Do you know what’s great about this April? Besides the usual nice weather, overabundance of spring concerts and events and of course, Georgetown Day, the best thing about this year’s April is that there are five weekends.
Five weekends! That’s one more whole weekend than we usually get, which means two to four extra days, depending on how you treat your weekends, and we’re only in the second round right now. What will you do with all this extra free time? And more importantly, what will you listen to?
Have no fear. In my final column of the semester, I will address the great American tradition, the weekend. It’s even a timely issue, with all the labor unrest and disputes going on; in the words of author Stephen King, “If you like a weekend, thank a union guy.” Well, I am thanking the union guys, and the emperor Charlemagne for mandating the use of the Roman calendar in the ninth century, and the U.S. government for upholding said calendar.
But most of all, I am thanking the creators of the following songs, none of whom are Rebecca Black. Please note I made it three paragraphs about weekends without mentioning that one suitable, yet atrocious, number.
The Hold Steady, “The Weekenders”
Frontman Craig Finn can always be counted on for killer one-liners and allusions pouring out of his mouth like gold, and this track from the Brooklyn band’s latest album is no exception. Here it’s, “she said the theme of this party’s the Industrial Age and you came in dressed like a train wreck,” and, “you’ve still got a little bit of clairvoyance.” He waxes nostalgic about parties and secret regrettable one-night stands, making it all sound a bit more grimy but still magical.
Dr. Dog, “Weekend”
This is a Sunday-morning soother. Dr. Dog’s pleasant vocal harmonies and old-school shoop-shoop percussion are like the cool side of the pillow, just mellow enough to ease your mind. The song is as comforting (“I can take the tenor line, you can take the lead”) as it is immersed in sweet oblivion (“Just pretend we all got paid”). Gentle keys and whining honky-tonk guitars round out the melodious sound.
The Weeknd, “The Morning”
I cannot say enough good things about this track or this group. The Weeknd draws on classic rap themes — the hook of this song is “All that money, the money is the motive” — and they certainly lean heavily on bass beats and synths. But there’s so much more here, from the bluesy electric guitar to the major-third vocal harmonies that sound more like Fleetwood Mac than R. Kelly to the vulnerable, warbling tremble evident in the singer’s voice, showing seriousness and emotion (“Ain’t the kind of girl you’ll be seeing in the morning”).
And this is some seriously dark R&B, darker than James Blake or Kid Cudi or, hey, even Elliott Smith. “Got the walls kickin’ like they six months pregnant,” he reels off in the first verse. Best of all is the keen sense of timing that fills every pause with a great foreboding tension. Get The Weeknd’s new album, House of Balloons, for your April weekend soundtrack immediately. Unlike some of your other likely weekend decisions, you won’t regret it.
Caroline Klibanoff is a junior in the College and General Manager of WGTB Georgetown Radio. City Maps and Handclaps appears every other week in the guide.