Social Isolation Disco

PLAYLIST: 30 prime slices of escapist pop to soundtrack your quarantine party. Six feet apart, please!

Social Isolation Disco

PLAYLIST: 30 prime slices of escapist pop to soundtrack your quarantine party. 6 feet apart, please!

Within my personal friend group, I have gained a bit of a reputation for making playlists.  Now, of course, I get to victimize the entire internet with that particular skill.  Historically, though, my closest friends have had to bear the weight of my musical list-making.

Last week, one of my friends reached out to me to create a quarantine playlist for her so that she would, as she put it, “Listen to anything other than superhero soundtracks, please, for the love of god”.  Although I support listening to superhero soundtracks, I was happy to oblige.  There is a non-zero chance that she asked for a playlist just to mercifully give me something to do, but…. that’s a rabbit hole I am not willing to go down.

Cover design by Andrew Henderson

The thing is, I sort of think the playlist I made for her slaps.  It’s 30 songs of modern, escapist pop, ranging from absolute bangers like ‘Tantrum’ by Ashnikko to chill vibes like ‘Too Late’ by Washed Out.  In terms of cohesion, it shouldn’t work.  On paper, it doesn’t.  But in practice, I stand by it.  So, I’m sharing it here with the whole world.  Because the world needs escapist pop now more than ever, and also because I’m a hopeless narcissist when it comes to my taste in music.

Ashnikko
Washed Out

A few songs are specifically quarantine/social isolation themed: ‘claws’ by Charli XCX (who’s quarantine-themed album is out 5/15), ‘I’m Bored’ by Betta Lemme and ‘My House’ by Kitten.  But all are great slices of music that run the gamut of modern pop music.  I think it’s great.  I hope you do too.

So, enjoy this playlist, Social Isolation Disco, below.

Social Isolation Disco TrackList

  1. Joan of Arc on the Dance Floor – Aly & AJ Non-album single
  2. Malibu – Kim Petras Non-album single
  3. Love Again – Dua Lipa Future Nostalgia
  4. La vita nuova – Christine and the Queens feat. Caroline Polachek La vita nuova
  5. Over Yet – Hayley Williams Petals for Armor
  6. Super Duper Party People – Allie X Cape God
  7. Nonbinary – Arca KiCk i
  8. Gay Street Fighter – Keiynan Lonsdale Non-album single
  9. Tantrum – Ashnikko Non-album single
  10. claws – Charli XCX how i’m feeling now
  11. Damn Daniel – Bree Runway feat. Yung Baby Tate Non-album single
  12. Shoulda Known Better – Nasty Cherry Non-album single
  13. If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) – The 1975 Notes on a Conditional Form
  14. I Love Me (Travis Barker Remix) – Demi Lovato Non-album single
  15. Daydream – The Aces Non-album single
  16. On the Floor (Initial Talk Remix) – Perfume Genius Non-album single
  17. No Pude – Lido Pimienta Miss Colombia
  18. i like the devil – Purity Ring WOMB
  19. Guilty Conscience – 070 Shake Modus Vivendi
  20. I’m Bored – Betta Lemme Non-album single
  21. Sucker for Punishment – Alex Lahey Non-album single
  22. Ripe – Banoffee feat. CupcakKe Look at us Now, Dad
  23. Stay Tonight – CHUNG HA Non-album single
  24. Dare (AM) – Namasenda Non-album single
  25. Too Late – Washed out Non-album single
  26. My House – Kitten Non-album single
  27. Save a Kiss – Jessie Ware Non-album single
  28. Two Minute Noodles – Aria Wood Non-album single
  29. Take Yourself Home – Troye Sivan Non-album single
  30. Chosen Family – Rina Sawayama SAWAYAMA

Nasty Cherry – Shoulda Known Better

TRACK REVIEW: The band’s latest is quintessential Nasty Cherry – but also sadly lackluster.

TRACK REVIEW: The band's latest is quintessential Nasty Cherry - but also sadly lackluster.

For a while, Nasty Cherry was one of the most enigmatic names in music.  The moniker first got on most people’s radar via Charli XCX’s social media accounts.  Charli talked about Nasty Cherry a lot.  But the band didn’t have any music out, so the hype was confusing for most fans.

Of course, in hindsight it all makes sense.  Nasty Cherry is an all-girl pop/rock band formed by XCX as a sort of music-industry-plant-experiment / girl-power music startup.  The band’s formation, songwriting process, and personal dramas were all documented in a Netflix Original Series, also created by Charli.  (It was in this show that drummer Debbie Knox-Hewson casually revealed that she is queer.)

The band’s debut EP was released alongside the first – and so far, only – season of that show, (although three of the five tracks had been previously released as singles).

Nasty Cherry - Season 1 EP. Album art courtesy of Atlantic Records Press

What was frustrating about that release wasn’t that it was bad, it wasn’t, but that it was almost really good.  The songs are basically well-written and they’re definitely stylish, sounding like a bouncier Sky Ferreira.  The whole EP basically fell into the same category – the songwriting, instrumentation and production all sounded correct, but not necessarily very exciting or inspired.

Now, Nasty Cherry is back for another round, releasing the single ‘Shoulda Known Better’.  So far, this second era of music is being released sans-TV-show, but who knows if that will last or not, Season 2 could still be coming.  The single still isn’t bad, and it still sounds like Sky Ferreira – but it also still sounds like the work of a band with potential more than that of a band at their peak.

Nasty Cherry - Shoulda Known Better. Single art courtesy of Atlantic Records Press

It kicks off with some grungy guitars, which are overpowered by some poppy vocals and synths within seconds.  The first verse ends with a genuinely great drum fill that hints at a huge, 80’s-style chorus that unfortunately never materializes.

The mile-a-minute chorus that actually comes instead is an unexpected twist, and it probably seemed like a really fun idea on paper.  In actuality, it feels like a letdown on the preceding build.  It’s hard to not want that huge chorus at some point, but the song ends without it ever happening.  (Oddly, this is the exact same problem that their premiere single ‘Win’ suffered from – drawn out, masterful build with little payoff.)

Nasty Cherry. Courtesy of Atlantic Records Press.

None of this means that Nasty Cherry doesn’t still have the potential to be a really incredible band.  Their ideas are good, and their sound is (almost) as stylish as their Instagram feed.  But it seems like fans will have to wait a little bit longer for them to fully deliver on that potential.

Take a listen to ‘Shoulda Known Better’ here, and then let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!  Do you agree with my assessment, or did I get it all wrong? I wanna know!