Audiophiles: A witching hour of music

Elizabeth Phelan | Staff Writer

Here I present a collection of songs that relate to adolescent angst and/or sinister women. Why not make every hour the witching hour, and every age a teen age?

“Teenage Darlin’” by Fleetwood Mac

Perhaps uncharacteristically for Fleetwood Mac, this song has an old-timey doo-wop flavor, with lyrics that express the delight of young love and the delicious pains of adolescent infatuation. The song is earnest enough to listen to slowly enough to be played at a high school prom.

“I Wanna Be A Witch” by Teen Suicide

A sweet lo-fi song, with lyrics that convey aching yearning and unrest—perhaps more a hallmark of adolescence than witchiness, but it still fits the theme, so I’m not complaining. The song slips in and out of minor key, and the warbly vocals add an unreal, almost ethereal quality to the music.

“Teenage Girl” by Cherry Glazerr

Clementine Creevy sings about the banality and secret, stolen pleasures of teenage life. The song has a simple, sweet musical structure with a punky, punchy chorus, and remains one of Cherry Glazerr’s most popular songs. I listened to this song constantly in high school—rather than put down teenagers, as the rest of the world always seemed to, the song speaks to the power and agency of teenage girls: “Don’t make us feel belittled, world.”

“Yes, I’m a Witch” by Yoko Ono

I firmly believe that Yoko Ono is one of the most influential artists of her generation, and it’s a crying shame that her profound and complex art is overlooked because of the rumor that she broke up a band that will remain unnamed here. “Yes, I’m a Witch” is a powerful, rocking tour de force, in which Ono both acknowledges her reputation and shamelessly declares herself separate from and above her past.

“Teenage Witch” by John Maus

In a song that is somehow both upbeat and spooky, John Maus creates a complex tapestry of sound with his characteristic synths. There is almost a sacred quality to the music, with Maus’s hollow vocals and gothic melodies that would sound at home in a medieval church.

“Teenage Girls” by Bleeding Knees Club

The Australian lo-fi rock band brings a rollicking, spirited song with punk riffs and lusty vocals. The lyrics would perhaps be disconcerting if the members of Bleeding Knees Club weren’t themselves teenagers when they wrote it.

“Witch” by (Sandy) Alex G

An ambient, slightly atonal concoction from the king of sad songs, “Witch” is a delicately woven song that drifts into chaos before being reigned in again. Apart from the threatening lyrics (“no matter what you do, the witch burns you”) the sinister elements of the song are enhanced and sometimes balanced by the complex instrumental dynamism throughout the song.

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