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reLISTEN #2: Dark Times

An exploration of stylistic approaches to the gloomy ambience.

Discover Alex Henry Foster in today's edition

Welcome, dear members, to the second edition of reLISTEN—the format that recommends five older songs you might enjoy.

Today's recommendations roam on the fringes of sombre sonic realms. Although the five songs don't share the same genre, they transport a certain obscure, sometimes even spooky, atmosphere.

I occasionally find joy in so-called "happy songs"; however, I find myself more often drawn to darker themes and sounds. It's hard to pinpoint the reasons. Maybe music, to me, acts as a counterbalance to a society that frowns upon negative emotions like sadness, fear, pain, loneliness, or heartbreak.

I wouldn't necessarily state that hard times create better art. But the depth of emotions, the human soul, and its vulnerability seems to give artists more opportunities to explore and express themselves.

And honestly, there's simply not much to relate to in the hundredth song about sex, drugs, and parties.

With that being said, today's edition won't render you depressive either. Instead, it's a comprehensive exploration of stylistic approaches to the gloomy ambience, yet there are still peaks of excitement and excess.

You'll encounter soaring guitars, restless rhythms, cinematic experiences, and epic storytelling.

I hope this edition will leave you inspired and intrigued.

Safari Riot – Where Is My Mind

Pixies' Where Is My Mind wasn't exactly prone to become a significant alternative hit. But the song became a phenomenon with its inclusion in the movie Fight Club. Since then, it sparked a couple of cover versions—like the piano rendition by Maxence Cyrin.

However, the most haunting version was done by Safari Riot, a Los Angeles-based artist development company. Co-founder Grayson Sanders delivers the lyrics. The cinematic drama in Safari Riot's performance is no coincidence, as the song was used in the trailer for the video game Dying Light 2.

Safari Riot transforms the original's alternative rock vibe into a dystopian, post-apocalyptic storm. It's simultaneously atmospheric, almost ambient-like, and rampaging with its rumbling techno beat. But there's nothing straightforward about this rendition. Instead, it's chopped up, stops and starts, again and again, constantly changing pace and ambience.

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