Music sounds a lot better in the right context – try as hard as you like, you can’t listen to Kate Bush at the gym. There’s a track for every place, time and scenario, a track to make you feel better, or worse, to pump you up or calm you the hell down. That’s what this column is about; picking a topical zeitgeist and delivering a handful of tunes that capture the essence of that theme. Columnist Alex Brammer will be doing just this for you every two weeks: first up, the topic is “Term 2”.
Kanye West – ‘Hold My Liquor’
They say you’re supposed to start as you mean to go on, and right now this term can’t be better summed up than with this track’s immortal first line: “b**** I’m back out my coma“. This term is the one. Hell yeah. This term is the one where you finally get it together. You know that unrealistically positive feeling you get when things start going right? The one where you start going to yourself I could do anything and it’d work out perfectly? This song is the equivalent of that feeling, in that Kanye clearly woke up one morning with the thought: “Chief Keef should sing about being a lightweight on my album.” And it worked. And so will you, cause this term is the term when everything starts going right for you.
Delmer Darion – ‘Reflections’
Actually, on second thought, this isn’t the term where everything starts going right for you. This is just another term, full of the same mistakes you made the last time. Maybe you’ll mess up a formative. Maybe you’ll go on an awful Tinder date. Maybe you’ll start off your Exeposé column with an idea that was out of date two weeks ago. It happens to the best of us. This song’s a melancholic little reminder that everyone is human and everyone makes mistakes. The spacey synths and quiet guitar meld with the vocals provided by Brighton experimental pop group Halcyon, and they’ll give you enough space to be able to sigh, stare into space for a moment, and – hopefully – resume your life for the better.
Andy Hull and Robert McDowell – ‘Montage (feat. Paul Dano & Daniel Radcliffe)’
I’m sure people will get sniffy about including a track from a movie soundtrack in here, but really, who cares? It’s a great song, and it’s what you need when you’re trying to pick yourself up as you grind your way into term. It’s made tremendously uplifting by its almost total lack of instrumentation – there’s a few drums here and there, but for the most part it’s just Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe singing about true friendship, starting fires, and using a corpse like it’s a machine gun. (It makes more sense in the movie, honest.) What more could you ask for?
Chance the Rapper – ‘Everybody’s Something’
The constant cycle of emotional ups and downs that uni life exerts on you can be exhausting. Feels like everyone’s anxious about other people liking them, or tiny details of their appearance, or whatever. Seems like insecurity’s the millennial disease. Whenever I’m feeling like that, I always throw on this track. It’s just nice to remember that more people care about you and care about your happiness than you think. Everybody’s somebody’s everything… what a refrain. Maybe thinking that this term’s going to be better than the last was unrealistic. Can’t control life. But this song’s a perfect reminder that you can control your outlook.