Songs from 2016 That Need To Stay In 2016

2016 was a shitshow of a year in many ways – in all the ways, really. From entertainment to politics to social injustice, it really wasn’t the best of times. And that goes for music too. Every year we make January’s playlist a collection of songs that we think should stay in the previous year, but for some reason, this playlist came a little too easily to come up with.

Traci’s Picks

The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey – Closer

The Chainsmokers – A) I don’t care for their name. B) I don’t care for their music. C) This song is not good. I had to put it on mute when they performed it live on the VMAs.

Lukas Graham – 7 Years

Fact: Lukas Graham is a band, not a singular person. Other fact: I don’t like this song that’s supposed to ring nostalgic but is just grating on my ears as an old person.

Mike Posner – I Took A Pill in Ibiza

For the record, I thought this song and Lukas Graham’s song were the same thing. They’re not. Also, I don’t care what you did on the party island of Ibiza, rich white man.

twenty one pilots – Stressed Out

Twenty one pilots seemingly came out of nowhere, right? Or am I just that not in touch with the youth these days? They were the musical guest when Lin hosted SNL, I know that. Anyways, this song reminds me of the early 2000s era Good Charlotte types, which I wasn’t into, and I’m still not into now. I feel like I’m starting to sound like an Ethel with this post, guys.

Panda – Desiigner

This is one of those songs that’s semi-ok during the chorus and then the repetition makes you want to bang your head against the wall. Also have you ever heard Desiigner (sic) speak IRL? It’s not the greatest.

Molly’s Picks

Rihanna feat. Drake – Work

I like Rihanna, I like Drake, I even pretty much like this song. But after months on end of hearing “work work work work work work” it has taken up residence in my brain and I want it gone. By 2019 or so it’ll be a fun throwback, but I need a break break break break break break.

Flo Rida – My House

At first I thought it was refreshing that a top 40 hit was just about hospitality, offering friends a drink, and staying in. I still think that, but as with work, I just can’t hear this again for a while.

Fifth Harmony – Work From Home

I think the combo of this song and Work are the reason the word ‘work’ is stuck in my head roughly half the time these days. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my off hours.

G-Eazy x Bebe Rexha Me, Myself & I

This one’s fine, more or less. But I didn’t even realize it was a new song until it had been out for months because it reminded me of so many other songs that have come out in the past several years, and no hard feelings, but this one can live in 2016.

Meghan Trainor – Me Too

Meghan seems like a nice girl, some of her songs are very catchy, but I don’t think even SHE is sold on this one.

Advertisements

Playlist of the Month: Tiempos De Amor and More

Happy birthday, Rent! Jonathan Larson’s musical premiered 20 years ago today, and in that time Rent has transformed popular musical theater, changed lives, and traveled the world. It’s a testament to Jonathan Larson’s vision that this musical, set in the very specific time and place of Alphabet City in the late 80s-mid 90s, still resonates across the globe. Rent has now been performed on every continent except Antarctica (and maybe Antarctica too, if any of those research scientists are theater geeks). Today, rather than celebrating Rent’s 20th anniversary with the OBC renditions we’ve loved since we were way too young to understand them, we’re taking a look at how Rent has been adapted and translated to reach audiences worldwide.

Rent, Japan

After Rent debuted on Broadway, it quickly became a hit sensation. Producers decided to capitalize on its success by bring the musical to different cities around the world. A mere two years later, Rent opened in Japan, at the height of Rent-mania. Here we see truly contemporary scenes, including an Asian Joanne wearing fake dreads like her African-American counterpart, and it may or may not be cultural appropriation. I find it funny that Japanese words tend to be English words but just said differently, or when you just hear a rando English word like, “headline” news, “Trick-or-Treat” and of course “RENT!”

Fun fact: for a quick second at the beginning of the clip, you see an older gentleman with glasses – that is Al Larson, father of Jonathan Larson. To this day, he goes to as many Rent productions around the world as he can, acting as a representation for his late son and their family.

