Favorite Songs: “Stolen Flowers” by Japanther

An occasional series where I write about songs I love and why.

I’m writing today about “Stolen Flowers” by Japanther. More info on who they are as a band can be found here.

This song is taken off their album Eat Like Lisa, Act Like Bart. Aside from being good life advice, the album’s name captures the snottiness and internal contrasts of “Stolen Flowers.” The song describes a girl (“my darling”) who is clearly at a punk show – and yet she “stands still.”

Ian Vanek’s delivery in this song is very disaffected, which fits the band’s punk/DIY aesthetic. This aesthetic spreads to the chorus of the song itself, where Vanek describes how “stolen flowers decorate her room.” His punk darling doesn’t care about “when the static stars and the music starts/And it all begins to blur.” All that matters to her is these snatches of beauty – wherever she can find them.

Favorite Songs: “Rill Rill” by Sleigh Bells

An occasional series where I talk about the songs I love and why.

Ooooh that “boom-boom-crunk” of “Rill Rill” gets me every time. It takes me back to high school, to freshman year of college. “You’re all alone friend/Pick up the phone then/Ring, ring call them up/Tell them about the new trends.” That line always hits close to home: it talks about how you might be alone, but “they” are just on the other end of the line, ready for a connection…even if it’s as small as talking about the “new trends.”

It’s such a heavy song: Derek Miller’s powerful, static-y guitar riff is layered neatly over those pulsing drums. And yet Alexis Krauss floats so easily over those instrumentals – she’s got light pop vocals that fit her status as a former girl group singer.

And that’s what I love about this song. “Rill Rill” has weight. It speaks to that time in high school/early college when you’re just waiting: maybe you don’t want to be the one picking up the phone all the time. Krauss’s breathy voice sings about how “we form the tarot pack/and I’m aware of that.” She’s as clean and dismissive as any Mean Girls clique, with a guitar wall that forms the weight of high school emotions to back her words.