Hello and welcome!
So, off the bat, my apologies– this didn’t get put up last week, so this week, you’ll get two Time Machine Playlists, neither of which will update on Tuesday, therefore being untrue to the name of the playlist!
Silliness aside, here we are for week 6, featuring my monthly playlist from October of 2010.
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 up above!
1. I’m Sorry- The Delfonics
I’m not sure what spurred it, but I went through a phase with the Delfonics at the tail end of college.
This is a classic tune, and the vocal harmonies are pristine— a Sunday afternoon jam of the highest caliber. This is a strange pick for October as it’s most likely, best enjoyed somewhere sunny, during the summertime, but so it is.
2. This is not a Pipe- Franz Nicolay
I almost cringe reading the title of this song, because this is an indie tuned named after a meta-ish piece of art from the early 1900s by Rene Magritte.
At the same time, I was in the 3rd semester of my senior year of art school when I put this playlist together, so it makes sense?
There’s a lot to like here. Mr. Nicolay has a very classic voice, and both the banjo and the slide guitar are very aurally pleasing. There’s a feel of whimsy here, though it might be me recalling the specifics of this month in which I’d enter my Jordan year (23).
3. I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free- Nina Simone
I was made aware of this song as John Legend and the Roots did a cover that came out around this time. Their version is more forceful, and full-bodied, but the beauty in this version lies in how understated it is.
It cooks a little harder towards the end, but it reminds me of the musical equivalent of The Little Engine That Could, and I think that’s wonderful.
4. Faithful- Common featuring Bilal and John Legend
Fully-produced by Kanye West, and released during the fall of my senior year of high school, Common’s “Be,” is a perfect album for my money.
Arguably, this track is the album’s standout, and a great song for the fall. Any time it comes on, I can instantly recall the specifics of cruising in my friend Andy’s ’04 Ford Escape— empty Gatorade bottles and/or Burger King bags strewn about, heading to his house after school, where we’d spend the next several hours in the basement playing poker with our friends.
The best of times.
5. Changes- 2pac & Talent
Everyone knows this song, so I don’t feel like I need to wax poetic about it.
Outside of, “California Love,” this was the first 2pac song I heard on the radio, and there’s a reason that it became the crossover hit that it did.
It’s timeless, still relevant, and a particularly infectious ear worm.
6. Sleepwalk Capsules- At The Drive-In
I’ve probably spent more time in my life listening to The Mars Volta than At the Drive-In, but there are times where a blast of jagged, raggedy, post-punk from the latter outpaces even my favorite work by the former.
“Relationship of Command” is front to back, flawless, and this is one of my three favorite tracks on the album. It’s a great tune to run to as well.
7. Funky Dollar Bill- Funkadelic
I heard the song, “Maggot Brain,” for the first time when I was 18, but it would take me another 3 years to fully dive into the band’s albums that featured maestro Eddie Hazel playing lead guitar.
As an album, there may not be another album from the time period that is more drenched in reverb than, “Free Your Mind, and Your Ass Will Follow,” and this is my second favorite song from it.
8. Morning Pray- Gustavo Santaolalla
Before he was doing the soundtracks for the Last of Us games on PS3 and PS4, Gustavo Santaolalla saw a couple of his tunes grace the soundtrack to the ensemble drama, “Babel.”
This is a haunting, contemplative piece, featuring an especially sorrowful violin, and tremendous atmosphere: the perfect transition piece if you’re ever making a playlist.
9. Werewolf- Cat Power
I spent a great many night in 2009 and 2010 waiting by my green Samsung flip-phone for Cat Power to call me, so that she might profess her undying love, but it was all in vain.
This is a sad song, but it’s a beautiful sad song. Warren Ellis, (of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds fame), steps in to play violin here, and he adds a sufficiently spooky vibe to a tune about… well, a werewolf.
Play this during your Halloween seance. I heard it’s good for that.
10. Kimdracula- Deftones
It’s only fitting to follow a song called, “Werewolf,” with a song that has the word, “dracula,” in it’s title, right?
