Playlist of the Month: Sadie Hawkins Day

Sadie Hawkins Day is one of those outmoded holidays that you only hear about on Happy Days reruns or when your grandma is talking about things she misses from the 1940s — and now, I suppose, on our blog**. Sadie Hawkins Dances were held in November, and were the one dance a year when girls were allowed, and even expected, to ask boys out. Oh, how the world has changed. Does anyone even ask anyone to dances anymore, other than promposals?

Sadie Hawkins Day doesn’t have as big a place in today’s world, but we still think it’s a cute historical footnote from the era when we got our holidays from Li’l Abner comics (a true thing). We thought a Sadie Hawkins Day playlist would be fitting: songs originally performed by male artists, covered by female artists. See, it’s just like they always told us when we were kids in the 90s: girls really can do anything.

** Okay, I googled it, and some schools do this. Sounds fun – just remember, you can be the asker-outer ANY day of the year. Or not. Sounds scary.

Traci’s Picks

Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran, Covered by Demi Lovato

Ever since their Disney days, I’ve always said Selena is the better actress and Demi is the better singer. And years later, that still rings true – Demi is a freaking powerhouse and I feel like the world’s finally recognizing that. Here, she takes Ed’s softer version of Give Me Love, and turns it into a song pleading for acceptance, and you can hear the pain in her voice. Gives me chills every time I listen to it.

Riptide by Vance Joy, Covered by Taylor Swift

While Vance Joy’s version is great and obviously suited for his voice, I feel like when I listen to Taylor’s version, it was always meant for her voice. It feels so settled and comfortable there, like a warm, cozy riptide.

Don’t Tell ‘Em by Jeremih, Covered by Lorde

Another gem from the BBC 1 Live Lounge, Lorde delivers yet another haunting performance, but this time with a rap cover. Who knew? Lorde did.

Thinkin’ Bout You by Frank Ocean, Covered by Fifth Harmony

Long before Fifth Harmony was telling you they’re Worth It, they started out as finalists on The X Factor, and after the show ended, they kinda needed to start from the bottom and work their way to the top. To do this, they released a bunch of acoustic covers with the hopes they’d go viral, or at least help build a strong fan base. And it worked. Three years later and they’re platinum selling artists with a VMA to their name. Here’s a reason why. Their voices blend so beautifully and – get ready for it – in harmony.

I Can’t Go For That by Hall & Oates, Covered by The Bird and the Bee

I had a really difficult time deciding which song from this Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates album I’d list here, because every single one is good. Let that be a testament to both Hall & Oates and The Bird and the Bee (which is a duo that includes one male, so I kinda cheated, sorry). But singer Inara George’s soft and relaxing vocals are the perfect match for the synth techno beats that make their version their own, while still respecting the OG.

Molly’s Picks

Skinny Love by Bon Iver, Covered By Birdy

I’ve finally gotten over my 2011-era annoyance at people calling this “Skinny Love by Birdy.”  I just felt like Bon Iver was pretty well-known by that point? But with a few years’ space, I can say that this is a beautiful cover, and Birdy’s arrangement is gorgeous. Can you believe she was only, like, 14 here? I can understand why people who didn’t know the song thought Birdy was the original artist, because this sounds like it was written for her voice.

Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana, Covered by Lana Del Rey

Remember Nirvana’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction? It included performances of several of Nirvana’s songs fronted by different female singers. The line up was crazy: Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent, and Lorde. And I could not choose between any of them, although I do have a soft spot for Kim Gordon because she’s just so cool. So instead, here’s a totally different female cover of Heart Shaped Box.

Where Is My Mind by the Pixies, Covered by Sunday Girl

Where Is My Mind is one of those songs where I can never decide if it makes me feel happy or sad, like the musical version of Sunday nights. This slowed-down, orchestral arrangement definitely brings out the more melancholy side of it.

Come On Up To The House by Tom Waits, Covered by Sarah Jarosz

I don’t know what it is about Tom Waits, but a lot of his songs sound great covered by female artists despite his signature not-so-feminine voice. Come On Up To The House is one of Waits’ great bluesy, rootsy songs, and Sarah Jarosz is just the artist to cover it – she’s great at both traditional bluegrass and more modern stuff. She always has a great band, too.

