Bo Armstrong was just as captivated as the rest of us when he viewed the Billie Eilish documentary earlier this year. So much so, that he chose to cover “When the Party’s Over,” an already devastatingly beautiful and heartbreaking song. His version of the song takes a more delicate hold than even Eilish’s, building slowly with the introduction of each new instrument. The sadness is palpable in his vocals, as he reflects on the subject matter and its devastating impact.
I lost someone else to suicide a few years prior, and my response was somewhat similar —it’s just hard to feel anything but helpless. But after watching the movie —and hearing those first few notes of “when the party’s over” over and over again in my head —I had the idea to record a version of the song and use it as a tool to help me raise money for organizations that are working to promote mental health awareness and prevent suicide. It felt like it could be a way for me to not do nothing.
We are going to be sitting in the corner with our goosebumps, surrounded by his gorgeous voice.
Erin P.S. Zimmerman has not only the memory of an elephant and the rhythm of one of Destiny’s children, but she’s the twin sister of our Editor, so she’s an absolute magnet for pop culture. She took a side road and grabbed us a large quantity of songs for a playlist that easily covers the entire decade. We’re sure it was inspired by her Spotify plays, as well as a deep dive into each year and her own iTunes library. But this girl’s got some gems. So read em, listen to em, and celebrate 2020 with the sounds of the past!
Dick in a Box – Lonely Island ft Justin Timberlake One of the first times I realized that my mom has a wicked dirty sense of humor. In 2011, we requested this one at a piano bar “for our mom”. They pulled her on stage to sing and dance…and boy, did she!
I’m on a Boat – The Lonely Island Everyone seemed to know this one, and it brought us all togethe
Water Landing – Third Eye Blind Favorite TEB song. My new bf at the time – now my husband – made me a mix CD when we started dating, and this was the first song.
Boom Boom Pow – The Black Eyed Peas “You’re so two thousand and LATE!” – Also, my sorority formal date’s “THIS IS MY JAM!”
Gives You Hell – The All-American Rejects Our anthem for all the bullshit left behind in high school.
Use Somebody – Kings of Leon Favorite moment of my study abroad trip to London: a packed room at a bar singing this to a live band playing a cover.
Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus There is no physical possibility she could walk off the plane at LAX, hop in her cab and look to the right to see the Hollywood sign.
Battlefield – Jordin Sparks Why DOES love always feel like a battlefield?
Fireflies – Owl City Why did we like this one so much??
I Love College – Asher Roth This is the given on the soundtrack of someone who was in college in 2009 or any year after.
Breakeven – The Script This introduced me to The Script. Which became part of the soundtrack to my summer.
Lines, Vines, and Trying Times – Jonas Brothers YES, this is the whole album. Because I loved about 4/5ths of it. And it was the magical soundtrack to exploring London and Los Angeles.
Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner Someone told me they thought of me every time they hear this song because I probably think I’m cooler than them. I am.
Billionaire – Travie McCoy ft Bruno Mars Heard this one for the first time driving around Los Angeles with some friends. And I could picture myself as a billionaire VERY clearly – and still do every time I hear it!
Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida ft. David Guetta Always blasted in my dorm with my roommates. Always never at the club…because it can’t handle me right now.
Whataya Want from Me – Adam Lambert I felt like I had his vocal range. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. Also: what I sang in my head every time someone from high school reached out to me…
If I Die Young – The Band Perry My co-worker’s young daughter loved this song. And creepily sang every word as she stared deep into my eyes. I lived to tell the tale.
Shout It Out – Hanson Yes, it’s another boy band album. I truly love all of the upbeat music on this, and it’s great for running through the sprinklers and then enjoying a bomb pop on a summer day (or upbeat music for your NYE)!
Under the Mistletoe – Justin Bieber My sister received a video invitation to a Christmas party in Manhattan, New York that featured this song. And it was original and funny and I can’t help but love the song now.
Rolling in the Deep – Adele Power ballad and my introduction to Adele [insert heart eyes]
Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO My little bro learned the dance. We made the gold box head from the video for him. This was his anthem.
