Songs by your favorite Europeans.
DIO feat. SEF — “Tijdmachine” — zane hellmann
For those seniors without a countdown clock, there are 62 days until graduation. This Dutch song is all about wishing for a time machine to go back in time and redo some of things you might have messed up. Even if you can’t understand the words, I am sure you can relate to the general sentiment!
ADELE — “When We Were Young” — as described by siena streiber
If you haven’t listened to Adele’s “25” yet, take some time out of your day during this lovely week 3 to listen to it. Yes, we’ve all heard “Hello” a thousand times (see what I did there?), but to neglect the other songs on her album would be a mistake. “When We Were Young” can make you feel nostalgic for things you didn’t think you had to feel nostalgic about. I usually listen to it when I’m curled up in a chair, wrapped in a blanket, with a cup of warm english breakfast tea. Fancy that.
TEO – “Cheesecake” – as described by benina stern
For over three glorious minutes, the 2014 Eurovision Grand Final contest was transported back to the 90s. What is usually hours of ostentatious, pyrotechnical spectacle, Belarus decided to keep it simple by giving us a boy band—perfectly coiffed hair, tight harmonies, synchronized choreography. And don’t get me started on the lyrics. They’re everything and more.
THE 1975 – “The Sound” – as described by ned hardy
The 1975 are worshippers of capital-P Pop Music, and this record is the UK band’s best work yet. There’s a certain beauty to be found in a dead-simple (and quasi-inscrutable?) hook like, “I know when you’re around ‘cause I know the sound of your heart.” Combine that predilection for dorm-room philosophizing with gorgeously synthy piano-led production and a festival-ready chorus, and you’ve got a mega-hit just waiting to happen. Don’t even get me started on the bridge… Call it manufactured, call it engineered, whatever — it’s a masterclass in the dopamine-via-guitar-solo theorem. This is pleasure-receptor pop, and I fucking love it.
PLASTIC BERTRAND – “Ca Plane Pour Moi” – as described by david schmitt
You’ve probably heard a snippet of this track somewhere in popular culture (perhaps during the Benihana scene in Wolf of Wall Street) and wondered what the French lyrics mean. Belgian “singer” Plastic Bertrand, is quite the character – in 2010, he admitted that he did not sing any of the songs from his first four albums. In “Ca Plane Pour Moi,” he penned a nearly incoherent track that is often considered a parody of punk rock (the first line discusses Bertrand’s cat drinking whiskey and the song continues just as absurdly). An odd piece of music, but wow is it catchy…
SEINABO SEY — “Pretend” —as described by lila thulin
It’s the beat here that makes me think of Europe, Swedish-born Sey’s rich vocals alternating with a a club-ready synth/drum backbone. It’s a boogie of a song, and its lyrics (‘all turned out as great as it could/knock on wood”) also encapsulate my feelings as a clueless American studying abroad: full of euphoria but also with the nagging suspicion that soon, my high school grasp of Spanish will betray me in spectacularly embarrassing/funny-only-in-hindsight fashion (ano/año, learn the difference kids).
King Krule – “Out Getting Ribs” – as described by madelyne xiao
Any freckled, red-headed Brit has weathered comparisons to the Weasley clan since the early 2000s – I’d imagine that Archy Marshall’s gotten much the same, though the Ron-similitude ends at appearances. Marshall’s bass growl – in turns punk-brutal and jazz-smooth – took me by surprise: who’d have thunk such a face hid such a voice? Where does Archy end, and where does Krule begin? “Out Getting Ribs” is an homage to the Jean-Michel Basquiat pencil-and-paper piece of the same name. Like Basquiat’s art, King Krule feels like a too-young vessel for a much older soul.
STEVEN WILSON – “The Raven That Refused To Sing” – as described by sophia laurenzi
Days that are rainy and expansive in their grayness – so, average days in England – call for haunting melodies and epic proginess. Once you listen, you’ll never escape the piano motif.
VENGABOYS – “We Like to Party” – as described by nikki tran
In the late 90’s, at the tender age of four, I wasn’t much of a boyband fangirl (to this day, I still do not know the difference between N*SYNC and the Backstreet Boys), but I did fancy this metallic-clad, belly-button-flaunting Eurodance group. Although this teeny-bopper beach bash is potentially migraine-inducing and better known as the Six Flag’s theme song, I’d say it’s their best.
STORMZY – “Shut Up” – as described by anthony milki
Grime seems pretty simple – repetitive almost lazy beats with brits rapping over them. The scene is a tightly knit posse that’s got real, real undergroundness about them, but meanwhile are exploding all over the world – thank Kanye, thank Drake. Stormzy is the most obvious of ringleader Skepta’s heirs – at least he’s the most well-known, and all his buddies know his lyrics.
TAJCI – “Hajde Da Ludujemo” – as described by bojan srb
1990 Eurovision contestant Tajci from Yugoslavia sings “Let’s Get Crazy”, proving yet again that Yugoslav women are the most beautiful women in the world.
JENS LEKMAN – “I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You” – as described by katie nesser
For whatever reason, the Swedes produce some really great indie pop, and Jens Lekman puts out some of the best. This track is full of dark comedy and charmingly specific references, and manages to make getting brutally dumped sound relatively pleasant. And the way he says “asthma inhaler” is beyond adorable.
Image from here.