PYT by Michael Jackson, Covered by Tori Kelly

At first I thought it would be hard to come up with five songs, but I could keep at this forever. Just think of all the great Beatles, Paul Simon, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan covers there are! [I might be a dad. Like, there is a very real chance that I am your dad. But it’s true.] I figured I’d leave us off with Michael Jackson, an artist most male artists can’t cover without going into key change territory. But when you Sadie Hawkins classic MJ numbers, it really works.

 

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Playlist of the Month: Songs by High Schoolers

It’s back to school time for all you kids out there! However, the last September that we headed back to high school, Mean Girls was in production and I was the first person I knew to go back to school with side bangs.

So, it was a while ago. And while our memory of high school isn’t as crisp as it used to be, we can be sure that we were not internationally-known recording artists. As if we didn’t feel old enough during this, the Tenth Anniversary Of Our Last First Day Of High School, here is a playlist comprised entirely of tracks by young artists who were still in high school at the time of recording.

Check out the entire playlist on Spotify!

Traci’s Picks

Name: Lorde
Song: Royals
Age of release: 16

If it seems like Lorde came out of nowhere, she did. New Zealand to be more exact. She released this song in her home country back in March, and months later, US stations began picking it up and now here we are. I can’t believe how great of an artist she is and how her voice is so unique and distinct. If you like this song, check out her new one, Team.

Name: Birdy
Song: Skinny Love
Age of release: 14

I feel like Birdy was hoping to be what Lorde is becoming now. A teenager from England, she covered this Bon Iver song and blew up shortly thereafter. She also earned her first Grammy nomination thanks to her awesome song with Grammy darlings Mumford and Sons, Learn Me Right, from the Brave soundtrack.

Name: Aaliyah
Song: Back and Forth
Age of release: 14

Despite the fact that R. Kelly was the first one to mentor her in the music industry and they were rumored to be dating, Aaliyah and R. Kelly made a classic 90s R&B song that kicked off her too short of a career. I don’t think anyone’s really been able to create the same magic since her, and this was the song that started it all.

Name: Destiny’s Child
Song: Say My Name
Age of release: 18 (all 4 members were 18!)

Listen, guys. Say My Name is probably my all time favorite DC3 song. And to think that if we went to the same high school, I’d be looking up to them as they were Seniors, being all cool and making hit songs and shit. Seniors in high school don’t make classic records like Writing’s on the Wall – they are too focused on getting into college and acting like the own the school and stuff. I guess Beyonce & co. owned pop music at the time, really.

Name: Michael Jackson
Song: Ben
Age of release: 14

Oh Michael. Little black Michael. Ben was the first song he recorded as a solo artist, but was still in Jackson 5 at the time of the release. It was the title song for the 1972 movie of the same name, and even though it’s essentially about a rat, it’s still a good song. Just forget about the rat part.

Molly’s Picks

Name: Jake Bugg
Age of release: 18
Song: Lightning Bolt

Back in June, I almost put Lorde on our summer playlist. Then I thought “I don’t know, this song has been out for a while. It’s  great… but it’s probably on the way down.” That song? Royals. Clearly I don’t know anything. So take this with a grain of salt: I think this kid is really good and might be going places.

Name: Brandy and Monica
Song: The Boy Is Mine
Age of release: 19 (Brandy), 17 (Monica)

Everything about this is awesome. In an awful way. Who could forget the probably fake drama that was concocted between the teen singers?  While not a technically good song, The Boy Is Mine is fun because it seldom comes up alongside the other cheesy 90s R&B tunes, so it’s always a fun surprise when you hear it. It’ll make you want to wear tims and head-to-toe Tommy Hilfiger like you wanted to in the late 90s.

Name: Hilary Duff
Song: Come Clean
Age of release: 16

I’m really embarrassed by how long it took me to choose between Come Clean and So Yesterday. Feel free to include both on your next Playlist Of (no) Shame.

