When Sufjan Stevens sings with raw vulnerability about “Death with Dignity,” or Alex G warbles about “Thorns,” or Frankie Cosmos draws you in with “Sad 2,” or King Krule weeps with deep-voiced, buttery droning through “Bleak Bake,” you are being sold an emotion just as much as a song. Naturally, a degree of sadness can be a fuel for inspiration, pushing artists into more creative realms, donating their hurting to public consumption—offering a source of relatability for the general populace, giving us solace in melancholy solidarity. Sad songs, then, are incredibly important: sobbing in the depths of the saddest song you can find on your Spotify playlist is often an unmatched catharsis. Sadness sells, and often is mutually beneficial for consumer and producer alike.
Last year in December, Ratking member Wiki blessed us with Lil Me, a free album that ran 17 tracks deep and featured some glorious rapping over excellent production from the likes of Sporting Life, Black Mack, KAYTRANADA, and more. [Read more…]
I spent a lot of time this past weekend stalking the Instagram accounts of several of my favorite bands that happened to be playing at SXSW. It was a bit of a depressing experience, both because I was at the time stuck in Featheringill trying to study for a test and because I currently do not have the money to spend on a large music festival experience. That being said, there are a ton of music festivals that are driving distance from Nashville that are cheaper and still offer great lineups. So if you’re bummed about missing Coachella or Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza, check out these awesome festivals coming up this summer.
As a composer, people often ask what my favorite piece of music is – the one that affected me the most, the one that made me feel things I hadn’t before, the one that when I heard it I knew what I had to do with my life. I remember one day last fall that question was posed in my Intro to Composition class, to a room of mostly composition majors. Everyone in the room called to mind immediately their first exposure to Mahler, or their first bout with Bach or Beethoven or Brahms. As a composer I know I “should” love these great composers and be deeply affected by their expertise and power – and I do, and I am. But the piece that has most deeply affected me, the one that makes me sure of exactly why I chose to study to be an artist, and the one with which I responded in class was “Life On Mars?” by David Bowie. This song is, without hesitation, my Mahler Five, my Beethoven Nine, my Rite of Spring. But its impact on me (as well as Bowie’s impact) stretches back years before I ever decided to compose.