Raise Your Glass – P!nk Underdogs. Weirdos. Dirty little freaks. I’ve never felt so seen…
F**kin’ Perfect – P!nk NOW I feel seen.
Look At Me Now – Chris Brown ft Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes I spent an entire week vacationing in San Diego practicing rapping to Busta’s verse. I got most of it, performed it at my 21st birthday party, and retired from the rap game.
Good Life – OneRepublic Upbeat. Meaningful. Nostalgic. Perfect for a party!
Pretty Girl Rock – Keri Hilson Because, of course.
Jessie J’s entire album: Who You Are Spent the summer – and fall and winter and spring – driving around with my twin sis rockin’ out to this one! Daddio’s favorite is Price Tag
Threw it on the Ground – The Lonely Island Makes me giggle. Referenced often to this day.
Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye Just one of those songs from 2012 that defined the year…because it was played non-stop on every radio station. So, everyone knows it.
We Are Young – Fun Another one of those anthems for people of all ages about going out and painting the town red – or setting it on fire, whatever
Ni**as in Paris – Jay Z and Kanye West A fun one that made at least SOMETHING in Blades of Glory funny.
Birthday Cake – Rihanna ft Chris Brown Super weird collaboration following his assaulting her and the romantic breakup that followed 3 years prior…but a super catchy – albeit sometimes annoying – track.
Thrift Shop – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Who didn’t love this song, and then become a complete thrift shop junkie? It took me years to get back to thrifting and getting anything good!
Flawless – Beyonce Empowerment anthem OF THE DECADE. And, most days? I DID wake up like this.
Mirrors – Justin Timberlake Cried. Sang it with the windows down driving up the 101. Made my bridal party do a dance to it. There is video evidence.
Royals – Lorde I had somehow forgotten this song. It played in perpetuity from 2013-the KC Royals 2015 World Series Championship. Now I can’t get it out of my head…
Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus An ode to Miley’s breakup, breakdown and ripping off the bandaid that was her Disney persona. And you, too, can get a skin for your MacBook that turns your Apple logo into the wrecking ball in question.
Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys ANOTHER empowerment anthem? We will take all of them we can get!
You and I – John Legend Hell, really I just mean all of the album “Love in the Future”. Best of 2013.
Happy – Pharrell Williams Who doesn’t want a feel-good song to take you from down in the dumps, to dancing on the hood of your car? Or the bar? Or the table or the street?
All of Me – John Legend Bawled. Became first dance at wedding. Years later, I told John Legend to his face that he only makes music to purposefully make me cry. And he guaranteed tears at his concert. And he delivered. Damn him.
Turn Down for What – DJ Snake and Lil Jon Only video I took at my wedding: Dance off in the foreground between 5 VERY white boys to this song. In the background? Family friend Russian kicking my 9-year-old niece into 2016.
Chandelier – Sia I DO want to swing from the chandeli-here!
The Man – Aloe Blacc Best basketball warm up song. Best slideshow music for the graduating seniors of the St. Pius X high school basketball team.
Partition – Beyonce This one just has me feelin’ myself, no matter what mood I was in before! In fact, I’m going to go listen to it, now!
See You Again – Wiz Khalifa ft Charlie Puth First death of a friend my age. This played on a slideshow. He’s all I think of when I hear it and I cry. Which means I cried while watching Fast and the Furious. But not because of Fast and the Furious.
Take Me to Church – Hozier The year I really STOPPED going to church. But his voice more than made up for it!
Elastic Heart – Sia Two words: Shia. Labeouf.
Outlaws – Alessia Cara I felt like this was the anthem for myself and my fellow entrepreneurs as we retreated in the mountains and built our businesses and white-water rafted and had a jolly ole time.
House Party – Sam Hunt How the twin and I have always lived our lives: entertaining from the comfort of our own homes.
Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
Sorry – Justin Bieber OK, let’s be honest. The whole damn album. I’m not embarrassed. I danced my way through 2016 to JB.
Work from Home – Fifth Harmony I had just started working from home as a full-time freelancer when this one came out. So, it was constantly in my head – and is a fun one to dance to, as well!
