Welcome to A Playlist, a monthly post by the contributors to the Moss Blanket Review. We’ll pick a topic or theme and come up with a list of music once a month.
This month’s theme is Over and Over Again. We’re sharing the songs we can’t get out of our heads lately. Conclusions? The MBR team was really into Kanye this week. Actually, it’s pretty good bet most of the MBR team is into Kanye all the time.
“It Was a Strange Time in My Life”
Oh, Sweden. Oh, Jens Lekman. Will I ever stop singing the little child’s tone deaf bird song that shows up again and again in this funny little song? “I had a good time at the party when everyone had left/ I flirted with a girl in sign language ’cause she was deaf,” he croons. Like okay, Europe, we get it.
“The Ballad of Moose Bruce”
I’m looking for a new job and one phrase from this song is in my head all the time: “Your life’s a boat you have to row,” is just little kick in the butt I need when I feel like I’m attaching my resume for the millionth time. I doodle boats all the time everywhere.
OMI (Felix Jaehn Remix)
I have literally listened to this song over 100 times in the last 48 hours. If Sean Kingston covered “You Can Call Me Al”, it would be this song.
This song is obviously a childhood flashback to the ‘90s and The Parent Trap and Lindsay Lohan’s age of innocence. It also popped in to my head last Thursday and has not stopped playing, either via my mind or my headphones, ever since. How bizarre.
“Strength, Courage, & Wisdom”
Her voice is chocolate honey and any of her songs could be your personal anthem: India.Arie’s “Strength, Courage, and Wisdom” is made for good self lovin’ and trusting that its not all that serious.
“We Don’t Care”
It’s easy to forget Kanye’s roots when the public’s obsession with his persona gets in the way, but this first track off his genius debut album The College Dropout reminds you why he has earned his rightful place in music history. Kanye’s arrogance is, above all, a political statement about the black American experience. When my opinion of him gets clouded by the media, I always come back to this song.
Probably my favorite thing about the Jezabels, beyond their love of a good outro and their amazing post-punk feel for percussion, is Hayley Mary (their lead singer)’s voice. It sounds like she’s in a constant battle with the top of her register, like she’s constantly reaching for something– a perfect fit for a song with this kind of left-field lyrical cleverness and subtle-till-you-know-it references to the pains of becoming a feminist. It helps me out a lot when I need a reminder that fighting the good fight is worth, which is probably why it’s on repeat right now.
Matt and Kim
Matt and Kim are still making the same indie pop they’ve always been making, but “Get It” is why we’re still listening. The power chorus, driven by Matt Johnson’s (relatively) infective vocals, tells a story about what happens at 1:00 a.m. We’re drunk, we’re tired, and we want to party. This is the kind of song that Ke$ha would write about 5:00 a.m. Matt and Kim speak to my cold-blooded socially-anxious Seattle personality. 1:00 a.m. is late enough. Kim Schfino’s driving beat proves that even if you replaced their sample pads with the cheapest Casio “70 instrument” keyboards of your childhood, Matt and Kim’s fifth album would still make you want to dance.
This song puts so much swagger in my step that it’s almost enjoyable to walk around the never-ending wind-tunnel of slush and sadness that is NYC in winter.
“Hey Mama” has long been one of my favorite Kanye songs, a tribute to his mother that became even more meaningful after her passing. Which makes it no surprise that “Only One” has quickly wormed it’s way into my heart and ears: not only is it a touching ballad from the point of view of his late mother, but it also boasts contributions from Paul McCartney and a video featuring the adorableness that is North West. How could I not love it?
“Over and Over Again”
Nelly (feat. Tim McGraw)
We all needed to be reminded this exists.
“Spat out Spit”
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
I love alliteration and singers who emphasize their ‘S’ consonants. It’s even better when both happen at the same time. This song has some stellar spots that satisfy this strangely specific obsession of mine. There is a run in the second verse starting with “See the solar system suspended in me” that I’ve replayed at least 500 times this week (often feeling compelled to jump back before the song is over) because I seriously am so stricken with the delivery. For people who have less particular tastes, this song is still pretty great. In addition to the occasional alliteration, the lyrics have a great rhythm to them. The song creates an almost hypnotizing atmosphere that left it lingering in my head all week.
“Up like Trump”
This song should be forgettable. On paper it’s an above average beat and hook, with some slightly quirkier than average rap lyrics. Yet there’s something magical about the final product; I shouldn’t be waking up in the middle of the night with my ears demanding they hear the phrase, “Wear my hat to the front/like I drive a truck/like I drive a truck/all white Bentley truck.” But I am and it’s because of the delivery on this song. The boys pull out vocal dynamics that I’ve never heard applied to rap before. Their delivery is so unique it’s almost hard to get stuck in your head because your head doesn’t want to believe it’s real. If you haven’t been listening to their album SremmLife (which I’d argue is the most entertaining Pop-Rap album of this young year) do yourself a favor and start immediately, You won’t be able to stop.
“Ni**as in Paris”
Kanye West and Jay-Z
I don’t care what the people say, this list needed more Yeezy. In fact, Imma let you finish, but this is the greatest Over and Over Song of all time.That’s a fact-based conclusion. On the Watch the Throne tour Yeezy and Hova played this song an absurd amount of times: 10 times in a row during an LA concert, 11 times in Vancouver, and 12 times in Paris itself, during which Ye declared, “Y’all have to remember this moment for the rest of your life. This will be the most times this song has been performed and the most times anybody ever performed a song at a concert.” If you do the math that is about 42 minutes straight of Ni**as in Paris. I’ve listened to it 3 times already while writing this blurb and don’t plan on stopping. That shit cray.
Want to hear all these songs in the totally not-curated order in which they are presented here? Check out the A Playlist playlist on YouTube.