Playlist #90

Happy Monday, folks! As per usual, here’s a new playlist for your listening pleasure.

  1. Harry Styles, “Two Ghosts”: I think I might actually like Harry Styles? Is there a doctor I should see about this?
  2. Spoon, “I Can’t Give Everything Away”: The elusive piano-led Spoon song. It’s more downbeat than a lot of their stuff, but I like it.
  3. Jay Farrar, “Feel Free”: I’ve probably mentioned this before, but for the longest time I thought NPR stood for “Non-Profit Radio.” It does not.
  4. Louis Armstrong, “Mack The Knife”: As I said on Twitter the other day, there is no more baller moment in music than when Louis tosses it to himself for the trumpet solo at the end.
  5. Better Than Ezra, “At The Stars”: Always kinda feel like Better Than Ezra should’ve been bigger than they were, even though they’re really just a solid alternative band.
  6. Calexico, “Cumbia De Donde”: I really dig the way this band combines traditional Hispanic music with indie rock. It works really well.
  7. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Someday Never Comes”: Literally the only good song on Mardi Gras. But damn, what a song.
  8. Supertramp, “Goodbye Stranger”: Sorry, lady, I can’t be tied down. Gotta move on to the next chick. Real classy, guys.
  9. Santana, “The Game Of Love (Featuring Michelle Branch)”: Fun fact: the name “Branch” in Portuguese is “Branco,” so my wife’s name came up a lot in the Portuguese music press when this song came out. Strange but true.
  10. The Offspring, “The Kids Aren’t Alright”: 90s kids remember when these dudes were all the rage. I think the lead singer has a PhD? It’s weird.

Playlist #69 (Nice)

I was this close to just making it all songs about sex. But aren’t all songs about sex, when you get right down to it? Anyway, give me a follow on Patreon and support your local author/songwriter. Anyway, here’s the first playlist of the new school year!

  1. The Mountain Goats, “Training Montage”: “I’m doing this for revenge!” John Darnielle cries out at the start of the chorus, and damn if that isn’t just the best line in a song I’ve heard this year.
  2. Iggy Pop, “The Passenger”: Is it the most relentless chord progression you’ve ever heard? Maybe. Are Iggy and David Bowie’s yelped “la”s in the chorus earwormy? Definitely.
  3. Bruce Springsteen, “Ain’t Good Enough For You”: I’ve featured this song on a playlist before. It still slaps.
  4. Calexico, “Cumbia De Donde”: Did you know cumbia is a type of Latin American dance music that originated in Colombia? Because the guys in Calexico sure do, and they want you to know they do.
  5. Spoon, “Don’t Make Me A Target”: I don’t know what it is about the way this band breaks down a song and then rebuilds it using the same basic instruments as every single rock and roll band that has ever existed that kicks me in the ass every time, but it kicks me in the ass every time.
  6. ZZ Top, “La Grange”: Back when I worked at a private school, I taught one of my students how to play this on the bass (it’s only three notes that even I could figure out). It’s fun.
  7. Pearl Jam, “World Wide Suicide”: Even late into their career, Pearl Jam can still pull out all the stops and offer a rocker that rips the doors off.
  8. John Mellencamp, “Right Behind Me”: Meanwhile, John Mellencamp has resorted to recording in hotel rooms with equipment from the 1950s to get that sound just right.
  9. Jay Farrar, “Feel Free”: Jay Farrar’s songs have gotten more esoteric and inscrutable as time passes, but this one is still early enough in his solo career that the lyrics make some sense. And it references “non-profit radio,” which is what I thought NPR stood for for far longer than I’d care to admit.
  10. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, “Be Afraid”: “Be afraid, be very afraid/But do it anyway,” is just some of the best damn advice you can hear right now, I think.

Playlist #22

Happy Monday, folks. Have a list of songs.

  1. Jay Farrar, “Feel Free”: For years, I thought NPR stood for “Non-Profit Radio.” It made sense, right? That is not what it stands for, by the by.
  2. The Gaslight Anthem, “Mama’s Boys”: The most Rolling Stones-iest song they ever recorded. It’s fun to sing along at the top of your lungs as you drive way too fast down the road.
  3. Ra Ra Riot, “Ghost Under Rocks”: I don’t even remember how it is I came to know about this band, but I’ve always liked the promise of this song (even if I haven’t cared as much for the rest of their output).
  4. Lil Nas X, “THATS WHAT I WANT”: First off, can we discuss the lack of an apostrophe in the title? That always annoys me. Grammar aside, the song slaps.
  5. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (Featuring John Paul White), “Driver 8”: Did you know the REM song “Driver 8” had discernable lyrics hidden within it? And that they’re about a train driver? True story.
  6. ABBA, “Waterloo”: I’m a sucker for songs about historical subjects, and this is the second-best song about the Napoleonic Wars ever (the best is the 1812 Overture).
  7. The Mountain Goats, “Get Famous”: The continued prominence of the Mountain Goats gives me hope that even someone with a voice like mine could someday make it.
  8. George Harrison, “Cheer Down”: Not enough has been written about the wordplay and wry humor of George Harrison’s songwriting. This song is a great example of all that, and the guitar work is killer.
  9. Rhett Miller, “The El”: The way I found out about the Old 97s was by hearing this album by Rhett Miller first. Then I found Too Far To Care and it was all downhill from there for me.
  10. Gillian Welch, “Revelator”: So damn downbeat and depressing, melancholy and bittersweet and beautiful. So beautiful.