WMSC Music Picks: Favorites of Spring 2023

Written by on May 30, 2023

Welcome back to another Music Picks, a collaborative collection of WMSC’s music recommendations and reviews. This installment’s theme is favorites of the spring semester! Read below to see what our music team members have been listening to this season!

“Lovegod” Sarah Kinsley

Review by Gwen Streitman

Sarah Kinsley is known for her “out of this world” melodies, and “Lovegod” is no different. The intro pulls in the listener with chilling piano and a relaxing beat, then builds up to a mesmerizing chorus. Kinsley deals with the human feeling of ever-present loneliness, as she calls out the motif “Lovegod, send me someone, send me anyone…” Her intimate lyricism and haunting melodies will leave listeners speechless every time.

“REAL SUPER DARK” — Waterparks* 

Review by Deepak Sathish

Before any of you ask, no, I will never shut up about this band ever, stop asking. Now, with that out of the way, let us begin. 

“REAL SUPER DARK” is a hectic electronic punk romp, released as the fourth single off the band’s fifth studio album, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, on January 26, 2023. However, it debuted live before its official release while opening for My Chemical Romance (yes, that My Chemical Romance) in August. I remember watching clips of it on Twitter and being absolutely shocked. It is (at least, at the time it was, now “RITUAL” may have some words on this matter) the heaviest the band has ever sounded. The song opens with siren-like synths, before booming drums kick in, as lead singer Awsten Knight screams about the pressures of fame. Awsten’s voice is pushed to the limit in this 2 minute and 29 second tune, ranging from angelic high notes all the way to wrathful shouts and screams.

This song was my most played of the semester, clocking in at 264 listens (and counting). Which means I’ve listened to it almost three times a day since it was released. Part of this song’s appeal is how applicable it is to so many situations you may find yourself in. Need a song to hype you up so you can get that last set in the gym? “REAL SUPER DARK.” Need a song to play while everything feels like it’s caving in around you and you just want to scream from the stress? “REAL SUPER DARK.” Feeling genuinely happy? Uh, well, maybe not that one. Regardless, “REAL SUPER DARK” is a defining tune of this semester for me, and one of my favorite songs the band has ever released. 

“Call Me What You Like” — Lovejoy*

Review by Deepak Sathish

Lovejoy is a band that I’ve followed from the very start with their 2021 EP Are You Alright?. Both that and their followup, Pebble Brain, were some of my favorite releases of 2021, however, the band takes their sound to another level in “Call Me What You Like.” Released as the lead single off their third studio EP Wake Up & It’s Over, “Call Me What You Like” opens with a guitar riff, as lead singer William Gold (better known as Wilbur Soot) croons about being unsure of what a relationship is, whether it be a fling or something more. The song slows down as Soot softly sings “You can call me what you like, as long as you call me.” But, out of nowhere, the track kicks into a double-kick drum propelled chorus, as the instrumentation and vocals explode into one of the best choruses of the year. Combine all that with a dramatic monologue bridge that ends with a desperately screamed “I know you’re gonna kill me” before kicking back into one more chorus, and it all adds up to making “Call Me What You Like” an incredible teaser to Wake Up & It’s Over

“Hold Me Like a Grudge” — Fall Out Boy

Review by Deepak Sathish

Fall Out Boy’s long awaited return was some of the best music news of the entire year so far. And while So Much (for) Stardust is filled with quality songs that made the long wait worth it, “Hold Me Like a Grudge” was an instant standout. It melds together the best of both new and old Fall Out Boy in a very unique way. Featuring a bass-driven strut in the verses, and sharp guitar riffs in the choruses, this track offers something for everyone no matter what style of Fall Out Boy you prefer. Ultimately, “Hold Me Like a Grudge” is a fun and catchy sonic evolution for the band, showing that even after two decades, the group is more than capable of creating instant classics even to this day. 

“Ferrari” — Microwave

Review by Aidan Smith

Microwave put two really good songs out last year previewing their upcoming (still untitled) fourth album. In the year that followed, there wasn’t much from the band but the occasional Instagram post- this was until they released their third single in early April. Sonically, “Ferrari” is unlike anything else the Georgia emo-rock band has ever put out before, laden with synthesizer melodies that sound like wind chimes – this song is a lot more solemn than most of the band’s discography. The lyrics are poetic and beautifully sung, and the production only adds to the reflective nature of the track. Nathan Hardy has a special way of conveying his distaste that feels honest and refreshing: “I refuse to act on fear, no thank you, I’ve been down that road.” I am extremely excited to see what Microwave has to offer with this upcoming album- they are certainly a band to look forward to hearing more from! 

