By RUTH BORDETT
The Internet provides an almost unlimited accessibility to music that can easily be shared with a wide network. As convenient as this can be in theory, constant scrolling through sites like Pitchfork and SoundCloud can leave one feeling more overwhelmed than inspired. Luckily, our college campus is full of music enthusiasts who are eager to share their unique music tastes with those willing to listen.
With the goal of featuring University of Mary Washington students’ personal music picks in the format of a curated “playlist,” The Blue & Gray Press aims to expose UMW students to new music and display the passion present when students are presented the opportunity to share the music they love with others.
This week’s featured student is Daniel Sheehy, a junior political science and psychology double major. With an appreciation for music idols like Kanye West and James Murphy, Sheehy’s taste in music may vary, but leaves him constantly searching for the newest artists that are pushing boundaries.
“Digital Witness” – St. Vincent, St. Vincent (2014)
St. Vincent singer Annie Clark possesses an ability to remain relevant due to her ability to change the concepts behind each album she produces. The most recent St. Vincent album focuses on the idea of “being plugged in and it being a very digital world,” Sheehy said. He finds this idea especially pertinent on a college campus like UMW. Sheehy points out the “Digital Witness” lyric, “If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me/ What’s the point of doing anything?”, which Sheehy believes directly points a finger at the unhealthy obsession with the digital age we currently live in.
“Retrograde” – James Blake, Overgrown (2013)
“James Blake blends hip-hop, percussion, electronic, drums, bass and classical into a really beautiful cohesive whole,” Sheehy said. Instead of constantly layering sounds, Blake’s music possesses an interesting utilization of spacing that uses minimalism as a way to mesmerize and pull in the listener. “Retrograde” is prime example of this technique.
“All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem, All My Friends (2007)
Highlighting the influence of LCD Soundsystem lead singer and producer, James Murphy, Sheehy said the band creates a “rock and roll vibe that is accessible to everyone, but Murphy incorporates a lot of weirdness into it.” This song in particular is able to capture the angst of what it is like to be young without coming off as juvenile.
“New Slaves” – Kanye West, Yeezus (2013)
Serving as the starting point from which his love for West developed, Sheehy said he admires Yeezus both because and in spite of the fact that it stands as a stark contrast to the rest of West’s work. According to Sheehy, “New Slaves” embodies West’s “belligerent confidence that is lost on a lot of people,” and in some manners can be viewed as mindset to aspire to.
“House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls” – The Weeknd, Trilogy (2012)
What he considers to be strictly nighttime music that occupies a moral gray area, Sheehy pins his description of the Weeknd as sounding “aesthetically like romantic music but in reality is just provocative culture.” From the vocal range to instrumentals used, the song exhibits the innovative nature of singer Abel Tesfaye is known for and that serves as a breath of fresh air for listeners.