Thanks to those of you who have been asking for a new playlist. This one has been in the works since last fall – and courtesy of a job change, moving across state lines, and surviving COVID Christmas, it’s ready for your consumption.
I had a lot of moods in the past 6 months and they’re all here. Special shoutouts to Ryan M. and Neill S. who sent me the songs that book-end this list (with more on that below in the liner notes).
Here’s the tracklisting and notes:
“This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies. Let’s head into 2023 with this attitude, about past, present, and future – “And this will be our year, took a long time to come.” Special thanks to Ryan M. for sending this one in, it’s stayed in heavy rotation.
“Baby, Please Don’t Go (feat. Van Morrison)” by Them. This song popped up on a random playlist and my girlfriend asked “is this on one your playlists” and I said “not yet, but it will be.” So here it is. Eat your heart out Jack White.
“Bad Love” by Dehd. Do you know the guts and gall it takes to stutter a lyric?This song has a post-punk, lof-fi wall of sound vibe that is pure magic to my ears. And the lyrics – like a perfectly fitting thrift shop jacket for your soul.
“Crash Course” by Blue DeTiger & Biig Piig. I keep finding new Bue DeTiger songs to love. Apparently, she was DJing disco, funk, and house stuff while occasionally pulling out her bass and adding parts. Somehow, that all makes perfect sense. Everything she does just has such a sense of groove + pop. This song is a perfect example.
“How Did You Know” by Sylvan Esso. The restrained melodies and production of Sylvan Esso make for songs with a million corners I want to explore. Just for kicks, listen to this song and just pay attention to the kick drum. Then realize you can do that for everything you hear. Brilliant.
“Milk Crates” by Pigeon Pit. Sometimes a song captures the feeling of being a barely in control of your own destiny young adult so perfectly – “like a dog tugging on a rope / I don’t even know where I would go if they let go / in my selfish narrow mindedness / they put up a chain-link fence / now there’s nothing I can do but bark my head off.”
“Entropy” by Beach Bunny. Beach Bunny continues to make some of the most compelling power-pop ever. Full stop. The chorus and bridge on this song = masterful.
“BYOB” by Future Teens. This band has figured out how to grow up and still be emo-y but not in a way that makes me hate them. There’s also a dramatic/broadway quality to their melodies and song structures that consistently sets them apart, maybe you can hear it too.
“Lip Service” by Cautious Clay. Clay’s “Thin Ice on the Cake” EP has a bunch of gems, and this one worked for the playlist. It’s not R&B, it’s not folk, it’s him. Plus these lyrics (!), “You said it was a movie / I wanted nothing real or personal around me / I’m invested in that now / I hate the way it feels it’s never fair / But I still wanna call it common ground / I got a spiel for everybody hurting me.” There’s a lot of life behind these songs, no doubt.
“Swamp Bitches” by Doechii & Rico Nasty. And now we transition. With a full-on Cramps meet Scooby Doo riff, only Doechii & Rico Nasty take it, flip it, change it up, and wow.
“Munch (Feelin’ U)” by Ice Spice. The beat and delivery feels a little rushed. The tone and downright dismissiveness of the lyrics make it punk. Smash it all together and it’s a bouncy,
“I’m dissing you without looking up from my phone” anthem.
“Million Dollars Worth of Game (feat. 42 Dugg)” by 2 Chainz. I think I clicked on this song because the cover picture reminded me of Rocky Horror. Anyway, I love my 2 Chainz, and this song doesn’t disappoint in any way. Run your game while watching the game.
“Act a Fool (feat. Wale)” by Rick Ross. Speaking of running your game – “yeah, that boy a foo-ool” is Ice Spice attitude with 2 Chainz energy.
“Saltwater (feat. Conway the Machine)” by Danger Mouse & Black Thought. Lyricism and a dusty beat. Everybody showed up and did their jobs on this one.
“Slap” by Busta Rhymes, Big Daddy Kane & Conway the Machine. Is Busta just having fun now or what?! Oh, and Marley Marl produced this. “Big Payback” is the obvious sample, but before you go pulling up En Vogue, go listen to “Somethin’ Funky” by BDK and “Just Rhymin’ with the Biz.” This song makes me so happy.
“Never End Up Broke pt. 2 (feat. Pusha T)” by Symba. The beat transition from “Slap” to this and then out to Killer Mike, just feels right. And Pusha T shows up just enough. Apparently, Dre did this beat too.
“TALK’N THAT SHIT!” by Killer Mike. Don’t just say, do. And I’m a sucker for gun sounds in lyrics. “All that chatter that you chatter ’bout my matter just don’t matter / I don’t— I don’t forth and backer, I clack-clacka-rata-tata.”
“Break This Bitch Up” by Busta Rhymes & Swizz Beatz. I wasn’t kidding when I asked just how much fun is Busta having. This song needs to be played LOUD.
“Trouble on My Mind (feat. Tyler, The Creator)” by Pusha T. Another fine transition featuring Pusha T, and this time, I almost fell out of my chair laughing at Tyler’s Rugrats references.
“Part B” by Buck 65. Circa 2000, in the nerd-rap and backpacker days, Buck 65 was a curiously smart Canadian rapper who had some Paul Barman-level wordplay without the comedy, and some Cage-level intensity without the feeling of encroaching danger. I kind of forgot he existed until I saw this “new album” and by god, it’s still in his lane and really, really good. Ok the chorus is dumb, but so is “Munch,” and yet they both won’t get out of my head.
“Coppers (Brooklyn Version)” by Dr. Israel & Rancid. I think “Life Won’t Wait” is still my favorite Rancid record. And I think this remix by Dr. Israel is better than the album cut. For the people who never got past Sublime doing punk and reggae and hip-hop, this is from the AP course on what never made it to MTV.
“Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” by Jeff Rosenstock & Laura Stevenson. The Neil Young cover you didn’t even know you needed.
“Welcome 2 Club XIII” by Drive-By Truckers. Nobody writes a story-song like Patterson Hood. This is about the mythical club his first band started playing at, where everyone is there to see the Foghot cover band and try to get laid, while their quirky opening-act of an original band is doing their best to play a mishmash of “train songs and people who died.” Kodachrome baby.
“I’m a Cuckoo (The Avalanches Remix new fade)” by Belle and Sebastian. Neill S. put me onto this song maybe last summer and it grew, and grew, and grew on me. Pure joy. I’m a cuckoo too. This is a perfect closer to the first playlist of 2023.
What have YOU heard lately? Send it in, the next playlist is already in the works!