Playlist of the Month: Songs by 2015 Grammy Nominees

The Grammy Awards are this Sunday, and the nominees always remind me how much music I’m not listening to. There are whole categories – chamber music, regional roots, children’s  – that I can honestly say I haven’t played once in the past 12 months. Neither of us is concerned with what music is supposed to be highbrow or cool, which is probably why you won’t see anything from the more esoteric categories. We just like what we like. Here’s what we liked from the 2015 Grammy nominees:

Molly’s Picks

Jackie And Wilson by Hozier {Song Of The Year}

I have a rule that if there are more than three songs I want to download from an album, I just buy the whole thing. That was the case with Hozier’s self-titled debut. We all know Take Me To Church, the song for which he was nominated and the Top 40 constant for the past 3 months. But this is an album with, like, 10 standout tracks. It was hard to pick just one, but it felt right to introduce everyone to one of Hozier’s more uptempo tunes.

Bed Peace by Jhene Aiko ft. Childish Gambino {Best Urban Contemporary Album}

If you can watch this video without wishing that Donald Glover and Jhene Aiko would just be a couple already, I can’t relate. As someone who listens to a lot of … um… urban contemporary? music, Sail Out is really refreshing because it’s sort of floaty and beachy in addition to the typical rap solos and R&B beats.

Seriously. Does anyone still say “urban music” though?

Afterlife by Arcade Fire {Best Alternative Music Album}

Also, does anyone still say “alternative music?”

Usually I listen to Arcade Fire when I feel like revisiting 2005 (see also: Bright Eyes, Motion City Soundtrack). While Reflektor still sounds like Arcade Fire, they’ve definitely moved further into the synth-y, electronic, dancey direction.

Bad Blood by Bastille {Best New Artist}

It always feels like the Grammys use some fuzzy math for what’s a “new” artist. So, yeah, Bastille’s been around for a minute. I’ve been watching Twin Peaks so I had to pick the song named after pretty, dead Laura Palmer, even though this one sounds sort of surprisingly Phil Collins-y.

Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent {Best Alternative Music Album}

I’ll admit it. This is my least favorite St. Vincent album. But it’s still really good, and I’m always in favor of artists trying new things instead of spitting out what they think their audience wants.

Traci’s Picks

3005 by Childish Gambino {Best Rap Performance}

Being a fan of Community, I was an early adapter to Childish Gambino. I saw him live in 2010, and as he became more popular over the past few years, the venues started getting bigger and, for some reason, the audience kept getting younger. Anyways, I was a hardcore Gambino Girl back in the day and am particularly partial to his earlier stuff. His Grammy-nominated album (!) because the internet was clearly an evolution of his sound, and although it was good, I just personally liked the tracks off Camp and his EP better (Kauai is really good too, tho). But one song I couldn’t (and still can’t) stop playing is 3005, which is reminiscent of that early sound I loved. A fun thing to do is listen to it on your car and when the beat kicks in on the chorus, turn the volume way up and then immediately turn it back down because you are old now.

New Flame by Chris Brown featuring Usher & Rick Ross {Best R&B Performance}

UGH CHRIS BROWN. STOP MAKING MUSIC I LIKE, BECAUSE YOU ARE LIT’RALLY THE WORST. But hi Usher. UGH CHRIS BROWn,.

Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne {Best Dance Recording}

I was in the unique position of reading about how this song was burning up the UK charts prior to actually hearing it. I decided to see what all the fuss was about, and immediately got addicted to it, and now am a fan of both Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne. Her voice is perfectly suited for Clean Bandit’s sound, and vice versa.

Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood {Best Country Solo Performance}

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I’m particular to Carrie Underwood, specifically that hearing her sing usually makes me cry. This song is no different. It was a track she released in conjunction with her greatest hits album, and like a couple of her other songs, it’s classified under the Christian genre, and she even samples Amazing Grace towards the end. That song is so traditional that it can be overplayed and overused, but Carrie makes it sound brand new and makes you feel something within, no matter what you believe.

Day Drinking by Little Big Town {Best Country Duo/Group Performance}

So it’s February, and there may or may not be a blizzard going on outside your home right now, but if you want to feel like it’s summer and you’re throwing back a few margs or beers or alcohol of your choice, just listen to this song.

Honorable Mentions:

Bound 2 by Kanye West featuring Charlie Wilson {Best Rap/Sung Performance}, Ain’t It Fun by Paramore {Best Rock Song}, Automatic by Miranda Lambert {Best Country Song}

Playlist Of The Month: Summer Jams

We’re well into the summer season when visits to the beach are mandatory, weddings are aplenty and we spend our days counting down until vacation. And of course none of these activities would be enjoyable without a good summer soundtrack. More than any other season, I feel like songs help mold the three or so months where the sun (theoretically) shines bright every day, and you’re naturally in a good mood. So here’s a list of our favorites for this year’s summer playlist that will hopefully make your summer days as bright as they do ours!

Check out the entire list on Spotify:

Traci’s Picks

Day Drinking – Little Big Town

In like 2007 or 2008 I saw Carrie Underwood in concert and Little Big Town, a then relatively unknown band (to me at least) opened up for her. My friend and I were like who da fuq are these people? And what’s with the name? Well clearly they’ve since become huge in country music and I am so obsessed with this song. Who doesn’t love day drinking on a hot summer’s day?

Boom Clap – Charlie XCX

Like most people, I became familiar with this song from The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack. There are a lot of great songs on the album, but this one has the perfect feel of young love and makes me want to let down my hair and slowly sway back and forth on a rooftop patio during a cookout.

Restart – Sam Smith

Last week I was in the car for approx 20 minutes and heard two Sam Smith songs on two different radio stations. Boy is blowing up! I fell in love with him when I first heard Latch using during auditions on So You Think You Can Dance last year and immediately needed to find out what the song was. It has since become one of my most played songs on iTunes and made my 2013 Summer Jams list too. Even with his EP released earlier this year, I was dying for Sam’s full length album. As soon as I heard Restart, I knew it was going to be one of my new fave tracks and I have since done the thing where as soon as it ends I just listen to it over and over again, or restart, rather.

Brand New Pharrell featuring Justin Timberlake

Pharrell basically makes megahits with everyone he works with, but when he gets together with Mr. JT, it’s like next level, Michael Jackson shit. I can’t help but move around and dance to this song and I may or may not have found myself in a YouTube spiral of watching people’s choreography to this song.

Rather Be – Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne

Like Sam Smith, Clean Bandit is another British import. This song has been at the top of the UK charts for months now, and after seeing them dominate across the pond, I had to check them out. Rather Be has a contemporary feel – like they should be playing at the Gobi stage at Coachella – but at the chorus it switches up to a 90s dance vibe – like the opened up for a tour with Real McCoy & La Bouche. I can’t get enough of it.

Honorable Mention: Paris – Magic Man

In full disclosure, my good friend’s brother is in this band. But I legitimately like this song a lot and think they’re going places. In fact they’re literally going places when they open up for Panic! At the Disco this summer, so check them out, if you’re into that!

Molly’s Picks

Water Fountain – Tune Yards

So, here’s the deal with this year’s “songs of the summer.” Every song that seems like a contender also feels like it’s been out forever. It just doesn’t feel like a “summer jam” if I listened to it while driving through snow four months ago. So, most of my picks will be jams that for whatever reason haven’t made it to top 40 radio yet. First up: this song that is more of an earworm than half of the creatures featured on Animal Planet’s Monsters Inside Me.

ChiRaq – Nicki Minaj feat Lil Herb

Okay, if this one isn’t on the radio as much as it should be, it’s only because there is no way to take out all of the swears and have it even somewhat make sense. I’m sure that won’t keep Kidz Bop from trying, though.

Drive-In Movies – Ray LaMontagne

I always love a good country song about the joys of summer, but I just haven’t found any I love this year. However, Ray LaMontagne’s tribute to the drive-in — one of my favorite summer staples — sort of fills the same niche topically, albeit without the twang of actual country music. What can I say, I love when LaMontagne gets a bit Springsteen-y.

Chandelier – Sia

Sia: not just for making you crying during TV montages anymore.

Jealous – Chromeo

Like Haim and Yelle, Chromeo makes me feel like I’m experiencing the best parts of the late 80s-early 90s and the present day, all at the same time.