What I’ve Been Listening To (7.25.21)

The music I listened to the most from July 18-24, based on song plays per album

Welcome to my weekly column “What I’ve Been Listening To,” where I publish a post every Sunday with my 5×5 collage of most-listened releases (which is sourced by my Last.fm account and made into a collage via this site). I do not intend these to be lengthy write-ups, but I like to include notes on my listening habits, discoveries, etc.

  • This week’s musical diet saw me basically ignoring any particular discographies or genres, in favor of whatever I fancied to help me get through my first full work week since June. You’ll also see that full albums compromise fewer than twenty of these twenty-five spots, as there were some days this week where I was more interested in listening to interviews than to music. The bulk of those interviews were with the rapper Russ, a fascinating success story who played the independent game for years, releasing a dozen mixtapes and a hundred singles before considering signing with a record label.
  • Some of you may not know that I write and podcast for a Christian music website named JesusFreakHideout.com. The site is about to hit its 25th anniversary, and we’re planning some cool features and articles to celebrate the occasion. A handful of my listening this week was related to features we’re working on: TobyMac, Newsboys, John Van Deusen, Dead Poetic, and Switchfoot.
  • A minor note, but this 5×5 has one day’s worth of overlap with the previous post, since these articles normally cover my music listening habits from Sunday to Sunday, but I pulled the data for last week’s “Honeymoon Edition” one day late, so that it would include what Paige and I listened to on our final road trip home (such as Twenty One Pilots and The Undertaking!).
  • A handful of new albums and new discoveries are present, such as the indie experimental act Yours for Mine, the extremely entertaining new EP from Against the Current, the lovely worship album from Wade McNutt, the attention-grabbing debut album from Cafuné, and the potentially career-best third LP from Leon Bridges. Meanwhile, British rapper Dave’s sophomore album is an excellent albeit slightly disappointing follow-up to his masterpiece Psychodrama, Willow’s foray into punk rock is surprisingly fun despite not being something I’d want to return to, and John Mayer’s latest is probably my least favorite album he’s ever made.
  • While most of this list is dedicated to albums or EPs, there is one exception: the newest single from Thrice, titled “Scavengers.” It released on July 20 alongside the official announcement of the band’s new album, Horizons/East. (Ironically, thanks to my Facebook Memories, I realized that this date marked exactly one decade after Thrice released the first single to my favorite album of theirs, “Yellow Belly” from Major/Minor.) I was lukewarm to this new single at first, but over the course of hearing it approximately ten times (you’ll see only seven listed above due to the first few listens happening via YouTube), I’ve really come to love it. It has some similarities to “Yellow Belly” while containing, to my ears, some heavy influence from the band Mew, another favorite of mine. Lyrically, it’s an extension of the last album’s “Branch in the River,” while definitely representing a big step up from that collection’s disappointing lyricism. Thrice have been my favorite rock band since 2005 or 2006, and while I have my hesitations, I am officially very stoked for whatever they have in store.

Author’s Note: The reason I created this website and write these articles stems from my belief that artists should support other artists, in the same way that art inspires art. My sophomore album Development & Compromise is available now and I’d love for you to hear it.

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