Analyzing the Donna Jean Godchaux Hate Train

From 1972 to 1979, Donna Jean Godchaux executed herself as an integral part of the Grateful Dead, and still, more than forty years later, she remains an important symbol of the band during their most prominent (and perhaps louded) touring period. As an outstanding vocalist and the only female member to ever play in the Grateful Dead, Donna has proved her legacy and impact on both the band and the entire culture of jam-band rocking itself. However, as with any well-known woman in the music industry, Donna’s place in the Grateful Dead has not come without its criticism. So, why is that?

Image source: Dead.net

The short answer: misogyny. 

The long answer: You can have whatever opinion you choose to have about Donna Jean Godchaux. Like her or hate her, she’s doing just fine in 2020. And truly, when you strip back all of the excuses and weak-boned reasonings for why Donna is disliked the most, you discover that you can apply almost any of that criticism to the other members. For example, let’s take the age-old excuse that Donna “ruined” the music with her off-pitch vocals. Donna herself understands where the criticism comes from, but she’s more than willing to offer another perspective. 

“I was a studio singer, never singing off-key. I was used to having headphones and being in a controlled environment,” Donna stated in a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone.“…I’ve seen on Facebook people say, ‘Well, they didn’t always sing so great themselves!’

It’s no secret that being a woman in the music industry comes with a unique set of challenges and animosity- predominantly, in the form of an outpouring from the media. Rock ‘n’ roll in America has seemingly had a longstanding “no girls allowed” attitude, undeniably lends itself to the sexism Donna faced while serving as a vocalist for the band. Even before Donna’s career in the band, other budding female rock stars, most notably Janis Joplin, were already receiving flack for going against what was expected. After all, Janis Joplin was no soft, delicate 1960s housewife. She challenged both standards of beauty and standards of womanity- a path which may have paved the way for future singers, such as Donna.

Throughout her successful seven-year career with the Grateful Dead, Donna Jean proved herself as a force to be reckoned with, and a strong woman who refused to be “lumped in” or molded to fit the box of what was expected of a woman at that time. She proved that the word “woman” itself didn’t have to be a music genre itself- that she could bring flavor and creativity to the band and still feel original. Regardless of how you feel about her, her vocals are here to stay on some of the Dead’s most celebrated albums, such as Europe ‘72 and Terrapin Station

I want to conclude by saying this: you don’t have to love Donna or her unique vocals, but you cannot deny her long lasting impact of success on the band and her role in some of the Dead’s most remembered touring days. Donna, we’re so proud of you for playin’ with the band.

Every Fall Out Boy Song Ranked

Hello, I’m MJ. I’m an emo kid, have been for close to a decade now.

This article started as a joke, after a friend of mine Jhariah posted this on Twitter (go follow him he’s an incredible musician and artist):And while I respect Jhariah’s opinion, I had different feelings. Once I went to put all of Fall Out Boy’s official 111 songs, I realized something: Fall Out Boy’s early song titles are so fucking long and convoluted that I wouldn’t even be able to rank them all without relistening to them… all.

So after two days, I’ve come to my finalized list. This was an incredibly difficult journey, considering I only genuinely dislike maybe 7 songs out of Fall Out Boy’s discography. In all honesty, 20-60 are just more arbitrary because I fucking love Fall Out Boy so damn much and this intense re-listening reacquainted me with my love for them. My ranking is based on personal relation/nostalgia, what I would listen to over the song below it, and pure genius in lyricism or the music. Let’s go.

My Top 10 Fall Out Boy Songs:

#1: Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes from Folie à Deux

This is objectively the best Fall Out Boy song, by a mile. It begins the best album of theirs, also by far, and entered the stage of pure genius anarchy before their temporary break up. This album in general is lyrically fucking amazing, with my favorite from this song being “So boycott love, detox just to retox / And I’d promise you anything for another shot at life … / Nobody wants to hear you sing about tragedy”. For me, I listened to this album a while before I heard the album. This album and the songs are very special to me, and I think it’s still an enjoyable piece of work even if you don’t dive further into it.

#2: Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea from MANIA

You can shit on me all you want, but the new age Fall Out Boy albums are incredibly overlooked. I think the band has done an incredible job of keeping their sound while also pushing themselves slightly in different directions to slowly and seamlessly evolve. In my head, FOB’s discography is split into pre and post-breakup, MANIA being the most recent release in 2018. This song is fucking incredible. This is also the opener song of the album, and it should be. The drums and bassline in the beginning open up the album and song HEAVILY, with bits of guitar throughout that make my ears perk up. Lyrically, this song is the perfect pump up song. “I’m ’bout to go Tonya Harding on the whole world’s knee” and “The only thing that’s ever stopping me is me, hey!” are the standouts in my mind.

#3 (Coffee’s For Closers) from Folie à Deux

This song ranks so high for 2 reasons: the strings and the nostalgia. I cannot hear the line “I will never believe in anything again / Change will come, oh change will come” without sobbing. Objectively not a greatly poetic line, but the way it is sung, along with my personal ties to the song make it very impactful. The bass and vocal quality with the background strings make for a headphone experience like no other. As a song about worldly success, with a shockingly optimistic view (for how early on FOB this was), it speaks volumes to me.

#4 The Phoenix from Save Rock and Roll

Although this album was the first album of theirs that got me into Fall Out Boy, this album only had one top tenner, and that’s purely because I am just such a slut for Folie à Deux. The drums and the intensity of this song say it all. This is another opening song, as it should be. I think this is just proving they set the tone for their albums super well. This was also the first song back from hiatus (not the first single but-). They quite literally rose from the ashes, and it’s a fantastic come back song. Favorite lyrics include: “We are the jack-o-lanterns in July”; “I’m going to change you like a remix / Then I’ll raise you like a phoenix” and the extended “Hey” Patrick Stump sings at 3:10.

#5 20 Dollar Nose Bleed from Folie à Deux

… I love this fucking album okay? Opening line: “Have you ever wanted to disappear?” Like yes bitch I have. This song also features my second favorite vocalist of all time, Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco. The whole song is actually much deeper than I ever knew; it’s about Benzos and the politics of the 90s. For me, it was always a song about being sick and refusing to get help. This song also ends with like a 30 second spoken word poem by the bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz that I and every other emo lets live in their head rent free.

#6 Novocaine from American Beauty/American Psycho

Also loved this album, but surprisingly this is the only one that makes the top ten off of it. This is a killer song. Fall Out Boy has this incredible ability to add this heavy grungy sound in the back of their songs without making them all sound the same, and this song is no different. A lot of my top tens are just a: go listen. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it. “I’m just a problem that doesn’t want to be solved”, and “I will always land on you like a sucker punch / I am your worst nightmare”.

