Best Beats: A Comenian Playlist

“Eyes Wide Open” Gotye 2011

If you like songs that have a deeper meaning than your reflection in a puddle on the sidewalk, then Gotye is definitely a band you should know.

Many people know Gotye for their song, “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

Personally, I think it belongs in the mainstream genre that I affectionately call Gárbagé. “Somebody That I Used to Know” is the only exception to the otherwise brilliant lyrics and messages their songs usually have.

“Eyes Wide Open” from the “Making Mirrors” album is a song that truly forces humanity to take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves why we willingly stay on the treadmill that we know leads nowhere. “We walk the plank with our eyes wide open,” says the song. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you’ll hear some very disturbing truths to the way we live our lives.

Sounds dark and depressing? Just wait.

As you continue to feel worse and worse about yourself as a simple, one-track minded human, the song literally says there have been people who offered up answers to the problem, but we chose to ignore it because they were only words and no one wanted to change the way they were living. Huh. This sounds like a familiar theme to social issues people face today. Yet, we continue to go on with our lives hoping someone else will come along and fix the problems we started. Everything is fine, for now.

After all, “we’re all in the same boat, staying afloat for the moment.”

“Eyes Wide Open” and other Gotye songs are perfect for those who love to dissect song lyrics like anatomy students dissect frogs.

Sara Weidner

“All Around the World” by Lisa Stansfield (1989)

As a child my parents blasted their old CD’s and cassette tapes through my dad’s coveted and quite impressive sound system. The one song that can transport me back to the past is Lisa Stansfield’s “All Around the World.” I was reminded of this song after watching the pilot episode of FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” where the protagonist is seen dancing to this 80’s jam.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher the meaning behind these lyrics. It’s clear that Stansfield’s significant other has left her for doing “too much lyin.”

This song is great to listen to if you’re looking for something to transport you directly into the late 80’s. Stansfield’s vocals are powerful and demanding, and gradually get louder as the pre-chorus slides into the chorus. The music in this song has strong pop elements to it, along with a small dose of disco.

“All Round the World” earned Stansfield a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards, and it was certified Platinum in the United States for selling over one million copies.

Nicole Capuano

“Cigarettes & Coffee” – Otis Redding (1966)

No, I do not condone smoking. Yet, there is something so utterly romantic about the idea of holding that (horribly harmful) skinny cylinder between our fingers. Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” John Travolta in “Grease,” Molly Ringwald in “The Breakfast Club,” and Renée Zellweger in “Bridget Jones’ Diary;” need I say more? All intellectual, emotional, even critical discourses seemed to happen with these two integral pieces: cigarettes and coffee.

In his song, “Cigarettes & Coffee,” Otis Redding seems to recognize the sentimentality of relationships paralleled with the feeling of holding that perfect cup of coffee and, yes, a cigarette. His voice croons, and it’s that perfect song for relaxing after a long, hard day. Imagine the rain pounding on the sidewalk. Imagine the feeling of stretching after being cramped up. Set the scene and then, just take a listen – you’ll see.

Jaime Ernst

Album: “Breakfast In America” by Supertramp (1979)

Despite being a diehard fan of the ‘80s, I have been unable to escape the grasp of non-disco ‘70s recently. Due to numerous TV shows and movies like “Supernatural” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” making use of classic ‘70s hits as their soundtrack, I have learned that I really liked the allure of ‘70s classic rock.

Introduced to me by an episode of Supernatural, I landed on the goldmine of Supertramp. They’re a famous English soft and progressive rock band that was active on and off since 1969. However, my favorite album by far is their sixth studio album, “Breakfast in America.”

The writers of the album, Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson, wanted to create an album of fun but meaningful songs. The majority of the songs on the album are upbeat, bouncing, and quick-paced, with melodies created by electric pianos, saxophones, and guitar. They are songs that, once you learn the words, you’ll find yourself belting them out on the commute to school without even trying.

Each song is emotional and meaningful, and has a wide range of topics The opening track, “Gone Hollywood,” follows the story of a loner who moves to LA hoping to make it big as a movie star, but he faces more trouble than he expected. One of their most popular tracks, “Goodbye Stranger,” follows the conversational ending of a strong relationship between two people, very possibly the two writers themselves.

Another popular and more serious track, “The Logical Song,” focuses on the identity struggles that youths face in America. Hodgson wrote the song based on his struggle to find his true self in boarding school, where he was force-fed standards and rules, which he never learned to ignore. There are plenty more dimes on the album, with still more serious topics to discuss all to the upbeat and catchy tune of the piano and guitar.

For me, I find the album to be a wonderful soundtrack for life at school. It is an album that can be used for easy listening, casual head bobbing, or background music for homework because of its catchy tune and consistent tone. But the words and messages are also riveting and thought-provoking on their own, ideal for thoughtful consideration. The songs reflect our own culture and values, giving us a snapshot of our own lifestyle (even if Hodgson and Davies say that they didn’t intentionally mean to capture American culture). If you’re looking for a versatile new band with plenty of fresh material, or if you want something to just tune into when you’re trying to muscle through those assignments, lend Supertramp an ear. You won’t regret it.

All of their albums, including the regular and deluxe version of “Breakfast in America,” are available on Spotify and iTunes.

– Elizabeth Horn

Check out the The Comenian Spotify Playlists — this one for songs, this one for albums.