Hello and welcome!
Alright, here we are for Tuesday Time Machine Week 16, featuring my monthly playlist from November of 2014.
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. Really Love- D’Angleo and The Vanguard
I remember being at a holiday party for the organization that I used to work for, talking with an older co-worker about the surprise(ish) album release that D’Angelo had coming up the follow week.
He laughed in disbelief, and then went on to talk about how he got burned, trying to see him at a music festival in the early 2000s. Apparently, D’Angelo didn’t show up.
I feel bad re-visiting this song, because I remember getting stuck on one or two songs from the album, but not really going back through the rest of it.
This is an effortless and slinky piece of music that’s also, a low-key showcase for why Pino Palladino got this gig with The Who when John Entwistle passed away.
Walking basslines aren’t especially tricky, but making them sound this nimble and bouncy is an art-form. My hat’s off to Mr. Paladino.
2. Spilling Lines- Polica
Of all the bands that hit it big in the local scene during my Minneapolis years, I liked Polica the best.
No disrespect to Lizzo, (who I actually had dinner with once, before she got famous, as my friend did her logo) but Polica was like a new millennium version of the Cocteau Twins, and we’ll always need something like that.
This is one of their most outwardly electronic numbers, and maybe a little chilly in retrospect, but I still dig it.
3. Don’t Leave me- Blackstreet
Probably my 2nd favorite Blackstreet song, right behind, “Deep,” which will pop up in May of next year, if I remember correctly?
Idk y’all— R&B just isn’t gonna ever be as good as it was in the mid-90s, and this is the cream of the crop.
I challenge you to NOT sing along. The power of the music will compel you to, I promise.
4. Porn Star- August Alsina
Before he was famous for his, “entanglement,” or whatever the buzz word was earlier this year, August Alsina was making some top-notch, X-rated bedroom jams featuring some swagged-out, wet, wet, guitar solos.
If you want it extra nasty, listen to it, slowed and throwed.
5. Impossible Germany- Wilco
Ooh, boy. This is the song that convinced me that Nels Cline is really the best we have right now, in the under-60 category.
One part John McLaughlin, and one part Jeff Beck, with a pinch of Adrian Belew and some punk rock swagger thrown in for good measure, Mr. Cline turns in a career-best performance of perhaps his most famous Wilco guitar solo here.
I used to jam to this hard-core back in the day— I love it so much.
6. Live Like you Were Dying- Tim McGraw
Unfortunately, one of my good friends and artistic collaborators Seth was battling cancer when I made this playlist. Sadly, he would lose his battle the following April, but this song came across my radar during that time, and it makes me feel some kind of way.
He was a magnificent person, and I miss him.
7. Love Brings Changes- Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx has an Oscar, for a movie in which he was singing, and sing he does.
This was made for an HBO movie starring Queen Latifah from the late 2000s. The movie was solid, but the producers made a particularly good call, closing the film out with it.
It borders on cheesy in certain places, perhaps, but as a whole, I think this is a pretty heartfelt performance.
8. Hay- Crucial Conflict
This samples one of my favorite Funkadelic songs ever, and manages to throw some rodeo cowboy flavor into something that never had any in the first place?
Yeah, this is a song that’s really just about smoking weed, but so it goes.
9. Calm Like a Bomb- Rage Against the Machine
Once or twice a year, I go through The Battle of Los Angeles front-to-back, and more often than not, I think this is the album’s (and maybe, the band’s) crowning achievement.
Tim Cummerford’s bass tone here is FILTHY, and Tom Morello’s riffs in the chorus hit harder than an atomic piledriver from Zangief. Seriously, he almost gets another three strings of heaviness out of the dropped D bulldozer he crafted here.
10. Eria Tarka- The Mars Volta
Did you know that Flea played bass on this whole album?
I love most everything about this song, but the highly textural, layered drumming of Jon Theodore is perhaps the show-stealer.
Can you count the time signature in the chorus?
11. Changeling- DJ Shadow
Man, if there’s a better song for a late night walk on a really cold evening in December, let me know, because otherwise, I think this is as good as it gets.
Effortlessly laid back, and a masterful piece of groove, this is something for a slow stroll, and a wandering mind.
12. The Pecan Tree- Deafheaven
So, the the opening minutes of the song are about as furious and unhinged as music gets, but then at 4:18, something magical happens, and rides clean through to the end of the song.
More so than any of the other moments (including the title cut) on an album called, “Sunbather,” this particular passage perhaps most aptly conjures the imagery of the album’s title— a collage of earth tones, sunlight, and early evening bliss. Of course, this is complimented by deep, and particular appreciation of a woman who is most likely, supreme empress of dark-haired, brown-eyed women, and in possession of trance-like gaze that will invite you deeper, until you’re swallowed whole, bathing in rapturous euphoria.
If you know this woman, please tell her that George doesn’t want a lot for Christmas…
There is just one thing he needs…
Sorry, I actually really like, “All I Want for Christmas is you.” I don’t understand the Mariah hate.
13. Blast Pt. 2- Robert Fripp, Trey Gunn, and Bill Rieflin
Bill Rieflin passed away recently, which is a sad thing.
I got to see him live with King Crimson a few months before I heard this song for the first time, and while his performance was just fine live, he really shines here.
His playing her is nothing short some sort of jazz improv freakout masterpiece, and both Robert Fripp and Trey Gunn, are more than happy to bring fireworks of their own to the proceedings.
14. Get ‘em Girls/The Mizzle- Cam’Ron
If people want to hate on Cam, I guess they can, but you know what?
This is a great song.
Everything about Cam’Ron that’s both ridiculous and wonderful is on full-display here… yeah, I dunno, how can you NOT like this?