Pierce Pioneer

Quarantining Making Us Apathetic to Crime?

Crime rates continue to spike in Pierce and King County, yet support for these issues seem minimal

I began my morning the usual way, which involved waking up early to take my dog out. I walked down my steps to take her to the courtyard, only to be stopped in my tracks upon a realization — my car was not where I parked it last night.

I questioned myself at first; I must have parked it somewhere else and clearly forgot. I grabbed my keys so I could press the lock button and hear my car alarm sound off, only when I did so the sound never came. I circled the parking lot for about five minutes, growing frantic as I searched for my car to no avail. It soon became clear that my car had been stolen.

Since beginning quarantining in late March of 2020, support for crimes have felt “off” in general. Understandably, with COVID running rampant it makes sense that many officials have fires needing to be put out. But it doesn’t change the fact that with everything going on, finding support, especially for crime related concerns, feels at its lowest lately.

“In October, the FBI reported that the homicide rate across the country between January and June rose 15% compared to the same time period in 2019. In Seattle, the increase has been even greater. In 2019, there were 28 homicides in Seattle. That number has nearly doubled, with 55 homicides reported this year.” ”

— Vanessa Misciagna, King5 News

When I contacted officials, the police issued out a missing car report and that was that; from there it became a waiting game. My apartment landlords, however, were less than helpful; they had no idea what happened, and because they don’t fund any form of security on their sites — such as security patrolling our ungated community at night or even just camera installation — there was nothing that could be done on their end. 

Not even a month later on Jan. 26 my boyfriend Carl, who lives with me, had his work van broken into and all his tools stolen on the same lot. We didn’t even bother notifying the police or our apartment that time; we kind of just knew nothing could be done about it.

One thing I began questioning the day my car was stolen was the overall safety of my neighborhood. Was Lakewood always this bad, or has COVID and quarantining simply made some people become desperate thieves? It turns out, there is in fact a trend between the two, according to data provided by neighborhoodscout.com.

Residents in Lakewood have a one and 22 chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crimes as of 2020, with crime rates ranging around 46 per one thousand residents. With this, Vanessa Misciagna from King5 News also reports a rise in homicides in Tacoma during 2020, with these statistics not being seen since the early 90’s.

It is possible that part of the reason for the spike in crime is reactionary to a number of misfortunes caused from quarantining. Jason Rantz from MyNorthwest speculates that crime rates have increased due to a lack of people outside due to restrictions.

“When you look at the precincts most impacted by the burglaries, they tend to have normally busy business districts,” Rantz stated. “But at a time where there is no one around, they’re easier targets for burglaries.”

While crime rates may have gone up due to the window-of-opportunity increasing itself for criminals, I feel as though there is more to why this is happening. Since COVID began, it was mass reported that many individuals were put out of work due to restrictions. 

According to PewSocialTrends.org and the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, around 25 million Americans have filed for unemployment, with this number only continuing to increase as time passes. “Overall, one-in-four adults have had trouble paying their bills since the coronavirus outbreak started,” PST stated.

With this information in mind, it makes sense that more desperate behaviors and crimes of theft have begun to increase. Many people are most likely simply trying to make ends meet, and thus may have gone to stealing from their own communities as a way to survive.

Despite the hardships many of us are facing during these times however, I find theft amongst our community to be highly deplorable and inexcusable. Job loss or even death in one’s family does not give one the right to steal one’s property or harm another individual. I myself have been struggling with keeping up with rent and small bills that I’ve never had issues with paying before, but I have not used this struggle to further disadvantage others.

The area of Lakewood I lived in wasn’t immune to crime, but I never thought I’d be a victim to it. But what hurt most was how helpless and violated the incident left me feeling. In a way, it felt as though the theft were my own fault and absolutely unpreventable.

Days after my car was stolen, I felt as though the last slither of my motivation for that horrid year had finally given way. I felt I couldn’t focus on work and I ended up dropping my fall classes due to all the stress. While my insurance company was very supportive of the incident, I still couldn’t shake the fact that I’d been robbed and something that was once mine was probably gone for good.