“Bath County” — Wednesday

Review by Aidan Smith

Wednesday’s Rat Saw God is easily my favorite release of 2023 to date. It sounds like a muddy suburban summer in all of the right ways – it bleeds Americana influence that is obviously intrinsic to the Asheville, North Carolina based band. In my opinion, the highlight of the album is “Bath County,” a lyrically gripping, shoegaze and folk-rock inspired track that has had me by the throat since I first heard it. The guitars are washed out and distorted but not overpowering compared to lead vocalist Karly Hartzman as she sings the refrain “every daughter of God has a little bad luck sometimes;” it’s lyrics like these that hit closest to home – it’s ironic, it’s a little heartbreaking, and it feels like where it is from in the best way possible. Karly Hartzman uses her lyrics to describe this “all-american” life in such an interesting and pointed way that truly connects with me: “Heard someone died in the Planet Fitness parking lot, fire trucks rolled in and people stood around.” It’s this brutal honesty in these lyrics that gives Wednesday this edge that I adore. They remind me of some of the early 2000s rock revival bands like The Strokes and Rilo Kiley in their sound. Finding Wednesday has truly been such a gift, it is rare that you come across a band with so much depth to their music.

“The Other Side” — All Time Low

Review by Lara Ziccardi

All Time Low released their ninth studio album, Tell Me I’m Alive in March 2023. I absolutely love it and if you’re interested, you can read all about it here! “The Other Side” is currently my number two most-played song of the year (so far). This song has been an earworm for me since its release. Its catchy tune, synths, and beats just live in my head rent-free. All Time Low has been one of my favorite bands since I got into music, and I love how they’ve been evolving their sound, but still staying true to their original selves. This song (and album) has been featured on “My Emo Phase” many times already! 😉

“Fake Out” — Fall Out Boy

Review by Lara Ziccardi

Fall Out Boy was the introduction to my music taste and sent me down a 2000s emo alt rabbit hole that I never left. They released their eighth studio album So Much (for) Stardust back in March. When asked to do music picks of the semester, I even shocked myself when writing about this track. This song is so incredibly written and composed. Patrick Stump’s voice blesses my ears whenever I listen to Fall Out Boy, but this song is different. “Fake Out” is heart-achingly beautiful. This kind of sounding tune is not a normal pick for my taste, but it’s one that definitely defines my semester. 

“GOSSIP” — Måneskin feat. Tom Morello*

Review by Emily McCormack

Måneskin’s album RUSH! debuted in January of this year, and the majority of the album has made it into my daily music rotation. If you don’t believe me, you can ask my roommates who are probably unknowingly very familiar with this LP, considering I’ve played it in the bathroom for the entirety of the spring semester. You may know this italian rock-band as the winners of Eurovision 2021, with their worldwide hit “ZITTI E BUONI” or their iconic cover of “Beggin’.”

Though I love the whole LP, “GOSSIP” is certainly a standout track in my mind. Released just ahead of the album, I cannot get enough of this earworm of a single. It’s a criticism of the “American Dream,” specifically the (and the obsession with the) celebrity lifestyle. They’re pointing out that a lot of what we see on social media is fake, and those in charge of it constantly throw it at us so that we’re meant to believe in their altered reality. 

The music video is certainly interesting as well… it takes place in what looks like an office waiting room, where the band does… very unusual things for such a space. But don’t worry, they’re being watched over by Tom Morello, who greatly enhanced the track with his iconic guitar solo. It will likely be a while before another Måneskin project is released, but I’ll wait forever if it means more outstanding music from such talented musicians. 

“The Jaws Of Life” — Pierce The Veil

Review by Emily McCormack

Pierce The Veil’s album The Jaws of Life was a standout favorite of the semester (you can read my full review here!). I first listened to it in the back of my friend’s car, and this was the track that stood out to me the most while sitting behind the driver’s seat. 

The title track of the album, I encompasses the themes of going through the motions of life that are explored throughout the project. The first verse ends with the lyrics “A part of me is alien / And part of me is ghost,” which I understand is the concept of growing up and seeing yourself become someone a younger version of you wouldn’t recognize- for better or for worse. Additionally, the chorus is as follows: “Maybe it’s enough to get by for now but / I’m having the time of my life / Rotting in the sun, we’re inside / The jaws of life.” This speaks on the irony of trying to live life to the fullest, while also just kind of surviving day to day. 

I appreciate that such an iconic band in the emo scene released an album this year. Alongside Fall Out Boy, Pierce The Veil has opened up a lovely season of nostalgia for the only great aspect of early 2010’s middle school: the music. 

“Worms” — Ashnikko*

Review by Emily McCormack

Ashnikko’s “Worms” has made its way into my daily playlist since its debut in March. This alternative-pop track solidifies my love for the artist, not only in their vocal abilities, but their attention to detail for the visuals that define the song and this developing era of music. From their upcoming debut LP Weedkiller, this single, as I interpret it, comes from the perspective of someone who is displeased with their surroundings, but is determined to live life as they want. The repeated lyrics emphasize this, and I find myself smiling as I sing them: “The world is burning, I got worms in my brains / Gonna bleach my eyebrows, change my name.” I see this as an acceptance of all that’s going wrong in this fantasy world (perhaps reflective of reality), and not caring about the opinion of others. The world is going on this downward spiral, so the best one can do is make the most out of it and act as they wish. The whole album seems to surround the life of a protagonist that fights in some fantasy dystopia alongside some mythological creatures. This concept comes to life in their music video, where the main character fights the Weedkiller in a robot of her own creation. I personally cannot wait to see the story unfold, and look forward to listening to the entire album once it’s released!