Name: LL Cool J
Song: Rock The Bells
Age of release: 17

Before LL Cool J was a man with a hardworking publicist… before he guest-rapped on a track about a skinhead having a conversation about race in America with his barista… before he was the tough yet dad-ish agent on NCIS, LL Cool J was a teen rap phenom.

Name: Laura Marling
Song: New Romantic
Age of release: 17

Even when she was 16-17, Laura Marling was writing wonderfully clever lyrics. The difference is that in those first years some of her music had more of a Lily Allen, Kate Nash vibe than it does now. This and Ghosts were released around the same time and it was almost as hard as choosing between So Yesterday and Come Clean.

Playlist of the Month: April Showers

You’re familiar with the old saying, “April Showers bring May Flowers,” so we figured why not give you some appropriate songs to listen to while the rain comes down and you’re stuck inside wishing you were somewhere it was sunny. Check out some of our fave tunes to listen to while waiting for the sun to come out.

Want to listen to all these tunes on one playlist? Check it out on Spotify!

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Traci’s picks:

Leave by Steve Kazee (Once: A New Musical)

If you’re not familiar with Once, please please please check it out. Based on the movie of the same name and the songs of The Swell Season, this show is a hit on Broadway, and even won the Tony for the Best Musical. With all this praise, you would think I’ve seen it a million times, but I haven’t seen it at all. Good news is that I’m finally getting to see this magical show when it comes to LA!!! In 2014. Womp Womp. Anyways, NPR was streaming the entire album when the show first opened, and it just so happened that when I listened to it for the first time, it was raining. Ever since then, I can’t imagine listening to anything other than this soundtrack while it pours down outside.

The Shape of Us by Ian Britt

I was introduced to this song from an episode of Parenthood, and per usual, it was the thing that pushed me right over the edge to bawl like a child.

Blue Ocean Floor by Justin Timberlake

This song from JT’s new album is quite different than anything else he’s ever released, and I am loving it. I find that I have to be in a certain type of mood to listen to this, preferably at night or – while it’s raining.

Skinny Love by Birdy

Well kids, this girl is 16 years old and better than you, so we can all stop trying. Her cover of Bon Iver is haunting and comforting at the same time. Like a nice warm bowl of tomato soup.

All My Days by Alexi Murdoch

This was the main track from the Away We Go movie soundtrack, and it was just perfect for the tone of the movie. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph travelled all across the U.S. to find a place to settle down before the birth of the impending birth of their kid, and this song hits just the right notes of the journey to find a home and knowing everything was going to work out.

Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars

Apparently my theme for rainy day songs means depressing songs too. Which is fine by me, because these are all great jams. And as for this one, listening to any Civil Wars song when it’s raining out is acceptable.

Molly’s picks:

Trapeze Swinger by Iron and Wine

Weather that makes you feel happy-sad calls for a song that makes you feel the same. This is one of my favorite songs, but by the end it’s a tossup as to whether I’m smiling or crying.

Kathy’s Song by Simon and Garfunkel

Poor Paul Simon is so broken-hearted and sweet – “I know that I am like the rain/ there but for the grace of you go I” – that I’ll love him if this Kathy girl never comes back.

Aguas de Marco by Elis Regina and Tom Jobim

This is one of those songs that you know, but you don’t know that you know it. After a listen it will probably sound familiar. Technically this is about MARCH showers, but that’s the rainy month in Brazil. Even if you don’t understand the lyrics, the song sounds like rain falling. And if you do understand the lyrics, then you’ll probably feel simultaneously uplifted and bummed out. Rain does that.

Sunshine by JJ Heller

JJ Heller is technically a Christian artist, but don’t let that hold you off (to paraphrase a quote misattributed to Gandhi, I like your Christ but I do not like your Contemporary Christian Music). She writes about everything, and there’s nothing religious in this song, or a lot of her others. The laid-back sound of this song reminds me of a rainy day, but the good kind: cozy and happy.

Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson

If it’s going to rain, you may as well stay in and be joyful and charming about it.