Tag Archives: The Unicorns

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 70-61

Here are numbers 70-61 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.

70. The Flaming Lips- The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)

It’s a very dangerous thing to do exactly what you want

“The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” brings up an excellent social point in my mind, in that we shouldn’t be able to critique those above us without first considering what we would actually do in that situation. No hypotheticals, if you were placed into a position where you actually did have power what would you do with it? The whole song is really an accusation that you would probably misuse the power you had too in some way, and that that’s just a natural part of being human and not something to hold against a person. Try to find the good things in those people and understand that they could be infinitely more cruel and inept than they currently are and we’re lucky to have them.


69. Jeffrey Lewis- Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song

“If I was Leonard Cohen or some other song writing master/ I’d know to first get the oral sex then right the song after.

One of my favorite things in music is when you fall in love with a song on the first listen. I listened to “Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song” for the first time a few months ago and Jeffrey Lewis’ story-telling ability amazed me alongside his openness about being a nervous male. There are so many things that get captured perfectly within the interaction, like how he slowly becomes more confident as everything in the conversation seems to progress perfectly, but then he lets you know ahead of time that the conversation only lasted for a few minutes and he never saw her again afterwards. After this, you learn that not only did the girl like him but she basically invited him to have sex with her, but he still couldn’t bring himself to suggest it. That interaction is tough for him to look back on in hindsight, but he reveals that that wasn’t the true motive he had in mind while writing the song. Rather, he realized that he wrote a love song for a girl that met him for two minutes and who he will likely never meet again, and realized that there could be people all around the world doing the same thing. There may even be people out there doing this for you and me, and that’s a beautiful thing to consider.


68. The Mountain Goats- No Children

“I hope you die. I hope we both die.”

This was the Mountain Goats track that introduced me to the side of John Darnielle which is crazy. “No Children” is the story of the alpha couple which he wrote numerous song about, but stopped doing so after this track was made. That’s because Darnielle was becoming to depressed writing these songs, and after the chorus of “I hope you die. I hope we both die.” arrives you understand why. This couple has grown to despise each other so much that they want to see their pair die, but a fear still exists about what they would be if they had to exist alone.

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Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 80-71

Here are numbers 80-71 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.

80. Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues

What good is it to sing helplessness blues?/ Why should I wait for anyone else?

The opening message of this song is really true for me too. As I grew up all that people talked to me about how we’re all unique and will have individual lives, but I didn’t really see it like that. I could buy that we were all different, but I always worked towards a goal that benefits the whole anyway. I believe in uniqueness but I don’t feel like that’s overly important. The bad part is that once you take on that line of thinking, there are ways where you’re expected to act which can sometimes be a struggle to actually fulfill. It’s scary, but that feeling is what the entire track and album is about because of how common the feeling is for us but also necessary to state.


79. Bon Iver- Skinny Love

“And now all your love is wasted/ And then who the hell was I?

I make fun of Bon Iver now for really no fair reason. It’s not his fault that people anoint him as the premier folk artist of the moment, and it’s not his fault that he grew to be an example/joke for the artists that are large in the alternative music scene but unheard of outside it. “Skinny Love” is a track which justifies a lot of For Emma, Forever Ago because it becomes clear that when this girl left Justin Vernon he was still madly in love with her. It was nonsensical to him because he loved her wholeheartedly and she still just decided to leave. Harsh.


78. Death Cab For Cutie- A Lack of Color

“And when I see you/ I really see you upside down.”

There are some songs where the guitar in itself sounds like it’s singing to you. In “A Lack of Color” it sounds as if it harmonizes with Gibbard as they both present a depressingly sad story of loss in a light and pretty way. I end up finding lines like the one above and the later mentioned “And all the girls in every girly magazine can’t make feel/ Any less alone…” gorgeous but I feel awful because of how it hurt the singer to go through it. It’s a weird counterbalance that defines the song for me.
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Essential Albums: The Unicorns- Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?

Alternative music usually just receives the label because the songs are aimed at to narrow of an audience for the mainstream radio to play. This isn’t meant as a slight towards the genre, which is basically the only thing I listen to, but the casual listener really just wants something to be immediate and catchy along with a chorus that they know. This is where a lot of the best alternative music emerges, when a band does provide the immediacy of pop/rock cravings but they decide to intentionally fuck it up a bit for their own brand of unique experimentation. This is the best way I can describe what The Unicorns do, and it’s why they’ve become such a wildly popular band for alternative music fans who can appreciate these aspects; the broken voices, the perfectly out of place flute/recorder(?) solo, and the randomness which ultimately morphs it’s way into the songs’ rhythm. These qualities define The Unicorns just as much as the catchy choruses, and Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone is undoubtedly the album that captured the band’s gigantic potential the best.
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