One Song Glory, Norway

I’d like to preface this by saying I’m still not sure if this is a high school production or not, but either way, this Roger isn’t exactly as strong as Adam Pascal. With all these international versions I find myself translating it into English and thinking I’m fluent in whatever language it’s in. Finna = Find in Norwegian!

Light My Candle, Greece

It’s clear that hundreds, maybe even thousands, of pretty women have gotten the chance to play Mimi Marquez, and in Greece, she was played by this gal, who I sincerely think is great and one of the better foreign singers I’ve heard so far. Words I understood: Papou (all thanks to Full House and the passing of Papouli).

Tango Maureen, Brasil

For the Tango Maureen, why would we look anyplace other than Latin America? (Okay, Argentina would have been ideal, but it sounds good in Portuguese). Language aside, Joanne seems so different in this production that it’s worth watching. Also, how is sunny, warm Brazil the only production to nail cold-weather clothing?

Out Tonight, Germany

*FYI the sound is really bad on this, so don’t put it on max vol!* Is it me or does Out Tonight just sound slightly aggressive in German?

I’ll Cover You, Korea

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t Angel and Collins being exactly the same, but Korean. Remember in The Simpsons where there’s alternate universe Maggie with the unibrow? That’s what it feels like. Equally adorable, in any language or continent.

La Vie Boheme, Spain

Including a Spanish production was a no-brainer, since that was my major in college and I spent almost 5 months in Madrid. But here’s a little secret: this song is like 50% people’s names and foods and you could translate this into English with a year of junior high Spanish. It still really, really works in Spanish though.

Seasons of Love, Cuba

Seasons of Love is already a beautiful song, but when it’s sung in a literal romantic language, it just makes it that more beautiful. And emotional. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Without You, Montreal

I don’t know about you all, but when I think heartbreak, I think French. You know how some songs sound just wrong in other languages – the meter or the generally feel is just off? Somehow, Rent sounds great in almost every language, but this one is especially nice in French.

Playlist Of The Month: Songs By 2016 Grammy Nominees

The 2016 Grammy Awards are tonight – the messy, reckless, unpredictable party of the awards season, where the actual awards take a backseat to the outfits, rivalries, and  performances. It’s bound to be the highlight of our Monday nights this year, especially with the amazing slate of nominees. This playlist contains only songs by 2016 Grammy nominees, so listen to it to evaluate the potential winners and get psyched up for tonight’s awards. Then, tune in tonight to witness the awards first hand!

Listen to the whole Spotify playlist here!
spotify:user:122917273:playlist:3CFELD66cFF5I452dHRBaX

Traci’s Picks

Nominee: Sam Hunt (Best New Artist, Best Country Album)
Song: Take Your Time

Y’all. If you are not acquainted with Sam Hunt yet – GET ON IT NOW. He’s a former college football player-turned-singer/songwriter-turned solo country singing superstar. He’s got so much working for him – he’s got a great voice, he can talk/rap (?) and make it sound cool, his songs are on fiiiire, and he is the most attractive crooning angel in country music. This song is baby makin’ music right here. If you want more, listen to the entire Montevallo album. Speakers. That’s all I’m saying.

Nominee: Disclosure (Best Dance/Electronic Album)
Song: Magnets ft. Lorde

The second I heart Latch by Disclosure & Sam Smith, I was hooked. Their Caracal album is an EDM/pop dream. In Magnets, Lorde brings her seductive/creepy tone to a dope beat that you can’t stop listening to.

Nominee: Kendrick Lamar (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Dance Recording, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album, Best Music Video)
Song: Alright

Kendrick has the most Grammy nominations this year with 11, so chances are he’s going to walk away with one. Or two. Or almost all of them. Kendrick has a way of bringing life into every single song he records, whether it be through the inspiring and moving lyrics or multi-genre-infused instrumentals that prove he’s a true artist. With Alright, this has become not just a song but an anthem for millions, and that is the mark of a music icon.

