This is the happy birthday playlist for me and any other music-loving women turning 33 either today or sometime this week. For the record, I assemble playlists like I write short fiction and other stories. SPOILER ALERT: there are no “new” songs on this list. So this is old territory, because let’s face it: your early 30s are quickly turning into your mid-30s, best recognize it now. Although you may discover some new news about old favorites today. Oh, yeah. You might notice these 8 songs all together run 33 mins. That was no accident either. It’s the little details.
U2: Origin of the Species is a great start because Bono dedicated it to his two daughters and says he thinks it’s the best song on their 2006 album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Also most people in our age cohort grew up listening to U2 as kids.
Perfume Genius: I covered him last week or whenever that was, so while a 2014 release, it’s still not “fresh.” He’s on here because Queen is a great track about being liberated, which whether your gay or straight or somewhere in between, is a peculiar feeling to own no matter who you are, and he’s also around our age (you people who are turning 33 this year).
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: I’ve always like this song from their 2006 album Show Your Bones. And while I didn’t really care for their latest album, Mosquito (2013), Karen O never fails to make me think of my early 20s and that whole indie rock soundscape.
Cate le Bon: No God is about Cate realizing what it means when the top tier of the female side of the family erodes as time passes. It’s a maternal lineage thing. Plus Mug Museum was one of my favorite albums from 2013.
PJ Harvey: First, she’s being awarded an honorary degree from Goldsmiths University in England next month. Second, Let England Shake – solidly an antiwar album if I’ve ever heard one – won her, her second Mercury Prize in 2011. She won her first for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea on September 11, 2001. She was unable to accept the award given the way that day went down. Sooo – the Brits have some odd timing, I’d say. Also? She’s the only artist in the history of the award to win twice, and the only female solo artist to win the first go round. And she never fails to make me think of my teen years in the 90s, so one can only hope to mature as well as she has as the years pass. Third, for as dark as All and Everyone is, it’s my favorite off that album.
Wye Oak: I covered them awhile ago on my list of 2014 favorites, but essentially The Tower is on here because I really liked the creative growth of this group. Maybe I have a soft spot for musicians who mature well and aren’t afraid to explore new territory.
Kate Bush: Speaking of ‘maturing well,’ Kate Bush is on tour for the first time since 1979 – which is basically 35 years. In the great scheme of things, it’s really a blink of an eye. And if I lived in England, I would totally be at one of these shows. Anyway, Strange Phenomena seemed like a natural pick for this list since it’s off her debut album The Kick Inside, and about the mysterious ways of being specifically female, and I liked her most recent output too, 50 Words for Snow (2011).
“In 2011, Bush told Mojo (via the Telegraph), ”I still don’t give up hope completely that I’ll be able to do some live work, but it’s certainly not in the picture at the moment because I just don’t quite know how that would work with how my life is now. Maybe I will do some shows some day. I’d like to think so before I get too ancient. I enjoy singing, but with the albums it’s the whole process I find so interesting. If I was going to do some shows it would be the same thing. Let’s just see, shall we?”