Just Like Fire – P!nk Apparently, I am drawn to fire. I believe it’s the Aries in me…
One Call Away – Charlie Puth Sister broke up with her boyfriend. I rallied the troops and had friends and family from across the US lip sync on video and put it together as a breakup gift. And a perpetual reminder.
Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya Calling society in to question. While being catchy and easy to dance to? Yes, please and thank you! Because smashing the patriarchy can and should feel a hell of a lot more fun!
Lost Boy – Ruth B Haunting, gender-bending, put into question how we see ourselves vs. how we are seen.
I know, deep, right?
HUMBLE – Kendrick Lamar I saw this one as a challenge for me to be less humble and take up space, while also singing along loudly in the direction of folx who need to sit the f*** down, shut up and listen.
Say You Won’t Let Go – James Arthur Does anyone else see Jane and Rafael from Jane the Virgin when they listen to this song? No? Just me?
Redbone – Childish Gambino A range and style no one expected, but everyone needed.
Slow Hands – Niall Horan Sexy from a former One Directioner…I should have seen it coming.
Sorry Not Sorry – Demi Lovato Hate the saying. LOVE the song.
DNA – Kendrick Lamar The BEST song to lift heavy weights and smash a bag around to! TRY to tell me differently!
Better Life – P!nk Sad and beautiful. It helps me to stop and take inventory and answer P!nk’s question for myself.
Younger Now – Miley Cyrus How I feel with each passing year…
Bastards – Kesha First song on her 2017 album. “Don’t let the bastards get you down” (America’s official slogan since, what, 2016?)
Everybody Lost Somebody – Bleachers Bleachers makes depression fun by helping folx find commonalities in one another. YOU are not alone!
Finesse – Bruno Mars and Cardi B LOVE the throwback late 80s/early 90s sound. MORE PLEASE!
All The Stars – Kendrick Lamar & SZA Black Panther. Entire Marvel/Disney soundtrack produced by Kendrick Lamar. My mom is friends with SZA’s mom.
This is America – Childish Gambino Calling us out. Poignant. This IS America. Always and still.
God is a Woman – Ariana Grande Finally. Someone got it right.
Shape of You – Ed Sheeran I’m still trying to hate it. But every time it comes on – and it still does a LOT – my foot just gets a’tappin’!
Thank U, Next – Ariana Grande I find myself singing this at my husband of 5+ years. Gotta keep um on their toes!
Hey Look Ma, I Made It – Pan!c at the Disco Haven’t heard much from Pan!c since the mid 2000s…and now they are back and better than ever! In fact: theirs was my favorite show of 2019 (and Elizabeth’s! Check out her review here: http://imperfectfifth.com/elizabeths-favorite-shows-of-2019-dont-threaten-me-with-a-good-time/)
7 Rings – Ariana Grande Sound of Music is my favorite. And so are my bitches (though, I don’t have 6 of them…probably)
Old Town Road – Lil Nas X ft Billy Ray Cyrus Lil Nas X became a role model, THEN came out (and became an even BIGGER role model), all while trolling us with this annoyingly catchy – but really bad – anthem of 2019.
Bad Guy – Billie Eilish Hate to say it…I love it. Because, well, I don’t always want to be the nice guy!
I Don’t Care – Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber This is literally how I feel about everyone and everything. Except for my family. Sometimes. Other times, it’s exactly how I feel about all humans except myself.
Homecoming: The Live Album – Beyonce Watching it live. Listening to it in its entirety. Tears to my eyes and over a decade of music and emotions.
I think this is a really good moment for women in music and overall entertainment right now. The climate is really conscious, women are speaking up and advocating for themselves through various forms of art and media. I am so inspired by all of the female pop recording artists right now. They’re all strong, socially aware and convey a similar message of women’s empowerment. They all support each other and I too feel the desire to support fellow female artists. I made this playlist to listen to when I want to feel inspired and a sense of community in the music business. All of these different artists show strength in their lyrics and vocal performances even if it’s through moments of vulnerability, enjoy.