I never ended up getting my car back; it was filed as a loss and to this day I am still car shopping. But what this incident has truly left for me, is the idea that justice and resources for crime-related concerns during the pandemic feel minimal. 

Calling 911 and contacting the police, while being something you should absolutely do if faced with a crime, won’t magically fix the situation. But if there’s anything the year 2020 has taught me, it’s that this year is truly unnatural and I am not the only one being affected negatively by it.

Some advice I had to tell myself that day is that things can happen that are out of my control, but regardless I have to continue doing what needs to be done in my life. It took me a few weeks to get out of my funk, but I’ve since been taking classes again and working normally, thanks to the support of my family. 

Finding that motivation isn’t a quick process by any means, but it’s something that just has to be done during this pandemic.

Pierce County to Greenlight Behavioral Health Sales Tax Increase

 

During a Pierce County council meeting held on December 22, 2020, members approved a 1/10% sales tax increase meant to fund behavioral health services in the near future. As stated on their official site, by a super-majority vote of 5-1, the small tax increase is estimated to generate $12 million a year and aims to reinvest more Medicaid dollars into Pierce County.

Josephine Peterson from the News Tribune mentions how this tax increase has taken three attempts within the last four years to be passed. In March of 2020, Council Vice Chair Dave Morell was the deciding vote which delayed the passing of said increase. “He told Democrats and the large community turnout that he did not feel comfortable voting for a tax increase until a spending plan was in place,” Peterson stated. “The ordinance was [then] tabled.”

The Accountable Care Organization will oversee this distribution, as it is co-sponsored by Morell and council members Derek Young and Connie Ladenburg. Many within the council feel as though behavioral health is a significant issue facing Pierce County residents. “The ACO pilot plan allows for local engagement, ownership and governance, and Pierce County to build a better healthcare system,” Morell said.

Along with distributing Medicaid dollars, the ACO will use the estimated $12 million generated annually to cover health related sectors not covered by the program or Medicaid. Examples of what this could fund include behavioral health education, empowering those who use behavioral health services and training for first responders and criminal justice professionals interacting with people during behavioral crises.

From the News Tribune, Morell shared their personal experiences involving mental health within their own circle. “I’ve learned a lot about behavioral health through family experiences in dealing with issues of addiction with family members and also dealing with a death in the family that was because of an addictive behavior that went on and on and on,” Morell said. “But I also understand that there has to be guardrails in place to protect the taxpayer.”

Pierce County’s official site states that the status of this sales tax increase has since been sent to state executives. “The county finance director has until April 15, 2021 to certify state and federal agency approval of the ACO model,” the site stated. “Once certified the sales tax increase will be collected. The tax collection will cease after Dec. 31, 2027 unless a future Council extends it.”

More news and updates will be provided as this story unfolds.

 

 

Writer Lizbeth Martinez Santos shares her New Year Resolution and its potential for others to stay motivated during these hard times in 2021.

My boyfriend Victor and I made a plan together that we have followed this week. This plan consists of waking up at 6 in the morning, keeping track of the time and healthy habits such as cleaning, doing homework, drinking water, eating and exercising on schedule. This is our New Year resolution.

For many people, New Year’s resolutions are a goal or something you tell yourself you want to accomplish that year. To me it’s more than a goal; it’s a promise, something I will do. It’s not going to stay in a closed book, I will open it and fill it up with each step taken. So let’s start together!

With the right resources and people by your side, you can accomplish anything. I am no professional, but one thing we all need this year is motivation. Rather than leaving our goals in a closed book, let’s open them and fill it with each step we take! You are not alone. I write this for you because I want you to know you’re not alone just like I am not. 

2020 has taken too much from all of us and brought so much loss. According to UAB Medicine, only 8% or less Americans actually stick to their resolution each year, 2020 being partly the blame. In another article published by Stanford Medicine, it explains that due to COVID-19 many people have been having symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is due to a number of reasons, ranging from the loss of a loved one or job, to schools being closed due to the pandemic.

