Best Beats: A Comenian Playlist


Photo via Google Images under Creative Commons license.

“Love is the End” Keane 2008

Think of the saddest song you know mixed with a year’s worth of nostalgia. “Love is the End” by Keane takes this feeling and magnifies it by ten.

Songs, just like life, cannot be happy and upbeat all the time. In fact, this song is one of the saddest songs I know but is simultaneously one of the most calming.

The melody flows along languidly, and is soothing to the ear. It’s the kind of song I envision a person listening to on a warm summer’s night in early June through a car radio, feet on the dashboard, overlooking the ocean. I don’t know what it is about smoking a cigarette that seems romantic, (as Jaime Ernst pointed out in her song review), but once again, the image of holding a cigarette between your fingers is so calming.

The song’s lyrics convey a message of lost love, but in a way that the singer almost seems to have come to terms with. The song gradually crescendos towards the end and, in my mind, the character drives along a dirt path towards the sunrise on the horizon. Love is truly the end and there’s “nowhere to go but home.”

Sara Weidner

“Walls” Tom Petty 1996

If you’re among the many who continue to grieve the loss of Tom Petty, one of the most talented rock and roll icons of the 1970s, listening to his song “Walls” can help ease the pain. The song was written by Petty and recorded by the band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1996.  It was the first single from their hit soundtrack album “Songs and Music” from “She’s The One,” a film written and directed by Edward Burns.

What I love about the song is that Petty is able to blend the lyrics and the melody of the song. The piece focuses less on the instruments, so no iconic Petty guitar solo, as in  “Refugee,” “The Waiting,” and “Here Comes My Girl.” There are very few Tom Petty songs in which he focuses solely on the tune and highlights his vocals without other instruments coming into play, which is what makes this song different from all of the hits.

“Walls” also features lead Fleetwood Mac singer Lindsey Buckingham, who contributes a lot of Fleetwood Mac-style vocals into the song. Petty and Buckingham’s strong blend of rock and roll create a natural sounding melody. Their different vocal styles blend so well you can hear Buckingham’s familiar Fleetwood Mac melody in the background. Buckingham uses vocals reflected in songs such as: “Go Your Own Way,” “Not That Funny,” “What’s The World Coming To,” and “Tusk.” The brilliant technique of  Buckingham echoing Petty’s lyrics in the background provides a perfect mix of the two rock and roll idols combined into one fantastic sounding song.

The simple lyrics of the song convey a hopeful message about starting over and embracing a new beginning, with the line “some doors are open, some roads are blocked.” This is a song about stepping out of your comfort zone and breaking the barriers that hold you back. A compelling message along with a gripping tune will make you want to listen on.

Elizabeth Schwartz

“Heartbreak Warfare” John Mayer 2009

Arguably one of the most talented contemporary pop artists of this century, John Mayer shows off his guitar and songwriting skills in this catchy song “Heartbreak Warfare.” Mayer’s melodic, entrancing guitar playing sways with the calmness of the song, and his lyrics, though dark and edgy, go hand-in-hand with the music he’s produced.

The song is off Mayer’s fourth studio album “Battle Studies” and explores the darker sides of heartbreaks and the effects that heartbreaks have had on Mayer. Specifically, “Heartbreak Warfare” begins with the lyrics, “Lightning strike, inside my chest to keep me up at night. Dream of ways, to make you understand my pain.” My favorite part of this song is the bridge, where Mayer changes both his vocal and guitar tone, and asks the woman why she keeps hurting him.

This is a great song to listen to for anyone who’s going through a breakup, or if you’re just looking to enjoy a calm, relaxing jam.

Nicole Capuano

Album: “Not Thinking Straight” Matt Fishel 2013

Matt Fishel’s “Not Thinking Straight” holds a special place in my heart as I would listen to it religiously back when I was an embarrassingly angsty teenager struggling to find myself. Released in 2013, it was Fishel’s debut album and his style is a blend of punk rock, pop punk, and alternative. Fishel himself plays guitar, piano, bass, and keyboard, in addition to writing and producing nearly all of his songs.

Fishel is openly gay and many of his songs are about his experiences with his sexuality. The album itself ranges from songs you can bang your head to, like “Testament” and “Behind Closed Doors,” to slow ballads you can cry to, like “Nottingham” and “Football Song.” The subjects range from first loves to first times to first break-ups. Some of the songs are angry, some are sweet, some are fun, and some are nostalgic, but they are all authentic. Fishel writes with an honesty that is almost painful. Ultimately, though, the album is about learning how to celebrate yourself.

“Not Thinking Straight” is for anyone who’s ever struggled with their identity, with love, or just with being young.

-Kayleigh Ficarra