by Nicole Mattson

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(A record player plays a tune).

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has canceled or postponed all of the upcoming concerts we all have been looking forward to. If you are stumped on what to listen to next after you have grown tired of repeatedly listening to your playlists, try listening to instrumental music. Most bands from the 1970s are known for their phenomenal chemistry between the singer, guitar, drums, keyboard, and even cowbell. That being said, it can be eccentric to take the singer out of the equation. You can find underlying meanings in how the instruments are played, which can help you understand the bands’ music and dynamic even more than before. Instrumental music gives you, the listener, room to think more creatively and make the song your own: how does the song make you feel? What does it remind you of? The options are endless. In times when it feels like the pandemic will never end, listening to different types of music can help you relax, which is a crucial part of taking care of yourself.

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(A guitar and band setup sits on a stage).

It is also interesting to look through instrumental music since many songs are not well-known. If you are tired of listening to the same Fleetwood Mac album over and over again, try listening to some instrumental versions! You can chill out to all the songs listed below, or you can pick and choose certain songs based on your mood.

If you are feeling strong:

 

  • “Pali Gap” by Jimi Hendrix 

 

Rainbow Bridge, posthumously in 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ7AttIb-kc

“Pali Gap” was released posthumously in Rainbow Bridge in 1971, after Jimi Hendrix’s death the previous year. One of the more powerful songs on this list, how could you resist listening to Hendrix’s moving guitar solo? This song is perfect for both loosening up as well as doing something you enjoy.

If you are feeling groovy:

 

  • “What a Shame” by Fleetwood Mac

 

Future Games, 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DcfbD_NuNo

Fleetwood Mac… there is not much to say about them except that they are one of the grooviest bands of all time. This song was released before Stevie Nicks joined, but it’s still worth listening to since it is instrumental. “What a Shame” is an easy listen, since it will make you feel good about yourself.

If you are feeling bored:

 

  •  “One of These Days” by Pink Floyd

 

Meddle, 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48PJGVf4xqk

You all know the saying, “only boring people get bored”. Sometimes being bored is inevitable, since there are limited options for things to do during the pandemic. “One of These Days” starts off repetitive and a little dull, but escalates into something great. Hopefully, it will put you out of any boredom you may be experiencing.

If you are feeling candid:

 

  • “Do You Know What?” By Sly and the Family Stone

 

There’s a Riot Goin’ On!, 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIuCZhxTBx4

According to Oliver Wang in their article, “Sly and the Family Stone: 20 Essential Songs” published March 15, 2016, on rollingstone.com, “Greil Marcus famously wrote that There’s a Riot Goin’ On! ‘was no fun. It was slow, hard to hear, and it isn’t celebrating anything.’ In short, ‘It was not groovy.’” So, while you can still chill out to this song, it’s important to note that it was created in a time of change when being honest was more important than ever. If you’re feeling outspoken, you should listen to this “Do You Know What?”, as well as the other songs in There’s a Riot Goin’ On! such as “Family Affair”.

If you need a pick-me-up:

 

  • “Daybreaker” by Electric Light Orchestra

 

On the Third Day, 1973

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaJNjYmpeWY

Electric Light Orchestra’s music is known to put people in a better mood; honestly, who wouldn’t feel better after listening to “Mr. Blue Sky?” Even without lyrics, ELO’s music can still make you feel happier. The addition of the violin in this song is phenomenal and can make you feel some type of way.

If you are feeling nostalgic:

 

  • “Lipstick Traces” by UFO

 

Phenomenon, 1974

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQJgWIaP7UU

The wailing guitar in this song is begging for you to reminisce about your past; perhaps this includes your life before the world shut down. “Lipstick Traces” encourages you to think deeper about yourself and what you’ve been through, and how you can improve your life post-pandemic.

If you are feeling inspired:

  • “Intermezzo No. 1” by Abba

Released in 1975

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6kShipYwCk

Intermezzo No. 1 is one of the more upbeat songs on this list. Like ELO, Abba’s music guarantees it will put a smile on your face. You could cook, paint, or just walk around the house listening to this song.