Knowing this information gives me more motivation to keep on going with my resolutions, to improve my health and give others an opportunity to make their own resolutions and accomplish them.

Having something or someone to remind you why you’re doing this and to push you so you keep doing it truly helps. I say this because for me personally the only reason I haven’t given up is because of Victor. 

He is my person, the one who gives me motivation to keep pushing myself. The main reason I created this resolution was to find myself again; I have lost who I was these past years due to my worsening depression and anxiety, as well as my own short-comings getting the best of me. 

Yet because of certain people in my life I was able to get back up and take control of my life again. This plan has helped me realize that I have more time than I thought to do everything I need for school or work. To organize myself to give me time to focus on my health as well.

Not only did I get happier from the plan I made. I learned from this article called, The Science of Motivation. It states that motivation not only gives us support but it’s a chemical in our brains that helps us more than we know. This chemical is called Dopamin. When we perform a task before rewarding oneself, it tells our brain that if we finish this task something good will happen. Which then goes to our whole body.

You can do so much, the first step is believing in yourself and that it’s ok to be vulnerable and to ask for help. This is one reason why I stayed on the path I am now, I kept on pushing myself to show that I am better than others think I am. I asked and looked for help, which just encouraged me more

I know times are tough right now but if you believe in yourself and push through. The results will be worth it trust me, I feel so much better and happier now that I am active and finishing my work on time. I am more organized than I was before, by putting my health before anything else made me feel so much different in a good way.

Some days are bad, and I feel like giving up. But what pushes me to succeed is knowing I am not the only one. I will keep on going to help you and give you the motivation to get up and do what you always wanted to do but never did because you thought you couldn’t. Well you can and will!

 

Social-distancing safe activities to participate in for 2021

The new year is here but the pandemic still remains. So before we all start making resolutions to travel more or visit with friends and family this year, let’s continue practicing some good social distancing habits such as keeping our gatherings virtual. Of course, this is all easier said than done; so if you’re struggling to keep your quarantine campaigns interesting, look no further. The following list has everything covered from movie nights to meal prepping.


 

Throw a Netflix Party

 

Ciara williams

There’s no doubt you’ve probably been staring at a screen for a majority of the pandemic, but with the Netflix Party chrome extension, you can enjoy all your favorite shows and movies with the added commentary of your friends and family. The History of Swear Words is one fine example of a new Netflix original, and with its host being Nicholas Cage and featuring several iconic guest stars such as Nick Offerman and Sarah Silverman, it makes for the perfect show to help you stay inside and destress.

Those looking to download the extension can do so here.

Have a game night

 

 

In the digital age of the 21st century, many games are being enjoyed on both console and computer, and the great thing about this is that there’s something for everybody to enjoy! If you’re looking to stick to the classics, board games like Uno, Monopoly, and Life all have their own digital counterparts that can be played at home with others or far apart on multiplayer. 

For the ones who enjoy a little more competition, the Nintendo Switch has games like Smash Bros and Mario Kart, the former of which having frequent updates and several ways to spice up your challenges to keep things interesting. PC users have a variety of co-op games ranging from thrilling ghost hunting simulators such as Phasmophobia to the stress-relieving farm simulators like Stardew Valley.

Host a virtual book club

 

If you’re looking for a way to stay entertained without looking at a screen then now might be the perfect time to get back into reading. With genres ranging from thrillers to romances, it’s easy to get immersed in a different time and place while stuck at home. By using a book club you can bond with your friends over your favorite characters and make predictions on future chapters. For fans of the mystery/thriller genre, Taylor Adams’s novel “No Exit” is an excellent story that I picked up over quarantine.

Try out some new recipes

 

Whether you’re flying solo in the kitchen or having a cooking contest with friends via Zoom, cooking is an activity that can be both fun and rewarding. If you cook regularly you might like trying your hand at something you haven’t made yet; the cooking website Tastesofhome happens to have a whole list for the occasion. You don’t have to excel at cooking to make delicious food either; plenty of restaurants have started selling meal kits since the pandemic began so you can make your favorite dine-out meals at home with only some assembly required!

Experience nature at a local wildlife refuge

 

If you’re running out of ideas while indoors and you’re tired of taking walks around your neighborhood you may be interested in knowing that several of Washington’s wildlife refuges such as The Northwest Trek Wildlife Park and The Nisqually Wildlife Refuge have updated their health guidelines to continue allowing visitors into their parks during the pandemic. Of course, this means you’ll have to bring a mask and stay six-feet apart from anyone not in your group, but you’ll get to stretch your legs and take in some of Washington’s beautiful flora and fauna.


Until all our favorite shops and restaurants can open their doors again and we can walk side by side with our friends, let’s put the technology of Zoom meetings, Skype calls, and Discord chats to use so that no matter where we are we can still be together with those we love.

2020: A Year in Music

 

 

To say that this year was difficult for the average college student would be the understatement of a century. Whether you were attempting to start your life at a new university, preparing to complete a graduate course digitally or perhaps you were sequestered in your dorm for too many hours to count, new music helped us battle our way through the quarantine depression. 

 

With many artists bunkered in as well, we saw many ordinary homes turned into creative spaces that were used to generate some of the best music we’ve been presented in years. Here are 20 albums that made my year as a fledgling college student easier.

20.BUBBA by Kaytranda 

Genre: Dance/Electronic & R&B

Release date: December 13, 2019

A swan song to life prior to quarantine, BUBBA is a euphoric collaborative dance album. It’s lowkey afrobeats are fit for any blood pumping experience, but within it’s dance worthy beats lies a political and social subtext that feels poignant now as it did a year prior. Rounding out at around an hour in length, the album progresses both easily and smoothly, never missing a beat as Kaytranada opens the floor to a bevy of collaborators, including Kali Uchis and Pharell Williams. The result is one of the best dance records in recent memory, and is a worthwhile listen to anybody interested in Boiler Room sets and easygoing beats.

Buy here

19. Good News by Megan Thee Stallion

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Release date: November 20, 2020

Operating within a male dominated genre that seeks to objectify and sexualize black women at any moment of success, few have truly refound their agency in the same way Megan Thee Stallion has on Good News. Her debut record is jam packed with filthy sex jams and earworm hooks that are sure to populate your TikTok for months to come. Megan feels more like a larger-than-life character than ever before, performing tracks that represent her southern and black pride in joyful ways that enable necessary conversations. It is the essential rap album of the year, and is sure to please anybody looking for an introduction to her sound.

Buy here

18. Róisín Machine by Róisín Murphy

Genre: Disco

Release date: October 2, 2020

After quarantine mandates closed down the clubs, several of pop music and electronic’s biggest heads ensured that the party continued in our homes. On Róisín Machine, Róisín Murphy provides some of her best tracks that have been in the works for over a decade. An incredibly fun nu-disco album, Murphy takes the traditional disco sounds we expect and expands onto them in ways that are danceable and entrancing, but also incredibly smart and deliberate. A perfect record for anybody yearning to get their groove on, my personal recommendation is to replace the standard tracks with their extended counterparts.

Buy here

17. Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa

Genre: Disco & Pop

Release date: March 27, 2020

When we first met Dua Lipa, she seemed like a young pop star in search of a larger identity and star power. She has always had the production power and songwriting chops, evidenced by hit “New Rules”, but prior to this year the general populace couldn’t quite make her out. Now, she welcomes us into club Future Nostalgia, where disco is new once again. Revitalizing the genre within modern pop music, Lipa crafts an album that feels timeless and quick-pact. Its short runtime allows for each track to feel substantial, and the result presents the young artist as a pop star worthy of the crown.

Buy here

16.

