Although hailing from the Midwest, Grace Mayer has the polished sophistication and fashion know-how of a New York socialite paired with the passive nonchalance of a rebellious Los Angeles teen, who wastes away the days critiquing society with a piercing eye for artificiality. Watching the red carpet coverage of the Oscars and the Grammys, she could barely hide her disgust as she scrolled down the page, occasionally shaking her head and muttering “Why? Just why?” when she saw a particularly horrid pattern or fabric color.
It is these contradictions that make Mayer such an enigmatic colleague, at once both friendly and mysterious. With edgy anti-heroines such as Lana Del Rey and Lorde featured prominently on the playlist, it would be criminal for her not to wear Doc Martens.
The playlist starts with “You’ve Got the Love” by Florence + The Machine, a rousing indie deep cut that assures you that she knows her stuff. “The greatest” and “Norman f—ing Rockwell” by Lana Del Rey and “Ribs” by Lorde appear on the playlist instead of perhaps “Mariners Apartment Complex” or “Royals,” as Mayer shuns the commercial hits in favor of what the “true” fans consider the best tracks.
“Tiny Dancer,” “Hey Jude,” and “I Feel the Earth Move” are thrown in to appease the boomers and mask her hidden distaste for the tired conventions of classic rock. In a similar vein, she prefers the Sturgill Simpson version of Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” even though you can rest assured she has a Kurt Cobain poster occupying pride of place in her dorm room alongside a banner that reads “Resist” in all caps.
“Idle Town” by Conan Grey and “I Like That” by Janelle Monáe lend a futuristic sheen to the rustic, indie feel of other tracks, further emphasizing that Mayer can never be pigeonholed, never fully understood.
Overall, the self-indulgent musings of her fellow arts critic cannot hide the fact that it is, in fact, a pretty solid playlist that forced the writer of this column to really strain to poke holes in it. In an arts section dangerously walking the line between “chill” and “comatose,” Mayer brings a positive energy yet also her air of mystique to the group. When dealing with Mayer, everyone, expect the unexpected.
Featured Image by Spotify