Scene selections: September singles
Two weeks into September and we are all ready to put on our sweaters and watch the leaves fall. With the spirit of football in the air, the weather slowly getting colder and the nights gradually getting longer, we see fall on the horizon. In preparation for the crisp autumn days ahead of us, Scene has put together a list of recent releases to put into your fall rotation.
“BS” — Still Woozy
Ryan Israel, Scene Editor
Back in 2017, Still Woozy seemed to be everyone’s favorite new find. The mysterious indie artist had only a few songs, but “Goodie Bag” was an undeniable earworm, a bedroom pop bop with breezy vocals and a bouncy cadence. Three years later and there hasn’t been much more — a short EP, the “Goodie Bag” — rivaling hit “Habit” and a pair of singles.
“BS,” the latest release from Still Woozy, is on par with everything he’s released thus far; it’s a brisk two minute song featuring a melange of bright melodies and filtered vocals. Unlike Woozy’s hits, “BS” has a melancholic sadness to it, in part from the lyrics which fight against an internal second-guessing of love and in part from the production which dips in and out of slow burning sections. It’s certainly a good song, and it’s nice to have new music from Still Woozy, but it highlights a new problem for the artist. As the initial fascination with Woozy’s sound fades, is it time to break out of the box and venture in a new direction? Or continue to stay in the now developed Still Woozy style? We’ll have to wait for the next release to find out.
“Strange Timez” — Gorillaz feat. Robert Smith
By Jake Winningham, Scene Writer
Despite his gradual disappearance from the public eye, Damon Albarn has never lost his ability to attract big-name guest stars; think of De La Soul scorching through “Feel Good Inc.,” or appearances from Bobby Womack and Lou Reed on 2010’s “Plastic Beach.” The latest single from Albarn’s long-running cartoon band finds him teaming up with Cure frontman Robert Smith, whose instantly-recognizable croon is still as powerfully morose as it was in his ‘80s heyday. “Strange Timez” opens with an uncomfortable compromise between Gorillaz and the Cure, Smith free-associating over synth murmurs while a robotic Albarn offers ripostes from across the void. Once the beat drops, though, both singers move into their shared lane, making dance-rock that moves the feet and unnerves the soul in equal measure. One of September’s best tracks being an apocalyptic get-down between four cartoons and the guy who sang “Lovesong?” Strange timez, indeed.
“Letter to You” — Bruce Springsteen
Sarah Kikel, Scene Writer
Almost a half-century after the release of his first album, Bruce Springsteen is still writing to us. His latest single “Letter to You,” the title track of his upcoming 20th album, features Springsteen’s weathered vocals in an impressively vulnerable song about opening up to share “all that my heart finds true.” His verses are deeply personal, which the classic E Street Band respects with their upbeat and encouraging backing. Springsteen sings in past tense: “Things I found out through hard times and good / I wrote ’em all out in ink and blood / Dug deep in my soul and signed my name true / And sent it in my letter to you.” This seems to hark back to the postcard cover of Springsteen’s debut album “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.,” suggesting that Springsteen’s letter is his discography, through which he shared “all the sunshine and rain / all my happiness and pain” with us. Unfortunately, the melody lacks the distinctiveness we have seen from Springsteen before, which ultimately deprives “Letter to You” of its luster, but Springsteen’s stripped down vocals still stamp a respectable letter to us.