“A&W” — Lana Del Rey*

Review by Katarina Nikolic

“A&W” is a 7 minute journey through the underbelly of middle America. The first half is classic Lana-esque balladry; romantic rumination. What makes “A&W” stand out, though, is its second act, which cannibalizes everything that came before it. With a dark, brooding baseline, the bridge descends into pop chaos that at once fits perfectly and sticks out in her discography. It strikes a balance between Lana’s ubiquitous Americana aesthetic, poetic lyricism, love for trap music, and now experimentation– which pays off tremendously. 

On “A&W,” Lana Del Rey calls back to her past eras, from “Lizzy Grant” to Lust for Life, even though it’s something only modern-day Lana could ever produce. This song, and the mass of Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, show the fruits of her fully realized artistic vision. 

After the Magic — Parannoul

Review by Katarina Nikolic

After the Magic is an album where every song sounds exactly like its cover. Like the reflection of sunlight on snow, Parannoul’s first major-label release is blinding, icy and warm, distant and nostalgic, new and old. On “Polaris,” they call back to 90s alt-rock and shoegaze, which intersects with dream-pop and electronica. The track collapses into its bridge with noisy, piercing, otherworldly synths and a proper guitar breakdown. Remaining in anonymity, the direction Parannoul is heading in seems exciting and promising. 

“Fly Girl” — FLO

Review by Katarina Nikolic

It’s become a meme on TikTok to question if something is the song of the summer… but FLO’s “Fly Girl” ft. Missy Elliot is definitely competing for that title, even if it came out in March. This is a glittery, old school R&B track, and an undeniable earworm. Members Renée, Stella and Jorja provide smooth vocals and tight harmonies, while a Missy Elliott interpolation (and guest verse) serves the early 2000s realness that has been missing in pop music lately. It’s the perfect song to get ready to or play at the height of a party. 

“I Believe” — Caroline Polachek

Review by Katarina Nikolic

Along with the rest of Desire, I Want to Turn Into You, “I Believe” is a masterclass in experimental pop music. Dedicated to personal friend and legendary artist and producer SOPHIE, who tragically passed away in 2020, it’s an affectionate, ethereal and glorious homage. Reminiscent of early 2000s arena pop, “I Believe” is an anthemic song full of booming synths, Polachek’s unique vocal acrobatics, and glitchy pop embellishments. 

“Operator” — Yves Tumor

Review by Katarina Nikolic

Listening to “Operator” feels like a downward spiral in the best possible way. The track is an excellent piece of experimental rock, and a standout from Yves Tumor’s newest record, Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds). Their jagged and ominous vocals, combined with the scratchy guitar loop, driving bass, and overall gothic sound, creates a lush, new-wave soundscape. “Operator” is another solid entry into a one-of-a-kind artist’s one-of-a-kind catalog.

“Strike (Holster)” — Lil Yachty*

Review by Curtis Wright

This semester has been a very interesting one musically and here are some of my favorite songs of the semester. First we have “Strike (Holster)” by Lil Yachty which dropped in April. This song has really great vibes that I think are great for the spring. “Strike (Holster)” has recently blown up on social media because it was highly anticipated due to a clip of Lil Yachty’s sister singing part of the song going viral. He really tries to bring out the vibrato in his vocal inflection on this track, and it makes the song such a great listening experience and a potential summer anthem.

“How it go” — Yeat*

Review by Curtis Wright

Next we have “How it go” by Yeat. This is another song that was highly anticipated but dropped February 24 on Yeat’s album AftërLyfe. This song leaked and was being played all over TikTok. Some people added a Talking Ben adlib into the song which made it go viral even before release. When the full song dropped it was everything it was cracked up to be. An amazing beat, great inflection, catchy lyrics and astronomical replay value. I’ll be listening to this song all 2023! 

“Type Money” — Yeat*

Review by Curtis Wright

Another favorite song of mine from AftërLyfe is “Type Money” by Yeat. When I first heard this song I have to admit- I was not a fan. After giving this song and the album a couple more listens though, I fell in love with the song. The xylophone keys in the background are truly captivating and paired with the decent lyrics makes for a great listener experience. This is definitely the second best song on the album when it comes to production and vibe. I doubt this song will stay in my playlist as long as “How it go,” but it’s still a great song nonetheless!

*These songs contain explicit lyrics.

Photos from Amazon.com.


You can check out WMSC Valentine’s Day 2022: Love & Hate Music Picks article here

Reader's opinions