THE LONDON FOG PLAYLIST

The holiday season is almost over, but you bet your bottom dollar I will be milking every last minute of it. I have been making daily vlogs over on my YouTube channel, which have been super Christmassy, but in addition I have been creating playlists like MAD. After spending four months in London last year, I’ve craved the feeling of walking down those foggy city streets, popping into coffee shops, and spending hours walking through the city’s rainy markets.

To take me back, I thought I would make a playlist of my favorite songs that give me yummy London-in-winter vibes.

One of my favorite British singer-songwriters is Lewis Watson. I could seriously just listen to his music on repeat for years – it captures emotion so well, and has that soft, comfortable feeling. Another shoutout goes to Dodie Clark, the woman behind dodie. She makes adorable music – one of my favorite songs of hers is “When,” a live track that captures the melancholy of wanting something you don’t have but feeling like you’re not living your life while you wait for it.

The playlist, of course, includes such staples as Sam Smith’s “Make It To Me” and Ed Sheeran’s “Afire Love.” I’ve also thrown in tracks by The Japanese House, an amazing band my sister turned me on to. They make super ambient music which reminds me of The 1975’s slower tracks. Years & Years, Coldplay, and Alex Turner await you on this, the most British playlist I’ve ever made.

12 SONGS YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO THIS FALL

Alright I hear what you’re saying – Miranda you do this like literally every year, what gives? Well, friend, here’s the thing: the spirit of fall is within me, around me, and in supreme control of my soul, actions, and apparently, ears. I can’t help it. It’s that weird changey feeling – the air is crisp, and there are pumpkins and like cinnamon and suddenly dirt doesn’t seem that bad you know?

Anyway here are ten songs you really need to get your ears all wrapped around because they’re cool and weird or basic and poppy but either way what pleases my ears may in fact please your ears as well? Apparently run-on sentences are my thing now, great!

Desiigner – “Tiimmy Turner”

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We weren’t sure if Desiigner would ever drop something better than “Panda,” and I guess he hasn’t really, but this is pretty damn close. It’s just one of those songs you can get down to in the car. On the song’s meaning, Desiigner himself says “the concept of “Tiimmy Turner” is about me, Desiigner, two i’s you know what I’m sayin. I was describing myself and putting myself as a character, Tiimmy Turner—you know Fairly Odd Parents, he’s got the god parents, he makes wishes and all that, you feel me.” So I’m not exactly sure what that means but are we ever really sure what Desiigner is saying? All I know is Kanye just dropped a remix of it so I’m here for that.

 

Axl Rich feat. Bryson Tiller – “Another”

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This is a bop that brings me back to the Chris Brown glory days (before he tarnished his reputation multiple times for multiple idiotic and gross reasons). Obviously we all love Bryson Tiller, since he gives us Drake-level heartbreak tunes, but Axl Rich is a newer one on the scene and definitely one to watch coming into fall.

 

 

 

 

Yellow Claw & Cesqeaux feat. Becky G – “Wild Mustang”

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Okay here’s the mindless pop song you’ve been waiting for. We all know (or maybe we don’t) that I am the number one fan of Becky G‘s “Shower” because it’s such a damn catchy song, but I might be even more of a fan of this one. DJ duo Yellow Claw and artist Cesqeaux came together to make this incredibly predictable but fun song that I’ve had on repeat in the shower for at least the last week.

 

 

 

 

Frank Ocean – “Pink + White”

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I had to include a song from Blonde, Ocean’s long-awaited sophomore album. This is my favorite track from the record – it’s got such a standard Frank sound. From the minor melodies and moderate tempo to the production from Pharrell Williams and the Beyoncé feature – perfection. There are complex musical layers here, and even more complex lyrical notes, but it’s my fave and it might be yours, too. Something you might have missed – the album is called Blonde, but the cover art reads “Blond” – perhaps a note to the duality of Frank’s public image, or his sexuality?? So many questions.

 

 

 

Rihanna – “Man Down”

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Alright, this is an oldie, but let’s be honest it will never get old. This is just like a reggae, feminist power ballad about shooting a man. I think we can all rally around the fact that this is badass, regardless of whether you’re the one getting shot or not. We’ve got a Jay-Z reference and a Queen reference, what more do we need from Queen Rih?