Bonus song: If you have wanderlust:

 

  • “Bron Yr Aur” by Led Zeppelin

 

Physical Graffiti, 1975 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKge6Ay9O4E

Are you tired of listening to “Stairway to Heaven” over and over again? Put on “Bron Yr Aur” and drive around for a little bit. Even driving is a good way to take a break from things happening in your life, and an excuse to leave your house. This song is nice to listen to on a road trip. Even if you can’t travel anywhere due to the pandemic, going somewhere like a park could be a fun adventure.

By Nicole Mattson

Normal People is a story worth knowing. Written in 2018 by Sally Rooney, it explores the tumultuous relationship between Marianne and Connell, two Irish students who go through high school and college together. After becoming a New York Times Best Seller, it became a television show on Hulu that premiered at the end of April. I first heard about it when it was featured in model Kaia Gerber’s Instagram Live book club, where actors Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal (who are Marianne and Connell in the show, respectively) made an appearance to discuss the show. Both the book and the show are riveting and ultimately it is your preference whether or not you want to read it and visualize the story yourself, or watch how it is portrayed on the screen.

What is it about?

Marianne and Connell are two people who come from different backgrounds and have different social lives. Their story begins in 2011. In the town of Sligo, Ireland, their lives merge through their parents’ connection. The story starts off during the end of high school and goes until the end of college at Trinity College in Dublin. They have an on-again-off-again relationship throughout the book/show but they always remain friends. Readers and viewers can expect to see Marianne and Connell grow over time and how they adapt to each other despite their differences. 

The Book:

Reading the book went by quickly. It was difficult to put down since it was fun to read and easy to comprehend. Unlike the television series, the reader can experience the inner thoughts of Marianne and Connell, especially with their relationships with other people; Marianne has a terrible relationship with her older brother and mother, and Connell has a close relationship with his mother and a complicated relationship with his friends. It can also be easy to read over certain parts of the story that tie it together; for example, Marianne dealing with her aloof mother and talking about her father’s death is better experienced by seeing. However, reading can help experience events in the book in a creative way. Imagining what the lecture halls, apartments, and even parties are like can be fun, even if they end up being nothing like what the television show portrayed.

The Show:

The TV show showed how different perspectives can be. As a college student in the United States, it can be difficult to visualize both high school and college life in Ireland. For example, colleges in the U.S. are based around a central campus, and colleges in Ireland are more centered around the city. The buildings featured in the show were older than I expected and looked more classic, and the apartments were different than I could have imagined. Certain scenes provoked emotion that I otherwise would not have known by reading the book. When Marianne is talking with Connell at the coffee shop, the camera and background add power to their conversation, and seeing characters cry, as sad as it sounds, adds more emotion to the story and makes me think more deeply about the things happening in the show. Both actors, Daisy Edgar-Jones portraying Marianne and Paul Mescal portraying Connell, did a lovely job and it was better than I could ever imagine, since it felt so real. Not to mention that the show has great music choices throughout the episodes; I forgot about Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”, along with music by Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Selena Gomez. I also discovered new music such as “Everything I Am is Yours” by Villagers, an indie Irish band. The combination of the cinematography, music, dramatic pauses, and actors transported me to a different story than I experienced reading the book. It felt so familiar yet so different at the same time.

So… which is better: the book or the television show?

Overall, it is your preference whether you want to read the book or watch the television series on Hulu. Both offer a beautiful story about friendship in different ways, but you will not be disappointed with either option. Throughout the last month in what seems to be a never-ending pandemic, Normal People has kept my mind off of what has been happening. If you want my opinion though? I would say the book was easier to get through, and perhaps it was because I read the book first and by the time I watched the television series, I already knew the story. This is not to say, however, that the show was bad; the cinematography in the show enhanced the characters and scenery and is a high-quality show. Sally Rooney is a talented author, and Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald are brilliant directors that brought the story to life.