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  • Writer's pictureAmi Row

5 Songs I Love w/ a_shes

Following the release of his captivating new single 'red flags', we caught up with rising artist a_shes to find out more about the music he loves and why. Check out the selection below and if you're a fan you're sure to fall in love with 'red flags'!

1. The Louvre - Lorde

In retrospect, the first line of red flags was definitely a nod to one of the best songs to ever come out of Lorde’s discography. It just makes sense that I include a track about young love in the midst of a passionate summer heat off an album about the euphoric and tumultuous time that is entering young adulthood. Her production on this song was unlike any other pop song (if you could even categorise it as that) I’ve heard, even up until now. She manages to capture the pulsating excitement of a crush with shimmering strings, synths, and guitar whilst also demonstrating the reason why a crush is called a crush - the heavy muted kicks, deep bass and that crazy anti-drop courtesy of Flume makes you feel like your body is being compressed out of oxygen as you are being drowned by love (or rather, infatuation). I think it perfectly encapsulates the heightened emotions of our late teens and early twenties as we get to grips with what being in love really means beyond just a high school crush.

2. Run Away with Me - Carly Rae Jepsen

On a lighter note, the opening track of what I still believe to be Carly’s magnum opus takes the melodrama out of the Louvre and hones in on the euphoria of a crush. Its opening sax line remains an iconic staple of any gay party pop playlist and is one of the best things to come out of the 2010’s 80s synthpop revival movement. The atmospheric pads paired with the pulsing four-on-the-floor kick makes you feel like you’re in the big city for the first time on the prowl for your first real, adult, love story. The image of leaving a party with the first person you fancy to explore the city at night is such a 20-year-old-in-London-for-the-first-time-away-from-home vibe and it was definitely an energy I was tapping into when writing and producing red flags.

3. FOOLS - Troye Sivan

Now, where were you when the Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy dropped? FOOLS was a stand out track of off Troye’s phenomenal and underrated debut album. When I think of iconic Tumblr records of the mid 2010s, Blue Neighbourhood comes to mind. It’s got everything you want from that era - moody synths, grungy poetic lyrics, and a chill electrohop beat. FOOLS perfectly encapsulates the vibe of not just the album but the era as a whole with the way it builds, starting off as a soft piano ballad, transitioning into lush and kaleidoscopic synths paired with devastating lyrics about unrequited queer love against the backdrop of suburban angst. As a queer person from a not so open minded country with serious small town syndrome, my brain chemistry was forever altered after coming into contact with this song.

4. Everything is Embarrassing - Sky Ferreira

On the topic of iconic songs that shook angsty teens on Tumblr in the 2010s, Everything is Embarrassing was a sleeper hit that deserves more flowers that it was given. The heavy piano, bright synths, punk percussion, it had everything you would need to succeed in 2013. Sky perfectly captured what it was like to be a teenager in that time period: exposed to the surveillance of social media while trying to navigate the crazy hormonal shifts in your system and the complex landscape of young love, this song is an ode to the former zillenial teen who yearns for a simpler time. Sky Ferreira, where are you? She disappeared just as we needed her the most.

5. Norman F****** Rockwell - Lana Del Rey

Lastly, we end this list with the mother of wistful yearning and being vulnerably, and dangerously, in love. I know I’ve been throwing the term magnum opus around but this album really was the peak of her artistry. Its opening and title track was the perfect introduction to the dystopian Americana landscape she crafted on this record. Her voice melts perfectly into the soft-rock Antonoffian production as she croons about being trapped in an abusive relationship, pondering if this is all there is for her. Writing red flags was the closest I ever felt to Lana - plunging myself into self-destructive tendencies in order to feel wanted and desired, it was like Lana herself was whispering into my ear as I submerge into the angst and frustration of my early twenties love life (or lack thereof).

Listen to 'red flags' below:

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