“Sincerity is Scary” – The 1975
– It’s really crazy how certain songs have the power to transport you to the time in your life when you first heard them. This past week I’ve been listening to a ton of The 1975, and this song in particular takes me back to being 15, and chock-full of emotions that felt larger and more important than anything I’d ever felt before.
“Land: Horses / Land of a Thousand Dances / La Mer(de)” – Patti Smith
– The brilliance of this song is further validation for my Patti Smith obsession. It’s a nine minute odyssey featuring what feels like 3 different songs seamlessly blended together. Patti Smith’s lyrics are out of this world, and her ability to bend words to transmit the intangible never ceases to amaze me.
“Things We Said Today” – The Beatles
– The harmonies in this song give me butterflies.
“Niño Bomba Tampico Mix” – Plastilina Mosh
– My dad played this song for me while we were on a roadtrip to Mammoth. He told me that he used to hear it while clubbing in Mexico City in the 90s. I think if I heard this in a nightclub I’d go absolutely crazy.
“Pretty Machines” – Parquet Courts
– Absolutely exceptional lyrics, featuring poignant social commentary- a staple of Parquet Courts songs. The fuzzy guitar chords and gritty solo match perfectly to the overall restless tone of the song.
“Nasty Sexo” – La Revolucion de Emiliano Zapata
– An absolute gem of Mexican psychedelic rock. Featuring some pretty funny lyrics, and really fun guitar riffs.
“On The Radio” – Donna Summer
– The lyrics to this one are incredible, lots of crying potential. But, at the same time, it’s hard not to get up and dance to this one. Also features a really great bass line and horn section.
“Little Trouble Girl” – Sonic Youth
– A tale of two Kim’s- Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), and Kim Deal (The Pixies). It’s a story about teen pregnancy featuring a haunting guitar and striking lyrics.
“Dear Prudence” Siouxsie and the Banshees
– An amazing cover of my favorite Beatles song of all time. What makes this cover stand out to me is the tone of the guitar, which is drenched with some sort of chorus pedal. This tone gives the song a new wave feel, which completely turns the song on its head in the very best way.
“Ocean – Session Outtake” – The Velvet Underground
– Time and time again, I find myself checking out The Velvet Underground’s demos, outtakes, and alternate versions. There is just so much richness to be found in their songs and their words. They are true artists, with an affinity for filling something musically uncomplicated with meaning and feeling.
“Game Breaker” – ShittyBoyz
– “I got something that you don’t and it’s called talent.” BabyTron says it best, and he’s calling it as it is. The best scam rapper out, along with Trdee and StanWill, the ShittyBoyz are probably the only people in the world who I’d let scam me on the off-chance they make a song about it.
“Tha Mansion” – Nipsey Hussle
– Nipsey Hussle’s mixtapes were on a different level, timeless and unfathomably holding his presence in high regard. He speaks of growth, savings, and balling out on the people he loves. Nipsey’s the only teacher you’ll ever need – “Every single loss in your life is a lesson.”
“Beam On Ya Toes” – RXK Nephew
– Somewhere between a horrorcore rap song and an electronic beat placement, RXK Nephew is unhinged on this one (as per usual). He repeats over and over again, “Slitherman got lines of coke!” as well as, “I want to do more drugs!” You do you, king!
“12 Stout Street” – Rx Papi & Gud
– This is the collab that no one expected. Gud is known for working with Swedish artists like Bladee and Yung Lean, so this mixtape was about as unexpected as unexpected as can be. But it delivers. Introspective, aggressive, and an honest account of the emotional toll that your old block can have on you.
“KANYE<3KANYE (EVILGIANE)” – POLO PERKS <3 <3 <3
– A drill beat made from flipping Kanye’s classic, “Devil In A New Dress,” SURF GANG members POLO PERKS <3 <3 <3 and Evilgiane seamlessly transform melancholic anthem to play when your direct deposit hits.
“Flu Flam A Opp” – Drakeo the Ruler feat. Ralfy the Plug
– Just look at the song title. He invented his own lingo and he made it seem easy. Suave, smooth, and everything in-between, Drakeo ran the streets of Los Angeles, giving whisper rap a new life outside of Sacramento and Stockton; a local legend for his long fight with former-D.A. Jackie Lacey’s depiction of the Stinc Team as a violent gang and her qualms with Drakeo that forced him into prison for a crime he had already been acquitted for. He was taken from us too young, only 28 when he was killed after his show on December 19, 2021. LONG LIVE THE RULER.
“Death Bedz” – EBK Jaaybo
– A Bay Area drill beat that flips “Coffee” by beabadoobee, it’s an unexpected song from the angsty EBK Jaaybo. Surrounded by suicidal ideations, the torment of loneliness and success, “Death Bedz” is dark and vulnerable. A sentimental Letter 4 The Streets.
“Unclean Mind” – Grouper
– Sometimes I fall asleep to this song, sometimes I study to this song, but never once have I listened and not felt comforted. It’s the sharp vocals, the subdued crescendos, the simple acoustic guitar chords. It’s everything.
“Tabula Rasa” – Earl Sweatshirt feat. Armand Hammer
– “I’m so damn proud of myself. I DID THIS FOR YOU G!” What more could you ask for? A song about blank slates and building a better self.
“Citgo” – Chief Keef
– Truly one of the greatest songs ever made. Inspirational and heartfelt, Chief Keef exudes luxury and glory, reveling in the peace and power of living the life you’ve always wanted.
– What is it about fast drumming that appeals to me? There’s a touch of punk rock styling to this one that I’m particularly fond of.
Enslaved – Diva Destruction
– Bit more spooky, bit more tense, and a fine track. The production of the vocals makes it feel like you’re listening in an old church
Unseen – Von Citizen
– I’ve been trying to get more into Chinese Thrash metal, but it’s very difficult when I don’t want to stop listening to this alone. A lovely piece worthy of any bass-loving headbanger’s collection
Cyber Flame – Solidal
– Tragically little is available on this band, but man does the lead got a voice. Feels very modern, especially when compared to the rest of this list
The Vice Yard – Orgone
-You didn’t think I was gonna do a playlist with zero funk did ya? The trumpets and that fantastic drumline are always medically guaranteed to make you dance.
– Korean rock is a really unrated genre, and this is a great example. This particular band won’t be making much though, the front man is pretty problematic, but the thing about spotify is he wouldn’t be paid anyway
– Instrumental country is really underrated. In fact, keeping the audience’s attention for any piece of instrumental music is cool isn’t it? I love the groove of this track, it almost feels criminal there’s no “driving montage’ music video for this
Wide Open – The Chemical Brothers
– This one is almost too simple to write about for my untrained. But it’s pretty neat. I dunno, the bass line is funky? I don’t remember “Introduction to Music 101”
“Afro-American” Symphony no. 1-William Grant Still
– There’s an excellent video on Music Theory being a fairly white supremist concept by Adam Neely, and it inspired me to look for more diverse classics. This song is both diverse and a fantastic piece of 30s orchestra.
Indestructible- Exile ft. Flo-rida
– I’m not a boy band guy but this song is both nostalgic(SFIV isn’t even the game i got in with but it was the scene for like 10 years) and it’s sooo 2000s in its stylings. A classic. #umeshoryu