Playlist Pals is a *cleverly* titled thing I started doing a few months ago where I make playlists on Spotify that are only like 10-15 songs long. This was kind of inspired by my genius baby cuz, Ellie who makes monthly playlists that are absolutely killer. It was also inspired by WNKU, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky's incredible public radio station that went off the air last year, because human curated music > algorithms until I die. And it was also inspired (is it still inspiration if it is something that makes you mad and motivates you to change your behavior?) by how easy it is to passively listen to music on Spotify.
I love having nearly any song I can think of in my pocket at all times. I am a premium subscriber! However, I hate that Spotify makes it so easy to be uninvolved in your music listening experience. I think they've taken what should be an active hobby and made it so convenient that it loses some of the magical aspects of experiencing music. I hate that I no longer own any music. I can't flip through my CD case and see the artists that remind me of 2014. If my friends or family don't use Spotify I don't have an easy, practical way to share music with them. I'm going to save the rest of this rant for another blog post, but the gist is that music is important. By making small, digestible playlists for myself and for sharing I can be a little bit more engaged in the way I consume music. Playlist Pals is how I'm going to organize and share music for now, because Spotify is what I'm working with/paying for. Hopefully some day my nostalgic ass will have a better solution.
When I share each playlist here I'm going to write about music as a person who knows nothing more about music than what I've gleaned from a few years of piano lessons, a few years of illegally downloading albums from the internet, a few years of renting random cds from the (analog) library and adding them to my iTunes library, and about a decade of enthusiastically consuming music. I'm going to write about how the songs make me feel, where I was when I was listening to them, and where I found them. Should be pretty fun!
Playlist Pals 1
The creation of this playlist was like my mindful return to music, so it's only appropriate that it begins with an Iron & Wine song. The title track to their 2017 release, Call It Dreaming is the kind of song that makes me want to drive down a backroad and blow out my shitty speakers while dramatically swaying my upper body and drumming on my steering wheel. I hope you can picture this. I was delighted by this release. I hadn't given much thought to Iron & Wine since I overplayed their 2007 album, The Shepherd's Dog on my CD player and later on my blue iPod mini. Catching this new album ten years later has some real transformational feelings involved.
This Candi Staton song takes me to a similar time in my life as old Iron & Wine. I think I heard this song for the first time as a sample in the One eskimO song "Kandi." I rediscovered the original sometime in the past year, and it's one of those choruses that sticks in my brain all day long.
I guess this is just a nostalgic playlist because TEGAN & SARA. That's probably all that need to be said. Tegan & Sara is like the starter pack for modern(?) feminist lady pop, and discovering this song a few months back couldn't have been more timely. Happy to have them back in my earholes.
The Buckle Downs are a Pittsburgh group that I've been hearing about on WYEP for a minute now, and this song is just powerful and uplifting, and I'm really hoping to catch them live in the near future.
I'm not going to tell you much about Perfume Genius other than that you should listen to the Song Exploder episode about this song and fall in love with it like I did.
Aimee Mann and this song "Goose Snow Cone" are also featured in an amazing episode of Song Exploder, but I really discovered it through my Mama who only second to my sister is probably my largest music influence. My Mama showed me folk and my sister showed me indie music and hip hop and the rest is history! This song can make me cry, but so can a lot of things.
Not sure how Living Legends came into my life, but I'm glad they did. Indie hip hop from the 90s. Something to bob your head to.
Zach Witness!!! A true OutKast lover. Read this if you vibe with this song. "Just keep all faith in me. Don't act impatiently. You'll get where you need to be in due time." This should be my mantra for life!
I actually really like the weird transition between "Keep Faith" and Sonny Cleveland's "Goodness." Both are super positive which is pretty much the only thing I'm trying to bring into my life when it comes to music. Their self-titled 2015 album is all I've been able to find, but pretty much every song is just as fun and funky as the next.
When I was living in Portland one of my favorite coffeeshops played a lot of Sam Cooke's greatest hits, so I fell down a Sam Cooke rabbit-hole, and I'm glad I did. I love all the dramatic fade outs and if any voice makes me want to slow dance with someone it's this voice.
My friend Joe told me I'd like Cate le Bon, and he was right. He's pretty much the nicest person, and he knows way more about music than I ever will. Those things probably make me like this song and this album even more.
Wow, this song by "the band with Feist in it." I recommend reading this article, and listening to the rest of this album.
Another one I have to thank my Mama for. Valerie June is a blessing for the senses. Her country/Appalachian twang is delightful and meditative for me. My mom has seen her like three times, and I am so jealous! This is another delightful album that you should spend some time with. Perfect for a Midwestern road trip.
Totally didn't think I would talk through every single song, but it was fun for me! If you made it this far you either love me very much or you're very bored. Either way, I'm grateful for your time!
Hope you enjoy the tunes! : )