 

 

 

 

 

Finish Ticket – “Scavenger”

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This is such a great throwback to the glory days of Walk The Moon and Young The Giant. Finish Ticket are an American band from California, and they’ve got a great sound that really takes me back to some of the original alt-rockers. This song just screams “road trip” to me – and their lead vocalist, Brendan Hoye, gives me some Zayn Malik vibes.

 

 

 

 

 

Toto – “Africa”

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Alright, if you aren’t listening to this song, then you clearly haven’t gotten onto the Stranger Things train. Firstly, do that, secondly, blast this problematic eighties jam in your car wearing a letterman jacket and getting milkshakes with your guy/gal. Sure, the descriptions of Africa in this song are horrifically simplified and downright idiotic, but just FEEL THOSE 80s VIBES, MAN.

 

 

 

 

 

Rae Sremmurd – “Came A Long Way”

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Rae Sremmurd‘s new record, SremmLife 2 is one of my favorite fall releases, hands down. This is one of the slower tracks – which gives me Big Sean vibes, but I think the slower form suits the Mississippi duo well. It’s the perfect follow up to their debut record – and they continue to prove that party rap can be just as complex as the political vein. And the BEAT!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Ella Eyre – “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off”

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Ah, this song. Of course I had to include one heartbreaking, soul-sucking ballad. This song is a cover of Jermaine Stewart’s track, but dang is it something special. Eyre growls and rasps her way through the song, adding an emotional layer that the original lacks. She slows down the tempo, and adds an Adele-level of soul into it. If you’re in the mood to get emotional with your Mercury-in-retrograde self, do it to this.

 

 

 

 

 

The 1975 – “The Ballad Of Me And My Brain”

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UK group, The 1975, have been on our radar for a while now. Their sophomore album, I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it is one of my top albums of the year, easily. It’s full of great poppy tunes, and their signature synthy slow tracks. The lyrics are complex and quick – almost along a rap vein at times. Singer, Matt Healy delivers his traditional sardonic wit and lyricism on the entire record, but this is one of the best tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

James TW – “Different”

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British singer-songwriter James TW has garnered a larger audience in recent months during his opening performances on Shawn Mendes’ US Tour. With a Lewis Watson, Ed Sheeran style of energy and a unique brand of acoustic pop, James TW will no doubt be producing the next few lighthearted chart toppers. He, like Mendes, began his career posting covers online, and this song has a great feel-good message about loving yourself – always important.

 

 

 

 

 

CHVRCHES – “Leave A Trace”

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Scottish synthpoppers CHVRCHES have made waves in mainstream music over the last couple of years, and this is one of my favorite songs of theirs. It’s not their most popular, and it’s not new, but I thought I’d include it because it has those good *indifference towards someone who wronged you* vibes – aka the perfect fall energy. Singer, Lauren Mayberry, accepts the blame for the wrong she’s done, but decides she doesn’t give a f*ck which is the key to that liberated fall energy we’re all looking for.

 

 

 

 

What tracks are you currently digging?

BRIDGIT MENDLER’S RETURN TO MUSIC IS THE BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

The former Disney star is back, and better than ever.

Though singer-songwriter Bridgit Mendler garnered fame through her four year stint as the star of the Disney Channel’s hit show, Good Luck Charlie, her musical skill is what really brought her into success. We had the chance to hear her jazzy, smooth vocals in Disney’s movie musical, Lemonade Mouth, in 2011, and then again shortly after on her full length album, Hello My Name Is… which was released in the summer of 2012.

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Mendler’s debut album was spectacular. A beautiful showcase of her vocal abilities – the album brought in jazz, pop, and intricate reggae influences. Her voice has a metallic, poppy tone with the raspy subtleties of indie songstresses like Norah Jones and Lily Allen. The singer crooned her way through that album, stopping only briefly to insert a chart-topper like “Ready or Not” into the mix.

Last week, Mendler released the smooth, emotional track, “Atlantis” featuring Kaiydo, a young rapper from Orlando, Florida.

