By: Staff –
To celebrate the release of Alex Southey’s new single “On the Dance Floor”, the rising singer-songwriter has curated an exclusive “Suburban Millennial Coming of Age” Spotify playlist, which you can stream below.
Southey is an emerging singer-songwriter based in Toronto. His unique blend of wandering lyricism, atmospheric strings, and emotive sense of melody make for an engrossing, contemplative listen.
“I decided I wanted to, as the title says, create the suburban millennial coming of age playlist that reflects my generation’s youth,” said Southey. “For a song to be included, I have to remember hearing it on the radio (or on MUCH, remember?), and I had to have a memory associated with it. Here we go…”
Billy Talent – “River Below”: This song and band terrified me. I think the edgiest thing I was listening to prior to hearing this was “Helter Skelter” by the Beatles, or a Nelly song incorrectly slotted into what should’ve been a Limewire download of “American Idiot”. Not only did the chugging, off kilter swings of the guitar rhythm strike me, the music video did too. It follows a kind of recluse looking to seek fame even by means of destruction. It’s kind of a “bomb in my basement”, Unabomber sort of thing. Anyway, it scared me, and now I love it for nostalgia reasons.
Fall Out Boy – “Dance Dance”: Fall Out Boy got a lot of play on MUCH around the time I was watching. One music video had vampires or something? But the lead singer was always dressed like a hobbit-pimp. Anyway, this bass line is a classic and I remember it ringing out in the gymnasium of my elementary school. It would have to be 7th or 8th grade, where you can’t bear to go to “the dance”, but you also can’t bear not going. We all ended up going, and the highlight was a game in the middle of the dance (what?) where the DJ played famous theme songs from TV shows of the time and people had to guess. How did I forget this? That’s so weird. That’s hilarious.
Harvey Danger – “Flagpole Sitta”: I feel like I heard this in countless American Pie movies (if not movies like them), but I also remember it from Peep Show, the English sitcom. People gotta watch that. It’s hilarious. This song is also funny. It’s clearly a kind of satire of (while still taking part in) the end-of-the-world mania leading towards the year 2000. Carries a lot of angst (but, safe, cerebral angst that parents are okay with).
Malcolm In The Middle Theme Song: Yes, no, maybe… I don’t know. Can you repeat the question? Come on, who doesn’t hear that in the theme song way. It’s a classic that everyone knows. Thanks to its thrashing (yet bright and accessible?) guitar production, and teenage-sounding vocals, it’s very easy to remember why this made such an impression. I guess my memory associated with it is… watching the show.
The Killers – “Andy, You’re A Star”: I was sitting with my dad, waiting for my sister to be done in Hollister. Music was playing. Normally it was not awesome, but this cutting guitar riff came on and there was “Andy, You’re A Star”. It’s truly unlike anything else in the Killers’ catalogue (as far as I know). It helped us brave the wait and the smells.
Metric – “Poster of a Girl”: Chalk this up as number two on music videos that scared young Alex. In this case, however, I really liked the song from the get-go. It felt illicit watching (from my couch in the suburbs at like 13 years old) Emily Haines et al. dancing in a dingy club, singing about sex, and so forth. It still rocks. Pitchfork’s rating of 4.5 for that album is criminal.
Bedouin Soundclash – “When The Night Feels My Song”: This gentle thing wandered into my brain around the time I started paying attention to music. I feel like I saw this music video and K-OS’s “Crab in the Bucket” music video more times than I can count just because I didn’t want to get up and change the channel. I have it on a few personal playlists that are large, so I’m not hearing it all the time, and so when it does come on it still remains this “oh yeah!” kind of thing.
Liz Phair – “Why Can’t I?” Had no idea Liz Phair was an indie darling. No idea she made two great (well, one great and one good) albums before this, and I had no idea how different this was to the sound on those albums. I was shocked when I read about the song and saw critics slaughtered it as superficial and an embarrassing attempt to latch onto “the sound of now”. Now that I’m older I get where they’re coming from, but some pop songs are stupid as they are undeniable. This one is undeniable.
Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”: This and the playlist’s next entry are some of the most iconic guitar openings for my generation (if I had to guess). It feels, honestly, pretty weird that now this is so clearly of a time. Jangly guitars. Leather jackets. Skinny, sickly English guys. Oasis as the old guard. Little kids drinking too many pints dictated our fashion sense… I was too embarrassed and too young to participate in it, but I admired it from the outside and I still think the song is awesome. It’s got a timeless riff, just like “Float On”.
The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”: Well, here’s a timeless riff. It’s ubiquitous, of course, because sports arenas grabbed it. It’s now part of culture the way “Hit Me Baby One More Time” is. Anyone could start that lyric, or sing that guitar riff, and another person could finish it, regardless of age (don’t test that theory I’m far too confident about this). The music video was, I’m pretty sure, the coolest thing I’d ever seen at the time. Looking back I just think Jack needs to wash his hair. The song is amazing though.
The Dixie Chicks – “Not Ready to Make Nice”: Goose bumps! Goose bumps for young millennials cheering on these plucky country singers against big dumb Iraq war “nucular” George Bush. Felt like you were taking part in protest just by sitting in your car listening to the song. If that isn’t suburban I do not know what is.