Much like the internet-borne musical fads I wrote about last semester, chillwave refers to another passing fancy in the music blogosphere. In truth, the term itself, coined in 2009 off Hipster Runoff, has always been something of a pejorative, but the movement itself is seen as significant. Chillwave, a hypnogogic, layered pop style heavy on the synths and the reverb, often evokes in its listeners an imaginative visual effect.
When I was coming of age at the end of chillwave’s influential years (like, 2009-2011, oozing into 2012), I fell in love with that visual effect. It’s been interesting to see how those same artists labeled as “chillwave” producers have moved on into the worlds of nu-disco, synthpop, and even vaporwave. We live in a hyperculture, with passing fancies like chillwave and nu-disco, shoegaze and seapunk, and many other “genres” getting essentially 15 minutes of fame before the next big thing hits the blogs.
I’m starting a new type of playlist where I select songs I think fit characters from books, films, shows, my imagination, etc. and they will from here on out be called ~Personality Playlists~
To start, I thought I’d pick some of my favorite badass 90s girls Enid Coleslaw and Rebecca Doppelmeyer from Daniel Clowes’ comic book series Eightball and later their own novel, Ghost World (which was also turned into a cult classic movie starring a young Scarjo and Thora Birch and the charming Steve Buscemi)
When this is posted, it probably will no longer be September 30. But, as I write this, it is currently September 30th. Anyway, September 30th was one of those days for me where I sat down in a good spot, queued the right music on Spotify, and just felt good. Though the sun wasn’t shining, the weather was finally starting to feel like actual fall, and the moment was accentuated by the great music I had playing in the background.
Are you procrastinating on any of your papers? Are you killing time one afternoon before a party?
Here are some songs to get you through that strange, in-between time. It’s a little bit inspiring and a little bit dreamy. Originally, and bear with me now, it was for a best friend’s ex-boyfriend at a mixtape exchange party. I ended the friendship with the boyfriend in solidarity with my BFF at the end of their relationship, but the ex and I reconnected this summer after a mutual friend had some troubles. I spiced up the playlist a bit for you guys, but I think I was dead on with the original personality. The kid was a space cadet, but passionate and focused about the things he cared about. Use these songs to help transition from school work to pre-party to late night SNL videos and back again.
Freaked out about finals week? Too many exams to study for? Pages and pages of papers to write? A seemingly infinite amount of work to accomplish in a painfully short timeframe? Living in the library? Sustained on coffee power alone? Ready for this cruel two week stretch to end?
Luckily, we have just the playlist that will turn you, a panicked student frantically struggling against the clock, into the cool, savvy, totally-on-top-of-things 80s action hero you always wanted to be. Here is a playlist of 80s classics that will have you montaging your work away in no time.
The J. Arthur Keenes Band will forever be one of my deeper pulls, a Canadian one-man-“band” that’s written and produced some of the best music I’ve ever heard. Dan Mclay’s structural blend of pop and chiptune mesh in rich, unique arrangements. He’s the undisputed king of the genre – in my eyes, at least – and I hope you find his music as enjoyable as I do. Here is his bandcamp. Give him your money – he’s earned it.
The Gambier Grill, better known as The Cove, is officially closed for business. After over a month of uncertainty about the fate of The Cove, which was facing its impending demise, and an especially wild (and problematic) Saturday night, the beloved dive bar and late-night cravings satisfier shut its doors and ceased operations.
We at WKCO are terribly sad to see it go. From the managers here who could use the establishment as a campus bar to those of us under-21 folk whose Cove experience is best defined by waiting for delivery milkshakes, we are all in mourning. WKCO came together to say our goodbyes in the one way we know how: a collaborative playlist.
See how we, through music, want to say our goodbyes to our most revered Gambier Grill:
“‘If cosmic force is real at all / It’s come between you and I.’ Goodbye, Cove.” -Maddie Farr ‘18
As a South-living student, I have no excuse not to go to the KAC. But something about the giant athletic facility intimidates me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m inherently self-conscious, always thinking that everyone is watching me when I exercise. Maybe it’s that I’m not always sure I’m using the equipment correctly. Or maybe it’s that I sometimes happen to see a professor when I’m gross and sweaty and running on the treadmill — an encounter that makes for great Snapchat stories but also can be a little startling, especially when I notice that my former instructor in his sixties is keeping pace better than me.
However, when I do decide to KAC, I have a secret weapon: music. An energizing, pump-up playlist helps me get in the mindset to work out, and it helps pass the time. Below are some songs that I’ve gotten into recently when I’m making my way down the hill.
“Black and Blue” — Miike Snow
“How long has it been? Shall we get into it again?” the Swedish indie pop band Miike Snow asks at the onset of this pumped up track. Not only does this first line encourage me to “get into” KACing and reflect on “how long” it’s been since I have in the past, but it also starts the song off with a bang. “Black and Blue” is a fun mix of pop, funk, and electronic music in one, and its constant beat makes it a standout for running on the treadmill.
After what many here may consider a lackluster Kenyon winter (juniors and seniors can still recall the Great Freeze of 2014), it at least went out with a bang as nature decided to deliver us some some wonderful inches of snow. Fresh snow is one of my favorite things at Kenyon for many reasons, but the foremost being this: the campus is almost overnight transformed into a glorious snow globe, and this inevitably means that we’re going to run into various snow sculptures on our way to class. These include pleasant snow people, snow dogs, lounging snow rabbits, and, my personal favorite, the disturbing yet endearing borderline demonic effigies. If I could, I would post a photo of a particularly haunting one I passed on my way past the chapel. (It featured horns, Darth Vader-esque stick teeth and also the message “Once I was a man” emblazoned on its chest.) I am recognizing these monuments for their beauty, but also for their transience—walking home today, not only are the sculptures gone, but all of the snow has dissipated, leaving us with only muddy middle path and sad times.
However, this is a sign. Spring is on the horizon, and while it is often a rainy, awkward in-between season that isn’t fall, it is also a time when the world is reawakening. The snow has been melted, birds are returning and soon Kenyon will be vibrantly green. Here are some songs about waking up and breathing in the spring.