Casual Cadenza: Switchin’ the positions in a gangsta’s paradise (feat. Mazzy Star)


In last week’s downhearted report, I promised an update on my frail state of mind due to the bombardment of assignments, deadlines and other tasks that risked bringing me into overdrive. With the additional stress of an election looming ahead, I expected this week to be less than stellar. However, the past seven days have actually gone better than I anticipated. 

My lift in spirits is the likely contributor to this week’s playlist, which is evidently livelier than the last. After all, there’s no better way to celebrate a newly elected president than blasting a convoluted blend of mainstream R&B pop, old school hip-hop and ‘90s indie. 

With the mention of R&B pop, I feel like now’s the time to admit my soft spot for Ariana Grande, whose newest album has found a frequent presence on my Spotify. The tendency for me to listen to “positions” is scarily high, as the lyrics “Switchin’ the positions for you / Cookin’ in the kitchen and I’m in the bedroom” have become permanently ingrained in my brain. It’s what I’ve been singing during a multitude of situations: FaceTime calls while playing Among Us with friends, the rushed completion of last minute assignments, 10-second trips to the bathroom and possibly in my sleep. 

Maybe I’m a little biased, but to me, “positions” is the epitome of having an enjoyable time. Every listen just seems to translate good vibes, which is honestly a well-needed sentiment. 

Up next is a song that, like most of the music I discover nowadays, is from TikTok. Although it’s extremely unlikely that Coolio wrote “Gangsta’s Paradise” for the purpose of making a popular sound on a kids’ app, it’s hard to deny its banger-status. 

As someone who has absolutely no knowledge of hip-hop, I was pleased to learn that “Gangsta’s Paradise” has actually been designated as one of the best hip-hop songs of all time. After listening to it an excess number of times, I can see why. The way L.V.’s R&B vocals compliment Coolio’s rapping, paired with meaningful lyrics that depict the difficulties of living in the ghetto, acts as adequate reason for the song’s constant praise. 

“Gangsta’s Paradise” actually managed to help me escape the discouraging slump I landed in, by being one of the only songs I listened to during my successful attempt of completing what was supposed to be a week-long project within eight hours. So, from a personal standpoint, if you’re looking to feel powerful, motivated or at the very least, a much cooler person, “Gangsta’s Paradise” is the way to go. 

Moving on from old school hip-hop is old school indie: Mazzy Star’s “Fade into You.” I wasn’t originally planning on adding this song here, but I figured it would be a good one to end on. 

While the somber sounds of the band’s acoustic and electric guitars give a melancholy undertone to their ‘90s hit, they simultaneously deliver a hopeful connotation. Waking up to the news of a new president-elect and 70 degree weather was the most significant way of achieving this feeling. And despite the fact that I went into this weekend aware of yet more work I had to do, scrolling through posts of celebrations happening across states with “Fade into You” playing in the background became the highlight of my day. 

Thus, my initial pessimism was ultimately unmet and overcome by a handful of optimistic tunes. I guess I’ve managed to reach a conclusion to the question of whether I would ever have something positive to write about. I’m quite happy with this week’s answer. 

Photo courtesy of @Coolio on Twitter.

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