#7 What A Catch, Donnie from Folie à Deux

Last one I promise okay?? This had to make the top ten, because it quite literally includes all the other songs that should’ve made the top ten. It starts off slow, includes lyrics like: “I got troubled thoughts and the self-esteem to match / What a catch”; “They say the captain goes down with the ship / So when the world ends, will God go down with it?” The ending of this song is fucking iconic. It includes choruses of all of their hits, including “Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy Tonight?”, “Sugar We’re Goin Down”, “Dance, Dance”, “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s A God Damn Arms Race”, “Thnks fr th Mmrs”, and “Growing Up”, sung by Gabe Saporta, Travie McCoy, Brendon Urie, Doug Neumann, Alex DeLeon, and William Beckett, respectively. God tier. 

#8 This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race from Infinity on High

Speaking of older songs, this is the second oldest song on the list oops. To disclaim I fucking loveeeeeeeeeee their first 3 albums, but I have a bigger attachment and just a little more love for the latter 4. That being said, this song is a banger and has remained one for almost a decade. The song is quite literally Pete Wentz making a commentary on how the emo scene is a war of popularity. The guitar riffs and again- just the heavy beats make it an intense song to listen to. Favorite lyrics include: “I am an arms dealer fitting you with / Weapons in the form of words / And don’t really care which side wins / Long as the room keeps singing, that’s just the business I’m in”.

#9 Sophomore Slump Or Comeback Of The Year from From Under The Cork Tree

Introducing the oldest song on the list- from one of their most iconic albums, and I’m including neither of the two most iconic songs. No offense to “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar We’re Goin Down”, they are fantastic songs, but the overuse of them kills them for me. This song is super meta- it’s a song about how making a sophomore record is hard to do after a successful debut. (Like shut up okay?) but the #1 reason this ranks so high is because it’s a bop, Pete Wentz screams in it, and this lyric: “The best part of “believe” is the “lie”.”

#10 Alpha Dog from Welcome to the New Administration Mixtape

This is a wrench to throw in at #10, I know. I didn’t know where tf this song came from until like ten minutes ago, truthfully, because I had heard it on Youtube and then their Greatest Hits CD. “Alpha Dog” comes from a mixtape released in 2009, and it’s killer and I’m so upset it’s not more widely known. The lyrics to the whole thing are punny and pointed, just like most of Fall Out Boy’s lyrics are (this is mainly why I love them so much). Truly, something I love about Fall Out Boy is that I don’t know what most of their songs mean to them, but I know what they mean to me. They are the most poetic band I know lyrically, with a greatly contrasting sound. Alpha Dog includes lyrics like “You’re not the first or the last / But you’re possibly the prettiest, whoa / He’s a fighter past his prime / He’s in the gutter waving his hand “I’m just fine””. The intro is sick and the whole song is about a Jekyll and Hyde juxtaposition- and I love it.

Honorary mentions / I wish “Top Ten” meant “Top Twenty” + my favorite lyrics from them:

(My top ten were essentially the best songs, and the next ten are my guilty pleasures)

#11 Miss Missing You from Save Rock and Roll: “Sometimes before it gets better, the darkness gets bigger / The person that you’d take a bullet for is behind the trigger”

#12 Favorite Record from American Beauty/American Psycho: “You were the song stuck in my head / Every song that I’ve ever loved / Play it again and again and again / And you can get what you want but it’s never enough / And I spin for you like your favorite records used to”

#13 Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown On A Bad Bet from Folie à Deux: “I don’t just want to be a footnote / In someone else’s happiness / Does your husband know the way that / The sunshine gleams from your wedding band?”

#14 Sunshine Riptide from MANIA: “I don’t even have my own attention / You say, “Please don’t ever change,” but you / Don’t like me the way I am, the sign says “Don’t you tap the Glass,” but I read it in reverse: “eht pat uoy t’nod syas ngis ehT””

#15 My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) from Save Rock and Roll: “A constellation of tears on your lashes / Burn everything you love then burn the ashes / In the end everything collides, my childhood / Spat back out the monster that you see”

#16 The Kids Aren’t Alright from American Beauty/American Psycho: “I’ll be yours / When it rains it pours / Stay thirsty like before”

#17 The Last Of The Real Ones from MANIA: “Write our names in the wet concrete / I wonder if your therapist knows / Everything about me”

#18 Chicago Is so Two Years Ago from Take This To Your Grave: “You want apologies, girl, you might hold your breath / Until your breathing stops forever, forever”

#19 Thnks fr th Mmrs from Infinity on High: “Been looking forward to the future / But my eyesight is going bad / And this crystal ball / It’s always cloudy except for / When you look into the past”

#20 America’s Suitehearts from Folie à Deux: “I must confess / I’m in love with my own sins”

To save you the time, if you want to see my full list here is the link.

The Bottom 5: 

#107 American Made, #108 Demigods, #109 We Were Doomed From The Start (The King Is Dead), #110 Art Of Keeping Up Disappearances, #111 Eternal Summer, all from PAX AM Days

PAX•AM Days was released directly after Save Rock and Roll, included as a deluxe version of the album actually. It’s an incredibly grungy and hardcore punk compilation of 7 songs, and I hate 5 out of the 7 of them. Just not my cup of tea. I’m almost glad they exist so I didn’t have to put any songs I actually liked in the last slots. 

So there you have it: My humble but final opinion on the Ranking of all 111 Fall Out Boy songs. If you have any difference of opinion- kindly keep it to yourself. Be on the lookout for more of these… perhaps for the other two bands of the emo trinity… 😉

Check out my two playlists below, if you’d like to listen to all of FOB in order or in my ranking order.

Retrospective Review: Let It Be

The story of the Replacements, four young men from Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the story of a snake eating its own tail – a Sisyphean cycle of self-sabotage.  Here was a band always on the precipice of stardom and widespread acclaim, but who at every turn (willingly) made the wrong decisions and bucked every preconceived notion of what it meant to be successful.  In an alternate reality (or in a just world), the Replacements are a group as large and impactful as groups like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones.  Vocalist and rhythm guitar player, Paul Westerberg; lead guitar Bob Stinson along with his younger brother and bass player, Tommy Stinson; and drummer Chris Mars, would be household names, synonymous with rock and roll excellence.  Sure, the Replacements are progenitors of modern alternative/college rock, and have their own little place in musical history; but, the Replacements deserve more – even if the group never wanted to be. 

Let It Be (The Replacements album) - Wikipedia

Nowhere is the Replacements importance more aptly felt than in their 1984 breakthrough record, Let It Be.  The record saw the Replacements at a crossroads of sort, the band was distancing themselves from the more immature faux-hardcore of their previous records, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash and Hootenanny, towards a more cohesive alternative sound that would echo throughout college rock stations across the country.  The record would also be their last on independent record label Twin/Tone before they made the transition to major label Sire Records.  

The change in sound also resulted in a change in lyrical content, with more heart-on-sleeve lyrics being penned and sung by enigmatic frontman Paul Westerberg.  Westerberg seemed to perfectly encapsulate that feeling of transition and of the unknown in the coming-of-age style lyrics and songs that permeate Let It Be.  Themes of rejection, self-consciousness, immaturity, and sexual ambiguity litter the album, painting a poignant portrait of the band and its fans.  Tracks like “Androgynous” and “Sixteen Blue” are integral parts and serve as an emotinal crux for the album.  The former being a sparse piano-ballad cooly-crooned by Westerberg, telling the story of Dick and Jane – two youths exploring what gender means and its various pitfalls.  The latter expresses the discontent and confusion that accompanies teenage life – not knowing who you are, what your sexuality is, and what comes next… 

This isn’t to say that Let It Be is a wholly self-serious record.  Hard-hitting punk tracks that originally brought the Replacements into the musical zeitgeist are still prevalent here.  Tracks like “Gary’s Got a Boner” and “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” are fast and loud punk classics that see the band masterfully weaving the serious lyricism with clashing guitars, a chugging bass, and unflinching drum beats.  The track listing finds the Replacements in constant conflict with one another, attempting to balance their beginnings with their future, their immaturity with growth, the want to succeed with the need to self-destruct.  

Let It Be is a timeless record that may not be for everyone, but for those who it is for, it is a certified classic.  It masterfully encapsulates the feeling of youth, of confusion, of love, etc.  It is a record for the outcasts, made by outcasts.  Let It Be is in a way a perfect picture of the modern American Dream; why join in on the rat race and conform to what others want?  Do what you want, sound how you want to sound, be who you are.  The world is going to hell in a bucket and the Replacements are takin’ a ride.    

Orenda raps Podcast

Tyson Buggs, a 19 year old from Easton, Ma. sits down with me to discuss his future as a designer, rapping, and all things fashion.

By Abi Brown

Tyson was the first friend I made at Lasell University and the strides he has made as a person and artist has shocked myself and our community at Lasell. We got real about Hypebeast culture, other Lasell designers such as BUSHLAND, and who inspires him the most. Tyson Buggs is a name you are going to want to remember, so give our conversation a listen!

“Especially right now when times become tragic, fashion becomes drastic. In my mind with this whole pandemic were going to start seeing weirder pieces…”

Check out Tyson’s store here

Check out Tyson’s Soundcloud here

Remember Us to Life: Album Analysis

One of my favorite things about Remember Us to Life is the political undertones Regina incorporated into most of the songs. Although she’s done several political pieces in the past, this album in particular really struck a powerful note in me – mainly between her analogies to power and the broken corporate beast that is America. She discusses themes of motherhood, aging, and the general concept of time passing. I’m fascinated by her unique writing style, and I genuinely love every song Regina has ever put out into the universe. 

Regina Spektor - Remember Us To Life - Amazon.com Music

Track 1: “Bleeding Heart”

“Bleeding Heart” is the leading single of Remember Us to Life, and it’s also one of the only songs which is also accompanied by a music video on the album. It’s a bit more fast-paced than some of her usual pieces, and subsequently, I often find the melody is stuck in my head. My interpretation of the lyrics is that Regina is reflecting on her childhood and adolescence, and the feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem that come with that period of time. She discusses feeling like an outcast, her outfits being a “crime,” and begins every chorus with “Nevermind your bleeding heart,” perhaps as a way of self-soothing. My favorite part of the song is the bridge, in which Regina recites the following:

How long must I wait till you learn that it’s not too late?

How long must I cry till you know that you really tried?

How long must I try till you learn that dreaming’s hard?

How long must I dream till you heal your bleeding heart?

Never mind your bleeding heart

To me, this is about Regina talking to her ‘younger self,’ and wishing she had the opportunity to go back and share some of her future wisdom. The themes do resonate with me enormously, especially since my own emergence into adolescence was vulnerable and painful. Additionally, the music video is filled with photographs and video clips of Regina when she was a young girl, and ends with an old clip of Regina playing her piano at a talent show/recital. It’s a bittersweet song, and a beautiful introduction into the rest of the album. 


Track 2: “Older and Taller” 

“Older and Taller” is another faster-paced, cheerful melody, but this song unfortunately does not have a music video like “Bleeding Heart.” The first few times I listened to the album, I specifically remember this track being my ultimate favorite. There’s something about the strings and the guitar that sounds reminiscent of her older work, and in that sense, the song struck me as so sweet and nostalgic. Similarly to “Bleeding Heart,” I believe that this song is an ode to youth and the yearning one feels for it as they grow up. In particular, there is one satirical part of the song that really speaks to me: 

‘Enjoy your youth’ sounds like a threat

But I will anyway

In a deeper sense, I believe that the song is also exploring the phenomenon that we think aging will be so glamorous and satisfying, but the reality is, it rarely pans out the way we imagine it will. It’s a beautiful song about finding peace in growing old, and even though I myself am small and youthful, the song means quite a lot to me. 

Regina Spektor Shares Childhood Photos In Endearing New Video : NPR


Track 3: “Grand Hotel” 

“Grand Hotel” is one of those classic storytelling pieces by Regina Spektor, (such as “Genius Next Door, for example,) and upon each listen, you discover a deeper meaning or a metaphor you hadn’t realized before. As with several of the other pieces, it has tones of nostalgia and reflects on older times using several dark, beautiful metaphors. One of my favorite things about Regina’s lyrics is how they read like poetry, and “Grand Hotel” is a beautiful example of this:

Under the floorboards there’s a deep well

That leads to a spring that sprung up in hell

That’s where old devils danced and kissed

And made their blood pacts in the ancient myths

And running through forest they screamed in chorus

While piercing fair maidens’ chests with their horns

And then they lay in the grass ’til the dawn came

Sleeping away ’til the dawn came

Lay in the grass where now stands the Grand Hotel

I chose this stanza to transfix on because I love the juxtaposition of the polished hotel description and the words she uses to describe the people of the past- “old devils.” It’s a mischievous exploration of the evil that may lay below the floorboards of the Grand Hotel, haunting the modern world with memories.


Track 4: “Small Bill$” 

“Small Bill$” is another track accompanied by a music video, and to date, it’s probably one of my all-time favorite Regina Spektor videos (behind “Ne Me Quitte Pas” and “Fidelity”.) It’s a bit more fast-paced and upbeat than some of the other tracks on the album, and the piano is not as prevalent as it is in her other songs. I consider Remember Us To Life to be a relatively politically charged album, and this song in particular really criticizes advertising and capitalism. She warns that our current economic climate could lead to fates such as poverty, hunger, and class consciousness, such as with the Russian Revolution. It’s always a learning lesson for us listeners when Regina spits out her Soviet-remnisent tracks, and the visuals of the music video really add to the entire aesthetic.

Regina Spektor - Small Bill$ [Official Music Video] - YouTube


Track 5: “Black and White”

“Black and White” is a beautiful, ballad-like track which once again uses juxtaposition to tell a story within the lyrics. Usually, when we hear someone say that something is “black and white,” it translates into something being crystal clear and easy to understand. However, Regina’s lyrics seem to suggest that things are left unfinished or complicated. The song discusses themes such as love and heartbreak, and how, just like a black and white photograph, love can feel antique and ‘out of time.’ Alternatively, her lyrics can be interpreted as a reflection on how little photographs are able to actually capture the full spectrum of emotion that is attached to memory. It’s slow and beautiful, and certainly sad, but I truly think it’s one of the most underrated songs on the album. 


Track 6: “The Light”

“The Light” holds a very special place in my heart, as it is nothing short as a tender, loving ode to her husband and her newborn baby. Throughout the song, which primarily relies on the piano, Regina sings about her memories of the past and the curiosities she has for the future, and particularly, how her past decisions have shaped her into the woman she is today. The song does feel a bit melancholy at times, particularly when she’s singing about the unfamiliar grounds of motherhood and the depression which comes with it, but there are also uplifting lines. In particular, this one is my favorite:

So many stories, I want to tell you

I wish that I could show you the many things I’ve seen

You and your daddy, you both look like poets

Your eyes are open wide while you are in a dream

For me, this stanza represents how motherhood has affected her view of herself, and even her view of her own music. It’s truly a gift to watch your little baby grow and develop into his or her own independent person, and begin to see the world through their own little eyes. And yes, Regina’s husband, Jack Dishel of Only Son, really does have that poet look to him.

Regina Spektor Welcomes 'Super Cute' Son - ABC News


Track 7: “The Trapper and The Furrier”

Now that we’ve had that brief sentimental interlude, it’s time to jump back into something politically motivated. After listening to the song a few times, I came to the conclusion that it is about the unfair social structures and injustices throughout the world, but particularly in the United States. Throughout the song, she tells three stories: the tale of the trapper and the furrier, the owner and the manager, and lastly, the lawyer and the pharmacist. Unlike the softer songs on the album, this track is accompanied by howling strings and intense vocals, which really add to the menacing overtones of the lyrics:

The lawyer and the pharmacist went walking through paradise

And all the sick were around them with fevers unbreaking

Crying and bleeding and coughing and shaking

And arms outstretched, prescription-collecting

The lawyer and the pharmacist went walking through paradise

Pressed suits in a courtroom, aroma of chloroform

And they smiled at the judge, disposition so sunny

Cause they didn’t have the cure but sure needed the money

I don’t think it’s a secret at all that this song is about the greediness of corporations and the lack of care which goes into patients who actually need support. I would have loved to have seen a music video for this track; I think intense visuals would have really complemented the hard-hitting nature of the song, similarly to how “Small Bill$” tells such a vibrant story of capitalism. 


Track 8: “Tornadoland”

I love so many of Regina’s instrumentals, but the instrumental for “Tornadoland” might be my favorite off the entire album. Actually, that’s a lie. “Obsolete” is my favorite instrumental, but “Tornadoland” is a close second. Unlike many of Regina’s metaphorical, abstract songs, I think Tornadoland is pretty straightforward and literal. To me, it sounds like she is singing from the perspective of being inside of a tornado, or even being a tornado, and the song comes and goes without even so much as an intro. She sings about wanting to be heard and wanting to be “louder than the storm,” and the tornado is a reminder that we, as individuals, are insignificant. My favorite thing about the song, however, is the melodic interlude of swirling sounds and flutes, as if a tornado is actually spiralling through the middle of the piece.


Track 9: “Obsolete” 

This is my absolute favorite song on the album, and maybe my favorite Spektor song of all time. If it’s not my #1 favorite, it’s at least in the top three. The song is quite long and slow in tempo, and she drags out the words in a way that sounds both hopeful and dismal. I believe the song, similarly to Tornadoland, is about feeling insignificant and perhaps even left behind by life as time passes you by. I think the other reason I love this song so much is because it analyzes the feeling of not being understood, which is a sensation I have grown up with and hold close to me:

Minds grow dark, so suddenly

I was lost on your street

Hey I’m talking to myself

I can hear you listening in

To my thoughts, to my dreams

What I want, can’t compete

Obsolete

The most beautiful portion of the song comes towards the end, when her voice unexpectedly rises like a wave and the ethereal backing vocals increase as well, adding to the overall feeling of desperation and pain. It gives me goosebumps every time, and I could probably listen to this song on repeat forever. As quoted by Regina, there can sometimes be beauty found within sadness:

“Sometimes when I feel happy, for whatever reason, it just feels very good to listen to sad songs. I feel very comforted by beauty, especially when it overwhelms you with all its colours and sounds.”


Track 10: “Sellers of Flowers” 

Every single Regina song contains beautiful imagery, but this piece in particular reads like sweet poetry for the ears and the mind. In short, I think this song is just about death. Winter represents the oncoming and inevitable ending of everything, here to claim the roses that die before the morning. The changing phases of the sun represent how even the happiest, brightest lives will come to the same tragic demise:

Cause winter is coming

Soon after summer

It runs faster, faster

Chasing off Autumn

We go from a warm sun to only a white sun

We go from a large sun to only a small one

It’s really a substantial, meaning-packed song, so I recommend giving it a few listens to really get a handle on the full scope of the song. That is, if you’re into exploring the beautiful but twisted mystery that is life and death. 


