Hello, readers! Welcome back! This week, I’m returning as the curator of this week’s playlist! Yes, I know, hold your applause 🙂 but we’ll have another Guest Playlist next Wednesday, so stay tuned for that.
Here are my picks for this week!
1. “Me & Mr. Jones” by Amy Winehouse
I started up a vinyl record collection, (it’s an expensive hobby, by the way, for anyone that’s thinking about doing the same thing, but I HIGHLY recommend it), and I happen to have Back To Black on vinyl. I need to start out saying how much I prefer listening to music on vinyl. There’s a warmth about the sound and a whole other layer to it sonically that you just don’t seem to get when you listen to it through your phone or on the radio. Amy’s voice is so defiant and sarcastic on this song that it makes you miss her more every time you hear it, and even more so when you can hear her croon it on vinyl. As a writer myself, I also have to add how amazingly ballsy it is to hear her deliver lines like, “What kind of fuckery is this?” and “Nowadays, you don’t mean dick to me”. Finally, I think what makes this one of my favorite songs on this (fantastic, I can’t stress that enough) album, is how entertaining the story is that she’s telling. The relationship with this guy that she’s talking about is definitely one she’s invested in, but man, does she rip him a new one! Even when she’s mad at him, she’s still thinking about him, and I guess that’s what being in love is all about! One of my all time favorite songs.
2. “Why Did I Ever Like You?” by P!nk
If there was ever a song that fit my aesthetic, it would be this one! Anyone that knows me personally knows this could not be more true. First off, if you don’t already know, I love P!nk. Talk about another badass female who can write some serious material, and who REALLY knows how to rip into someone. As a bonus track off her (AMAZING) album Funshouse, I was bitchslapped by “Why Did I Ever Like You?”. Not that I didn’t like any of the other songs on the standard edition of the record, but for God’s sake, how can you relegate this jam to a bonus track?! It’s brash. It’s rocky. It’s unapologetic. It’s raspy (to a point that only P!nk can authentically pull off with the right amount of grit). When I am in a bad mood and really need to punch something, this is the song I turn to, so, friends, if you haven’t heard this already, which you probably haven’t, but DEFINITELY should, feast your ears on this one, and get ready to start head banging like no one is watching.
3. “29 #Strafford APTS” by Bon Iver
Sometimes, I love going through iTunes and searching through all albums that they have labelled “Alternative” because the term itself is so broad. I don’t think any other artist exemplifies this than Bon Iver. His music breaks the concept of a formula, like, 100 times over, and every song has something so mind-blowlingly original about it that makes you seriously THINK. I love it. “29 #Stafford APTS” comes off of his latest release, 22, A Million, which has to be my favorite of his records. His falsetto is haunting, and I love how the glitchy, jarring production methods he uses so starkly contrasts the tone of his voice as well as the gentle strum of the guitar line in the song. Also, the way he crafts his vocals to swell with underlying harmonies is simply enamoring. Bon Iver’s music is an experience, and a thought provoking one at that.
4. “Teeth” by Lady Gaga
Another artist that I love who is just a wee bit out there, if you will, is Lady Gaga. The Fame Monster is one of my favorite albums of all time. Sure, this was way before people were mesmerized by how fantastic her voice was. This was the era of accepting that she was an experience in herself as an artist. She could seemingly do anything, and was stretching the boundaries of dance and pop, ringing in the growing trend of electronic influences in pop music. “Teeth” is not one of those songs, however. It’s a sexy, jazzy stomp of a track that gets you feeling some kind of way, my friends. Gaga growls over a pounding drum line, an explosive injection of horns, and Bond-like guitar section. And yeah, I’m pretty sure this is about doing it with a vampire, but I guess it doesn’t…really… have to… I think? I don’t know, but it’s. A. Jam.
5. “The One That Got Away (Acoustic)” by Katy Perry
Many people will debate me on this, but I truly don’t mind Katy Perry’s voice. Yes, there are some technique things she could clearly work on as a vocalist, but I do enjoy her tone, and as a writer, she’s quite gifted, and one of the more inventive pop singers of our generation. “The One That Got Away” was always one of my favorite songs of hers (what can I say, I’m a sucker for sad music, and I have no idea why), and it perfectly fit with the rest of the tracks off Teenage Dream to capture the feeling the album was trying to accomplish. ‘Cause, I mean, come on, people in our teens and 20’s. We’ve all had that person in our lives we’ve had to say goodbye to that we wish hadn’t. I’ve been hard pressed to find a song that articulates this feeling better than this one, and THEN, I found the acoustic version, which in my opinion, is much better than the original because the emotion is so much more palpable. I understand that with the image Katy was going for during the Teenage Dream era, an acoustic ballad seemed kind of out of the blue, but personally, this version is much more heartbreaking, and I love it.
