By Lily Jervis and Jake Thurman
One More Time With Feeling – Regina Spektor
I absolutely love Regina Spektor because no matter what she’s singing about, she always makes it sound heart-wrenchingly sad, but in a good way. Regina has a beautiful voice and this song is very sweet and sad, but also great.
Centerfold – J. Geils Band
The J. Geils Band is super dorky, and J. Geils is possibly one of the ugliest men ever, but despite that, this song is really fun and very 80’s (which I love). Try not to pay too much attention to the lame lyrics and just enjoy the catchy tune and dancing beat.
I’m So Tired of Being Alone – Al Green
I love Al Green, and even though this song is a lot more depressing than his other hit, “Let’s Stay Together,” it’s still a sweet song and highlights Green’s amazing voice.
Right Back Where We Started From – Maxine Nightingale
Some of my fondest memories involve my mom and I belting this out in the car, so clearly it has to be good. This song is perfect representation of 70’s disco and is just an all around amazing song.
Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers
I’m a big dork and I love 50’s music, and this is about as 50’s as you can get. This song also has really cute, sweet lyrics and a classic tune. Even if you don’t know this song, I imagine you’ve heard the iconic beginning to it at some point. The rest of the song is really good too, so give it a listen.
Disfruto – Carla Morrison
You guys know by now how much I love Spanish/Portuguese songs, and this is no exception. This song is really sweet and Carla Morrison has a beautiful voice that makes this song beautiful even if you can’t understand Spanish.
Down Under – Men At Work
Yet another dorky song made it onto this list, but this one is supposed to be dorky. Men At Work are an awesome band, and this song is really funny and surprisingly catchy. This song is very 80’s, so if you love the 80’s like I do, you’ll love this song too.
Private Eyes – Hall & Oates
Private Eyes is a really fun song and emphasizes the goofy nature of Hall & Oates, especially in their music videos; in this video, Hall & Oates dress up like detectives to fit the theme of a “private eye.” Everyone knows how much I love Hall & Oates, so it’s only fitting that they’re on this last playlist.
Waterloo – ABBA
Even though my mom can’t stand it, I absolutely love ABBA, and this is probably one of my favorites. Waterloo is really fun to sing along to and especially fun to dance to. If you know me, you know how much I love ABBA and Mamma Mia! and even though this isn’t from Mamma Mia! it still made the list, so you know it’s good.
Birds Don’t Sing – TV Girl
This is a really chill & catchy song that really reminds me of summer. My favorite part of the song is the beginning, because it doesn’t have any words but is still really cool; it sounds like birds singing, which is sort of a play on the title.
Here are some songs I like. Some because they make me think, some because I just think they’re creative and wonderful. I hope you enjoy them. If not, cut me some slack. I’m old.
Here Comes the Night Time – Arcade Fire
I’ve been in love with Arcade Fire for awhile, but this particular song was immediately my favorite from their latest album. It’s beat is catchy and inspired by the band’s time in the Caribbean, particularly Haiti. It speaks to the power of music to rise above chaos and bring you closer to Godliness than anything the missionaries in Haiti are selling. It’s rebellious in that way, and I dig it. It starts out a little quirky and, at times, seems like a mash of different songs, but if you stick with it, you won’t regret it. Promise.
Ziggy Starfish (Anti-Anxiety Raps) – Open Mike Eagle
Smiling (Quirky Race Doc) – Open Mike Eagle + Paul White
Open Mike Eagle is my favorite rapper. He raps like Wes Anderson makes films. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me. Everything is aesthetically clean, well written, and has meaning, but there is always a touch of the absurd. He makes jokes that shouldn’t be funny, but they are. He’s been called an alternative or “art” rapper, but I’m not sure those designations make sense in 2016 like they might have ten years ago. The first song, in particular, demonstrates his ability to rap confidently about his reality, even when it might not be something to necessarily be proud of. He embraces vulnerability and reality in a way that isn’t typical of the more popular artists in rap. I like that. The second song is a commentary about the hypocrisy from others that he experiences daily as a black man and a rapper. He brings the absurdity to this song, too. I mean, when else have you heard the phrase “ghost fart” in a song?
Cheerleader – St. Vincent
This song says about gender what “Smiling” says about race above. The rejection of preconceptions and assigned roles aside, it’s just a wonderful song. Annie Clark is a delightful musician, and the video itself is quite breathtaking.
In Bloom – Sturgill Simpson
Breakers Roar – Sturgill Simpson
Sturgill Simpson did the impossible and made me purchase a country album that was produced after 1980. I hate(d) country music, but this cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” pulled me in. Then, songs like “Breakers Roar” kept me around. His new album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, is incredible. The emotion and feeling he puts into his works is reminiscent of country legends like George Jones, Merle Haggard, or Waylon Jennings…with a tinge of Van Morrison for good measure. His lyrics (and videos) are quite psychedelic, which isn’t what immediately springs to mind when you think of Nashville’s sound. The second song here is beautiful in its imagery and exemplifies Simpson’s tendency to trumpet a universal spirituality, love, and humanity over the overtly religious tones that other country musicians are prone to. Don’t sleep on country music, at least this guy’s.
R.A.P. Music – Killer Mike
Killer Mike is another of my favorite rappers. In this song, “R.A.P. Music” stands for Rebellious African People’s Music, and the song evokes an image of rap music that promotes well being and the rebellious spirit necessary to cope with life and make one’s way in the world. Here Killer Mike is making the case for rap’s place on the spiritual throne that the blues, jazz, funk, and soul music inhabit in African-American culture. Also, it just sounds awesome. Listen to it with good headphones and your face could melt.
Rebel Rebel – Seu Jorge
This Portuguese cover of Bowie’s classic by Brazilian singer, songwriter, and actor Seu Jorge is perfect. He has a whole album of Bowie covers that are similar to this and were featured in the film, The Life Aquatic, which Jorge acted in. I agree with Lily, music in other languages is rad. This whole album is perfect to study and write to.
Fake Empire – The National
Becoming and being an adult is something I think about a lot. I don’t think this song helps me stop doing that, but I don’t think I want to. This is my favorite song by The National, but it hasn’t always been. I think it’s that getting older thing that makes it all the more relevant to me. Also, if I could have one person sing me to sleep every night, it would be Tom FitzGibbon. If I had to choose another, it would be The National lead singer, Matt Berninger. Morgan Freeman be damned, this is the voice of God.
Hold Up – Beyoncé
I just put this on here because I think I’ve listened to it on the way to school just about everyday since it came out. The actual song and the incredible video aren’t on YouTube, but here’s a lyrics video. The song is delightful despite the hurt in the lyrics, and the video of her smashing cars with a bat labeled “Hot Sauce” is quite satisfying. The song itself started as an Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) and Diplo collaboration that was inspired by the song “Maps” by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. He replaced the “Wait…they don’t love you like I love you” from that song with “Hold up…they don’t love you like I love you” and the other variations of the same sentiment used in this song. Then, our lord and savior, Beyoncé, got involved, made it her own, and it became all the more incredible.
Song to Woody – Bob Dylan
I could’ve made this playlist all Woody Guthrie. You would all never speak to me again, but you would be in my debt nonetheless. Alas, I spared you the twangy Oklahoman. This Dylan song gets at the point though. There’s something about the human experience that only a few people are tuned in enough to effortlessly enunciate for the rest of us. Woody Guthrie had that, and Bob Dylan appreciated it enough to write this song. When you’re ready, you should see what the real deal is all about. Until then, enjoy this one. It’s also a song to Dylan’s hero, and there’s something to be said for appreciating what another person has given you…especially when that something is perspective.