Track 11: “The Visit” 

The last official track on Remember Us To Life is “The Visit,” as the next three songs are actually bonus tracks from the deluxe version of the album. “The Visit” is an absolutely lovely and sweetly penned reflection on the dynamic of friendship, and how the passing of time can often weaken our relationships with others. The lyrics are upbeat but melancholy, and discuss Regina’s happiness upon reuniting with someone from her past. It reminds me a bit of one of the bonus tracks, “The One Who Stayed and the One Who Left,” and in fact, I actually mix them up sometimes. I appreciate the hopeful overtone of the song, and as usual, I enjoy following along with the story when I listen to this piece. 


Bonus Track: “New Year” 

For late 2016, I think this track was a pretty timely addition. Not only because the subject is reflecting on her life experiences and the years ahead, but because it comes at a time of turbulence and unrest in the United States after the presidential election of Donald Trump. Even though 2016 was a pretty terrible year for most of us, the song is a reminder to focus on the good this year brought, and that we should (and must) be hopeful for what the next years will bring us:

She sets her alarm five minutes to midnight

And wakes just in time to say her goodbyes

Thanking the old year for all it has brought her

No mention of the things it took away

It’s really a beautiful song and an ode to hope, and even though I’m sure Regina is playing a character in the piece, as usual, it does feel like she herself is wishing the audience a very happy new year. So thank you, Regina! 

Stream Regina Spektor - "You've Got Time (Chamber Version ...


Bonus Track: “The One Who Stayed and the One Who Left” 

As I said earlier, I sometimes get this track mixed up with “The Visit,” or, at the very least, I think of it as a continuation or alternative perspective. This song discusses the story of two old friends who meet again after being detached for a long while, and how, even though they did end up going in separate directions, they are satisfied with their decisions to do so. I think detaching and moving in new directions is sometimes coupled with a negative connotation, so I actually appreciate that this song offers a more positive, healthy perspective on the notion of moving on in life, even if it means leaving people behind along the way.


Bonus Track: “End of Thought” 

Last but certainly not least, the fourteen track on Remember Us To Life is a chillingly deep, yet comforting piece about the vastness of our existence and how our problems are essentially meaningless. Upon first listen, the melody is simplistic and maybe not even memorable to most listeners, but once you really notice the words, the song becomes quite powerful. Here’s a particularly beautiful stanza:

You cannot make a mistake

The universe is too big

This song has been particularly comforting to me lately, as I’ve been thinking quite a lot about the vastness and mystery of the universe, and how terrifying that is. However, it’s also such a beautiful thing, knowing that our actions are essentially meaningless in the long run, and we can’t really hurt people as badly as we think we do. If that makes sense.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed reading my analysis. I know it was an absolute monster of a post, but I’m really trying to pour all of my true thoughts and feelings into these album reviews. Remember Us To Life is utterly gorgeous and powerful, and the work Regina put into this album truly shines through to me as a listener. Let me know what you guys thought of the album in the comments!

Everything Turns Gold: An Interview with Joshua Sweet

“For American people, I’m not American enough because I’m brown, even though we could have been born in the same hospital. I’m automatically seen as not American enough, because I’m not the same as them.”

Joshua Sweet is hard to miss. Before I even knew him personally, I was able to recognize him as someone who turns heads instantly, someone who raises questions and charms his peers, and ultimately, someone with a compelling story to tell. With that being said, I was very appreciative when Joshua agreed to be interviewed by me about his music career for Analog. He had a lot to say about his artistry, his upbringing, and ultimately, his goals and aspirations for a bright future in music.

I’m curious how the stage name Joshua Sweet came to be. Unsurprisingly, there is a precise story behind it. “People used to tell me I was too sweet, and that I’m too nice to people,” Joshua says. “I always took that in a very bad way. It always made me feel horrible, like I have to be mean or something. But then I decided to myself, ‘I’m not going to change for anybody. I’ll show the world who’s too sweet.’” 

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Photo: Terrence Michael Studio

Although he had previously released a record under the name Joshua Johnson, he’s happy he made the switch to a new direction. “I was like, ‘I have to do it.’ Then I came out with my song, ‘Thanks Anyway’ as Joshua Sweet, and then it just took off from there. Joshua Sweet is me.”

As he explained to me, Joshua’s early life was full of turbulence, constant moving, and strict rules put in place by his parents. Growing up in an extremely Christian household with two successful Indian parents, Joshua recalls feeling confused about his identity. “I was never really accepted by the Indian community. They never really liked me, because I was born in America, my name is Joshua, I grew up Christian, my dad’s from England and my mom’s from Malaysia,” Joshua says about his family. “I never really had a community to fall back on, so I really had to find myself and build a sense of belonging.” For a channel of creativity and expression, Joshua remembers the close relationship he maintained with his brothers throughout his childhood. “We didn’t learn from our parents, we learned from each other. Without a doubt.”

Coming from a postdoc father and a business-oriented mother, Joshua also recalls the strict expectations put in place by his parents, and how that slowly faded over the years. “When you’re moving around so much, it’s hard to keep track of your kids. Eventually they just started loosening up. For example, I was never allowed to have earrings growing up, so [one day] I just kinda did it. But because it was so much later in my life, they were kinda like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’”

This dynamic relationship between masculinity and femininity has always played a substantial role in Joshua’s physical image- one which is reminiscent of the androgynous energy put forth by Prince and Michael Jackson. Unsurprisingly, Joshua often finds himself being compared to many of his favorite artists. He cites Michael Jackson and Prince as some of his most substantial influences, but also includes more modern icons such as Bruno Mars, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, and Harry Styles. Joshua recounts Harry Styles in particular as one of his most favored idols, especially in regards to his femininity. “I started wearing women’s clothes in middle school, and people weren’t ready for that. I was definitely ahead of my time. When Harry Styles started doing that, I felt a sense of belonging and acceptance. One day, I want to tell him how much I appreciate that.”

In late August of 2019, Joshua Sweet released his newest song and music video, “Strangers.” With college starting just a week away, Joshua recalls his reservations about starting that new epoch of his life. In fact, he admits, that period of his life was one of his hardest moments in 2019. “I was about to release my video, ‘Strangers.’ I was just thinking to myself, “I have to get out of here, I can’t go to school. It’s not for me. Part of me still believes that. I was having all these internal conversations with myself, like, ‘I need to release strangers before I go to school and hopefully someone will find it.’’ According to Josh, his other dark moment of 2019 came in December, when popular rap artist Juice Wrld died after a drug-induced seizure. Even though Joshua states he was never a huge fan of the artist, being informed of the death still hit him hard. “It hurt knowing that someone that age could lose it all,” Joshua says in regards to the loss of Juice Wrld. His life basically just started. He was 21, and the life that he was going to be known for and cherished for had just started. He lost it within two years of being a big artist. Two years goes like that; I’ve been making music for longer than two years. That definitely got in my head a little bit. When I see celebrities die, it makes me feel weird, even if I don’t know them. They had this whole life that they probably wanted so badly, and now they can’t have it anymore.”

