🎧 Songs of the Week #8: Went too hard I'm about to crash
📅 November 5-11, 2022: Featuring Derek Simpson, Point Point (The Geek x VRV Remix), PLPS (20Syl Remix), Popeska, and Dreamers Delight feat. MAYLYN
Welcome to week #8 of the Steel Orca Songs of the Week.
I think for a lot of people, and for a variety of reasons, the last week has probably been a bit of a long one. Daylight savings time 🕰️. Elections 🗳️. Winter is coming 🥶. People are tired.
I used to feel quite a bit of anxiety prior to starting this newsletter (still confused on if I call it a “newsletter” or a “blog”, given that it’s basically both 🤔). Before about 10 weeks ago I was paying an unhealthy amount of attention to Youtube, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, whatever else… the dreaded media 📰 (writ large). I felt like I was letting people that were obviously aiming to control what I paid attention to control what I paid attention to 🕵️. I was feeling pretty aimless as a result.
When I started this newsletter (ok we’re going to stick with “newsletter” for now I guess 🤷) the point for me was to change what I was listening to (and focusing on) all the time, and thereby change my reality. Prior to this, I constantly had an earbud in listening to a podcast or Youtube video. I was listening to someone else (a lot of someone elses) tell me what to think or how to feel all day. About anything (and everything). I felt like I was losing my own perspective on things. Like I wasn’t sure if the thoughts that I had were my own or if I was simply repeating something I had heard. Like I was losing my sense of purpose.
Based on all that then, I decided to switch the content I was consuming from podcasts and Youtube videos, to music (mostly Spotify, but this all originally started years ago with Soundcloud). For the most part, this was almost entirely a reaction to my mood (partially encouraged by my significant other). Too much media was affecting me. I needed a change.
At the same time I decided that learning how to write would probably be a good exercise. Obviously I already knew how to write from a basic college-level education perspective, but I think anyone reading this who’s gone to college/university understands the limits to that. If you don’t practice it you lose it. Writing is a muscle that you have to work.
So I stopped listening to “the media” (all of it, generally speaking), started listening to music, and started writing ✍🏼. Right before I decided to do it seriously, I heard a quote (I’m paraphrasing) from someone that said:
Stop being addicted to consuming content and start being addicted to creating it.
That struck a chord with me, and I would say as a result that this change in my focus has also been pretty helpful for my mental hygiene and a general boon for my psychological well-being. We’ll see how long this honeymoon period lasts. One thing it hasn’t been great for, however, is my sleep schedule 💤.
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Here are the songs for the week of November 11, 2022 🌺.
Youtube Music ▶️: Songs of the Week #8 - Steel Orca
I’m feeling particularly verbose this week so I figured I would share the origin story of the Songs of the Week playlist. I will flesh this out and add it to the About page at some point, but I’ll explain it briefly for now.
Basically, me and my friends have a WhatsApp group where every Friday (when we’re bored at work) we send each other song or live set recommendations. This started maybe a year ago and became such a regular occurrence that if lunchtime hit and no one had recommended something it was a major disappointment. I have a group of friends who (I think) have great musical taste so this was usually a gold mine, and I looked forward to it weekly.
Obviously I was probably the person out of our friends who was the most into it, and thus, I have this newsletter now. This is, for all intents and purposes, just a public-facing extension of that WhatsApp group (maybe cleaned up a little). The vibe is the same.
In terms of how I pick these songs, the general approach every week is consistent. I spend the weekend doing chores around the house while listening to music on Spotify and whenever something speaks to me, I add it to the playlist ▶️ for the week. I’ll often end up with more than 5 songs and have to pare it down to the ones I like the best, but that’s basically how I end up with this list. Not a lot of thinking involved. Again, just vibes ✨.
Finally, one caveat before we get started - the Youtube playlist this week contains a video for Popeska’s Doing Me Wrong, instead of an audio track, which sort of screws up the overall setup of the playlist. It still works, but will flip over to Youtube (video) proper. Apparently Doing Me Wrong is not on Youtube music.
Derek Simpson - Open Water
First up this week is Open Water by Derek Simpson 🏊.
I think when you first hear this song the obvious hook to it, is in fact, the hook. The chorus is very catchy with the “O-o-o-o-o-open water!” This feels like a tropical island song from the start.
Derek’s voice also has a sort of laid back stoner quality to it that makes this song feel like he just came up with it on the fly, which is impressive given how intricate the musicianship and overall structure of this song actually is. This song sounds like a beach anthem 🏖️ (and it is), but it’s actually relatively complex musically. The fact that it feels so relaxed speaks to the overall quality of the delivery.
Not only that, but the lyrics of this song, while seemingly non-sensical in places, are also actually really layered and dense. The following lines are my favorites:
What a day, what a dark comedy
“Llewyn Davis got the same jacket as me.”
