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Music of the Month: April

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

Welcome to the penultimate edition of Music of the Month. Here are our favorite tracks for the month of April. As always, enjoy!


Want to see what else we’re listening to? Check out our Spotify accounts!

Cali: Footos | The Fresh Fighter

Brianna: Benusom


Cali’s Picks

“Angelina” by Pinegrove, “Everything So Far” (2014)

Rumored to be inspired by Angelina Pivarnick from “Jersey Shore,” “Angelina” is a dulcet tune from Pinegrove’s debut compilation album “Everything So Far.” Lasting just under two minutes, the short and sweet number begins with sustained, echoing chords created by layering three different melodies over the same chord – a dreamy technique common to Pinegrove’s music. Blending flawlessly with the ethereal guitar is the voice of Evan Hall as he describes the struggles he’s faced with an unexpected person becoming “tangled up” in his life through simple tasks like “washing windows” and recollections of the past. The track features only two verses and no set chorus, however the dead space between each verse is filled with a sequence of chords resembling the intro section before being overcome by Hall’s comforting vocal tones. Although underground, “Angelina” has become a fan favorite of the New Jersey outfit and should rightfully be considered an essential piece to any indie or soft rock fan.

“Valerie” by The Zutons, “Tired of Hanging Around” (2006)

Often overshadowed by the remarkable Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson cover, “Valerie” is an expressive composition that finds the English indie rock group taking on R&B. The number tells the tale of longing for an old friend or lover, asking them to “come on over ” and wishing that they hadn’t gone to jail. It was later revealed that the “Valerie” in question is Valerie Star, an ex-girlfriend of Zutons’ frontman Dave McCabe whom he met in Florida. Due to her driving misdemeanors, she almost faced jail time and was unable to move to the UK to live with McCabe. Pairing blissful finger-picked riffs within the verse section and jazzy chords, the track highlights the musicianship of guitarist Paul Molloy. To heighten the bluesiness of the song, the second verse and each chorus feature soft group chants and subtle trumpet trills. Overall, the track carries a lively energy omitting the soothing rhythmic break that follows a riveting guitar solo. During this blip, the song becomes nearly acapella, save a fluid drumbeat courtesy of Sean Payne, as McCabe recounts the initial lines of the first verse with the “ooos” of his bandmates in the background. This establishes the transition into a final, abridged chorus and the last cry of “Valerie” to close off the staple track. This number helped bring a sense of notoriety to the Zutons as they exhibited their unique blend of genres while maintaining a hooky song structure and impressive instrumentation.


Brianna’s Picks

“The Grind” by Remo Drive, “Natural, Everyday Degradation” (2019)

The twelfth track listed on Remo Drive’s second studio album describes exactly what the album title calls for: “Natural, Everyday Degradation” while pursuing dreams, facing challenges, and finding strength. The track erupts into the powerhouse of drumming and Erik Paulson’s guitar work seamlessly blends with Stephen Paulson’s bass, anchoring the track in a reflection of the emotional intensity portrayed by the lyrics. The drums alone provide a thunderous urgency from the snappy snare hits, explosive kick drum, and bright contrasting cymbals. The deep emotion compelled by the cathartic instruments alone only further compliments and drives the anthemic vocals to the listener’s ears. From the opening lines, lead singer Erik voices the loss of vibrancy shortly after achieving success. Simultaneously, the Paulson brothers write the track as if it’s strictly about a person, yet the group calls attention to “Falling out of love” (chorus) with the idea of being in a touring band. Following Erik’s talented guitar solo work, the track bookends with rhythmic drumming, closing off the track in a satisfying perfect circle.  

“Penitentiary” by Citizen Cope, “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings” (2004)

Memphis native-born Clarence Greenwood, known by his stage name Citizen Cope, crosses genre lines as he explores themes of incarceration, redemption, and the human spirit. The track provides a lengthy instrumental intro to establish the overall tone that would be maintained throughout the song’s entirety. Drawing inspiration from a notable name like Bob Marley allows Citizen Cope to highlight the impact of reggae and its transcendence into other genres such as rock, alternative, and indie. Citizen Cope utilizes melancholic and haunting melodies to contrast his soulful vocals as he protests the morals of institutions. As the song progresses, the urgency in Citizen Cope’s message becomes more pressing with the change to a higher octave. Additionally, the track was the first song featured in the hit series “Criminal Minds,” appearing at the beginning of the pilot episode. Contributing to his musical skills, Citizen Cope, as a recording producer, provides a high-quality mix of high tones paired with a gentle grooving beat complementing the yearning heard in the vocals. The minute-and-a-half outro gives the listeners time to cope with (or fully process) Citizen Cope’s message. The powerful meditation of the outro calls back to the intro, as the track still maintains the melancholic tone from the beginning. 

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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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