It’s clear to me, and many of the people around Joshua, that his appreciation and zest for life is enormous. He is someone who approaches every day with a positive attitude, and a general goal to make the best out of all of his experiences, both good and bad.

However, despite these privations, 2019 certainly treated Joshua Sweet well. In fact, he recounts it as an altogether fantastic year for his growth as an artist. He was granted his first interview as an artist in January of 2019- an experience that marked his prominence as “the real deal.” He also discovered a fan cover of one of his songs on YouTube, and then, out of nowhere, discovered he had a fan page on Instagram. When I ask him how it feels to have a designated fan page, he laughs and says, “It definitely felt weird at first, because I didn’t know what was going on, because I’ve never had a fan page going on. So I was a little scared at first, actually. But then when I talked to them, I saw that it was real. I couldn’t believe it. It feels like you just had a child or something. You’re just in shock and you start reflecting on your whole life. I knew it was going to come, but I didn’t know how soon. I try to use my platform for good, because I know people are watching me.”

While many of Joshua’s themes and lyrics are centric around a typical pop, love/breakup dynamic, he also enjoys branching out into other subjects, such as social justice issues. Joshua says he is a firm believer that our generation will change the world for the better, and ultimately, undo the harm caused by prior generations. Joshua says, “I know we’re going to change everything, and the way society was built by prior generations. They have a lot of wrong beliefs, in racism, sexism, and the people “below them.” This year, Joshua hopes to release his song and music video for “Fear the Youth,” which covers this exact topic. 

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Passion for helping others and even exploring philanthropy is one of Joshua’s biggest goals once he becomes a prominent artist. As of right now, Joshua is growing out his hair for the sole purpose of donating it (and yes, although I’m sad by the prospect that he’s going to cut it, I understand his mission). He says that while he certainly wants to live well, money and cars aren’t as important to him as pure, wholesome happiness. At the root of everything, Joshua Sweet just wants to spread his sweetness. “I strongly believe that we should be kind to one another, regardless of our differences,” Joshua says about his values. “That’s definitely a huge value of mine, to treat people equally and respectfully regardless of if you’re gay, straight, trans, black, white- we’re all human. I feel like we lose sight of that sometimes.”

Along his journey of pursuing music professionally, Joshua says he has certainly learned a lot about success, connections, and community. Additionally, even though he was originally apprehensive about entering college, Joshua appreciates the lessons he has learned along the way and the friends he has gained. On campus alone, Joshua is aware of his success and knows that people will approach him solely because he is an artist. However, he has no reservations about the somewhat surface-level attention he receives. “I guess I kind of knew that would happen, so that’s why I don’t even hate it. I was signing up for this life and what comes with it. And I am fully ready for it.”

Beyond adoring college acquaintances, Joshua is also grateful for the support and interest his friends have shown in his lifestyle. He says that his friends accompany him almost anywhere- from the studio to record new music to photo shoots, they’re always close by to offer their loyalty. Having a large network has also initiated Joshua to extend his recognition. “People who I don’t know will come up to me and tell me that they like my music, and it’s the greatest feeling in the world. When you show your music to one person, they’ll show it to another, and another, and another. That’s how a lot of people find me. People will show their parents my music, and then their parents will be impressed with me. It’s just the greatest feeling ever.”

Although Joshua does record all of his music at a studio, he prefers to write whenever and wherever inspiration hits. “I don’t write in the studio because that’s actually very financially irresponsible, because you’re paying for that time,” he says about the expensive nature of studio time. “I write wherever inspiration hits me, really. It could be in my dorm room, in my room at home, or even in class, it will hit me sometimes. I have this song called ‘Broken Girl’ that nobody’s ever heard before, but it hit me in the middle of class. The lyrics just randomly came into my head, and I just started writing in the middle of the lecture.”

As of right now, Joshua says he has put writing on hold so he can focus solely on recording. “I want to release my song ‘Lucy’s Jewelry’ and release my video for ‘Fear the Youth,’” he says in regards to his plans for 2020. Additionally, in an ideal world, Joshua hopes that 2020 may be the year his music career takes off drastically. “My aspiration for 2020 would be to randomly become one of the biggest artists ever. In the real world, though, my goal is just to work my hardest and be happy. I know that hard work is what’s going to get me there. I’m optimistic in the sense that I know I’ll get there.”

Even if Joshua ever changes his mind about pursuing music (which is, from what I can tell, extremely unlikely), he has a backup plan for his career. “I would be an actor,” he says about himself if he had to pick a different career. “I am an actor already, but definitely not as serious as music. I’m aiming for music, and then I can branch off into acting. I feel like acting and music go hand in hand. When I think about having a career, I can’t imagine myself at a 9-5 desk job.” (Neither can we, frankly.)

Before we end the interview, I still have a couple more questions for Joshua. I ask him what he wishes more people knew about him, and he says, “No matter who someone is or what they’re going through, or how you perceive themselves, they’re always welcome to talk to me, and I will always accept them no matter what they feel they’re different for. They don’t need to feel uncomfortable or anything. When they’re with me, they’re cared about a lot.”

Speaking to Joshua face-to-face for this story, I am able to experience firsthand his warm, kind-hearted nature towards himself and others. While he certainly funnels a lot of thought and attention into himself, a large part of his identity is still essential around how he can leave a positive mark on others. 

Lastly, before we close, Joshua has a final piece of advice for other budding young artists hoping to achieve success. “Just because someone tells you that your idea is bad, doesn’t mean it actually is bad. They’ve never seen the outcome, and they don’t know what’s what. If your peers had all the answers in life, they would be further than they are now. No matter what, your ideas are just as good or even better than what their’s ever could be.” ★ 

Joshua, we wish you success and luck with everything!

Pretty Wings: A Word with GB2UNO

“They probably think I’m just a black dude, until they see deep into my soul and listen to my music. They see my energy, and they give credit where credit is due.”

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Photo from Instagram

In 2020, more independent artists than ever are popping up on streaming sites such as Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud. On Spotify alone, Billboard estimates that there are more than 1.2 million artists currently listed on the platform. Each one, of course, brings a distinctly unique flavor to the realm of music and artistry. So what sets rapper GB2UNO, based in the Boston area, apart from the rest?

