Playlist #52

This marks the one-year anniversary of me starting this playlist project. It’s kept me writing here for the whole year, which I like. I’ve even gotten back into working on Novel #7 (I’m well-past the halfway point, I think).

For this playlist, I thought about doing a retrospective, selecting my favorite songs from other playlists. But I decided against that. I’ll do another post later this week where I examine the playlists as a whole, looking at who got played the most and how many songs I repeated (I think just one? I’m not sure, but I’ll find out!).

Anyway, remember there’s the Patreon. I’m about to post April’s song. I’m pretty proud of it. Anyway, without further ado, here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. Dr. Dog, “Lonesome”: I love the guitar in this one. Pretty sure it’s a dobro or resonator.
  2. Andrew Bird, “Atomized”: Andrew Bird has a new album coming out this summer. I’m stoked. If this song is any indication, it’ll be a great one.
  3. Jorge Orozco, “Gran Vals”: Orignally composed by Francisco Tarrega, this is the song that Nokia got its ringtone from. It’s a very pretty song.
  4. Langhorne Slim & the Law, “Put It Together”: I’m a sucker for a shout-along chorus.
  5. The Doubleclicks, “This Is My Jam”: I like jam. Who doesn’t like jam? Commies, that’s who.
  6. Dolly Parton, “Jolene”: This is the slowed down version, the one from the 45 played at 33 1/3 RPM. It’s haunting.
  7. Aimee Mann, “Phoenix”: What is it about the way Aimme Mann writes and plays songs that just captivates me? I just love everything about her sound.
  8. Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”: Some days, you just need to let Sam take you home.
  9. Santana, “Evil Ways”: The way they add the, “baby,” to the end of certain lines in this song amuses me to no end.
  10. Bob Dylan, “Paths Of Victory”: My love for Dylan is no secret at this point. Someday, I’ll figure out an arrangement of this song for the guitar (rather than the piano he plays in this version). Until then, I’ll just have to sit and marvel at how well that man puts words together.

Playlist #5

Monday was our friend Lauren’s birthday, so here’s a Lauren-centric playlist to help her celebrate!

  1. Sarah Donner, “With Pride”: A song about acceptance and unicorns (or Pegasi, which I’m pretty sure is the plural of Pegasus).
  2. Waxahatchee, “Sparks Fly”: I like the simplicity of their arrangements. And the lyrics. And I think Lauren might be the only other person I know who listens to them.
  3. Cyndi Lauper, “She Bop”: I originally chose “The Goonies Are Good Enough,” but I feel Lauren would approve of this choice more.
  4. Indigo Girls, “Closer to Fine”: This one also goes on my Philosophy Playlist, which I’ll hopefully someday find more than four songs for (current list includes this song, that one Edie Brickell song, the Ben Folds Five’s “Philosphy,” and the Monty Python song about drunk philosophers).
  5. k.d. lang, “Constant Craving”: Did you know the Rolling Stones totally ripped this song off for their song “Has Anybody Seen My Baby”? It’s true! And also not as good a song as this one.
  6. The Doubleclicks, “Sensitive Badass”: Because Lauren is sensitive and she is a badass.
  7. Velvet Underground, “Candy Says”: I’m not super-familiar with the Velvet Underground, but this is a mellow tune and it’s probably about drugs. Or sex. Or sex and drugs.
  8. Dresden Dolls, “Shores of California”: There aren’t many songs that reference Oklahoma, let alone in their chorus. This one does, though.
  9. Lizzo, “Good As Hell”: I dare you to listen to this song and not want to sing along. I defy you to not dance to it. You can’t not dance to this song. This song is, in fact, good as hell.
  10. Bikini Kill, “Rebel Girl”: A thrashy, punky middle finger to the establishment and a lesbian love song for the ages. I think Lauren would approve.

The Doubleclicks – Love Problems

I think the thing I’ve always liked about the Doubleclicks – aside from their unapologetically geeky topics and references – is their earnestness. There’s an open honesty to their songs, an understanding of the human heart that they’ve just chosen to discuss in the context of comic conventions and science and Dungeons & Dragons.

While there are fewer of those references in their latest, Love Problems, the sisters retain that honesty and understanding. It’s a gorgeous album, musically their strongest yet, and more direct in its addressing of their core issues.

Before, the ‘Clicks used pop culture as a lens through which to examine the treatment of women in contemporary society and how forming meaningful connections is difficult and maybe sometimes not entirely worth it? People are awesome, but also sometimes the worst. On Love Problems, they address those concerns more directly. There are songs about gender and sexual orientation, about being sensitive but also very much a badass, and about our need to be important in someone’s life. But there’s plenty about the alienation people often feel, even when they’re not physically alone.

I’ve got a lot of favorites from this album already. The opener, “Lord of the Rings,” examines the ways an old relationship can ruin things you always loved (except LOTR. No one gets to take that away from you). “Kilogram” manages to be a touching love song about the actual Kilogram, the object in France from which all other kilograms get their standard. “Sensitive Badass” is . . . well, it’s exactly that, and it gives me the feels, as the kids these days say. “Big Bang” is a sadly beautiful duet featuring Jonathan Coulton, while “Out of Charge” is an a capella ode to when our phone (or our self) is just too low on battery for us to be able to do anything. “Extra Gin” is the drunken barroom singalong geeks have been waiting for and never knew it.

Songs like “Now is the Time,” “Women Know Math,” and “Wrong About Gender” deal with sense of self in very direct ways, addressing women’s issues and the sense of fear that women are forced to experience by an oppressively patriarchal society. But there’s a sense of defiance and determination that permeates these songs (and the rest of the album, really). “If you haven’t yet realized that we are political, you haven’t heard us,” Angela Webber sings in “Sensitive Badass,” and damn if that isn’t the truth.

Should you listen to the Doubleclicks’ Love Problems? Yes. Very much yes. While there’s a lot of hurt and frustration in the lyrics of the songs on Love Problems, there’s also a sense of hope and determination there. This isn’t the music of people who are resigned to just accepting the way the world is. This is what it sounds like when women raise their voices and announce they’re not going to sit idly by. Stand up and raise your voice with them.