Lianne La Havas by Lianne La Havas

Genre: Neo-Soul & Folk

Release date: July 17, 2020

Inspired by cycles of love and the birth and rebirth of nature surrounding her, Lianne La Havas’ self-titled and self-produced third LP feels like a serene waterfall hike. Fluttered throughout with pleasant acoustic guitars, soulful jams, and emotional ballads that feel made for television’s most dramatic moments, La Havas directly opposes those same neo-soul stylings by clashing them with rock sounds. The heavier moments on this record, such as its Radiohead cover, “Weird Fishes” feel like beautiful storms within a gorgeous forest. This album is certain to please those searching for an R&B record with edge, or perhaps a folk music fan looking for something to dance to.

Buy here

15.

KiCk i by Arca

Genre: Dance/Electronic & Pop

Release date: June 26, 2020

Beyond the incredibly harsh tones and glitchy surface of KiCk i, any listener will hear the sound of self realization. An artist coming into her form, Arca feels more realized than ever before, finetuning her sound into a place that is both listenable to longterm fans seeking the bizarre sounds of her early work and new fans seeking conventional but off-the-wall electro-pop. The result is an album that features some of the singers best performances and production, and promises an even brighter future for what could become of the pioneering electronic artists sound.

 

Buy here

14.

SAWAYAMA by Rina Sawayama

Genre: Pop & Nu-Metal

Release date: April 17, 2020

Any longtime fan of Rina Sawayama will tell you that a major label debut has been a promising idea for years. It’s arrival feels like a blessing to pop fans around the world, a fun album inspired heavily by Y2K pop and nu-metal. Despite its clearly dated inspiration points, SAWAYAMA feels incredibly modern, relying heavily on modern pop stylings and fusing them with the characteristic production of collaborator, Clarence Clarity. It’s an album that’ll transport any listener into a nostalgic buzz, one that will feel especially poignant within the record’s political subtext. It’s a necessary album for anybody interested in sophisticated pop music that pushes the boundaries of its genre.

Buy here

13.

how i’m feeling now by Charli XCX

Genre: Dance/Electronic & Pop

Release date: May 15, 2020

One of the earliest popular musicians to declare publicly that she would be releasing a “quarantine album”, how i’m feeling now manages to arguably be Charli XCX’s best album to date. Fusing modern hyperpop sounds with her knack for writing impactful pop hooks and the nostalgic clubby experimentation presented in her debut, the album manages to strengthen many of the elements at play in her previous full-length. Abandoning her frequent reliance on collaborators to create a personal pop album with old and new producers, the album highlights Charli’s attention to detail and refrain, stripping her larger than life sound into a more intimate and approachable affair. A digestible album for any person in search of exuberant pop sounds.

Buy here

12.

5EPs by Dirty Projectors

Genre: Alternative/Indie

Release date: November 20, 2020

Releasing five EPs throughout the course of the year alongside his newly introduced lineup of performers, David Longstreth latest Dirty Projectors piece is an inviting and incredibly ranged piece of indie pop. Drifting by as though a breeze in a park, the album flows masterfully within each respected EP, and its result is a compilation piece that shows a band coming into full unity. There are several moments on the album about love and the power that it has over others. But its best moments are its most intelligent, subtly telling political stories in an accessible and creative manner. It is an essential indie album that jumps from genre inspiration, but is sure to please all listeners at some point.

 

Buy here

11. What’s Your Pleasure by Jessie Ware

Genre: Disco & Pop

Release date: June 26, 2020

Disco definitely found new footing this year within the pop landscape, but this was no more clear and effective than Jessie Ware’s latest effort. What’s Your Pleasure feels like an effortless display of good pop and dance music. With an emotional opener that is certain to grasp listeners, and grooves that are fluent and evocative throughout, Ware set out to do what the best escapist music does, “Will this make people want to have sex? And will this make people want to dance?”. That idea is prevalent in fun and sweat-soaked anthems throughout, an album certain to please any listener hoping to get their groove on.

