10 Songs to Play for Your Groundhog Day
Tuesday, February 2nd marks another iteration of Groundhog Day. To most people, this day is a forgotten holiday that serves no more functional purpose in modern society, and yet to some, this diamond in the rough serves as an indicator of seasons to come and as a comedic, if not hopelessly ironic, a predictor of the future.
But whether Groundhog Day means absolutely nothing to you or you happen to be that person sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the meteorological prediction of a small furry rodent, everyone remembers the iconic 1993 Bill Murry Film that gave Groundhog Day a well deserved 15 minutes of fame.
For those not familiar with this classic comedy, the plot is gut-bustlingly simple: the film tells the story of a weatherman who finds himself condemned to live the same day over and over again, and forced to make the most of his situation.
Honestly, in the midst of a global pandemic, with most of us relegated to our homes and forced to find ways to entertain our brains and maintain productivity at the same time, it can easily feel like we are all stuck in our own proverbial Groundhog Day, forced to wake up every day and realize that absolutely nothing has changed.
If I had to repeat the same day over and over again, I know for a fact I would need the right music, otherwise, nothing would keep me going, so after a lot of deliberation, I have created a list of 10 songs that I wouldn’t mind to hear in infinite repetition.
It is important to make a distinction between this list and a simple favorites list or “top 10 songs” list. I’m sure we all have songs that we absolutely love, but get sick of after 3 or 4 listens, and certainly would not want to play over and over and over again with no end in sight. This list is based on a multitude of criteria, including musical intricacy, emotional appeal, subject matter, and something I’ve nicknamed “the earworm factor”. If I’m gonna be stuck with the same songs forever, I’m gonna make sure I enjoy them.
With no further ado, in no particular order, here are 10 songs to play, for your Groundhog Day.
A classic of classics, a prog-rock anthem, and a testament to the true soul of rock and roll, I can not think of a better first addition to any Groundhog Day mixtape. Exhibiting a perfect blend of mind-bogglingly intricate rhythms and absurdly beautiful vocals, combined with jazz fusion style saxes and trumpets, the real question is, what doesn’t this song have? The tempo changes rapidly and constantly, the instrumental combines all the best elements of rock and jazz and the production reflects the essence of 1960’s rock, displaying sounds that you just don’t hear anymore. I could and have listened to this song for hours and hours and still discover something new every single time, so if I had to be stuck with a song, King Crimson’s 1969 gem certainly fits the bill.
At first glance, a K-pop dance hit might seem like a surprising if not an outright strange choice, I mean, it’s not even BTS. But if you are willing to leave your prejudices at the door, I guarantee you won’t find a catchier and more infectious melody out there. Treasure, a relatively new K-pop group, burst onto the scene, branding themselves as a young idol boy group that can sing, dance, and rap with the best of em. This song is a 10/10 especially when it comes to the aforementioned “earworm factor”. It is impossible not to dance to this song, yet at the same time, the vocals just soar beautifully. A risky choice maybe, but I would not mind at all to hear this song over and over and over again, because I know I would have to keep dancing, and that sounds like a great Groundhog Day to me.
What isn’t there to say about Brockhampton? Giants of Alt Hip-Hop, their 2019 Ginger is teeming with heart, soul, and passion. The second track, Sugar, captured my heart from the first second and has since been on an infinite loop in my head. If I’m gonna be stuck with just a few songs, I gotta throw in some hip-hop, and this song is a perfect choice. Sugar feels like a rhapsody of pop-rap, combing soulful vocals with ingenious uses of autotune and just a touch of old school hip hop style. Don’t even get me started on the lyrics, with lines like “And we all out lookin’ for, lookin’ for God So we never see it in ourself Shit, divine intervention move in stealth” and “Spendin’ all my nights alone, waitin’ for you to call me”, combined with classic motifs such as “Half a blunt, yeah, we coolin’ Twist it up, puttin’ on OutKast I’m the taxi, and, yeah, we cruisin”, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, cry, or stop to ponder the meaning of life. This song is Groundhog Day, infinitely entertaining, infinitely entertaining, and easily for as long as I live.
After an onslaught of rock, dance, and hip-hop, sometimes all I wanna do is settle down, pick up a good book, and relax to the ethereal tone of the GOAT of classic jazz. Anyone who claims to know anything about Jazz, and especially anyone who knows the saxophone, knows this track by heart. It’s iconic and inseparable from jazz and music history at large, and the reason is obvious from the opening note. No, this track does not have the flash and speed and Bebop, nor the technical intricacy of modern jazz fusion, but the atmosphere that Coltrane creates easily surpasses all of those things by a longshot. Coltrane creates an entire universe in just 4 minutes and 25 seconds. There are too many elements in this song to count, from Coltrane’s controlled yet electrifying runs to his bone-chilling yet effortlessly extended tones. If I’m gonna be stuck with only a few key songs, it can’t stay high energy forever, and this legendary song would give anyone the perfect chance to sit back, relax, and just float away into sonic euphoria.
