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Music of the Month: February

A look at our top songs for the month of February.
Cali and Brianna compile a list of their top songs each month and go in-depth with them.

PC: Kaitlin Dunn
Cali and Brianna compile a list of their top songs each month and go in-depth with them. PC: Kaitlin Dunn

Happy February! We are excited to return to the standard MOTM column by writing about some of our favorite songs that we have been obsessed with over the past month. 

Want to see what else we’re listening to? Check out our Spotify accounts! Cali: Footos | The Fresh Fighter Brianna: Benusom

Cali’s Picks

“My Beloved Monster” by The Eels, “Beautiful Freak” (1996)

Featured in the blockbuster 2001 film, “Shrek,” “My Beloved Monster” serves as an eclectic track on The Eels debut “Beautiful Freak,” that ebbs with unclean, 90s alternative energy. The track kicks off with a sequence of haphazard noises and a few banjo trills that are soon taken over by a rhythmically soothing riff. From the first verse, the song flows flawlessly into the distorted chorus that echoes raucous before singer Mark Oliver Everett coos that his “beloved monster” is the only beauty in a world that’s “so d— mean.” Following a similar structure throughout, the second verse and chorus follow suit with the preceding sections, before entering a condensed bridge. Within this midsection, the opening riff of the track is accompanied by avant-garde sounds, ranging from blaring guitar fills to drawn-out organs. Ending on a softer note, the composition returns to the calming initial riff, sweet vocal callouts, and glorious guitar feedback before fading into silence. As a song that holds much prominence and fondness for the band, they feature it in nearly every live show they play in, however completely changing the instrumentals that back up Everett’s vocals. The versatility available towards “My Beloved Monster” exhibits that it withstood the test of time, as it is still appreciated in forms of different medium by all generations.


“BALD!” by JPEGMAFIA, “EP!” (2020)

A composition that epitomizes the LA-based JPEGMAFIA’s creative and unique modern hip hop scene, “BALD!”, serves as the apt opening track on the rapper’s long-awaited 2020 release. The number mainly pertains to JPEGMAFIA’s baldness and dismissing critics of his sound and appearance. Starting with a noise that resembles entering a tape into a player, the song quickly picks up speed before transitioning into a sample of “Move Me” from the retro video game Ridge Racer 4 (which becomes the main, hypnotic beat throughout). With each refrain, Peggy drops self-aware lines like “I look like Ray Allen” and “Hairline proof that God needs balance,” playfully chiding at his baldness before continuing to seamlessly reject those opposing him. Following the second verse, the beat abruptly ebbs into an isolated drum section where Peggy dilutes in volume, but maintains his flow and rhyme structure. After a few callouts of “Woah”, the track speeds back up to the initial beat and a repeat of the first verse in a more raucous nature before fading into a nearly-minute-long instrumental outro. With innovative samples, industrial rhythms, and honest lines, “BALD!” serves as a fan-favorite track of JPEGMAFIA that should quickly become a favorite of underground rap or hip hop fans.


Brianna’s Picks

“Starlight” by Muse, “Black Holes and Revelations” (2006)

Starting with an intro that shines in bright tonality, English rock band Muse doesn’t shy away from their song composition excellence. The succeeding single for their fourth studio album, “Starlight” showcases personal lyrics accompanied by The Strokes-inspired instrumentation – simultaneously infusing the Muse veteran sound. An additional space rock track in their discography, “Starlight” incorporates otherworldly sounds within the pre-chorus and bridge. Lead singer Matthew Bellamy voices the album title within the yearnful bridge, “Our hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations.” This mesmerizing track can be interpreted as a love song, yet also transcends, setting the stage for an overall journey and exploration. Muse utilizes recurring imagery of stars and cosmic elements to expand the landscape of the song further. Furthermore, their ability to combine thought-provoking lyrics with well-crafted instrumentation contributes to the bigger picture of the evolving music industry based on Muse’s innovation and musical talents.


“Make Me Bad” by Korn, “Issues” (1999)

Amongst many household names in the nu-metal industry, Korn prevails with iconic sounds in their fourth studio album single “Make Me Bad.” Incorporating aggressive instrumentation and emotionally charged lyrics, “Make Me Bad” is a testament to the dark human nature complexities. The opening lyric, “I am watching the rise and fall of my salvation,” creates the tone right off the bat that implies the darkness and vulnerability emphasized throughout the track. Korn’s lead singer Jonathan Davis utilizes lyrics to convey the inner turmoil that individuals struggle with. Additionally, the background vocals juxtaposed with Davis’ main track provide an almost haunting element in the nightmare landscape that is painted by the instrumentation. The chorus, “I feel the reason as it’s leavin’ me/No, not again/It’s quite deceiving as I’m feeling/The flesh make me bad,” exemplifies the relentless struggle against personal demons and reflects the heavy guitar riffs, explosive drumming, and Davis’ vocal tonality. Overall, “Make Me Bad” invites listeners to acknowledge and accept the darkness surfacing in the human psyche to better understand one’s self and move beyond ignorance.


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About the Contributors
Brianna Nusom
Brianna Nusom, Editor-in-Chief
Brianna Nusom, senior, is in her fourth year on the Norse Notes staff. She has been involved with Oakmont's theatre for four years- the past three she has been the sound technician for plays, musicals, choir and band concerts, and dance shows. Brianna has been a cheerleader for six years and looks forward to what the senior season will bring her. Brianna has a great passion for all things music and in her free time she enjoys composing and listening to music. Outside of school, Brianna plays many instruments ― her favorites include drums, bass, and guitar. Her essential music genres include grunge, folk, and metal, consisting of artists such as Alice In Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stephen Stills, Deftones, and Greta Van Fleet.  
Cali Rowe
Cali Rowe, Features Editor
Cali Rowe is a junior and is in her third year of journalism. Cali enjoys playing guitar, writing, listening to music, and playing softball in her free time. She loves travelling anywhere and everywhere, especially to the beach, hanging out with friends and family, and dedicating time to her faith. Cali is pleased to serve as a features editor this year, and is excited to once again be part of the Norse Notes staff.

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