“I’m kind of all over the place,” GB2UNO, who goes by GB, says in regards to his themes. “So really whatever fits my mood at that exact moment of making a song, or just something I thought of incorporating into it.”

I was curious about the stage name, which admittedly took me a few takes to memorize. “I was inspired by basketball star Kevin Durant, because he was my favorite player,” he tells me. “At one point in my life his twitter name was @KDTreyCinco, and it inspired me to use that because my basketball number was #21. And then I made a rap song and the whole school was calling me ‘GB2UNO.’ So I ran with it.”

GB, whose real name is Gregory, has been making music for his entire life. It’s easy to see his passion and drive for the art, as his eyes light up when he speaks about his shows, his networks, and of course, his music. However, life isn’t always perfect for this turbulent musician. GB was born and raised in Urbana, Illinois, just outside of the Chicago metropolitan area. “I wouldn’t say I had a rough upbringing, but I did have flaws, like every kid finding a purpose,” says GB. “My family was an average family, except for my parents splitting up constantly throughout my life and me having to be the big brother and the man of the house at times. Just having to grow up at an early age built me into the person I am today. I love my family though, through all the bumps and bruises.”

After spending his childhood and adolescence in Urbana, GB moved to the Boston area after one of his college friends did the same. He explains with enthusiasm the culture-shock he experienced here, from the people and the parties to even the weather. Nonetheless, GB fell in love with the Boston scene, and from there he started to meet other inspiring dream-chasers. In March of 2018, he began to take his budding music career seriously, releasing singles such as “Brotherz” and “Mrs. GB2UNO.” GB is clearly hardworking and driven in his career, and owns a lot of his inspiration to artists such as Swooli and Jake Lewis. “I met Swooli, and Jake Lewis once, and a couple older individuals who had a passion for music, who wanted to see others succeed as bad as they wanted too- no matter what field of interests,” GB says. He also cites EDM music, pop, trap, and “the songs they play in Forever 21” as being inspirations for his own artistry. “I don’t limit myself to one sound,” he continues.

Listening to his music, it’s clear that GB’s inspiration does indeed come from a wide variety of sources and backgrounds. His music is not only enjoyable for fans of trap and hip-hop, but also listeners who love intricate beats, high-energy and melodies, and thoughtful lyrics. As someone who usually sticks with John Denver and the Eagles, even I enjoyed this young musician’s electric and fast-paced records. 

Throughout his turbulent music career, GB has endured his own ups and downs since he’s settled down in the Boston area. He cites performing in shows and growing his network as the highlights of his year, along with cutting the toxic people out of his life. He also notes that it’s difficult “having to deal with other people who aren’t officially self-aware or in dreamland like us,” when I ask him to elaborate on his negative experiences. 

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Photo from Instagram

Beyond his music, it doesn’t take long to respect GB’s kind, easygoing personality as I continue with our interview. He’s also extremely insightful, and wishes that more people recognized him as a “living person.” When I ask him what he thinks peoples’ first impressions of him are, he says with a laugh, “They probably think I’m just a black dude, until they see deep into my soul and listen to my music. They see my energy, and they give credit where credit is due.” Although it’s a seemingly simple answer, GB’s response sparked insight and reflection for me as an observer of humanity. It’s true, we tend to stereotype artists based on what we see, and GB is a stunning example of breaking down those barriers.

One particular motif fans and listeners will notice in GB’s image is the use of the butterfly emoji in most of his posts and titles. He explains that the butterfly has significance to him because it symbolizes freedom and being comfortable in your own bubble. He says that he’s definitely more of an introvert, so he only tends to “pop out when necessary.” GB also describes that the butterfly symbolizes good energy and positivity- two virtues that I’ve noticed seem to radiate off of him.

Before we close our interview, I still have a couple of burning questions for GB2UNO. I ask him if he feels like he’s living a meaningful life, to which he replies, “Being on my own and so far from home can be devastating sometimes, but it’s the life I signed up for. You can’t really worry about having a lot on your plate when the goal was to eat, to begin with. I believe every day should be meaningful because when we will never get that time back once we are gone. So live every day to the fullest.”

Lastly, GB offers up some valuable advice for other budding musicians. He wants other artists to know that they should never give up, no matter how hard it gets. “I love leading by example,” he says, “I love showing younger artists that you don’t have to be afraid to be yourself. I want to be that good soul that bleeds positivity on every person. My passion is music and I’m set on that. My passion is love and beliefs.” 


You can listen to GB’s music on all of the following streaming platforms:

YouTube

Spotify

Google Play

Deezer

iHeart Radio

What We’re Listening to Right Now

New Year, New Beats. From the Analog team to you, this what we’re bopping to so far in 2020:


Fear Not Ourselves Alone

Punk/Alternative

Top tracks: “Void”, “Token”, “Transreal”

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“FNOA is the self-proclaimed ‘last punk band from Queens, NY.’ I found them through a Spotify autoplay fluke and fell in love with their sound. They very blatantly discuss topics such as being trans and how living in a body is hard, mental health, immigration/culture, etc. The personal subject matter is addressed head-on through the lyrics, and complemented by the sound and aesthetic. They perform live as either a group or in solo sets of just their lead vocalist/lyricist, Jorge Velez (both of which are a magical experience). They have two LPs; a self-titled album and ‘Gay Shame White Feelings,’ and just released a spoken poetry EP called ‘They Don’t Tell You To Think,’ which EVERYONE needs to go listen to.”  -MJ, Head Design Consultant & Staff Writer


Mumford and Sons

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Photo: New York Post

Folk Rock

Top tracks: “Little Lion Man”, “Guiding Light”, “I Will Wait”

“When I write or edit, I always listen to Mumford & Sons. They’re my favorite to listen to because of the slow beginnings of the songs, which usually reflect my motivation to write my own pieces. Then, as the songs go, the beat gets quicker and it reflects how my motivation rises as I work.” -Colleen, Head Editor


Kim Petras

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Photo: Dummy Mag

Dance-pop 

Top tracks: “Do Me” “I Don’t Want It At All”, “Icy”

“Oh my god, Lily has gotten me so into Kim Petras this season. I love that she’s so unapologetically herself and that she combines elements of sexuality and female power in her music. On top of that, her melodies are incredibly catchy. I’ve definitely been belting her songs in the shower these past few weeks. I have no shame.” -Sarah, Editor-in-Chief


Young M.A

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Photo: Billboard

Hip-hop

Top tracks: “Bleed”, “BIG”, “OOOUUU”