These days, it can be difficult to determine one songstress from another, let alone save a track and keep the name of its creator in your music library. This time of year, everyone is posting their “Best of” lists for 2018. We aren’t doing a super deep dive. We’ve just chosen 7 of our favorite female vocalists that have really ignited our hearts in the last year or so – one we found as recently as a couple of weeks ago! – and we’re all about sharing! Check out some of our favorite non-male performers below, and then maybe go make an entire WHO RUN THE WORLD? playlist featuring each and every one of these powerhouses!
by meredith schneider
Billie Eilish wasn’t someone we saw coming. Having jammed out to a couple of her songs, Bonnaroo 2018 brought her to the stage in front of us for the first time. A look of vulnerability in her eyes, she gave that crowd more than what she had that day, throwing her body into her stage presence and really working the stage so that everyone felt like they were a part of it. Each new release brings with it an extended feeling of empowerment, and we’re keen on what’s to come for this incredibly talented young musician. (See video at the end of this piece: she is one of Tan France’s favorites!)
by christie mcmenamin
Lucy Dacus‘ voice is tranquil, delicate, and perfectly matched to her bittersweet, relatable lyrics. We’ve fallen in love with her as gently as her music progression over the years. We’re super pleased with her new supergroup boygenius (see: Julien Baker below), if not only because it gives us an additional reason to see her live more often. All the heart eyes going into 2019 on this lady!
by jeo taymany
Ness Heads is a Chicago-based artist who sings a soulful mixture of R&B and hip hop, with a bit of a pop flare. Her single “Flip Em” threw us for a loop during the summer of 2018, and we’re keeping that energy going through the next month as we hustle through our last minute year-end “to do” lists.
by christie mcmenamin
The world’s lead producer of sad music, Julien Baker stole our hearts a few years ago, but her stage presence and the incredible way she interacts with her fans is something of note. We were lucky enough to have seen her both locally and at 2018’s last ever Sasquatch Music Festival, and were floored on a number of occasions by her prowess. Check her out with new supergroup boygenius!
by erin p.s. zimmerman
It was 2016 when we first had the unique pleasure of photographing Bishop Briggs, as she prepped for an evening performing at the Midland in Kansas City. Flash forward 2 years and we’ve seen her a number of additional times, photographed her once more (see above photo, SXSW 2017), and have continued to follow each and every impassioned song that she releases as she’s toured the country multiple times, played every festival known to mankind, and as her music has been placed in both television and film. Her energy is unlike any other when she steps on stage, and her compassion is limitless. (See: her recent haircut) Plus, she was just featured on JVN’s podcast, so she’s definitely “having a moment!”
by meredith schneider
Mess lead singer Allison Gliesman is a kind, hilarious, and obscenely generous human soul. We’re fortunate to know them as a friend, but their music stunned us even before we met them face to face. Flash forward to witnessing those powerhouse vocals one night at The Rino in KC and our world was changed forever. If you haven’t yet blasted a Mess song at full volume in your car, now is the time. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.
by dara munnis
I was at Sasquatch Music Festival photographing a female-led band at one stage, when the music from another stage flooded my ears. Like a siren call, I followed it, toting my boyfriend like a rag doll. This. Woman. Has. Chops. Tash Sultana. After three songs, I turned and said, “She can do it all. Seriously. What can’t she do?” As if she could hear me, she got out a pan flute within 30 seconds… and started to beat box with it.
If you aren’t in love just with that statement, then I don’t know who you are. Insane. That’s the only word to describe it.
BONUS – While our other listing pieces will include just 7 representatives, we may have gone overboard BECAUSE WE ARE SO FLOORED BY SO MANY RAD NON-MALE VOCALISTS. So check out our list add-on below, and revel in the glory of 8 incredible humans!
Shout out to Widelife for the title of our playlist. Having binge-watched every episode of Queer Eye a couple of times over, we’ve been in the perfect mood to receive some amazing music video submissions all month. This soundtrack feature is a mess of some of our favs that were released in the latter half of October 2018, and we’ve honestly been chomping at the bit to get them out to you!
