Heavy Rotation ATM: After The Storm

Written by on March 5, 2021

Hello friends,

I can say it has been a very difficult year for all of us living with the ongoing pandemic, and now dealing with the aftermath of last month’s polar vortex. We are in a constant state of healing, now that we’ve reached the time After The Storm”, I wanted to share with you all some songs that are currently in my rotation.


Going through these emotional and societal changes has not been easy but these songs provide me with hope and understanding of my feelings. I believe music allows me to express how I’m feeling inside at the truest form without having to speak a word. Remember we made it, and we are here so let’s enjoy some good music!


Kali Uchis – “After The Storm (feat. Tyler, The Creator & Bootsy Collins)”


I first discovered this song back in 2018 when it first released, it struck me on a gold note. The friendly familiar drum kick sets the tone and mood of the song. You’re about to be set on a roller-coaster of nostalgia and understanding. Kali combines her relaxed and comforting voice with lyrics of sympathy and compassion for oneself and yourself ONLY. Kali explains,

“everybody’s hurting

everybody’s going through it.

But you just can’t give up now

cause you gotta save yourself”.


That line hits hard, especially at a time like this when everyone could use some help in many ways. These reassuring lyrics help me when I need a pick me up. This is paired with great support by Bootsy Collins with their reoccurring “Yeah I gotta hang on” in the background of the song. Tyler provides a fun and slight break from the rest of the song, but it works with the structure of the whole. “After The Storm is a perfect feel better song, she recognizes the struggles of trying to be okay when you are not okay. This is also the title of this week’s Heavy Rotation ATM!


FKA Twigs – “cellophane”

This song speaks for itself, “cellophane” is a very raw and bare song that shines a light on FKA Twigs‘ vocals with a nice layering of out-of-this-world terrestrial sounds and ambiance. The opening lines of,

“Didn’t I do it for you

why don’t I do it for you

why won’t you do it for me

when all I do is for you”

In one way or another, we have all experienced that feeling of not being enough or doing enough for someone we care about, combined with that questioning and persistent ringing anxiety of ‘Do they love me? Why don’t they care about me?’. This is what my inner voice sounds like, what sounds to me like an honest observation of the world and people around me. (It isn’t but it feels like it.)


Tyler, The Creator – “EARFQUAKE”

Tyler gets another feature! This time on his very own 2019 single, “EARFQUAKE“. I remember finding this song because a past partner of mine played this for me in his car. This song reminds me of the beginning of a past era for me, however, I now find myself revisiting this song but for different reasons. This song lets you cruise through the feeling of letting someone know how much they impact your life and how much they mean to you. Tyler, at least to me, begs and pleads to this person saying,

“Don’t leave it’s my fault

Don’t leave it’s my fault

Cause when it all comes crashing down I’ll need you”.

If you ever feel like you’d do or say anything to get this person who brought stability to your life, this is that feeling bottled up into one song.


SZA – “Normal Girl”

You will notice a common notion between most of these songs will be that they are easy on the ears and fun to listen to, but they’re actually are an oxymoron to what they’re saying. Meaning, they provide a fun beat you can dance and vibe to while singing about very real bittersweet situations.


Normal Girl” is no exception to that, SZA sings about that idea we get in our heads sometimes of what would life be like if we were just an average normal girl/person, instead of being who we are. Would we be happier? Would the people around us be happier with us? She sings to her lover and herself here,

“Wish I was the type of girl you take over to mama

The type of girl, I know my daddy, he’d be proud of”.

But regardless, our significant others and the people around us love us for who we are. They love us for the person we have grown up to become. This song is the definition of bitter-sweet, recalling that maybe I was always a normal girl before I met you and became who I am now. “Normal Girl” can be interpreted in many ways, just like how we interpret each other in many ways.


Rina Sawayama – “Bad Friend”


This is a single from Rina’s debut album SAWAYAMA, its title is very point-driven. Not about how a friend has treated Rina per se but how Rina has treated that friend, naming herself as the “Bad Friend”. I feel we can all relate to this at some point in our lives where we have gotten caught up with life and have forgotten to maintain those strained and distant friendships when we used to be so close to this person. Rina sings,

“So don’t ask me where I’ve been

Been avoiding everything

‘Cause I’m a bad, I’m a bad, I’m a bad friend

I’m a bad friend, yeah”.

The song sounds like a flashback to the past while combining the worries of the present, the chorus buildup goes really high but leaves you at the same place where you started. In an interview, Rina said she got so busy with life that she didn’t even realize her best friend was pregnant and had already had a child. She only found out through social media, that when she felt like a “Bad Friend” and says don’t ask me how I’ve been, why should her friend care about her life if she hadn’t been the one to reach out herself.


Thank you friends, for reading my very first article! I hope you enjoyed it and be sure to give me any feedback or questions you may have in the comments below!


Here is my Heavy Rotation Playlist. It’s updated weekly so make sure to follow for more recommendations!

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