You’re free to ego, free to pride
Free to believe that there’s a you and an I
From his Trailing Twelve records artist profile:
Derek Simpson is an artist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist based out of Long Beach, California. Layering spacey guitar chords and electric piano lines with dense and introspective wordplay, Derek's music often explores the value of holding a positive perspective in the face of confusion or adversity.
Featured by Ones To Watch, Spin, Indie Shuffle, Atwood Magazine, Glide, and Dummy, Simpson’s respect for focus and hard work shows in his recordings - all of which are fully written, produced, composed, and mixed by himself.
Derek has produced music for Kevin Abstract, Dom McLennon, Rockie Fresh and more. His music has also been featured in Comedy Central's Workaholics.
Point Point - All This (The Geek x VRV Remix)
This song originally came out October 21, 2016, but like a lot of songs on this list, I’d only heard it recently. So recently, in fact, that I thought it was a relatively new release. Shows what I know.
Out of curiosity I decided to check my Spotify to see how many Point Point songs I’ve liked on there, and I found the following (other than this one):
Point Point (Record Record) are based in Paris, France, and seemingly make music under a variety of monikers either together or individually. When I was researching them for this post there was some concern on Reddit that they had “broken up” (however relevant that term would be here), but looks like they came back in 2021 with a relatively well-received 5 song EP À Tout à l'Heure.
This remix was done by the Geek x VRV, who are two different people, but one group. The name is a bit confusing. I may be easily confused.
PLPS - How I Feel (20Syl Remix)
This song really jumped out at me when I saw that it was a 20Syl remix (who I have loved for a while now). I don’t really know PLPS (Pulpilicious), but apparently that’s not too crazy as this song (and the associated versions/remixes of it) are the only releases that PLPS ever made (at least in a somewhat official manner).
The first time that I heard 20Syl was probably in the same way that everyone else heard him, which was on this remix of Stay by Rihanna. That song was great when it was released and still holds up as a classic basically more than a decade later.
Also, sticking with what is becoming an unintended theme in this post, it looks like 20Syl and PLPS are also both French. For me, the last few weeks have been a remedial education in the French electronic scene, which is still just as much of a dominant force as it ever has been. Even with the robots gone 🤖💥.
Popeska - Doing Me Wrong
Compared to the other songs on this list, I’m really struggling around what to write about with this one. This is a pretty approachable synth-driven electro/house song. No deep lyrics (almost no lyrics, other than “you’ve been doing me wrong” over and over). Just a jam.
Popeska doesn’t seem like a small artist by any means (he has several million streams of his songs on Spotify), but he describes himself the following way on his Soundcloud:
My name is Ralf. I live in Atlanta, and love music. Basic, but I feel like that's all there is to know.
Straightforward and to the point. Similar to the song.
This came out in 2016, again illustrating how not hip I am. Accommodating these releases, Popeska made a Spirit Animals playlist with some accompanying cover art done by Mat Miller that’s just incredible 🤯. If you’re interested, prints of his designs are available for sale.
Song of the Week 🙌🎵
Dreamers Delight - The Journey (featuring MAYLYN)
Until I heard this song I had never heard of Dreamers Delight.
From Insomniac (circa 2018):
As the electronic brainchild of Reed Krafft, Dreamers Delight has escalated at an incredible rate across the US, and has garnered an impressive international following and significant outreach from fans. Combining the cultural influence gained from world travel and his knack for soulful, intelligently produced melodies, Krafft is leading a charged campaign that is quickly gaining momentum and turning heads throughout the electronic music world.
This song actually came out in 2021, so compared to everything else here I can consider this song “new”, and thus my musical taste can once again reasonably be called “cutting edge”.
MAYLYN is on vocals 🎤 for this song. Again (and I know you’re all shocked by this) I hadn’t heard of her before this song. From the description on her website, she is a true professional artist, with singing, writing, and film/television credits to her name. From her website:
Originally from a small Mississippi town, MAYLYN’s passion for music blossomed when she moved to Huntsville, Alabama, as a teenager… After graduating from Auburn University, MAYLYN turned her sites on Nashville to pursue a career in music. Both her vocal, melodies, and lyrical phrasing caught the ear of execs at industry legend Bob Doyle‘s (Garth Brooks) pop publishing company Purplebeat, and she soon signed her first publishing and management deals.
Her ability to write across multiple genres from pop, EDM and film/tv have led to collaborations and features with Martin Jensen (One Seven Music/Disco:Wax), ATTLAS (mau5trap), HEYZ (Bite This!), UNSECRET, and Giiants (Sony Disco:Wax).
Based on the lyrics this song is written from the perspective of someone (perhaps with some bad habits) writing to an ex-lover about how they miss them and all their previous debauchery. I'm sure a lot of us can relate to some degree.
Well, it’s late now, and I’m starting to feel a little tired 💤.
Until next time friends, I wish you well.
That’s it for this week from all of us here at the Steel Orca.✔️👋
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