Well, we’re over the hump of mid-year now, and most of us are probably sweating up a storm in our respective cities and homes. But we’ve been absolutely enamored by an outpouring of new music video material from some really incredible artists over the past month, so we thought we’d share some of our favorites. There’s really no reason or rhyme to it all. Some of these videos even make us yearn for colder weather and ice capped mountains. (But who are we to get ahead of ourselves here on this sweltering day?) So sit back, find a little something to try out, and enjoy!
Eric Hutchinson, “Hands”
Silent Revival, “Just One Voice”
King Princess, “Holy”
Jessie Reyez, “Apple Juice”
The Little Miss, “American Dream”
alt-j, “in cold blood” (ft. pusha t) by twin shadow
Following a gloomy week in Kansas City, April 4 brought crisp and clear weather – and a sold-out show by L.A.’s Billie Eilish at recordBar in support of her Where’s My Mind tour. Some of her fans waited for hours in the cold for a chance to be close to their favorite artist. Imperfect Fifth writer Veronica DeFeo and photographer Michael Porter were there to capture the one-of-a-kind evening. Killer performances from openers Reo Cragun and DJ Kiero got the night off to a great start. Reo busted his lip open a few songs in, but he didn’t let that stop him from delivering a fantastic set, much to the delight of the energetic crowd.
Following Reo and Kiero’s set, anticipation was evident as the concert-goers started chanting Billie’s name. In a moment of electric delirium only found at the best of shows, the lights went down and drummer Andrew Marshall and Billie’s brother, Finneas O’Connell, came onstage to an electronic sample of “my boy”, dressed in white coveralls and Billie Eilish kerchiefs. The crowd went insane when Billie came on seconds later, starting off the night with her acclaimed single, “bellyache”. Every voice knew every word, evidencing Billie’s deep connection with her fans. Not skipping a beat, Billie led the crowd into her hauntingly beautiful “idontwannabeyouanymore”, showcasing her velvety vocals. Next up was “watch”, immediately followed by “&burn”, which features Vince Staples on her record, dont smile at me. Billie not only flawlessly sang “watch”, but also took on Vince Staples’ verse from “&burn”.
Billie gave the crowd a chance to fill in some vocals on the next song, “Bored” (which was anything but boring). Fans were eager to give Billie their gifts throughout the set, and Billie expressed her love and gratitude for everyone who came multiple times, letting them know that she would not be where she is without them. Taking a more serious and mature tone, Billie performed an older track, “Six Feet Under”, which displayed not only her vocal talent, but also her lyrical skills. Billie introduced her drummer and brother to the crowd before inviting Finneas to perform his slinky, moody track, “New Girl”. As her producer, co-writer, backing vocalist and guitarist, but most importantly, brother, Finneas is always supportive of Billie, as well as having his own career as lead singer of The Slightlys and starring as Alistair on Glee.
Billie took the stage once again, enthralling the crowd with a unique cover of Drake’s hit song, “Hotline Bling” – on ukulele. In her next song, “party favor”, Billie showcased more of her ukulele skills during the fun track, which also features hitting lyrics. Billie next treated the crowd to an unreleased song, asking them all to be in the moment with her. The track that got Billie discovered, “Ocean Eyes”, was up next, and the crowd got a unique, lighthearted rendition as Billie accidentally bumped a fan with her mic; following this, Billie closed out the song on a stunning note. An electric, flawless performance of fan favorite “my boy” finished her regular set, but Billie wasn’t done yet. After raucous shouts for an encore brought her back onstage, Billie delivered with “hostage” before taking a selfie with the crowd and hugging fans. Billie closed out her show with a rocking performance of “COPYCAT” that did not disappoint. After commanding her fans to get low during the bridge, the crowd went wild with the signal word “sike!”, and the last seconds of the song were unforgettable.
At just sixteen years old, Billie Eilish has accomplished more than many artists dream to at a young age. When she makes up her mind, she gets the job done; despite her youth, Billie knows her craft and how to work a crowd. Her March 4 performance is not one that will be forgotten. Kansas City can’t wait for Billie to come back.