Hello and welcome!
Alright, here we are for Tuesday Time Machine Week 12, featuring my monthly playlist from November of 2019.
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. Notion- Tash Sultana
I was out drinking with my buddy Mike when I heard this song for the first time.
It was probably a Tuesday too, now that I think about it.
In any case, we were at the bar talking and this song was kind of like… gently massaging my ears in the background. I was vibing to it, but not to the point where I was distracted.
Or, at least that was the case until that guitar solo came along.
Eddie Hazel must have extended his hands from beyond the grave and tapped Ms. Sultana on the shoulder, because we’re treated to nothing short of the heartrending albeit beautiful things he used to conjure from his instrument whilst still walking this particular plane.
If you want to be further impressed, watch her one-man band the whole thing below.
2. Straight to you- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
I feel like this song was tailor-made for November in the midwest.
There’s something grand about it— it’s just so warm.
In a perfect world, this plays when you enter the room for Friendsgiving, and all of your favorite people rush you at once for a hug.
Unfortunately, we all know hugs are going to be in short supply this holiday season due to social distancing, but I expect you can imagine, if you try hard enough.
3. Cellophane- FKA Twigs
Mates put me on to this, and I’m glad he spoke so very highly of it, because I MIGHT not have listened to this ASAP if he hadn’t.
This made my top songs of the 2010’s and… my goodness, what a vocal performance.
Listening to FKA Twigs sing here is like watching the world’s most beautiful glass sculpture twirl effortlessly in mid-air.
It catches (and subsequently, reflects) light, in all the most stunning ways, and you can’t help but find yourself in a place of humility, when made aware of its presence.
This is a perfect piece of music, and a gift to music listeners of all stripes.
4. Mota- Russian Circles
The Moog Taurus bits in here had a grown man WEEPING at age 32.
Well… almost. I was REALLY, REALLY, close, I swear.
The Taurus is a show-stealer, but it’s not the only star here— this whole song is excellent.
It’s a tricky thing going from unrepentant, delicate beauty, to a death metal beatdown that would make even the Swedes jealous, but these three gentleman pull it off.
Also, big Shouts to Kurt Ballou, who produced this, and knows a thing or two about heavy.
5. Crusher Destroyer- Mastodon
Speaking of heavy— yow.
I’ve been listening to this song for the better part of 14 years now, and I still haven’t figured out if the opening seconds of this track sample the T. Rex’s signature bellow from the first Jurassic Park.
I feel like that’s definitely what it is, but perhaps not.
In any case, this song is about as vicious as a T. Rex, and drummer Brann Dailor essentially plays fill for all 2 minute and 15 seconds of it.
Come for the fills, but stay for the deep-fried Georgia BBQ guitar licks that Brent Hinds manages to sneak in amongst the PURE SONIC CARNAGE.
6. I’ll be- Edwin McCain
I’m sure I heard this song 150 times when it originally came on the radio, back when I was 10.
It took me until age 32 to realize that there was a saxophone in here though, and I feel like that’s kinda funny.
In any case, hate as one may, I love this song, so, so, much.
I feel like this is a wedding dance song?
If you’ve danced to this at your wedding, please comment below.
7. Show U Off- Lud Foe featuring Lil’ Uzi Vert
As much as I like to hate on what I call the, “swag rappers,” (or the, “sub-lyricals”) I can’t lie that they make some catchy-ass tunes, that are a lot of fun to dance to.
This is one of those songs.
8. The Players Theme- The Sound Stylistics
If this hasn’t been used in some movie for a car chase or extra wild bar fight, Hollywood is fucking up.
This is some DEEP groove funk, and lordy, lord is it MEAN. Everyone here is flexing either subtly or majorly, and within that high-wire balancing act exists a pretty much perfect instrumental funk song.
I’m all for this.
9. Remember- Seinabo Sey (featuring Jacob Banks)
I can’t remember the context in which I heard this, and I feel like that’s kind of sad, as it’s such a striking piece of music. Seinabo Say and Jacob Banks’ voices are both highly distinct, and occupy very different sonic spaces that allow them to interact in a particular pleasing way.
This is a kind song. The world needs more music like this.
10. Like You’ll Never See me Again- Alicia Keys
I guess when this song came out, it was kind of a big deal, but I didn’t hear it for the first time until last year.
Sometimes, mainstream modern R&B is very difficult for me to FEEL, but this one hits hard. Alicia Keys’ voice is always astonishing, but here, she sells the pleading nature of the song’s narrative with tremendous aplomb.
It’s a very admirable performance.
11. Harper Lee- Little Green Cars
I have a thing for vocal harmonies, so particularly well-executed gang vocals will forever capture my heart.
I feel like they don’t pop up too often in modern music, so I always get a little obsessed when I hear a song like this.
This song screams summer to me, more than it screams November, but so it goes. Think of it as a blast of sunshine in your life when it’s getting dark at 5 o’clock.
12. High and Dry- Radiohead
The first 20 or 30 times I heard this, I didn’t even know it was a Radiohead song.
One of their earliest offerings, it’s a very, very, far cry from the likes of, “Burn the Witch,” but that’s okay, because it’s a completely pleasant and wonderful pop tune.
13. Back That Azz up- Juvenile featuring Mannie Fresh & Lil Wayne
I feel like this is perhaps, best offered without comment from me.
Also, this is perhaps, best served chopped and screwed.
14. Wake Up- Rage Against the Machine
Did I watch The Matrix last November?
I don’t think I did, which is making me confused as to why I included this song.
In any case, early, early, Rage that’s PRETTY good.
15. Sh’Diah- Bon Iver
Apparently, the letters in this song’s title are an acronym for, “Shittiest Day in American History.”
This is in reference to the day after the 2016 presidential election, as per Justin Vernon.
This is a deeply sorrowful song, but also, a stunning, stunning tune. Most of it is just a saxophone solo, honestly, but that’s okay, because it very amply conveys the hurt felt by so many in the country, on that particular day.