Buy here

10. Shamir by Shamir

Genre: Alternative/Indie & Rock

Release date: October 2, 2020

Upon the release of his critically acclaimed debut record, Ratchet, it seemed Shamir was primed for indie fame with an already viral classic under his belt. In the years following that, he left XL Recordings and self-released four records that took inspiration from “outsider music, country & punk”. These ideas come to full fruition on the singer’s latest self-titled album, which contains the finest moments of the young artist’s career in a brief, engaging record. Featuring memorable lyrics and earworm hooks that are accompanied by a DIY-rock sound, you’ve got an essential lofi-indie rock that is certain to please any fan of the genre.

Buy here

9. WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 by Yaeji

Genre: Dance/Electronic & K-Pop

Release date: April 2, 2020

Signing with XL Recordings, Yaeji was inspired by the support systems within her life to create her most playful and collaborative music yet. Whilst still clubby and fun throughout, WHAT WE DREW largely contrasts the moodier sounds of her previous EPs, with moments on this record coming across as bubbly and bouncy. The record, which was entirely self-produced by Yaeji, is at its best when it manages to fuse these unlikely elements into dance tracks that feel substantial and are easily danceable. Above all, WHAT WE DREW is the artist’s most diverse body of music to date and promises an exceptional full-length debut.

Buy here

8.The Angel You Don’t Know by Amaarae

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap & Afro-Pop

Release date: November 12, 2020

Amaarae is an up-and-coming Ghanian-American artist whose steadily subverting expectations with her progressive and stylish brand of afro-pop. Inspired by a multitude of stylistic genres, including southern trap and mall rock, The Angel You Don’t Know is wildly experimental and written exceptionally well also. The best tracks feel layered and sultry, combined by Amaarae distinctive whispery vocals. The end result is an incredibly enjoyable pop record that is fueled by its fun collaborations and genre-bouncing tracklist.

Buy here

7. Every Bad by Porridge Radio

Genre: Alternative/Indie & Rock

Release date: March 13, 2020

It’s always a dream when a band grows with their second record, and Every Bad is an example of this. An incredibly enrapturing rock album, Porridge Radio presents a series of truths, dreams and realities, and incredibly emotional themes that are later propelled by the band’s brash sound. At its heaviest, lead singer Dana Margolin vocals highlight a harshness to the bands songwriting, which is sometimes counteracted by the bands brighter, pop rock production pieces. While its tougher moments are cathartic and encasing, the album’s strongest elements are its dramatic builds throughout, with each song feeling large and climatic. It is an enjoyable rock record and is certain to please any fan of the genre.

Buy here

6. St. Cloud by Waxahatchee

Genre: Alternative/Indie & Folk

Release date: March 27, 2020

Amassing a decent cult following and building a reputation for herself with the indie music scene as a promising songwriter, St. Cloud feels like an exuberant highlight within the young artists building discography. Where her previous records were somber and sparse, an intimacy that highlighted her prowess as a songwriter, the ‘90s rock sound exhilarating. The result is an American folk record that fits as well into indie circuit radios as it might on a big country festival stage. Featuring some of the most stylistically bright music in the young artists career, it is a transformative album that is certain to leave any willing listener impacted by the end of its concise runtime.

Buy here

5.All the Time by Jessy Lanza

Genre: Dance/Electronic & R&B

Release date: July 24, 2020

Completely uprooting her life in her hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, Jessy Lanza prepared for a new journey as a budding popstar. Now, her most energetic record must live within the walls of a quarantined New York apartment; however that doesn’t deprive the record of its deeply effective grooves and sensations. Writing some of the smartest dance tracks in her career, Lanza pitches and plays with her vocals in fresh ways that create variance throughout the album. However, that is already easily done by the immaculately understated production that is on display by Lanza and club-pop musician, Jeremy Greenspan. Several tracks on this record depict Lanza’s resentment and emotionality towards the duo’s relationship, and when paired with glossy pop and R&B-adjacent productions, the result is sickeningly sweet and fun.

