Hello and welcome!
Alright, alright, here we are for Tuesday Time Machine Week 4, featuring my monthly playlist from September of 2017.
For those of you who are checking in for the first time, these monthly playlists which I’m re-visiting came about as a result of an idea I had back in January of 2010: an idea that would see me create one 80 minute playlist a month.
The reason for doing this was two-fold: I wanted to create and re-enforce very specific lived experiences and memories tied to music, and I wanted a rather consistent set of songs to propel me each month as I created my art.
In creating these playlists, I tried to make things flow— I wanted songs to segue very effortlessly (or abrasively) creating a sense of narrative.
Going forward, once a week, I’m going to update the Spotify playlist that you can find below.
I’d recommend not shuffling the songs, as they were sequenced the way that they were for a reason. To get the full experience, listen to them in the way in which I’ve arranged things.
Included below is a short description of the tune I’ve included, and/or a description of the specifics memory associated with it. If you’re not trying to read all of that, just hit play on the link below!
1. Acapella of the Mack- Mark Morrison
Back in the 90s, you still had to be able to sing if you wanted to get on the radio.
For the most part.
If you made R&B music, you really, really, had to be able to sing, and this is a vocal masterclass from Mark Morrison.
As an aside, hunting down isolated vocal tracks or acapella versions of 90s R&B is well worth you time. This version of Jodeci’s, “Cry for you,” in 100% complete without the instrumentation, and the harmonies will make you weep.
2. No Time for Emotion- Henry Jackman & Matthew Margeson (with Mark Strong)
This is a British (Scottish?) actor singing, “Country Road,” and goddammit, it will MOVE you.
There are bagpipes!!!
In the interest of full disclosure, I also feel like I should note that I have a bias towards, “Country Road.” My high school played Toots and the Maytals’ version in the hallway every Friday of my freshmen year, right around 8:45AM, and it makes me think about that time, which was… better than 2020.
3. On my Way- Sergio
Speaking of ’02-’03, THIS is an A1 piece of R&B by my freshmen year gym classmate, Mr. Siergio Larry.
For those who don’t know, Siergio has been singing a long time.
I distinctly remember not understanding why this kid was singing in the locker room, and so particularly adamant in his love for Monica’s singing voice as a 15-year-old, but you know what? Siergio is out here living his dream, and 100% killing it. I love this song.
4. Crying in the Club- Camilla Cabello
I have a weakness for when particularly powerful female singers throw their voice around, and/or pop that octave.
The, “ha, ooh, ha, ooh, ha,” in the chorus here, is probably the most horrible drug you could ever get addicted to, and Ms. Cabello is happy to flaunt the fact that she’s the only one who can get you an especially potent fix.
5. Blue Walsh- Mastodon
Brann Dailor is the only modern drummer on my radar doing any sort of justice to grandmaster Billy Cobham’s ultra-powerful 70s drumming, but when he wants to, he can also lock RIGHT IN to what can only be described as a, “still choppin, still cookin,” simmering groove.
He sings the verses on here too, and absolutely kills it.
I expect this is as close to pop radio as Mastodon is every gonna get, and fans who only ride for their early tunes may well hate it. I appreciate the growth and forward trajectory exemplified here though, and it’s one of my favorite songs by them.
6. My Hood- Young Jeezy
If I ever meet Jeezy, I have a punchline for him:
“Don’t you know that I sip lean… so I can stay skinny!”
To be clear, you’d have to insert, an, “ayyy,” or, “ha-ha!” ad-lib at the end for that one to really land, but yes— a winner?
7. Less Than- NIN
I struggle with NIN’s music because the drum machine just doesn’t work for me most of the time, but here, everything comes together beautifully.
Trent Reznor relishes in making things sound saturated with grime, and this is pretty peak with regards to that particular aural aesthetic.
8. Really, Really- Kevin Gates
Until I heard this song, Kevin Gates was someone I knew of he because he made a video in which he talked about being in a relationship with his cousin, and not finding out until… much later.
