Here it is – A new (to me) playlist gathered between late 2018-March 2019. Stream it on Apple Music here, and if someone makes a Spotify version I’ll link to it here.
1. “Champagne Ladies” by And the Kids. Ahh, the moment when we realize we’re getting old, for real, and it’s suddenly terrifying. “Life is a constant / it wants to kill you / don’t get old / life is a bastard / it wants to kill you / don’t let go.”
2. “Five on it” by Spielbergs. It’s a mood thing – where the speed is kind of slow for a rock song and then that open octave strum on the guitar is quadruple time and still not melodically moving anywhere. Anxious indecision vs. the $5 bet, perfectly captured.
3. “SILVERLAKE” by RAT BOY. I think Tim Armstrong even being near this type of sentimental gutter singalong just makes everything better.
4. “Gotta Get Into Something” by Gary Clark Jr. Another one where the music fits the lyrics so damn well. The tension here is amazing, right down to how he starts the next sentence and pauses in the chorus: “I can’t sleep gotta get Into something, I…” Youthful anticipation.
5. “Start a Riot” by DUCKWRTH and Shaboozey. This song wants to burn your house/car/city down. It can’t be played softly.
6. “Kung Fu” by YBN Cordae. We just don’t have a lot of rappers mixing up rhythms, rhyme schemes, and subtle melodies like this right now. The kid’s got bars.
7. “Woke” by Royce da 5’9”. And this old man’s still got bars too. Note where the rhymes land – his spacing and flow is mind-bending. I hope YBN Cordae is studying this. Plus, there’s an Andre the Giant reference.
8. “Winter Wars” by Wale. I found this song somewhere by title alone and thought “if you’re going to make reference to one of my favorite Ghostface tracks you better not screw this up.” He didn’t.
9. “Boss” by Little Simz. I’m all about that riot grrl variety of girl power. “I don’t need that stress, that stress / I’m a boss in a fucking dress.”
10. “Rotation 112th” by Jay Rock. It’s hypnotic. Every aspect that’s “rotating” from the track, to the form, to the multiple tones of voice he uses – this is some Kendrick-level work.
11. “Hey Up There (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)” by Buddy. I could do without the backup vocals, but I’ll ignore them for sake of the overall vibe. Check out the Tiny Desk performance of this one too.
12. “Seventeen” by Sharon Van Etten. Not the best stylish transition for the playlist, but the fade in works, no? Anyway, if there’s a playlist theme developing here it’s one of looking back with a mix of nostalgia and uncertainty, while looking forward with cynicism and newfound grit.
13. “Daddy Issues” by Pip Blom. 90s sugar-coated pop sweetness. I used to be 17 too, ok?
14. “I Get No Joy” by Jade Bird. More 90s feels. “All the words my mother said / can’t seem to get them out my head / everything becomes everything / you live, you learn, you love, you’re dead / I get no joy.”
15. “Sleepwalkin’” by Better Oblivion Community Center. From a slightly more mature standpoint (what’s up Mr. Oberst?), the bridge to the end is particularly killer. “I gave what I got / it came as a shock / to find out I’m fine with what I lost.” Oof.
16. “Unraveling” by Francis Cone. This song haunts me. In a good way. I think. We’re winding down now. We had to get quieter just to arrive at…
17. “School of Design” by Tiny Ruins. This is a late night driving song. It’s gotta be dark, it’s gotta have that crisp air, it’s gotta have that shimmering moonlight. I went through a phase in high school where I would drive around late at night, by myself, listening to Nick Drake. This song brings back that feeling, whatever it was.