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  • Lauren Johns

A Rockin’ Valentine's Day Soundtrack

By: Lauren Johns



Hands in the shape of a heart at a concert, taken from Shutterstock


In the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll, each new song release is like a box of chocolates: you’ll either get something delicious yet simple like caramel or peanut butter, or something bland and generic like a Hershey’s bar, aka a “sell-out”. There’s also the possibility that you’ll stumble across something horrendous like coconut or sickeningly sweet cherry syrup. Keeping all these chocolate metaphors in mind, there’s a slight chance that you'll discover a band or an artist you never expected to enjoy, like a passion fruit or blood orange flavored chocolate.


This Valentines day, aside from any potential vows to a loved one, vow to be more adventurous with music. Here are some bands that go a step above the basic flavors: regardless of whether you prefer Screamo, or Modern rock. 


  • Normandie: I’ve actually talked about this group in a previous article, while I waited anxiously for their next major album release. Hold onto your hearts because it has finally arrived: “Dopamine”, ten captivatingly beautiful tracks. You’ll be packing on the pounds with this one for sure. This album might be treading the pop waters for a few songs, but if you want to start the day out right, (aside from breakfast), give “Serotonin”, “Blood in the Water” and “Overdrive” a taste. This Swedish rock group should be crowned royalty for their heart wrenching bridges, alongside Taylor Swift, of course. If Screamo is more your thing, check out their older albums: Normandie (2013), Vultures (2014) and Inguz (2016). 



Normandie band photo, image taken from Gig Goer music blog



  • Rivals: If you love Paramore, you’ll love this powerful female vocalist, aka Kalie Wolfe. Coined as being Dark Pop/Rock by Spotify, the Los Angeles based group definitely packs a sour punch, be prepared for some serious eye-twitching in the aftermath. As far as their discography goes, they’ve released two albums and several EP’s. Don’t be fooled by some of the song titles and expect a pretty ballad: “Moonlit”, “Lavenders”, “Strawberries”, etc., nothing is as it seems.


Rivals band photo, taken from Mean Muse blog


  • Young Guns: This group might be at Daft Punk status because the last album they released was in 2016, but their captivating melodies and all encompassing lyricism deserve an eternal encore. You could write an award winning book of poetry with just one album alone. The group was formed in Buckinghamshire, (a county in Southeast England) and while their activity status is unclear, they have four underrated albums that need to be listened to on full volume only, no exceptions. Here are some examples of my favorite lyrics: “We are all architects of our private hell, no one can hurt us like we hurt ourselves,” (“Bones” from the album by the same name). Also, this one which is very relevant to our current societal predicament: “Let’s free each other from this modern day inertia now, we’re suffering from digital pain, we lost the love of life on the way.” (“Ones and Zeros” from the album by the same name). 



Young Guns band photo, taken from Emito.net



  • Tropic Gold: I would put this UK based group into the alternative, borderline pop category. As far as candy goes, you’re definitely getting some bitter dark chocolate, the 85% variety where you might as well just eat the raw cocoa bean. Sound wise, you’re going to hear an impressive combo of Linkin Park, Bring Me the Horizon, and a possible Fall Out Boy aftertaste. My favorites are: “Adrenaline”, it hits you like a tidal wave of sound, “Chemicals”, for the slow burn and “Outta My Head,” because the overbearing instrumentals contrasted with the quieted vocals evokes a sense of detachment as if the singer is losing sight of reality. 



Tropic Gold band photo, image taken from Last.fm



  • Letdown: No, I’m not insulting anyone. This is a Chicago based Alternative Rock artist whom I discovered on TikTok, hours spent mindlessly scrolling amounted to something after all. My parents would be proud. In relation to the artist, his powerhouse vocals are so encompassing even a tornado wouldn’t stand a chance. Despite a few of his songs sounding similar, he's definitely perfected his recipe for success. If you need a musical comparison to convince you further, I’m getting Linkin Park vibes, The Score, and maybe some Imagine Dragons (their “Radioactive” era).


Letdown artist, image taken from MusicRow.com



While I could keep boring you with this list until Summer comes around and melts all of your newly gifted candy, I will give you the opportunity to run (not walk) to wherever you get your tunes. Whether you are in the throes of love or celebrating Singles’ Awareness Day, there’s a versatile range for everyone. Or, if you’re a bit scorned, you’ve just created the ultimate Anti-Valentine’s Day soundtrack. Embrace the bitterness.





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