other hand, it focuses on the lovely feeling you have when finding your person and knowing that they make your life better. My suggestion is listen to “whywhywhy” when you’re ready to go off on your partner, but “Coloring Outside The Lines” when you realise that ultimately they bring the sunshine.
San Cisco – “Too Much Time Together”
In a similar light to MisterWives, San Cisco’s “Too Much Time Together” is an infectiously upbeat pop song about needing space from your significant other. Reading comments on YouTube, it is funny just how relatable this song is. You love your partner and want them in your life, but not all the time.
Most of us don’t have the option of just leaving for a few nights and getting a much-needed rest from relationship overload. San Cisco’s track is a funny way to let your partner know that they might mean the world to you, but that doesn’t mean you need space once in a while.
While “Too Much Time Together” will always hold a special place in my heart for its cute and silly lyrics, Australia’s San Cisco have come a long way in terms of pop song writing. While their albums keep delivering expertly crafted pop tracks, there is a level of maturity that shines through.
Their 2020 release “Reasons” off their EP Flaws has gentle guitars and soft vocals intertwined with quintessentially pop sounds. If you’re looking for something to dance to check out “That Boy” or “Fred Astaire.” One thing is clear, San Cisco is a go-to for a true pop fan.
Grace Davies – “Amsterdam”
Looking over at your partner you might be wondering how you got this lucky. But, what about when you are out of quarantine? What if they think there is something better out there? Grace Davies’ “Amsterdam” speaks to those voices in your head. She explores the fear of knowing that her partner might leave her for something more.
Here Amsterdam is a temptress, and Davies’ fears that her partner will want to leave their life together for something else. The lyrics demonstrate Davies’ knack for song writing, touching on those emotions you might be too scared to admit.
The lyrics are brought to a whole new level when you combine them with Davies’ deep voice and haunting piano. Davies’ is playing with elements from the dark side to show us that anyone can doubt their relationship and fear that they just aren’t enough.
If her name sounds familiar that might be because of a little show called the X Factor. On team Sharon Osborne, Davies got all the way to the finale. During her entire time on the show, she performed all her own songs showcasing her unique song writing.
Davies is a song writer through and through, working with a management team that gives her creative control. She is very hands on and makes sure that what she is releasing is true to her vision. Having gotten a taste of Grace Davies, I’m excited to see where her career will go. For now, we have Amsterdam.
SWMRS – “Lose It”
We often talk about music as a form of escape. But what if you don’t like where you escape to? While many of us are quarantined with our SO, there are others who are nursing a broken heart. Some of us had to say goodbye to a potential love and are left alone to bandage up the wounds.
Turning to a song might be exactly what you need, unless that song reminds you of the one that got away. For you, I introduce “Lose It” by SWMRS. The minute I heard this track, I couldn’t get it out of my head.
As a music fan, there is the fear that a song will get so intertwined with your memory of a person that once that person goes away the song become odious. You skip it anytime it is on your playlist or find yourself losing your mind.
SWMRS touch on this emotion perfectly in a way that is so different for them. It is a track that music fans everywhere will relate to and brings unrequited feelings right to the surface.
SWMRS are a punk band from northern California whose influences span from the Beach Boys to the Ramones. They first came onto my radar through FIDLAR, another California based punk band, and I finally got to see them live this winter at Ally Pally opening for rock gods Cage the Elephant.
Their albums are reminiscent of other California based punk bands, somehow infusing the Pacific Ocean waves into guitar heavy tracks. Their albums are fun and full of excitement, reminding us how great live shows will be once we can get back out there. “Lose It” is a softer side to SWMRS, and it works.
Kaiser Chiefs – “Everyday I Love You Less And Less”
Forever a classic, Kaiser Chiefs’ “Everyday I Love You Less And Less” stands out as a brutal depiction of needing to get as far away from your partner as physically possible.
It is the no bullshit song about how the relationship desperately needs to end. Even with the harsh realities Ricky Wilson is singing about, you cannot help but giggle at some of them. It is both dramatic and funny and is set to an addictive rock band sound.
From the earliest days of the Kaiser Chiefs’ career they made an impact on the rock scene. Employment became the record you needed to own if you were putting together a Best of Noughties British Rock playlist.
With classics like “Ruby”, “Modern Way” and “I Predict A Riot” to name a few, it was the album to play in the car. While the Kaiser Chiefs might be far away from their Employment-level rock stylings, we will always remember them fondly.
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Words by Claudia Arnoldo // Photo Credit: Nicoleta Ionescu (Getty Images/iStockphoto)