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“10 songs I always come back to”: a playlist by CLEAR

If you haven’t already immersed yourself in Always, the blissful new single from CLEAR, stop what you’re doing and go listen to it now. The track is a sprawling slice of musical glory that perfectly blends ambience with subtle electronica, creating something truly spell-binding.

It’s a track we predict we’ll be returning to for years to come, so fresh off its release, we caught up with CLEAR for a playlist of tunes that she consistently finds herself returning to…

With amazing new single hot off the press, we caught up with Fraser Coast-based singer-songwriter CLEAR for a playlist of tunes that stand above the rest.

Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were

There’s just something about that guitar in this song… it captures me immediately and then that sweeping intro leads to an equally captivating voice. Every moment throughout just works so well, and the rises and falls effortlessly carry you with them. On drives that lead to being surrounded by rolling hills and green valleys, this is a full-volume go to for me every time. What I wouldn’t give to hear this played live!

Porcelain Raft – Backwords

So much atmosphere… which is exactly my taste in music down to a T, to be real with you. Separate from the somber lyrics themselves, the melody and the “oohs” are enough to get me in my feels on their own. The soft guitar strumming with the droning reverbs and atmospherics behind it are a personal favourite kind of juxtaposition; all the layers are perfect.

Violents – Fireflies

That beginning though — so shiny, so twinkly… everything about this song is pretty. And those strings that come in refresh you at just the right moment. That line that repeats toward the end, “Life moves slowly, and suddenly” gets me every time. It is such a true and poignant lyric and it’s like I’m feeling the turn of the earth just thinking about it. The lyrics that follow are the same… words to repeat to yourself as you feel your heart squeeze a little.

BATTS – For Now

Fun fact: I had this one as my alarm tone for the entire duration of 2017 and I regret nothing — just imagine that stunning intro gently rousing you into the soft light of morning…! Yeah. I’m pretty smart.

I love this artist and their affinity with all things Space, I love how you can hear that cosmic sound as the track builds and boy does it build… so, so beautifully. That note she holds at the end still feels so magical to listen to and the lyrics altogether make me more sappy than I already am which is probably honestly too much but my heart wants it. Give me it (I’m genuinely tempted to put it as my alarm again now that I’ve written this).

Nothing But Thieves – If I Get High

That voooiiiiiice! It was hard deciding which of the Nothing But Thieves songs to choose because so many of them have the same kind of effect on me — I just feel good whenever I’m listening to their stuff. I chose this one because it was the first I heard from them and it hooked me instantly. I don’t know which bits to highlight, it’s just all good, ‘kay? It comes on shuffle and I pay attention.

Gang of Youths – The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows

Ohhhh my goodness. The lyrics in this are insane. The guitar is so warm, the rhythm and the strings and the brass make you wanna drive through a city at night with a starry sky above and the roof of your tiny old convertible down so the wind’s on your skin and you feel endless. You just need to have the wind rushing past you and strands of your hair swirling around you when listening to this one.

Phosphorescent – Song for Zula

I believe the words with ease when they come from this voice. And though the words aren’t inherently uplifting, per se, the music brings me to a good place.

This song motivates me to do things; to be productive in a way that benefits me though I can’t really say why. It sounds like a blue sky with a handful of fluffy white clouds and an easy day full of promise.

Again, the lyrics aren’t exactly conducive to this idea… but I suppose it tells of lessons learned from a love scorned, so… maybe it’s the feeling of taking life into your own hands that I garner so well from this song? Regardless, my days feel warm and goals feel achievable whenever this is playing.

Perfume Genius – Otherside

YES. All about this song. Their artist name just truly hits the nail on the head, honestly. The music in this really is, for lack of a better word, “perfumed” with a sparkling kind of sonic majesty. Is that a bit over the top? Nah, because the chorus, man.

The song begins, the dainty piano keys and the gentle voice takes you to a door. It opens the door and you’re hit with a blast of glam rock and baby Cupids and golden beams of blinding light and it may as well be what Heaven sounds like if you weren’t expecting to find it on the other side of said door.

Then you’re wandering through the clouds in the second verse because you’ve realised what this song has in it and you know you’re gonna stay a while because that blast is coming again and you love it so much, and then you learn it is too short a track so on goes the repeat button to feel that glory hit a few more times.

The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home

A beautiful classic of a song, right?

I’ll always come back to this one at some point. The beginning feels how a long and soothing hug from your mother felt back when you were a child. The build-up feels how running through fields felt back when you were a child. The lyrics make you face your morality and your age and the fact that even though you still feel like one, you are no longer that child… but, still, also sort of are, internally.

Love it. Love all the melancholic beauty. Basically it’s a song I come back to like I would my mother’s waiting arms as a child. Okay, I think the analogy has been made and I can stop now.

M83 – Outro

I love imagining/inventing music videos or short films to go with music. With this one, I picture a desert, the apocalypse, and the last flock of humans remaining on earth. All dressed in materials of burgundy and burnt amber and olive green or — okay I’m going into detail that doesn’t really exist.

But the wind picks up, the earth’s crust begins to break apart and though it obviously, in reality, would be much more gruesome, I see meteors raining from the sky and tearing up the ground and gravity peace-ing out and everybody is just floating among the rubble, the materials wrapped around them are moving like they would underwater and I don’t know why I’m sharing all this.

Point is, I’m a little strange in the way I like romanticising apocalyptic scenes and this track by M83 (among others of theirs) is one of the few pieces of music that inspires my creativity more than anything else.

It’s like an ending and a beginning in a song, and I feel almost timeless. It’s as if I’m feeling the essence of life itself with this one playing and… just. Goosebumps. My only qualm is that it should last much longer.

Listen to the playlist above, and listen to Always here.

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January 14, 2020