Every so often — and by that, I mean basically each and every day — I find myself walking around whistling, humming, or singing whatever song pops into my head. And I usually go through phases, where certain songs just keep entering my headspace, urging me to reproduce a tune until the next song makes its way to the front of my mind. Lately, a number of songs have been getting stuck in my head and thus, these songs find themselves in a playlist that I put on repeat throughout the day. Below are some of the songs on that playlist, and you can read a bit about why each one is a song that I just can’t stop listening to. Now enough blabbering, let’s dive right on in!
“Chocolate” by The 1975 IV – EP (2013)
The first song on the list comes from UK-based band The 1975. Their song “Chocolate” has been a big hit across the pond, and while it’s been a much more modest one here in the States, it has seen some success on the iTunes charts. I can’t figure out what the lyrics mean, but after a single listen I was hooked. The song makes many mentions of chocolate, contains a lyric that ends with “that’s what she said,” and is just an overall catchy tune. It’s a feel-good, fun-spirited song, and one you’re sure pay attention to when it pops up on shuffle.
“I Think You Broke My Heart” by The 88 I Saw The Light That Day (Deluxe Single) (2013)
Straight from their (free) NoiseTrade exclusive deluxe single, The 88’s “I Think You Broke My Heart” found its way instantly onto several of my playlists, and has become great friends with my iPhone’s repeat button. Bonus points, The 88 was featured on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother”, where Marshall and Lily and the gang break into a high school prom to hear the band play so Lily can approve them for her upcoming wedding. All I will say is that Marshall has solid taste in music.
“Beautiful” by Ben Rector The Walking in Between (2013)
Easygoing appears to be the music of my life right now, and Ben Rector’s new single off his yet-to-be-released album fits snugly into that description. Rector spouts crisp, reminiscing lyrics about a girl, a car, a point in time some years ago that he wishes he could revisit, a memory he wants to hold on to for as long as he can. But the thing about life is that we can’t go back — we do things, say things, actions and words whose consequences seep into the future. Does Rector want a re-do? Does he simply yearn for those simpler days? I can’t say, but no matter, this is one song whose title perfectly describes itself.
“For the Time Being” by Edie Brickell The Way, Way Back (Music from the Motion Picture) (2013)
Edie Brickell’s “For the Time Being” is the opening song to one of the best movies of not just the summer, but of the entire year so far. A summer-set coming-of-age tale, The Way, Way Back harks back to a carefree time in our lives — yes, those fun-but-sometimes-awkward teenage years — and Brickell’s easygoing, bluegrass track sets the mood perfectly. “You think you know me well / but you don’t know me at all,” Brickell soothingly equivocates. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there.
“Barlights” by Fun. Aim and Ignite (2009)
I go back and forth between my favorite songs by Nate Ruess and Co., and while “The Gambler” is probably still my favorite overall, right now I just can’t get “Barlights” out of my head. Ruess’s piercing vocals lay perfectly over a multitude of instruments, from firmly-struck drums to slick guitar riffs to powerful horns. Fun.’s poppy, big-sound efforts produce a sort of “carefree anthem” that is perfect for going out on the town, whether getting ready at home or driving to meet up with friends. It’s clear that, after the (sad) break-up of his previous band The Format, Nate Ruess is happy where his life is and who he’s with — and this was over two years before the band’s uber-hit “We Are Young” hit the airwaves.
“I Got You” by Jack Johnson From Here to Now to You (2013)
From the first guitar strum to the catchy whistling that carries through this tune, Jack Johnson’s “I Got You” acknowledges that having things doesn’t mean you really have anything — it’s who, not what. It’s a calming thought, and throughout, Johnson emphasizes the two-headed nature of the title: the first, a knowing “I’m lucky to have you,” and second, a reassuring “I’ve got your back.” Surely we all have someone like this in our lives, and while sometimes we tend to forget that fact or take it for granted, Johnson’s latest tune will certainly cause you to remember it and be thankful.
“Royals” by Lorde The Love Club EP (2012)
I first heard “Royals” a few months ago, a short time after up-and-coming New Zealand artist Lorde’s EP The Love Club was released, and thought nothing of it. Then my friend and writer-extraordinaire blogged about it and I listened to it again. Credit where credit is due, the song has grown on me ever since. It’s a party song that’s commendable for the things it isn’t; for one, it’s not a busy track. Place Lorde’s “Royals” alongside Iconapop’s “I Love It” and you’ll see what I mean. Instead of screaming meaningless, party-hardy lyrics over layers of thumping tunes, Lorde calmly dishes her angsty, superfluous teenage soliloquys over a simple, stripped-down beat. My friend likened Lorde to a less glittered version of Ke$ha, but for my money, the Kiwi pop sensation is a younger, less depressing Lana Del Rey — and I say that as a big fan of Lana Del Rey.
“King and Lionheart” by Of Monsters and Men My Head is an Animal (2012)
Europe is on an American pop chart takeover of sorts, with Mumford & Sons scooping up awards left and right, British band One Direction making teenage girls faint, DJ Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” sitting on the Hot 100, and, of course, Of Monsters and Men’s smash-hit “Little Talks” talking a firm hold on the airwaves. Catchy as it is, the world must move on, and “King and Lionheart” is the perfect come-down from OM&M’s biggest hit. Where “Little Talks” starts big and stays strong, “King and Lionheart” builds slowly in the beginning before an increasing crescendo that doesn’t reach its highest point until just before the song ends. The build matches the lyrics perfectly, the song itself a tale of recognizing fear and knowing that it can be overcome.
“Gone, Gone, Gone” by Phillip Phillips The World from the Side of the Moon (2012)
This here, American Idol contestant Phillip Phillips’ “Gone, Gone, Gone,” is smooth country perfection. It’s actually an almost perfect pairing with Jack Johnson’s “I Got You,” both in words and in tone. Where Johnson’s through-line says “I’ve got you and I will always have your back,” Phillips’ tacks on a P.S. — “…long after you’re gone, gone, gone.” And that’s how you get the girls swooning, it would seem.
“Alone” by Trampled by Turtles The Way, Way Back (Music from the Motion Picture) (2013)
From its opening song to its closing tune, The Way, Way Back features plenty of solid music selections, but a song better than “Alone” — by Duluth, Minnesota-based band Trampled by Turtles — couldn’t have been chosen as the film fades to black. Whether you are relaxing on the couch, lounging by the pool, or taking a drive down your favorite backroads, “Alone” is sure to set the mood. Lyrics are few and far between, but the words that are sung are powerful. “Come into the world, alone / Go out of the world, alone / But in between, it’s you and me,” lead singer Dave Simonett belts out as his bluegrass bandmates join in to harmonize. Rarely has so much been said in so few words and vocal sounds, but “Alone” lets you know that you never really are.
Well, that concludes my official list, but as an extra treat, here are 11 more that have found their way onto my playlist. Enjoy!
“Wake Me Up” by Avicii True (2013)
“Hang Me Up to Dry” by Cold War Kids Robbers & Cowards
“Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker True Believers (2013)
“Modern Love” by David Bowie Frances Ha (Music from the Motion Picture) (2013)
“Go Where the Love Is” by Edie Brickell The Way, Way Back (Music from the Motion Picture) (2013)
“Boy” by Emma Louise Vs Head vs Heart (2013)
“Out on the Town” by Fun. Some Nights (2012)
“On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons Night Visions (2013)
“Everything is Sound” by Jason Mraz Love is a Four Letter Word (2012)
“Holy Grail” by Jay-Z (feat. Justin Timberlake) Magna Carta… Holy Grail (2013)
“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (feat. T.I. and Pharrell) Blurred Lines (2013)