Buy here

4. Ungodly Hour by Chloe x Halle

Genre: Pop & R&B

Release date: June 12, 2020

With a Disney acting role inbound, and an incredibly underrated debut record in the foreground, the sister duo expands on almost every element on their debut record with an instant-classic R&B record. With religious imagery that is utilized effectively throughout the record, Ungodly Hour is consistent in quality and sound throughout. Having found a bouncy, club-pop lane within the modern R&B landscape, they greatly avoid the failures of their contemporaries with a non-excessive runtime and varied emotionality. Ungodly Hour promises sultry and romantic, if not downright sexy, jams and empowering anthems that are bouncy and relatable, yet subtle. Its pop hooks are catchy, and its production quality is airtight, which is further highlighted by the duo’s resiliency in live performances and shows. If anything, the greatest takeaway is that Chloe x Halle seemed primed for R&B royalty, with a backing system that is determined to see success.

Buy here

3. Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple

Genre: Alternative/Indie

Release date: April 17, 2020

What will probably go down as the critical quintessential quarantine record, Fiona Apple’s magnum opus record is incredibly expansive and nuanced. Incorporating the best elements of her phenomenal discography, Fetch the Bolt Cutters began as a conceptual album about her Venice home and grew into a political record for the times. While the sentiment “fetch the bolt cutters” is certain to feel relatable in a time of quarantining with financial insecurity and political unrest, Apple’s themes of freedom from oppression will be deeply relatable to anybody who’s felt cast aside by society. With songs written over the course of a decade and inspired by several relationships and lived experiences, the result is an almost confoundingly infectious record, with its best tracks making philosophical assertions seem effortless.

Buy here

2. Women in Music Pt. III by HAIM

Genre: Alternative/Indie & Rock

Release date: June 26, 2020

HAIM has quietly been a force within the indie-pop genre, with their debut album Days Are Gone being a deliberate take on the blown-out pop productions of the early-2010s. While this momentum may have been stifled by their second record, which leaned heavier into country and pop genre-stylings than their previous had, it was evident that the band’s inspiration points, including Joni Mitchell, Destiny’s Child, and Blondie, were resulting in groovy nostalgic pop that was occasionally overcrowded. This is a critique that is nearly totally resolved by the bands euphoric and genre-fluid third record. Mastering their production with Rostam, formerly of Vampire Weekend, the result is incredibly explorative and fully realized. No melody on this record sounds like another present here, and that is quantified by Danielle Haim’s songwriting, which is stronger than ever at effectively telling stories with simple words. Women in Music Pt. III is by far the most fun album of the year, occasionally campy, entirely sentimental, and briefly political at times throughout.

Buy here

1. Song for Our Daughter by Laura Marling

Genre: Alternative/Indie & Folk

Release date: April 10, 2020

Inspired by global chaos and political turmoil, as well as the 2009 novel Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou, British songwriter Laura Marling welcomes audiences into her northeast London home with a beautifully simplistic folk record. Written to a theoretical daughter, and more generally mothers and women as a unity, Marling writes ten straightforward, endearing and coyly political tracks that continue to demonstrate her unmatched talents as songwriter. Occasionally joined by sparse percussion, Song for Our Daughter mostly features Marling alongside her guitar, orchestrating heart wrenching ballads and serenades that pull on the strings of any romantic listener. Marling demonstrates a knowledge beyond her years, always skeptical of those around her and the love that she both must give and receive. While most of the themes on this record can be directly tied to Marlings visions and expectations of motherhood, Marling continues to touch on themes related to her livelihood as a woman operating love and romance in a world that allows men to control every aspect of their lives and fails to allow said security to women. One of the best tracks on the album, “Strange Girl” feels jubilant, intelligent, and above all fun on a folk album that is otherwise emotionally charged and generally weary. Even at the record’s most somber moments, Marlings vocals feel hopeful and enticing, and when the record ends on a joyfully aware note of appreciation and understanding, listeners feel as though they’ve come to understand Marling in a new way. It is the best folk album of the year, and album of the year because it manages to display emotionally fragility, strength and growth over a stunning and deliberate 37-minute runtime, a feat worth praising. It is the serene and insightful record that we all needed during our clamorous year, and is sure to be enjoyed by romantics and those with an appreciation for delicate lyricism.

Buy here

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