When I found out a couple months ago that the Cold War Kids and K.Flay would be releasing albums on the same day, I wrote “greatest music day of semester” on April 7 in my calendar. I was not disappointed. Even though I was more impressed overall with K.Flay’s debut, Every Where is Some Where, than I was with CWK’s sixth album, L.A. Divine, I’ve been listening to certain songs from both (covers pictured above) on repeat for the past 24 hours.
K.Flay’s music is a conglomeration of rap, indie rock, electronic and punk music, to the point that she might as well be her own genre. All four songs from her EP Crush Me, which I fell in love with when it came out in August, are on the new album. The angry “Blood in the Cut” is my favorite of those four because it makes me feel like I’m walking in slow-motion away from an explosion, like in an action movie. Her newer songs are just as packed with emotion and bitingly clever lyrics. “It’s Just a Lot,” “Mean It,” and “Champagne” are my current favorites.
This is going to sound weird, but “Champagne” reminds me of a couple of tunes from the musical Hamilton. It has a fairly slow beat with lyrics that start at that pace but eventually pick up speed and become intricate, lightning-fast rap verses that you can’t understand unless you look up the lyrics. The first time I heard “Champagne,” I thought of “Guns and Ships” and “Washington on Your Side” from Hamilton, not just because of the speed but also because K.Flay resembles Lin-Manuel Miranda in terms of rhyming skills. She rhymes Tennyson with Benadryl and sporadic with combative; Miranda rhymes discipline with dissidents and eventually with the phrase “on the bench, I mean.” Word artistry like that blows my mind every time.
Speaking of mind-blowing songs, there aren’t as many on L.A. Divine as there are on Every Where is Some Where, but there are a few, and there’s no shortage of the gorgeous instrumentals that drew me to CWK in the first place. The peaceful “Part of the Night” and upbeat “Ordinary Idols” are my two favorites by far. I wish both songs, especially the latter, had been released when I saw CWK in concert a couple weeks ago. “Ordinary Idols” is one of those rare songs in which the guitar, bass and piano riffs each give the song an equal amount of power. I can just imagine myself jamming to it at The Blue Note.
I’ve heard very few things more beautiful than the synthesizer solo right after the first chorus in “Part of the Night.” From what I gather based on the lyrics, the song is a story about people who are chasing big dreams and lean on each other when they’re feeling insecure, kind of like my convergence squad. The line “careful not to overexpose,” an obvious reference to photography, makes the song even more applicable to us.
I recently made a playlist of convergence-related songs (which should surprise no one), and I just added another one to it: “No Reason to Run,” another upbeat piano-and-guitar-driven anthem by CWK. It’s yet another love song I can relate to journalism. I actually didn’t realize at first that it was a love song because it described my convergence experience so well, and then I realized it was because the most accurate lyrics were the ones that weren’t about another person.
Here are the most resonant lines:
“I wanna be part of the movement / Somebody sign me up / Have you ever felt so authentic? / Like you belong in the club.”
I’ve felt more like a real journalist every semester so far, and especially this semester as I’ve navigated my way through 4804. Journalism is more than a profession; it’s a movement for truth, accountability, and giving voices to the voiceless. I’m grateful every day to be a member of “the club,” even though that word doesn’t come close to encompassing journalism (it makes more sense when applied strictly to the convergence family).
“I’m like a Cro-Magnon walking out of my cave / I have evolved like a fish growing legs.”
On Deadline Day this past Thursday, I worked on my team’s social media video and the infographic for the first time instead of the text piece. I didn’t know I could do either of those things, but I really enjoyed them. I feel like I’m watching myself evolve with each story, and I’m in awe. At the beginning of the semester, I kind of felt like a fish out of water. After finishing four of the six team stories, I’ve become pretty confident in my ability to walk on dry land.
I was definitely right when I predicted that yesterday would be the best music day of the semester. What I didn’t predict was how little stress I would feel during this deadline week. The sense of calm I developed during spring break seems to have carried over into the resumed daily grind. I guess it’s because I’ve made it this far in 4804 and I know I can handle anything it throws at me.
With the end of the semester in sight, I’m excited to knock out two more team stories. I have no reason to run from the intensity of the reporting process — in fact, I have every reason to run toward it.
And I’ll be careful not to overexpose my photos and video. 🙂