“Three years following her biggest hit “OOOUUU”, M.A has finally released her debut album. Twenty-one tracks reveal her experiences growing up in Brooklyn, relationships, acquiring wealth, and sexuality. Her identity and values are at the forefront of her lyricism. From the album name to the final track “PettyWap 2”, her wordplay is sharp and her beats are reminiscent of hip hop classics.” -Lily, Assistant Manager & Digital Content Manager


Tame Impala

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Photo: NME

Psychedelic Rock 

Top tracks: “Let it Happen”, “It Might Be Time”, “Borderline”

“I am really looking forward to Tame Impala’s new album ‘The Slow Rush’ dropping February 2020, so until then I’ve been listening to the pre-released singles that are only making me more excited for the big reveal. Tame Impala has always been a go-to for me; I am never not in the mood to listen to the unique psychedelic pop grooves. The singles “Borderline” and “It Might Be Time” have been on replay for me at the moment, as they’re somehow upbeat and mood-boosting yet relaxing at the same time. In my personal opinion, Tame Impala’s music is fantastic for me in times of anxiety for that reason. It’s calming without having a sad vibe.” -Alanis, staff writer


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Photo: The Irish Times

“At the moment I’ve been going through artists that I love but haven’t gotten the chance to listen to thoroughly. Lately, I’ve been going through Radiohead, Orville Peck, and The Car Seat Headrest from their oldest albums to newest. I love their content because each album is so unique and special to each artist in their own poetic way. They also produce amazing music videos, which I always appreciate.” -Abi, staff writer

On the Rise: New England’s Indie Scene with Antonio Gonzalez

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By Sarah Desroche

A Massachusetts native, Antonio Gonzalez, has been spending the last six years of his life developing a professional music career. This Spotify-verified artist prides himself on incorporating folk, indie, and alternative rock into his songs, in which he pens himself as a singer-songwriter. Now, he’s studying music at Monmouth University in New Jersey, with ambitions to further his prosperous career as a musical artist.

Q: How would you classify your specific musical genre?

A: “I’d probably say it’s a mix of a lot of different genres, honestly. It’s hard to pin down because I take inspiration from many musicians whose music spans a wide variety of styles.” 

Q: Tell us a little bit about your personal background, where you come from, what drives your inspiration, etc.

A: “I’m from northern Massachusetts, last town before New Hampshire. I spent a lot of time traveling through New England as a kid and taking in what the states had to offer. I think what drives me is a kind of pseudo expectation of myself. Sort of like, “This is what I can do today but I should be able to do better tomorrow.” it keeps me in check, almost. It’s about doing, not  saying.”

Q: Who were your favorite musicians growing up?

A: “I spent many days driving with my mom when I was young and she made mixtapes for these trips. Notably, I really loved Maroon 5, Pink, The Beatles, Sarah McLoughlin, and a bunch of others. My dad loved jazz and classical music, so I really got an eclectic mix of music to grow up with.”

Q: Did growing up in a small town have any substantial influence on your artistry?

A: “I don’t think so. I was always determined to do what I wanted and I’ve never really been a fan of outside influence when it comes to creative work. I love collaborative work, but when it comes to the initial creation of music, I think that’s an extremely personal thing. Even if someone’s music isn’t “successful”, I’d prefer that over some less personal offerings.”

Q: When was the turning point in your life that you decided to pursue music? Was it a sudden epiphany, or a growing ambition that developed over time?

A: “After my first concert, I really wanted to do something could unite people across different backgrounds, but I didn’t think music was what I wanted to do until much later. I don’t think it was an epiphany or a slow burn decision, either. When I started playing music and writing songs I kind of said, “Well I can do this pretty well, and it satisfies the need to bring people together,” so I started taking it more seriously.”

Q: Was there ever a moment that you doubted yourself and your dreams? If so, how did you deal with that adversity?

A: “Pretty much every day. I spend a lot of time listening to music and being surrounded by really high-quality musicians and inevitably I compare myself to them. I just have to remind myself that as artists: we all specialize in something different, so what one person excels at might not be my strong suit, while what I’m good at is where somebody else struggles.”

Q: What obstacles have you overcome along the way, personally and musically?

A: “It’s hard to balance life and education with the pursuit of a career in music. I typically have so much to do in a day that it becomes hard to schedule a little time every day to practice or write. I struggle with mental health issues, so there are days where I’m totally motivated like, “Yeah, let’s kick some ass today!” and then there are others like, “I’m getting my ass kicked today.” It’s tough to find time to take care of myself and everything else.” 

Q: What drives the inspiration behind your lyrics, your melodies, and your artistry?

A: “In terms of imagery, I write about what I see or feel. Sometimes I’ll write about how nice everything is, and other times I’ll write more about the chaos of the world. My goal is to write music that has “defined lyrical meaning”, yet anyone can listen to it and have an idea about what it means. I want to create something universal, not so much something with a single meaning.”

Q: Where do you do most of your creating? (In a studio, your bedroom, etc)

A: “When it comes to the actual music, most of that comes from sitting at home and playing around on the guitar. Sometimes when I have an idea and I’m not home with an instrument, I open up voice memos and record a little melody to work on later. Most of my lyrics come from just observing what’s going on around me. Sometimes I’ll be watching the news and think of a lyric, or on a walk, or listening to a speech, or reading. I try to find inspiration everywhere I am to diversify the music I write.”

Q: Do you believe that New England’s folk/indie scene is unique compared to the rest of the world? Why or why not?

A: “I think the unique part of these genres is that they’re relatively niche. So if you fall into listening to a lot of them, your musical community isn’t restricted to your physical location. You can go from small-town Massachusetts to big-city California and still find people who like what you like and connect with music in the same vein.”

Q: What are your current projects, and what are your ambitions for the future?

A: “Recently I released an EP called ‘You’ll Be Fine’, which is available on all streaming services. It was a long time in the making and I’m so appreciative of everyone who came and helped turn an idea into a result. I’m also planning on recording two singles before the spring and releasing them everywhere as well. My hope is that I can really build a community of listeners and connect with them with more and more music.”

Q: Lastly, what advice would you give to other budding musicians?

A: “Definitely just don’t stop. Whatever your instrument, style, lyricism may be, don’t stop working. You will get discouraged, you will find it hard to get better, you will lose motivation, but in the face of all that, just keep making music. Even if it’s only for ten minutes a day, do it. Because eventually you’ll find your motivation again and you’ll take everything you’ve done and make it even better.”

You can stream Antonio Gonzalez’ newest EP release, “You’ll Be Fine”, on Spotify, or follow him on Instagram at @santiago_keyes.