The Playlist is a weekly column where staff writers and occasional guest musicians will have the opportunity to put together a Spotify playlist of songs which they’ve been listening to recently.
For the inaugural installment of The Playlist, our staff writers culled through hundreds of songs that they’ve listened to recently and came up with 12 tracks to highlight. These songs represent a sizable cross-section of genres and individual tastes and is representative of the wide range of music that we here at Beats Per Minute enjoy. The Playlist will be be posted every Friday and will attempt to document a small chunk of the music which has been filtering through the listening habits of the BPM staff.
* “Miasma Sky” by Baths and “Rafflesia” by Boris are not available on Spotify, so Soundcloud and YouTube links have been substituted below.
01. Baths – “Miasma Sky” (from Obsidian, 2013)
“The first single from Baths’ new album Obsidian reflects the qualities that he’s been teasing towards in recent interviews–a dark-but-hooky sound that leans even further in the direction of Cerulean’s pop tunes “Plea” and “Hall” and farther away from blissed out instrumentals like “Aminals” and “Maximalist.” If you weren’t stoked already, you should be now.” ~Ryan Stanley
02. Josh Ritter – “Wildfires” (from The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (Bonus EP), 2007)
“Josh Ritter’s new album, The Beast In Its Tracks, came out last week and has inspired me to pick back through his back catalog. “Wildfires” is one of Ritter’s most subtle, ethereal songs and was released on a bonus EP to complement 2007’s The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. For best results, try listening through the privacy of headphones under the cover of darkness.” ~Andrew Bailey
03. YAST – “Stupid” (from “Stupid” single, 2012)
“Released in the fall of 2012, “Stupid” is the summer nostalgia bottled in a song, Swedish dream pop style – a perfect pick-me-upper for when weather or life becomes dreary.” ~Autumn Andel
04. Kendrick Lamar – “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” (from Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, 2012)
“My recent obsession with this song started as an attempt to annoy my non hip-hop appreciating cousins but they somehow ended up loving it as much as me. Proof that some songs are just too good or just too fun to be limited by genre.” ~Leslie Fernandez
05. Daniel Johnston & Jad Fair – “Chords of Fame” (from It’s Spooky, 1989)
“I’ve always liked Daniel Johnston’s music more in idea than in practice. It’s always just a bit too rough around the edges, but this collaboration with Jad Fair of Half Japanese (and in particular this heartbreaking/heartwarming Phil Ochs cover) reels in the ramshackle guitar work to make something charmingly inept, instead of just…inept.” ~Colin Joyce
06. Jim James – “A New Life” (from Regions Of Light And Sound Of God, 2013)
“Try as I might, I can’t seem to shake Jim James’ “A New Life” from my head. The song is pure wishful thinking and wistful ease – particularly the bari-sax-led breakdown that fills the song’s second half – but sometimes that’s just what people need. Time to stop trying to shake the song and start shaking other things.” ~Brian Hodge
07. Queen & David Bowie – “Under Pressure” (from Hot Space, 1982)
“With the release of The Next Day, I’ve been revisiting some of Bowie’s best performances. This may be the pinnacle. Faced with Freddie Mercury’s theatrics Bowie stays reserved throughout, but when he does decide to go up the gears the results are simply magnificent.” ~Daniel Griffiths
08. The Notorious B.I.G. – “Notorious Thugs” (from Life After Death, 1997)
“In commemoration of the 16th anniversary of his death, I’ve chosen the opening track off disc 2 of Life After Death for this inaugural edition of The Playlist. Accompanied by Bone Thugz, B.I.G. gifts us with one of his best flows every recorded to tape. R.I.P. the King of Rap.” ~Evan Kaloudis
“If I ever hit it big and get to make a guest appearance on Sesame Street, this is the song I want to play. Absolutely perfect pop music. And that rumbling piano is so rich and cozy. Possibly the most fun song R.E.M. ever wrote.” ~Josh Becker
10. Boris – “Rafflesia” (from Rainbow, 2007)
“Michio Kurihara’s guitar solo on this song is a cosmic force. For a group that traded so heavily in the subterranean oppressiveness of drone doom, Boris sure knew how to fly.” ~Will Ryan
11. The Game & 50 Cent – “Hate It or Love It” (from The Documentary, 2005)
“In a year where he scored two reprehensible smash hits about his member and managed to fall out with pretty much everyone he came into contact with, The Game included, it seems as if the remaining positivity and decency left in Fiddy’s body was channeled solely into this track. The buttery soul sample perfectly compliments the uplifting message of anti-materialism and hard graft that both MCs put forward, adding up to a sublime track; eight years on and neither has come close to bettering it.” ~Gabriel Szatan
12. The Righteous Brothers – “Unchained Melody” (from Just Once In My Lifetime, 1965)
“From the rising harmonies and surprisingly cathartic instrumentation to the downright flawless melody (obviously), this absolutely stunning track from The Righteous Brothers never ceases to amaze. If the hairs don’t stand up on the back of your neck on your 100th listen, then I’d wager you’ve got ice water in your veins…and you probably hate kittens too. ~Joshua Pickard
If you enjoy any of these tracks, please support the artists by purchasing their respective albums.