6. “From a Closet in Norway (Oslo Blues)” by You + Me
I am about to do something I vowed I would never do: I’m doubling up. I mean, technically I’m not, but also I am. You + Me is a duo comprised of P!nk (yup, I did it, I put an artist on here twice, and for that, I am sorry, but since I don’t necessarily answer to anyone about this, I don’t give a flying crap) and City and Colour’s Dallas Green. “From a Closet in Norway (Oslo Blues)” comes from their debut album rose ave. It went under the radar in 2014 when it was released, but let me tell you for those that haven’t heard it, it’s a folk fan’s dream come true. What went from being a jam session to a full record written over the course of a week, rose ave. is a stunning album, enhanced by how amazing the voices of these two sound together. Separately, they are forces to be reckoned with, as vocalists and as writers, which doesn’t always mean that teaming them up will churn out good results. But, GUYS. This album is disgustingly beautiful. Their harmonies? Flawless. The writing? Gorgeous, especially for being written in a damn week! I also have this record on vinyl, and sweet Jesus, it’s never sounded better.
7. “Gonna Get Over You” by Sara Bareilles
Oh Sara. One of the most underrated pop singers, writers and personalities in the music industry, if you ask me. Kaleidoscope Heart is a SOLID pop record, and I have really been feeling this song lately for so many reasons. It’s got a feel good groove to it that makes you want to dance like an idiot. For those that are about lyrics, it’s creatively written about getting over someone and how it doesn’t just happen like flipping a switch, and it’s a perfect jam for the summer! There always seem to be one line in every Sara Bareilles song that really grabs you, one that you hear and have to listen to a couple of times before it smacks you. You have to pause the song, stare at a wall and question your existence. Though this song is upbeat, you may miss the line of “‘Maybe’, it’s a vicious little word that could slay me, keep me where I’m hurting/ You make me, hang from your hands” and when you hear it, and TRULY think about what it’s saying, you. Are. Floored. I don’t know, that may not hit you as heavily as it hits me, but you don’t typically get thought provoking lyrics on that level in pop songs nowadays. It just doesn’t happen. That’s why we need more Sara in our lives.
8. “All We Ever Knew” by The Head and The Heart
This next song is a jam of a different kind than any of the others on this list. Thanks to Radio 104.5 (you’ll know it in the Philly area. If you are reading from somewhere outside of the area, I’m sorry, but you’re missing out because they play AMAZING alt rock music), I discovered this song and was happy to know that it was the newest music from The Head and The Heart, an indie band who’s song “Rivers and Roads” I fell in love with a while back. It’s got everything you need for a great song, and a perfect set up for one you belt out with the windows down if you’re driving anywhere. It’s got a chorus made for belting at the top of your lungs, a break down perfect to clap along to, and an easy feeling to make you sway along to it. A personal favorite of mine off their new record, Signs of Light.
9. “Same Drugs” by Chance The Rapper
Ugh, what can you say about this song? Well, for starters, if you haven’t heard it before, brace yourself. Like I said, I’m a sucker for the emotional stuff on records, and though I jam like no one’s business to “No Problems”, “Same Drugs” has a special place for me. It’s tinged with gospel vocals, it carries the heartbreaking theme of the struggle of growing old, and maybe it’s the gentle tone of Chance’s voice that differs so much from some of the other tracks on Coloring Book, or the references to Peter Pan, but whenever I hear it, I get stuck in this weird middle ground of wanting to belt out singing along with it, and wanting to cry, so if anyone sees me with headphones in, looking like I’m about to spontaneously combust, I think you can tell what song just came on over ‘shuffle’.
10. “Fool That I Am (Live)” by Adele
And he ends it with Adele. How predictable. No, I will not apologize, thank you very much! Adele has a small number of covers that she does and this is one of the more recent ones that I’ve discovered. Originally, this was made famous by Etta James, who’s version I had to include on the Spotify playlist because Adele’s version was exclusive to the iTunes show she performed it at, and that version is gripping in it’s own right, man. But Adele’s version is just so intimate and warm that I’ve grown to really love it. Not only can I relate to this song, but it shows how, with well written songs, less is more. The lyrics aren’t all that complicated, but they speak volumes, and the melody line is just gorgeous, in both Adele’s and Etta’s versions. Highly, HIGHLY recommend this song.
You can listen to this playlist on Spotify:
That’s all for this week, my friends! Tune in next Wednesday, and every Wednesday for another playlist! And as always, thanks for reading!