On Twitter, she shared that she “wrote Atlantis frankly, about feeling numb about heartbreak because that’s what I was feeling the day we wrote it. Atlantis is a beautiful city that disappeared and was forgotten underwater. That is what it feels like to me to lose a first love.”

Oh, I know how to feel, I know that love exists / It’s asleep with the fishes down in Atlantis” she sings drowsily in the song’s chorus – a lyric not only about forgotten love, but about a love that could at some point awaken. The combination of hope & sorrow she conveys is as complex as the layering we hear in the song’s production.

The track is a beautiful, floating, modern-pop track, and if it’s any indicator of what the rest of the album will be like, I can’t wait to hear it. It drops November 4th.

ANALYZING THE 10 BEST SONGS USED IN “STRANGER THINGS”

By now, you’ve probably read close to a hundred articles regarding Netflix’s newest hit, Stranger Things. Don’t worry, we’ve got a full review coming soon, but in the meantime, you need to listen to the soundtrack. The show’s most exciting scenes, characters, and creepy moments are highlighted by the evocative, vibrant sounds of the 80s. The show is an absolute gem – paying homage to the horror flicks and trends of the era in an truly enjoyable and nostalgic way.

In true High Voltage fashion, I’ve decided to rank the ten best songs from the series, and deliver them to you for your audible enjoyment. (Beware of spoilers).

10. “White Rabbit” – Jefferson Airplane 

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This Alice In Wonderland inspired classic is a surefire way to indicate that something strange is going on. The song is used as a needle drop in the series’ first episode, as Eleven shows off her telekinetic abilities. It’s such a creepy and fitting song for the scene. The direct juxtaposition of Eleven & Alice makes us think twice about her character – is there innocence and mischief behind her power or is she a purely dark force? The tune is also an amazing kickstart to the series itself – we’re about to go down a rabbit hole and we have no idea where it will lead. It becomes even more of a great song choice once we find out about The Upside Down (so many layers!!!!).

9. “Atmosphere” – Joy Division

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Joy Division is mentioned in an early episode by Jonathan Byers- he cites them as one of his favorite bands during a conversation with Will. This track opens up episode 4, after Joyce and Jonathan have just been informed that Will’s body has been found. They’re shown in their house, Jonathan in bed wearing headphones and Joyce on the couch wielding an ax, waiting for the return of the monster she saw earlier. The track serves as a sonic reminder of the connection between Jonathan and Will, perhaps foreshadowing that he is still alive. The song’s lyrics are dark and haunting: “Walk in silence, Don’t walk away, in silence. See the danger, Always danger, Endless talking, Life rebuilding, Don’t walk away.” The concept is one Joyce has taken to heart – she refuses to accept Will’s death and in this moment she makes the decision to continue searching for him.

8. “Sunglasses At Night” – Corey Hart

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Of course, who on earth would be listening to this song but our moderately lovable cool guy, Steve. This song has been memed to hell and back, but I’m completely unsurprised and also into the fact that it’s what Steve listens to in the car. People on Twitter have pointed out a mild anachronism with this one – the song wasn’t released until two months after Steve was playing it in the show. I’m just going to write it off and pretend Steve somehow got his hands on an early release – because, well it’s Steve. The song’s iconic synths, which you might recognize (Miley Cyrus sampled them a few decades later), are iconically 80s, and they fit right in with the show’s dark, electric instrumentals.

7. “Raise A Little Hell” – Trooper

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Okay here’s another iconic Steve moment. The intro to the song builds as Nancy and Barb wait outside of Steve’s house for their very first “popular kids” party. Steve swings the door open with all the glamour of an 80s heartthrob, and greets the girls with a smooth “Hello, ladies” over a chorus of “raise a little hell.” If that’s not good use of music I don’t know what is. Get me to that party right now.

The song is an absolute classic, and it’s the perfect song to foreshadow the hellish night they’re all about to go through. Well, mostly Barb. RIP Barb.

6. “The Bargain Store” – Dolly Parton

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Can we just give Stranger Things props for their excellent use of Dolly Parton? “The Bargain Store” is one of her lesser-known tracks, but it makes for a hilarious companion to Jonathan and Nancy’s exercise in monster hunting. They unload army surplus supplies in front of the store’s unamused owner, while the muffled track plays from the store’s speakers.