Much to my delight, he also knows how to make a really menacing piece of S-L-O-W, and perhaps my favorite rap chorus of 2017.
Love this, and it will love you back. It also sounds great slowed and throwed.
9. Rubber Band Man- T.I.
Another week, another T.I. entry.
I was pretty checked out with regards to my appreciation of rap when this came out, but it turned my head back then, and it still does.
10. Memories of Green- Vangelis
Blade Runner: 2049 was set to come out in October of 2017, which means I had to go re-visit my favorite movie from when I was 14 years old.
Throughout adulthood, I’ve had mixed feelings about Blade Runner. Visually, of course, it’s the most astonishing and wonderful thing, but I’m torn as to whether or not it’s actually a great movie.
Irregardless of what I think of the film as a whole, the soundtrack is something that’s always incredible, and this is perhaps the most devastatingly beautiful piece of music featured in the movie.
Also, I loved 2049. Roger Deakins did the work of his life shooting that, and I think people are going to be picking apart his cinematography on there until the end of time.
11. Reflection- Tool
I used to put this on repeat for HOURS.
Tool, at their best is able to create these somewhat effortlessly hypnotic soundscapes, and while Lateralus features any number of them, I think this is the album’s piece de resistance.
When Adam Jones starts hitting those intermittent reversed slides at 9:32 (slides that would make, “Whole Lotta Love,” era Jimmy Page BLUSH), if you’re not leaning and rocking, you probably don’t have a pulse.
12. Be Quiet and Drive- Deftones
One winter in college, I got really into doing hot yoga with a few friends. One afternoon, the teacher put this on as we entered Shavasana.
He challenged everyone in the room to name the song, thinking no one would be able to, but I could, because… well, White Pony came out when I was 12, and without the Deftones, we wouldn’t be here today.
In any case, this is a haunting, transcendent, and brutally reductive performance of a song that, in its original form, was some sort of post (or, proto?) shoe gaze masterpiece that also features a lot of screaming.
Both versions are great, but this is the one for the bedroom.
Or… you know, meditation.
13. Connie- Oneohtrix Point Never
If you’re reading this, and you’ve not ever seen the movie, “Good Time,” from a few years back, drop everything that you’re doing and come back once you have.
Quite the rush, huh?
It was perhaps my favorite movie of 2017. My heart was literally racing, and I’m sure I almost crushed the armrest with my grip, as it made me so damn anxious, but what a movie.
The synth tones in here split the difference between Vangelis and George Duke, which I appreciate very much.
14. Meet you in the Maze- James Blake
Mates and I briefly discussed James Blake’s music the other day.
His songs aren’t something that grab me 100% of the time, but he strikes me as a very particular craftsman, and he also takes a lot of chances. As that’s the case, I’m always going to see what he’s up to, at the very least.
This is a very particular and very sad song. Lyrically, it’s both obtuse and, I expect, deeply personal. There’s a curiosity that it provokes, and in my lower moods, it’s an incredible accompaniment— something that will allow me to fully embrace whatever it is that I have to work through in a given moment.
15. Indy- Santana featuring Miguel
I’m not gonna lie, I recorded a really lo-fi indie cover of this a couple of years ago.
I’m also not going to be sharing the link.
This song teeters almost towards too cheesy at times, but it also strikes me as very heartfelt. It’s a striking, dreamlike affair, and sometimes when I sing it to myself, I may or may not get somewhat emotional.
Not sure what that says about me, but, it’s the truth.
16. Every Country’s Sun
If ever a song were to be crowned, “Best Thing to Listen to While Having sex at the end of the World,” I think it would be pretty much between this, and Jimi Hendrix’s, “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to be).”
To be clear, I very much doubt these gentleman from Scotland wrote this for the bedroom, but there’s something deeply, and devastatingly sexual about it— perhaps, speaking to sex so beautiful and outrageous that it’s almost at the risk of like shattering the earth or something.
That’s a lot, I know, but this song is a lot too.