Bits of Songs That I Adore


Mrs. Kate Sickler, Faculty Advisor

Have you seen these TikToks??? 

       Well, I am unwilling to put myself out there on the TikTok, either because it will blow up, and that’s a PR nightmare for Winchester Thurston, or because it will go to the place unwatched TikToks go to die. Then I’ll feel bad about my lack of relatability, so I am writing it as a Voices article instead. Be warned, should you go and view the original videos, you may encounter explicit language. None of the clips include anything explicit or untoward. 

IDLES, Never Fight a Man With a Perm

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       Best listened to at the end of a long day, at maximum volume. Sometimes I start this song over and over just to hear this part. This part plays in my head anytime a student gets mad at me for doing teacher things, like, heaven forbid, insisting we can’t have a “nap class” on a Tuesday at 10:30 in the morning. Bonus: Their NPR Tiny Desk from 2019 is my version of a WWE walk-out.

The Mountain Goats, Palmcorder Yajna

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       I am obsessed with The Mountain Goats, and this is one of my favorite versions of one of my favorite songs. The entire video is gold. It starts with John Darniel introducing it to the audience, saying, “You may think to yourself, ‘I wish I had a song to sing.’ You may only hold this thought for a second or so, but I heard you when you thought that; that’s why I wrote you this song.” The dissonance harmonies of John and Peter Hughs make my spine shiver – John has a nasally vocal, while Peter has this clear, pure vocal – SO GOOD. 

Tyler, The Creator, See You Again

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       This is one of the most enjoyable performances I’ve ever watched on the internet. Aside from the genius that is Tyler Okonma (Igor is one of my all-time favorite albums), the backup singers can hardly be labeled backup – they are phenomenal and front and center. I have no words for how good Kaye Fox and Kiandra Richardson’s harmonies are. So, of course, the part that sticks in my brain is where Tyler screams over their vocals. There’s something so neat about the raw, deep growl and the beautiful harmony – who doesn’t like a good act of dissonance? 

Lorde and Haim, Are You Strong Enough to be My Man?

Getty Images / Neilson Barnard

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       This Sheryl Crow song takes me back to my sister’s Buick in the late 90s, but the cover gives a 2010s twist. The different vocals displayed in this clip make my ears itch in the best way. Additionally, the video showcases Lorde’s odd but incredibly intriguing dancing. Clearly, for these powerhouse women, the answer to “are you strong enough to be my man?” is a resounding no—what a time to be a woman looking for a man. 

Bright Eyes, Shell Games

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       I have a fraught relationship with most Bright Eyes songs. I usually save Bright Eyes for melancholy moments of self-flagellation; think the liminal space between Christmas and the New Year or the post-daylight-savings 6 am Monday morning walk to the bus stop. Shell Games is one of the few songs I can listen to and not immediately feel nauseous. I did sob when they played this song when I saw them live this past February. It speaks to me about growth, and I heal a little bit each time I hear the early lines of “forgive myself for the many times I was cruel to something helpless and weak.” However, this clip gets stuck in my head – “I’m still angry with no reason to be.” How can any former emo-kid deny that golden line? 


Tom Waits, Hold On

Getty Images

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Some classic youtube comments about Tom Waits: 

  1. “The boogeyman looks under his bed for Tom Waits.”
  2. “The Cookie Monster singing The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
  3. “Tom Waits is like a tourniquet after a bear attack. You only know you need him when it’s perfectly necessary.”
  4. “You might think that this video is grainy, discolored, and low-quality because it was recorded on VHS off a 90’s TV show and copied several times, but that’s actually just what happens when you look directly at Tom Waits.”


       Tom Waits is, hands down, my all-time favorite artist. Should I ever get the chance, I would spend an absurd amount of money and time for my dad and me to see Tom Waits perform. The man is 73 and hasn’t made a new record since 2011, so it’s unlikely to happen, but I’m prepared to take out a small loan for the occasion. It’s hard to pick a favorite moment in a Tom Waits song, but this is the first one that popped into my head. I worked in a coffee shop in high school, and this lyric was often my AIM-away message or Facebook status, depending on the year and whether we had dial-up internet or DSL. 

       I appreciate Voices for letting me have a moment of indulgence. I am always singing some earworm, so if you need a new song (or a new NPR TinyDesk) to check out, just pop by, and I’ll rustle something up for you. Here’s to a happy new year full of new and old tunes.