It’s an interesting combination, and it feels a little uncomfortable, which perfectly mirrors how out of place Nancy and Jonathan are in the situation itself. But yay for Dolly Parton!!!

5. “Heroes” – Peter Gabriel 

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This is one of the most heartbreaking uses of a track on the show. Peter Gabriel’s cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” plays as young Will’s lifeless body is pulled out of the water in Episode 3. His friends look on at the scene in slow motion as the track and events unfold. The song is perfectly placed, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to listen to it again without reliving that scene. The track is a slower, more orchestral version of Bowie’s original, which is a love song about a couple – an American and a German, who met at the Berlin Wall. Love torn apart by uncontrollable circumstances. The idea of love being transcendent and often difficult to understand is touching when juxtaposed with Hopper & Eleven looking on – two characters who really didn’t know Will but are still heartbroken to see him there.

4. “I Melt With You” – Modern English

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Alright back to iconic Steve moments (are we sensing a trend here?). This song comes in during the height of the pool party in Episode 2. Nancy and Barb are hanging with the gang around the pool as Steve shows off his shotgunning prowess and invites Nancy to do the same. The song, one of the G.O.A.T. love songs, is such a happy way to start off Nancy and Steve’s relationship. She gives him a classic Nancy insult (“You are such a cliche”), and then they all splash around in the pool together, as a lonely Jonathan watches from the bushes. This is such a real, youthful scene, especially as we watch Barb and Jonathan on the sidelines, so close, but so far away from the girl they both care about.

3. “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” – The Clash

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Arguably the most important song in the show plot-wise, this classic tune serves as a great reminder of how music brings people together. The song is introduced as Jonathan and his brother Will sit together on the bed and blast it from their stereo. Jonathan is showing off his favorite bands to Will (which, of course, are great), which is actually one of the few scenes we really get of the brothers together. The song recurs as a motif, tying Will to his family in multiple scenes after he’s disappeared. We hear Will singing the song to himself over the radio, when we find out he’s in The Upside Down, and that’s when the feels kick in. Obviously there’s the lyrical motif of staying and going, which are two big themes in the show – Eleven and Will both leave home, and many characters set off on adventures to find them throughout the series. The song, though a punk classic, serves as a reminder of family, and it also does a nice job of maintaining an uplifting mood even during the shows darkest moments.

2. “When It’s Cold I’d Like To Die” – Moby

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Alright, if you’ve seen the show (which I hope you have since this post is rife with spoilers), you’ll surely remember this song. At first I thought it was a little weird that they would choose a song from the 90s to play during one of the most emotionally charged scenes of the show, but I think that’s what makes it so perfect. The track’s instrumentals are purely orchestral, no synthy pop here, and I think that that quality completely pulls us out of the show and into that specific scene. This song is sonically unlike the rest of the show’s music, and that quality is perfectly used to complete the story – it almost acts like a credit sequence, ending the plot before the show itself is really over. This scene means so much for the series, the return of Will and the end of the journey, all of the events culminating in a series of moments where characters reunite and reflect on what they’ve been through together. To put it lightly, it will give you the damn feels. This might be the best use of music in a recent TV show, period.

2. “Africa” – Toto

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Okay so I am biased as hell for putting this at number one, but I just haven’t been able to get over the fact that this song plays during the first Steve and Nancy make out scene. This scene is what this show is ALL ABOUT. I’m pretty sure this is the most iconic scene ever created. First of all, Steve breaks in through her bedroom window Romeo-style to help Nancy study, and then she calls him an idiot, and then she tells him she’s not like other girls, and then he calls her beautiful, and then they make out! If that’s not the reason why the 80s were incredible, I don’t know what is. It’s just an innocent, perfect, beautiful teen moment, and it wouldn’t have been the same without Toto’s “Africa.” That’s all I’m trying to say here. I hope thousands of people are making out to this song now.

Now that you’ve enjoyed my thorough analyses, check out the full Stranger Things soundtrack on Spotify, here. What was your favorite song on the show? There were so many good moments.

NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: SHAWN MENDES, KANYE, JON BELLION

Currently experiencing mad anxiety about how many new songs came out today. Every time I refreshed Twitter, something new showed up in my feed. I’m not saying I’m mad about it, but I guess there’s something about June 3rd.

“Champions” – Kanye West feat. Travis, Quavo, Big Sean, Yo Gotti, Gucci, 2 Chainz, and Desiigner

The newest Kanye track is a preview of his upcoming Cruel Winter album, a follow up to G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer. The track features a heavy chunk of the G.O.O.D. Music crew, including Gucci Mane (fresh out of prison), and Kanye’s newest signee, Desiigner. This album has been on and off since 2012, but it looks like it’s back on track. Complex wrote a good piece about it here.

“Maybe IDK” – Jon Bellion

Rapper and singer-songwrite Jon Bellion writes about accepting the unknown in his newest track, “Maybe IDK.” The track is another single from his upcoming album, The Human Condition, set to be released June 10th. It is Bellion’s first studio album after a series of four mixtapes, and it has generated a lot of internet hype because of it’s interesting artwork and upbeat vibe.

“Treat You Better” – Shawn Mendes

The first single from Mendes’ sophomore album released at midnight last night and immediately scaled to number one in the iTunes charts.

“Bacon” – Nick Jonas

Ah, a single man’s anthem. Jonas released “Bacon,” which I think is about enjoying being single, but this Verve article made me question everything. Is it about sex? Knowing Nick, probably.

“Talk” – DJ Snake & George Maple

DJ Snake, who I’m sure you’ve heard of (he’s responsible for all of the songs that get stuck in your head, i.e: “Middle”, “Lean On”, “Turn Down For What”, and “You Know You Like It”), released
“Talk,” featuring George Maple, this morning. It’s a tropical feeling, bop, and once again – it’s stuck in my head.

And finally, the one thing not on this list is FRANK OCEAN’S ALBUM. Which we thought would drop today. There’s still time left. Holding a prayer circle at my desk in five.

sign off

Tyler, The Creator Covers Himself In Butterflies in "Perfect"

Everyone’s favorite art nerd slash rap artist, Tyler, The Creator, just released a video for “Perfect” from his latest album, CHERRY BOMB. The video features The Slow Hollows’ singer Austin Feinstein, and Colombian singer Kali Uchis. This is probably the tamest of Tyler’s videos so far (he’s pretty well known for eating a roach on camera in this one), but I’m totally digging the Wes Anderson vibes. Check it out below. Continue reading Tyler, The Creator Covers Himself In Butterflies in "Perfect"

A KILLER FALL PLAYLIST

I don’t know about you, but for some reason my interest in discovering new artists and music in general increases tenfold once fall arrives. Maybe it has something to do with all of that time I spend reading and writing and redefining myself around this time of year – or maybe I just get more anti-social, or realize that in fact I have always been anti-social? Regardless of the cause, I spend approximately 80% of my free time making playlists.

So here it is: fall in a playlist. We’ve got a little old, a little new, some slow, and some upbeat. I’ll let it speak (well, sing?) for itself.

 

If you’re craving more, I’ve got a few fall playlists past that you may like: Numero Uno, Numero Dos

As always, check out my now playlist on Spotify to see what I’m listening to!

xo Miranda

LISTEN: DYLAN OWEN – "SAIL UP THE SUN"

First of all, if you haven’t read High Voltage’s interview with Dylan Owen, pause your reading and check it out here. Dylan is an NYC-based rap artist whose music I’ve been following and loving for a few years now. I always thought that he seemed to fit in somewhere along the vein of Grieves and Sage Francis, but he’s since evolved into something very unique. Continue reading LISTEN: DYLAN OWEN – "SAIL UP THE SUN"

TEN MORE ALBUMS TO LISTEN TO WHILE STUDYING

After the great and unexpected success of our “Top Ten: Albums To Listen To While Studying,” I figured it was time for an addendum. Don’t get me wrong, the original list still stands, I just want to give you the sweet-sweet gift of more music for those over-caffeinated ears. Continue reading TEN MORE ALBUMS TO LISTEN TO WHILE STUDYING