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ICYMI vol. 4: Deerhunter, Arctic Monkeys, Mike Krol, and Conor Oberst

ICYMI is a new series featuring new and notable releases you (and we) may have missed

“No One Changes” – Conor Oberst

No one knows the value of cynicism over optimism better than Conor Oberst. While he has provided the internal soundtrack for the most beautiful and devastating moments of my life to date via Bright Eyes, I haven’t felt the same intense gravitational pull towards his solo work. “No One Changes” feels starkly different though. The bare guitar strumming we’ve grown accustomed to has been replaced with a soft, simple piano part. I actually really like the instrumental switch, but it still weirdly is reminiscent to the kind of music they played at my local Nordstrom circa 1997. In true Conor Oberst fashion, it’s a very sad song. The juxtaposition between the softness of the instrumentals and the sentiment that “I’ve been hating myself since I was little kid,” keeps the song from teetering over into self-indulgent territory. How much you wallow in your sorrows while listening to this in the rain, though, is up to you.

“I Wonder” – Mike Krol

As far as I’m concerned, “I Wonder” is the indie world’s answer to “thank u, next”. Although a fuzzy, jangly, and more realistic alternative to looking back on a past relationship, it’s a more grown up response than the traditional “fuck you” we usually offer former flames. Careful not to do anything too extreme, Krol holds himself to flexible statements like, “And if we were ever to meet as strangers on the street I’d probably say I’m sorry,” that hint towards moving on without the full commitment. Realizing you’re not meant to be with someone doesn’t make moving on any easier, but it will make for a surprisingly triumphant and biting breakup song.

“Anyways” – Arctic Monkeys

I love the time warp we’re in where Conor Oberst and Alex Turner release new music on the same day. Semi-new, semi-old B-side that is finally being released, “Anyways” is an ode to oversharing and escaping the immediate anxiety that sets in after doing so. Ironically, this race to escape your self-inflicted demons is set to a thick, slow moving lounge-y song per the new norm. It’s a very laid back song for avoiding all your problems.

“Element” – Deerhunter

It would be too simple to describe “Element” as merely a cautionary ode against climate change and the havoc we’re wreaking on the environment. It calls to mind a vivid dystopia that erupts before we all burst into flames. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The song makes me feel like I’m dancing in a desert somewhere and at least enjoying, maybe even celebrating, my final moments before the sickness of humanity and the environment ends us all. If this really is the end, though, at least we’re having a good time going down.


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