Suggested Listening ’22: Emma Schultz

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It’s that time of year again! WOUB Culture has reached out to a variety of folks involved in various capacities with the music and arts throughout WOUB’s diverse coverage region to inquire: “what have you been listening to this year, my friend?” Find their answers on WOUB Culture all throughout the month of December. 

Emma Schultz of no stars performs at the 2022 Nelsonville Music Festival.
[Photo by Shannon Brown]
Emma Schultz is the primary songwriter and vocalist for self-described “moss rock” band no stars.

“When Life Hands You Problems” – Cheekface

No one seems to capture the absurdity and existential dread of our age quite like Cheekface. The combination of witty, topical lyrics and catchy melodies on this entire album never fails to lift me out of a bad mood and get me to see our contemporary existence for the ridiculous situation that it is.

“Survivor’s Guilt” – Haley Blais

I’ve been following Haley Blais for years and years because of her YouTube channel, and the singles she put out this year have shown just how much her songwriting has developed. “Survivor’s Guilt” has such a good groove, with Sheryl Crow-esque guitar riffs taking it to the next level, and it’s got me so excited for her second album. The music video for this one is also perfect.

“Light Moving Time” (Album) – Babehoven

I got to play a show with Babehoven when they came through Columbus on tour, and they played such a beautiful, vulnerable set – all in matching Crocs. They released their first album this year, and it’s beautiful, reflective, and comforting.

“Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” (Album) – Big Thief

This album starts out with a song that literally always makes me cry. At almost an hour and a half long, the album is gorgeous and weird and sometimes funny, and perfect to listen to on a long walk while looking for wildflowers and glimpses of birds.

“Stay Soft” – Mitski

I didn’t realize how much I listened to this song this year, but it was my number one streamed track on Spotify. “Open up your heart like the gates of Hell” is a great line, and it builds to the choruses so nicely that you just can’t help but belt along with Mitski when they come along.

“Preacher’s Daughter” (Album)- Ethel Cain

This album blew my mind. It’s a world of its own, and even though the songs on it range from melancholic to anthemic to downright scary, they all exist on the same cohesive throughline. Strap in for this one, folks, because this album is a journey.

“Helplessness Blues” (Album) – Fleet Foxes

Listen, I know everyone knows this album already, but when I listened to it a few months ago for the first time in years, it made me wonder why I had ever stopped. The title track is such a beautiful, soaring depiction of trying to maintain humanity within the inhuman systems we navigate every day – the systems that encourage the worst in us. This is a theme that carries through a lot of the music I’ve been connecting with this year.

“Mother Earth’s Plantasia” (Album) – Mort Garson

Because I started grad school this year, I’ve been listening to lots of instrumental music while I study and read. Mother Earth’s Plantasia is so weird and silly, which gives me the levity I need while suffering through school work, and, as a bonus, it also reminds me to water my plants.