Tunes of the Time: A Debut Album and an Allusion to Shakespeare

Hanna Duenkel

This week, a brand new country album and one of my favorite singles caught my attention.

Montevallo by Sam Hunt–

At first, country artist Sam Hunt’s debut album Montevallo seems to blend in with the rest of modern country’s music, but upon further review, it shows a soft and sweet flare in the world of trucks, backroads, and partying.  Considering I’ve been listening to country since before I can remember, I was excited to hear the ten-song album, which contains many original songs from the singer/songwriter and a cover of the Keith Urban hit, “Cop Car.”  While listening, it felt like I was on a road trip and I discovered the highs and lows of the journey; the highs being the songs  like “House Party,” “Leave the Night On,” and “Raised On It,” the last two being singles that Hunt had released in the past year.  To me, “Take Your Time” and “Make You Miss Me” were the lows of the metaphorical journey because of how they gave Hunt an inconsistent sound; one moment, it was catchy and lighthearted and the next, it had a coffeehouse vibe.  Hunt’s cover of “Cop Car” displays his youth and emotions as he gasps for breaths towards the end, trying to finish his words, but still gives it that catchy and lighthearted tone that he sets in every song.  If you liked Montevallo, then check out the song “Dust” by the Eli Young Band because of how it shares the upbeat and somewhat fast tone that Sam Hunt pours into his music.  Also, check out the original version of “Cop Car” by Keith Urban.

“Sweet Ophelia” by Zella Day–

For about a month and a half, this song has been stuck in my head, and it deserves recognition.  “Sweet Ophelia” was released on April 7th on a vinyl record and on SoundCloud, but I discovered it in a premade playlist that brought me into the ways of Zella Day.  The song has a sound that rivals Lana Del Rey, but doesn’t incorporate dark tones like Del Rey does, and instead remains lighthearted.  Even though some of the lyrics are silly and don’t have a literal meaning, such as “Cherry pie with your gold curls,” it gives an alluring sound that encompasses you. The song alludes to the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, where Ophelia, who was the recipient of Hamlet’s love, tragically drowns to death in true Shakespearean fashion.  At her funeral, she is claimed to have become an angel, which relates to the single because of how the artist sings “When young blood escapes/Vows that break/Go up, up away.” Zella Day also has many similarities with other artists, such as Florence + the Machine,  by occasionally using instruments like the xylophone and using thick, resonating drum beats.  If you like “Sweet Ophelia,” then you should definitely check out Zella Day’s self titled EP and “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine.