Hello and welcome!
We’re keeping the ball rolling here, and entering week three of the year, with my playlist from January of 2014.
For those reading my column 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 playlist link above!
1. Wait for Me- Kings of Leon
Remember how Kings of Leon ruled the world for a hot minute?
Seems like it was so long ago.
I can’t say that I’ve gone back and listened to an entire album of their in probably, 10 years, but some of the singles still hit.
This is one of them.
2. Vibrant Beast- Marijuana Death Squads
Ah, yes— my favorite noise rock band.
Or, favorite Minneapolis noise-rock band?
I don’t want Lightning Bolt to get offended…
Anyways, yes— Marijuana Death Squads ruled their corner of the indie rock scene with an iron grip, and this is a magnificent showcase for what they do well.
3. Sittin Sidewayz- Paul Wall featuring Big Pokey
I’ll fully admit that perhaps, this song hasn’t aged so well, and probably comes off as a bit silly.
That said, I bet you at least crack a grin listening to this if you were in high school or middle school during the mid-2000s.
4. Penitentiary Philosophy- Erykah Badu
Did you know that the same, “house band,” that recorded D’Angelo’s, “Voodoo,” recorded this album?
For those who don’t know, that means that you have RHYTHM EMPERORS Pino Palladino and ?uestlove playing TOGETHER, and that’s just about as good as it sounds, to say nothing of Ms. Badu’s once-a-generation voice.
This is the first song from, “Mama’s Gun,” and what a statement it is.
It deserves lots of volume.
5. All Points- James Vincent McMorrow
Once upon a time, me and all of my Minneapolis friends had a fairly regular pizza night, in which we made enough home-made pizza to feed a small army.
There were also probably 10 or 12 people in attendance, at the height of our powers, so that was actually, an appropriate amount of pizza to make.
In any case, this came up on shuffle during one of our gatherings, and I thought it was a really nice aural compliment to throwing dough, and shredding mozzarella.
I miss those days so much.
6. Travis Scott- Hell of a Night
Hard to believe this is a Travis Scott song, but yes… before he became the man he is today, he made a mind-bending mixtape called, “Owl Pharaoh,” anchored by quality tunes like this.
My brother put me on to this, and I’ll admit that I was skeptical at first.
At this point though, it’s the only thing of Scott’s that I listen to on a regular basis— a tantalizing glimpse at what could have been.
7. Chin Chin- Bang Wa Cherry
You didn’t know Japanese school girl vampire rap was a thing?
Now you do.
Look, if grew up in the 90s, and had an older brother in your family, you probably know about this, because at some point, he probably made you watch BLADE.
This is a legitimately great song, and I don’t think we’re worthy of the sequencer line that pulses in the background with equal parts dedication and pure menace.
8. C/Pach- Autechre
The winter of 2014 was the winter of Autechre’s, “Tri Repeate.”
Seriously, I’m pretty sure every month from here till the thaw of spring includes a track from that album.
I don’t listen to enough electronic music to really comment on the specifics of their compositions, outside of the fact that I love them dearly, and that they’re great to listen to, if you’re trying to dig into something art-related.
Their music powered many a drawing sessions of mine, and I’ll be forever thankful for that.
9. Fifth in Line to the Throne- Camera Obscura
This was another tune that came into the mix due to Pizza Club, and man…
I miss those nights so, so, much.
I’d been aware of Camera Obscura for a few years at this point, though I’m not sure if I ever went through this whole album. This is surprising, considering how well I love this song— a pitch-perfect piece of winter-time melancholy.
10. Freak me- Silk
Keith Sweat wrote this song, so you know what time it is.
11. The Spirit of the Radio- Rush
I’m gonna ride for Rush and their music F-O-R-E-V-E-R.
Really folks, even if you’re not RUSHIN ON EM, listen to this song and see if you don’t smile.
There is to be found here.
Actually, there is OPEN COUNTRY JOY BY WAY OF PURE SONIC FURY to be found here, particularly in Mr. Alex Lifeson’s guitar solo.
This is forever music, and Rush will forever be The Great White North’s most endearing export— not Drake.
12. Bird’s Eye View- Statik Selektah featuring Raekwon, Joey Bad A$$, and Black Thought
This is a slick little number, from an equally slick album.
I’m not sure you’d find any more than two of these three rappers on the same song together under other circumstances, but here we have Raekwon, Joey Bada$$, and Black Thought coming together to turn in some very competent work.
13. Fata Morgana- Pony Boy
Another indie act out of Minneapolis, this time fronted by one Spyder Baybie Raw Dawg.
This is a strange hybrid of Prince’s more electronic excursions and straight-up house music?
I’m not really sure. In any case, it’s a great, upbeat number with a highly danceable groove, and I’m into it.
14. Blinded by the Light- Manfredd Mann’s Earth Band
Full-disclose, I always thought this song was pretty silly, until the first time that I got past the 2:40 mark.
When I heard the ethereal, textbook-worthy guitar solo for the first time, I became fully-enamored with everything in here.
These days, I probably count this amongst my favorite, “classic rock,” tunes.
Interestingly enough, it’s a cover of a Bruce Springsteen song?
I’ve never listened to the original, and I don’t think I ever will, as I want this to retains its spot atop the perch that it currently sits.
15. Antarctic Handshake- Palms
This was very DEEP meditation jam for me the winter of 2014.
I’d go into the living room of my apartment, put myself under blankets, and sit in a chair, doing deep breathing for the length of the song.
I think it speaks more to warmth than the temperatures that you’d experience in Antarctica, but to each their own.
In any case, it’s a really bright piece of music, that helped me get my day started.
16. Crazy Car- Ólöf Arnalds
Hmm… guess I was big on, “pallette-cleanser,” songs for my January playlists, huh?
This is my favorite kind of light-folksy song.
It’s almost embarrassingly polite, yeah?
At least when it comes to sound dynamics?
In any case, it’s lovely. I hope you think so too.