Welcome to The Pitch’s Infinite Playlist, a forever-growing playlist of songs picked by people in KC. View/follow the full playlist on Spotify, and you can always go back and check out the full run of articles. Throw the playlist on shuffle and enjoy away!
Playlist guest #30: Michael Cripe
Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi! I’m Michael. For the last four years, I’ve provided news coverage, opinion pieces, and video content for The Escapist. You might also recognize me from my time as a Pitch intern and contributor. I simultaneously play too many video games and not enough video games, but most of my time is spent hanging out with my back-flipping dog, Nova, here in KC.
Where can we support/follow your work?
“Teardrops” by Bring Me the Horizon
A crushing track about being so sad that you forget how to feel. Mere months before the pandemic took hold, my only family moved across the country, and I moved from St. Joseph to Kansas City. My lack of a support system made those COVID-19 lockdowns especially brutal, so when Bring Me the Horizon dropped the far-too-short Post Human: Survival Horror, I gained a handful of tracks that put fiery wind under my wings.
The whole project is foaming at the mouth with angst, but it’s “Teardrops” that really channels in-your-feels frustration. It’s a track that captures the 2000s nu metal vibes I didn’t know I needed. It’s an instant time capsule back to the hard teenage days that I never thought I would overcome but did. More than anything, though, “Teardrops” is a reminder that in the onslaught garbage we’re faced with every day, there are others living similar experiences, and it’s never too late to reach for a helping hand.
“Ready To Die” by Andrew W.K.
Andrew W.K.’s meat-headed take on synth-infused hard rock is not for everyone. Though his music has recently favored the deeply personal over an in-your-face approach, the essence of honesty can be found across the rocker’s discography—but it is most notably featured in his first major record, I Get Wet.
Not everything in the 12-track project holds up 21 years post-launch, but it’s undoubtedly a one-of-a-kind experience only available to those willing to risk their lives listening to something cooked up by W.K. However, there’s one track that held a knife to my throat the second it pierced my ears: “Ready to Die.”
The plucky chords that open the track are a distraction—a diversion hiding the chaos yet to ensue. Soon after, drums kick in as a final warning before a cacophony of upbeat instrumentals takes hold. It’s fun, it’s angry, and it’s undeniably W.K.
I’m not here to pretend W.K. is some diamond-in-the-rough philosopher that hides behind a caveman-like approach. The dude is the definition of unhinged, but his persona equals his tunes, which are blistering and coated in truth. “Ready to Die” is a track that pulls you in by the shirt and begs you to live life to the fullest, and it never fails to knock some sense into me.
“Safe Flight” by Wild Rivers
My first concert assignment for The Pitch took me to see Wild Rivers, a band I had never heard of. The Canadian trio apparently specialized in mellow sad tracks that rarely sped up above a walking pace, or at least, that’s what I gathered from the few songs I listened to in preparation for the concert. My fiancé and I attended the show with low expectations and left with songs that we’ll dance to at our wedding.
“Safe Flight” is a story about two people going their separate ways. There’s no hate or hostility between these nameless former friends, though. Together or apart, they wish the best for each other, wherever they go. I hear this song and am immediately taken back to the moment vocalist Khalid Yassein spoke about the song’s lyrics at the show.
Despite being literally elevated above the crowd, he didn’t talk down to anyone there. He was their friend even if it was only for a moment.
I’m proud to say I know what an eavestrough is because of that concert, but the song is more than a fond memory. “Safe Flight” is a tenderly written piece about connection and what it’s like to feel it slip away.
“Chinese Satellite” by Phoebe Bridgers
“Chinese Satellite” is my favorite track from Phoebe Bridgers’ sophomore record, Punisher. This ghostly three-and-a-half-minute search for meaning breaks my heart on every listen, but it’s only a highlight on a record the boasts quality that I don’t think has been fully realized by music listeners quite yet. If you take anything from this entry in The Pitch’s Infinite Playlist, make sure you give Bridgers’ music a listen if you haven’t already.
On a personal note, I didn’t fall head over heels for Bridgers’ music until giving it a second chance years after I first listened to Punisher. Sometimes, music waits to find us until we need it. For me, I needed the light, ethereal instrumentals this artist is know for in 2022. I discovered Bridgers while living in Kansas City. Even if I eventually leave town, I know I’ll think of this place and my long drives through it anytime her music creeps into my headphones.
“Under You” by Foo Fighters
There’s no chance in Hell I’m leaving my mark on the Playlist without talking about Foo Fighters. “Under You” is the second single from the band’s most recent record, But Here We Are, and it’s one of the best songs they’ve ever recorded. The track is an extended hand to those caught in the endless muck that is grief, bombarding listeners with gargantuan guitars and heart-pounding drums. In the middle of it all are Dave Grohl’s pained vocals, making this not only an emotionally poignant song about finding love in loss but a piece of music that so beautifully Foo Fighters.