“Do you, per chance, have a Tumblr?” Pick-me Jukebox, at its core, is the embodiment of this certified classic vine — let time rewind to 2014, and you are that girl who takes too much pride in her uncharted taste in music. If you are in the mood to explore some new tunes, this column is a compilation of “alternative” tracks by musicians, hopefully, previously not so much on your radar. Submissions open at my mailbox.
It takes a glance at my author profile to conclude that I have penned a considerable number of articles on music. I do enjoy music, that’s why I even invested in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, so the overpowering jabbers of Hong Kong’s busy streets do not mingle with my favourite melodies.
On the subject of pure, acoustic bliss, what’s the point of vibing to killer tunes if nobody’s there to share my niche obsessions? Through this column, my goal is to partly exude pick-me energy and partly promote lesser-known artists I came across on the internet. Drop by to check what caught my ear, it’ll be a fun time, I promise.
Our grand debut entry closes in on beat, or rather, the over-exaggeration of it. Expect the exact opposite of lullabies — we are in the company of hype creators from here on out.
Pick-me Jukebox, Weirdly Upbeat Edition
S3RL ft. Dorian Electra & Nikolett: “Notice Me” (2022)
Patron saint of happy hardcore, S3RL wields such profound mastery over techno sounds that it transcends our understanding of the genre. Inspired by the relationship between streamers and their audience, “Notice Me” is a postmodern siren song that amasses fibres of sensuality, lust and desperation.
Structurally, it’s a duet between a luring siren and a stranded sailor pleading for her attention; acoustically, it is a complex wave of electronic melodies, pumping rhythms and sweet, breathy murmurs — a dream-like voyage in heaven, if heaven were ruled by DJs.
HIM: “Katherine Wheel” (2009)
HIM, or His Infernal Majesty, is a Finnish gothic rock band that awakened my inner Bride of Dracula with their candy-pink Razorblade Romance (1999) album cover. Remember when it was fashionable to feature long-haired hunks on record covers? The things I would give just to bring this era back.
The seventh track of HIM’s 2009 album Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, “Katherine Wheel” subdues the late 20th century’s seductively rebellious tone to embrace a rugged — or proper, as some would argue — rock quality. What makes this song stick, though, is its protracted chorus borrowed from pop: the third occurance of “Katherine Wheel” will always blow me away with its smooth, effortless descend.
Lida x DK: “МазеLOVE” (2022)
As a long-time listener of Lida’s, not knowing one word of Russian never strikes me as a problem. It would have been a welcome change, but the genius of Lida lies in his ability to captivate with his seemingly minimalist formula. Frequent employer of the Bm-GAD chord progression (a rock ballad classic!) and eurodance arrangements, Lida releases “МазеLOVE” as another upbeat dance hit enriched by a melancholic undertone. And for the record, the lyrics are filthy.
Slayyyter ft. Ashnikko, Ayesha Erotica & Big Freedia: “Stupid Boy” mashup (2021)
YouTube user dogbby07‘s rendition of Slayyyter’s “Stupid Boy” is a megamix of 2010s girlboss icons, meaning you don’t need to look further for an instant confidence boost.
The sped-up instrumental merges with each rapper’s verses in a manner that can only be described as tight, and the icing on top is undoubtedly the comedic interjection by Ayesha Erotica. It sure feels great to be a girl (or TikToker) with this track playing the background.
Tommy february6: “je t’aime ★ je t’aime” (2003)
A common misconception about Tommy february6 (aka Tommy heavenly6) is that she makes songs for anime, but the reality is your favourite anime openings are bouncing off of her playful, girly energy. A carbon copy of any best-selling 80’s disco hit, “je t’aime ★ je t’aime” stands out with its overflowing sweetness of a teenager in love, as well as Tommy february6‘s nonchalantly gentle vocals.
Panic! At The Disco: “Viva Las Vengeance” (2022)
2022 is an awesome year to be alive for veteran emo kids. Following My Chemical Romance’s reunion, the right part of the internet explodes with excitement as Panic! At The Disco returns with “Viva Las Vengeance”. Better yet, by the sounds of it, frontman Brendon Urie is revisiting his Pretty. Odd. (2008) days through the use of layered backup singing and the whimsical piano bridge.
The album Viva Las Vengeance is set to come out on 19 August, we can only pray for time to go by faster.