I know I said this list wasn’t just my favorite songs, but cmon, I can’t be trapped in one day without a song that is just an undisputed Bop. The Wrecks always deliver when it comes to power pop, but this song takes it to a whole new level. The creativity and relatability in the lyrics are undeniable, as the band expressed their want to be cheated on, just so they can get out of a bad relationship (we’ve all been there). The creative wording of “I wish u’d fvck somebody certainly doesn’t hurt. The mood of this banger can only be described as earth-shattering, it’s raw, it’s empowering, and listening to it feels like being infused with superpowers. On top of that, the instrumental is lethally energetic, characterized by immensely powerful drums and synth crashes that take any party up to 11 and far beyond. The song comes in waves, with high screaming lyrics juxtaposed against calmer sections. As long as I have this song, I know my Groundhog Day will be one infinitely long party.
In the midst of synth-rock bangers and experimental hip-hop, sometimes all I need is a work of pure musical genius. Tash Sultana never fails to produce just that. A producer, a multi-instrumentalist, a visionary, a one-person band, and a true warrior, Tash Sultana has it all. Out of their expansive catalogs of psychedelic masterpieces, my personal favorite and Groundhog Day choice has to be Jungle. With an intricate chord progression, overlapping guitar riffs, and vocals that feel like their floating in space, every listen is like hearing the song for the first time. The lyrics are spacious and introspective, while still feeling somehow poppy. The fast rap sections certainly don’t hurt, and Sultana never fails to deliver a bone-chilling vocal timbre. The trippy-est of musical trips, the pinnacle of modern psychedelia, and a testament to the genius of one of indie music’s brightest producers, Jungle is the ideal Groundhog Day track.
Indie rock is my bread and butter, my heart and soul, and no one does it better than Boston based band, trio Juniper. Combining the very best of alt-rock, bedroom pop, and R&B, Regret is perhaps the best song you’ve ever heard. The vocals are light and airy, while still being soulful and powerful. The harmonies are vast and intricate, reminiscent of The Beatle’s era. The instrumental is endlessly captivating, blending beautifully raw drums with vintage guitar riffs that are impossible to not love. The lyrics are fun and playful, inspiring images of polaroids and jamming with friends, yet the emotional weight of that song remains intact through the use of immaculate turns of phrase such as “I’m in love with my best friend I hope she don’t notice”. This song is the simplest on this list, but what it lacks in intricacy is certainly makes up for in raw emotion and reliability. Every word makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the best conversation of your life, and if there is anything we need on Groundhog day, it’s a good conversation.
Ok, ill admit, I broke my own rules: this song is just too much fun. Anyone who knows anything about indie music knows that Clyde Lawrence has pipes like no other. In the playfully witty track Oranges, Lawrence shows off both his piercing vocals and charming piano prowess. The instrumental is simple yet artful, as a piano melody perfectly uplifts the vocal track. The best part of this song is undeniably the lyrics. From the first line of “It’s funny how nobody sings about Oranges,” I burst out laughing. Lawrence just keeps going, giving us gems such as “Crazy how nobody sings about chocolate It seems there would be nothing so sweet” and “peel back the rind, who knows what you’ll find”. The wordplay is just too cute to handle, yet still makes you think. This track is comedic in the best way, carrying subtle serious undertones all wrapped up in a blissfully whimsical package. I know for a fact I could keep this song on infinite loop because I have, and on my Groundhog Day, a little playfulness goes a long way.
I know what all of you are thinking. Why in the hell would classical music be on this list? but I guarantee if you’re willing to suspend judgment and just listen, I guarantee you won’t find a better Groundhog Day song. This song is the essence of Groundhog Day, as it only contains one melody, that plays on constant repeat, adding instruments and intensifying as the song goes on, finally culminating in an anthemic final outcry. Call me a lover of irony, but I just had to include this titan of music history that is the musical world’s equivalent of Groundhog Day. This work of genius has everything, intricate instrumental, musical character, and a compositional style that tugs at my heartstrings every time. So if you’re willing to give classical music a chance, this orchestral juggernaut has got you covered, and it’s absolutely perfect for Groundhog Day.
I am a sucker for a classic ballad, and there is no ballad more classic than Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind. But with any classic comes a wave of covers, and sometimes one of those covers just emerges better than the original. This is exactly the case with Rex Orange County’s live cover of the ballad at the venue of venues, Radio City Music Hall. Rex Orange County, an artist who needs absolutely no introduction, does this song more than justice. His unique vocal style, intricate piano playing, and sparkling personality bring this charming ballad to life. No, it doesn’t have Joel’s original vocals or background saxophone riffs, but Rex Orange County doesn’t try to copy, instead, he embraces his own qualities and simply shines. The live setting only strengthens this brilliant cover, as County’s performance is peppered with quirky moments of conversation and audience reaction. It’s not a day without live music, and why should Groundhog day be any different.
Groundhog Day remains a diamond in the ruff, a forgotten gem of a holiday, the namesake of a classic film, and a day celebrated nationwide by quirky scholars and comedians alike, but mostly out of the hearts and minds of the general public. From classical compositions to progressive rock, from psychedelic bangers to indie rock wonders, the right playlist can make any day, even if that day never ends. In the midst of a pandemic, where every day feels like Groundhog Day, nothing is more important than the joy of music.