As far as rock-radio ear-candy goes, this is amongst Deftones’ greatest accomplishments. Propulsive, crushing, and anchored by a swagged-out backbeat courtesy of Mr. Abe Cunningham, the band is locked in, and then away, before we even reach 3 and a quarter minutes.
11. DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love- Usher featuring Pitbull
This was the soundtrack to a Saturday morning that featured some not-so-great dancing on my part— dancing that took place between Facebook direct messages with a woman who was kinda-sorta dating someone in my friend group.
I had a terrible crush on her, and was hoping on everything that she’d switch up to be with me, but, that didn’t happen.
Looking back on it, I expect our conversation was probably a lot more meaningless than I thought at the time, and I think we spent most of it talking about milkshakes?
She was bumping that Kelis as we chatted?
The world may never know.
12. Ready for Love- India.Arie
Michael Mann is a master of using pop music to great effect in his movies, and this song gets some screen time in Miami Vice, during a love scene between Rico and Trudi.
As an aside, Miami Vice is a wildly underrated entry in Mr. Mann’s filmography. I don’t think people really got it at the time, but I go back to watch it at least a couple times a year. It’s great.
13. The Face- Kings of Leon
Folks, do you remember when Kings of Leon RULED THE WORLD?!
My brother and I had a conversation about this awhile back, and I remember him saying they kill it on the festival circuit these days, but they’re not doing much outside of that.
Say what you will about their output as, “superstars,” but I think some of it is really wonderful. It’s great pop music that doesn’t require a lot of attention, and you can kind of just float on while it plays.
14. Across 110th Street- Bobby Womack
I know there is a very specific instance that made me put this on the playlist all those years ago, but I can’t recall it.
Probably, because I re-watched, “American Gangster?”
In any case, this is an all-time classic for a reason. Across the board, everything here is flawless— Womack’s voice, the string arrangements, guitar, percussion, all of it.
15. The Visitors- Hamza El Din
This is probably my favorite guitar and voice recording ever.
I have absolutely no idea what he’s singing about, but the interplay between his voice and his instrument here is humbling.
One day, I’ll make my way into the desert just after the sun has set, sit, and meditate to this.
It may well change my life.
16. Sweetness- Jimmy Eat World
Everybody loves this song, right?
Really, you HAVE to love this song.
On the eve before my 23rd birthday, my friend and his girlfriend at the time, had a get-together at their apartment complex, which had a pool.
I don’t think we went into the pool that night, but there was a particular strong sangria in the mix, as well as grilling, and good times.
I rode my bike there, but arrived a little early, so I decided to hop back on the trail, and go a bit further. I stopped somewhere that allowed me sight of both the train tracks, and the setting sun, and I stopped to enjoy both. I thought to myself, “This is going to be a great night.”
Later on, when everyone arrived and the night got going, this was one of the first songs that came on, and I knew that I was correct in my thinking.
17. Rabbit Heart (Raise it up)- Florence + The Machine
This was right around the time that Ms. Florence was blowing up, and like everyone else in the world, I was enthralled with her voice.
Like a female Robert Plant with red hair, it seemed as though there were no notes that she couldn’t hit, and this song showed everyone that she came to take care of business.
18. They Won’t go When I go- Stevie Wonder
As far as sorrowful Stevie Wonder songs go, I think this is his crowning achievement.
I’ve written at length about my appreciation of this in my review of Fulfillingness’ First Finale here, so head on over if you’re curious.
19. Resurrection- The Temper Trap
Before The Temper Trap were getting put in Coke (or Diet Coke?) commercials, I guess they has some pretty legit indie cred, or, at least enough for a girl I went out with once to remark about how, Coke wasn’t, “cool enough,” to use them in their ads.
I haven’t listened to this album in years, but I remember really digging it when it came out. It made me feel like there was a lot of possibility in the world— or, maybe more specifically, that it wasn’t so bad to be graduating with an ART degree, two years after the market tanked.
The specifics of that last bit can be argued, but this is still a great song.