7 Things, Features

Hayley Kiyoko, Kehlani and Cruel Youth: 7 Things We’re Into This Week

Named after the glorious, if negligibly inaccurate Miley Cyrus song, The Sympathizer HQ delivers to your computer and phone screens (or iPad–if you’re that guy) a spanking new column. A weekly round-up, “7 Things” presents you with 7 things we’ve been into this week–songs, records, books, podcasts, both old and new. You’ll never be left not knowing what to do with your weekend again.


Thing 1: Cruel Youth’s “Mr. Watson”

As a budding star, Natalia Kills had more than just potential. Unfortunately, her original path to fame was laid to rest early due to a tactless publicity stunt at her career’s expense. Natalia Kills died and, from the ashes, Teddy Sinclair rose. Sinclair, the vocal front of Cruel Youth, tempts us with soulful, lamentable lyricism. With Tina Hanäé and Lauren Stockner backing Teddy, you’re also paired with a mighty bass and unshakable beat. Painted like a masterpiece, the trio’s debut EP +30 MG includes this melodic mind-fuck. Tossing you to and fro, “Mr. Watson” will subject you to Teddy’s powerful struggle with addiction and her ability to put it into an art form.  Cevenly

Thing 2: A Slightly Scratched Copy of Perfect Pussy’s Say Yes To Love

Earlier this week, I got into some trouble with the law for, well, how do I say this without it sounding completely made-up? I got into some trouble with the law for walking my dog around my apartment. Yes. Yup. I did. Tenants were upset my dog pissed next to their car’s tire (not on but next to). The landlord was called, fits were thrown, and I may have called a darling housewife Il Duce. You know, real punk stuff. I found myself raging, complaining about animal rights, Indian legislation, democracy, and the free world. So, to settle my rattled heart, I did what I would normally do in such a predicament: drop the needle on Sonic Youth’s EVOL.  When my scratched record struggled to make it through “Tom Violence,” I hesitantly resorted to the next best: Perfect Pussy’s Say Yes To Love. I know, you’re thinking, “But Gauraa, you made jokes about pressing vinyl with menstrual blood*! You scoffed at the idea of “wanting vocals to be the same level as all the other instruments!” You’re right, I did say all those things. But then something astounding happened. I listened. I listened to Meredith Graves scream about choices. The choices we make between pleasure and growing up. I listened to “Bells” and felt rawed and awed and frightened. I listened to “Big Stars” and felt damaged, threatened with love and arrest. It was as though Jenny Holzer switched mediums to write inflammatory songs instead of essays. Then the needle got stuck at “Work.” The last line eerily looped itself around me, spiraling dizzily through my consciousness in an oracular blur: everythingisfineeverythingisfineeverythingisfineeverythingisfine. It was a moment of striking synchronicity. As if the song, the line, had been scheming to reach me. I didn’t want the loop to end. It was a moment outside of time where language meant everything and nothing. And everything was fine. – Gauraa Shekhar

*PS: Said LP was a regular copy. I did not blow $200 on blood vinyl.

Thing 3: Kehlani’s “Advice”

Fresh off the Soundcloud drop press, here is Kehlani’s first song off her new mixtape SSS (that’s Sweet, Sexy, Savage, for those wondering). “Advice” recalls an earlier era of Kehlani, and it’s a nice reminder to trust ourselves. “It’s time to take my own advice,” belts Kehlani. And, hell, am I glad she did. – Siya Bahal

Thing 4: Chris Farren’s “Say U Want Me” 

This song is so freaking catchy!! And Chris Farren is such a cutie pie in the video/in life in general. I 100% want a copy of that portrait that he has in the bathroom and on the kitchen wall. – Reina Shinohara

Thing 5: Lianne La Havas’ “What You Don’t Do”

This British singer is slowly climbing the charts and for good reason! I saw her as the main opening act for Coldplay back in June (which feels like a lifetime ago) and I kinda forgot her name until a few weeks back when I found her on Amazon Music. What You Don’t Do is my favorite track from her second album Blood, with it’s soul and R&B groove tunes. But I actually love Tom Misch’s remix of the song even more. He manages to turn the showtune-worthy original into a chill, xylo-beat infused, head-bopper. What would my short-term goldfish memory do without the Internet? – Keerthana Batchu

Thing 6: The Weeknd’s Starboy


There is only one thing I did more than listen to Starboy this week, and that is glare angrily at Starboy reviews that use the word “perfunctory” more than once and put The Weeknd in the same lane as Solange and dismiss highlights of the album as b-side quality, “decent” EDM ballads that could’ve been done by Jason Derulo. Fuq the h8rs man!!! If you haven’t gotten a chance to listen yet, don’t let those grumpy critics deter you! This is truly a dream album! – Krista Caproni

Thing 7: Hayley Kiyoko’s “Girls Like Girls”

The first time I heard this song, I thought Hayley was saying, “Girls like girls like boys too” and not “Girls like girls like boys do.” To each their own, I suppose. I love Hayley Kiyoko and how she’s totally breaking glass ceilings with songs that are about being gay. This song was probably one of the first I had heard  about letting young girls be themselves, and not making homosexuality sound like the guiltiest, most abnormal, most sinful thing ever (ahem, I’m looking at you Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl). “Girls Like Girls” is a soft, sweet, teenage narrative about love and crushes and jealousy. It’s insanely catchy and pure, and I remember when I showed this to one of my friends, she was so happy that kids today have more exposure and acceptance than any other generation about themselves. “Girls Like Girls” goes a really long way in fighting heteronormativity. – Keerthana Batchu

The Thing After Miley Loses Count But Still Miraculously Adds Up To 7: PBS’ Soundbreaking


I have been hooked on the PBS series, Soundbreaking. I’m in awe how they’re able to cover such a wide spread of genres in each hour-long segment and do it so well. Highly, highly recommended! – Steve J


December 2, 2016

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