Intern Picks of the Week — Songs That Would Send a Victorian Child Into a Coma

Wet Leg

It’s a time-traveling, heart-stopping show-and-tell. This week, we’re selecting songs that we believe would be so shocking to someone from the past that they would fall straight into a coma.

Ellie’s Pick: “I Know the End” — Phoebe Bridgers

My intern pick of the week is “I Know the End” by our skeleton queen Phoebe Bridgers. She is an indie singer-songwriter from Pasadena, California that has amassed a copious amount of success throughout her career. Collaborating with artists such as SZA and Taylor Swift, she demonstrates that she can write for a plethora of genres. Nominated for multiple Grammy awards, including Best New Artist, there is no denying the talent of Phoebe Bridgers. Although it pains me that she so adamantly hates cats, Bridgers truly writes grief, trauma, and heartbreak like no other. 

Taking a more subtle approach to this week’s theme, upon first listen, you might be surprised at how an indie ballad could send a Victorian child into a coma. Harping on a theme of an apocalypse, “I Know the End” brings about the end of the world. A devastating topic for children in general. For Victorian children specifically, I think the third verse would particularly shock them. Lyrics such as “Windows down, scream along to some America First rap-country song. A slaughterhouse, an outlet mall, slot machines, fear of God”  I imagine would be quite unsettling as they probably couldn’t begin to conceptualize any of those subjects. Rap-country? Slot machines? Absolutely frightening. 

If that doesn’t suffice, despite the slow buildup instrumentally, the screaming accompanied by reverberant horns and heavy alt-rock drums in the outro are sure to hit the nail on the coffin.

Claire’s Pick: Wet Leg — “Chaise Longue”

My intern pick this week is “Chaise Lounge” from the nonsensically brilliant band Wet Leg. I came across the band in the heat of the Tennessee summer back in 2021. They are something I didn’t know I needed and now couldn’t live without. Originally from the Isle of White, their eccentric sound has crossed the globe, amassing millions of streams from their debut single. Eventually releasing their self-titled record in 2022, their dry wit and sedative disco beats continue to speak volumes. The band creates a new type of freedom for indie listeners. 

Although their entire record would send a Victorian child into comatose, lyrics like “Is your muffin buttered? Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?” took the cake. The track starts off small, with the bassline and drums conducted by an overarching in-your-face vocal. The hypnotic melody is eventually driven by post-punk modular guitar leads that bring the track into its full form.

Written without the intention of reaching other ears, Chaise Lonuge would certainly have the Victorian era in a trance.

Caden’s Pick: Glasslands—”Mad”

For this week’s theme, I have chosen the song “Mad” by Glasslands. “Mad” is the third song on their second album The Deep which was released in 2022. The band consists of Nashville-based vocalist Josh Kincheloe, drummer Brandon Mullins, and guitarist Jordan DiSorbo. This album takes us on a journey through difficult topics like grief, depression, failure, and insecurity. With that being said, there are multiple tracks on this record that could easily put a Victorian-era child into a coma. 

I chose this song because it starts off in a more calm manner compared to what the song soon becomes. It is possible that the first chorus could be enough to bring on the coma, but there may be some that have a strong enough will to make it to the end. If the chorus or post-chorus doesn’t get them, I still have hope that the outro might. The outro consists of two lines that Kincheloe screams. The screams seem to be filled with such pain that Kincheloe just wants to get out. I would think that these two lines might be a little too much for a Victorian-era audience to handle.

Hopefully “Mad” by Glasslands would fit the criteria to put a Victorian-era child into a prolonged state of unconsciousness.

Christina’s Pick: SZA — “Ghost in the Machine”

My pick this week is “Ghost in the Machine” by SZA featuring Phoebe Bridgers! “Ghost in the Machine” is a song off SZA’s latest album, SOS. Released in December 2022, SOS has been taking the internet by storm for the last month. Several songs on the album have been trending immediately after its release, and the hype is worth it. “Ghost in the Machine” is the twelfth track on this beautifully honest, chart-topping record. 

The song itself explores society’s disillusion with humanity, resulting in the robotic tendencies the 21st generation has fallen into with such intense exposure to technology. Social media now plays a crucial role in our world, but seemingly at the cost of human interaction. In looking for a way to cope and escape from this, SZA allows herself to indulge in toxic relationships. The dreamy, synth-driven chorus reflects on how although she feels discouraged by humanity, she still craves it. 

The outro to “Ghost in the Machine” is spoken by SZA and Sadhguru, an influential yogi. With the lyrics “Those who have forsaken their humanity, they like to patch their life with morality” they bring to light the distinction between the two. SZA’s reference to this adds to her point that people have become obsessed with vanity in relationships, losing sight of emotional value. Social media is superficial, and many of us have become so used to mindless satisfaction that we lose sight of real human connection.

A glimpse into this world would surely leave a victorian child in disbelief. SZA’s reflective lyrics call attention to the new challenges society faces in the digital age and any Victorian child would likely find themselves both confused and concerned for the future.