2019 was quite a year. Remember the whole “Let’s storm Area 51, they can’t stop all of us!” thing? Well, despite the lack of public discovery of alien life forms, we still thought it would be fun to consider the possibility. So we asked ourselves, if we met aliens, what would be the first songs we show them to give them an idea of what humanity is?
Here is what some of our KSJSers said.
1. “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes
There’s something transcendent about this song. Raw, rhythmic, and simple, the emotions and beats in this song can cross the language barrier and hopefully reach our alien friends; hearts (or whatever emotional center that they have). I can only hope that they can relate to the timeless themes of childhood, changing seasons, and trauma as well as us humans. -Evan Mendoza
2. “These Walls” by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ is a transcendence of poetry, hip hop, jazz fusion and activism. Through his concrete classic, “These Walls” manages to exemplify just how clever the English language can be. These Walls tells a story of regret and power masked behind lust and a sexy groove. This song portrays this image of love and sex that Kendrick hides behind while telling of an experience where he used his position of power to get revenge through this same avenue. A deep and vulnerable example of human complexity.
3. “Warmth (Live)” by Bastille
I saw Bastille at one of those big holiday concerts at the end of the year a few years ago. I had gone to see Green Day, and they were fantastic. But Bastille had my jaw on the floor, goosebumps across my arms, chills going up my spine. Is that dramatic? Sure. But Dan Smith’s voice is maybe the most soulful I’ve ever heard. It’s just so warm, and so full, and absolutely beautiful. The band is immensely talented as well. These guys are so much more than just “Pompeii” and “Happier.” I hadn’t thought that before I saw them live, but nowadays I will defend that sentiment to the grave.
Anywho. This band had one of the most sonically pleasing sets I’ve experienced so far in my lifetime, and I think the aliens should most definitely get a taste of this. Especially one of their orchestrated performances. Going to one of their orchestral shows in London is on my bucket list. Bastille captures emotion and musical magic like few others. Heck, forget the aliens — every human should experience this. -K-3PO
4. “Fade into You” by Mazzy Star
With love comes pain. Mazzy Star depicts her heartbreak towards the person who can’t offer her the love she seeks from them beautifully in this ethereal track. When I listen to this, I close my eyes and feel like I’m being transported somewhere new. The word that always comes to mind every time I listen to this song is otherworldly. That’s why this song is perfect for the aliens. Maybe they will feel the pain in Mazzy’s voice and feel that they are being transported to a deeper place. -Noor Elhage
5. “Askim” by Kamasi Washington
Askim is a 12 and a half minute song that begins with the lightest bass chord with drums, wind instruments, piano keys all being peppered on top until the alto sax enters and officially begins your journey into the song. This track fully submerges the listener and tells an expansive story filled with emotion and tension all without a single spoken word. It demonstrates the power of orchestration and jazz coming together to give someone an experience through music.
6. “Must Have Been the Wind” by Alec Benjamin
If I were a sentient alien life form from another planet, I would want to know what humanity is all about. What are humans interested in? What do they believe in? What do they stand for?
Now, as a human being, I know that there’s a lot to NOT be proud of — war, genocide, discrimination, pollution, a combination of the above, and much much more than I would like to list. You get the gist.
BUT there is something we can be proud of: art, and the beauty, creativity and freedom that comes with it.
Alec Benjamin is one of my favorite artists. His indie pop narrative songwriting is the kind to restore your faith in humanity, especially with this song right here. It’s about reaching out to a neighbor who’s undergoing trauma and abuse. It depicts a serious and complex problem on this planet of ours, but it also displays hope and human kindness. -K-3PO
What songs would you show the aliens? Share in the comments below! And always be on the lookout for fresh new tunes at 90.5 FM or stream us online!