Nominee: Florence + The Machine (Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Recording Package)
Song: Hiding

Florence made us wait four long years before releasing a new album, and it was well worth it. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful has more of an ethereal vibe to it than her previous records, but I’m not complaining. Hiding is actually a bonus track that happens to be one of my favorite tracks so here it is.

Nominee: Miguel (Best R&B Song, Best Urban Contemporary Album)
Song: coffee

Nothing can top Miguel’s Grammy-winning song Adorn – in fact, topping his amazing 2012 album Kaleidoscope Dream is hard too, but coffee is a strong follow up. It channels the same feels from Adorn, but with a little more flair, and I’m so here for it.

Bonus:

Amy Poehler – Yes Please (the audiobook) because SHE’S GRAMMY NOMINEE, AMY POEHLER. I’ve only read the book and not listened to it, but based on this small clip, I want to give her all the Grammys. And because we’re still obsessed with Hamilton and excited about their performance at the show, I’ll also plug one of the many favorites off the album, Non-Stop. I mean that ending, tho.

Molly’s Picks

Nominee:  Hamilton (Best Musical Theatre Album)
Song: Wait For It

There’s no real best or worst tracks from the Hamilton cast recording, because it’s all very, very good. However, Helpless and Wait For It are the two songs that I think stand best on their own – if you aren’t familiar with the musical, don’t like musicals, or are just going to listen to one track instead of taking the whole two-act journey. Both remind me of the best parts of late-90s R&B.

As I write this I realize that Traci will probably pick a song from Hamilton too, but we’re basically a Hamilton blog now so I think that’s appropriate.

Nominee: Alabama Shakes ( Album Of The Year, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical,  Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical )
Song: Don’t Wanna Fight

Here’s a moment you realize you’re getting older: an artist appears on Saturday Night Live and you’ve never heard any of their songs. That was me with Alabama Shakes in 2015. I love the old-school Southern rock and bluesy vocals, mixed with a modern synth sound. Not ALL of their songs are exactly my cup of tea, but you can’t deny that they deserve their place with the other nominees.

Nominee: Taylor Swift
Song: I Wish You Would

I’m probably supposed to be embarrassed about this, but I sort of like Taylor Swift.  I don’t think her live performances are amazing, but she has a better grasp of how to write a really great pop song than most artists out there – in fact, she was under contract as just a songwriter as a teen. New!Taylor also knows who to partner with: I always thought I Wish You Would had sort of a Haim vibe, but it was actually produced with Jack Antonoff (fun) which works, too.

Nominee: James Bay (Best New Artist, Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song)
Song: Hold Back The River

I think James Bay is really excellent and is sort of this year’s Hozier, not that Hozier is going anywhere. I hope he sticks around for a good while and I really think he will. I have copied and pasted three different songs into this list so you really can’t go wrong with the entire album.

Nominee: Kacey Musgraves (Best Country Album)
Song: Biscuits

Kacey Musgraves is the future of country, and I like it. In a lot of ways she’s a throwback to the sassy, non-P.C. country of Loretta Lynn. Heck, one of Kacey’s early songs includes the lyric “my idea of heaven is to burn one with John Prine.” Other than the release of her album, one of Musgraves’ biggest moments in 2015 was performing Follow Your Arrow at an NPR Tiny Desk Concert the day the marriage equality decision came down. I don’t think Pageant Material got as much radio play as it maybe should have on country stations, but it didn’t go overlooked at the Grammys.

Playlist of the Month: Christmas Songs by Jewish Artists

Hanukkah 2015 is already in the books. That means that from this point onward, people of all religions can focus on that other December holiday: Christmas. Sure, if we’re getting technical about it Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus – but it’s also turned into a cultural celebration where we put our differences aside and eat cutout cookies, decorate trees, and jam out to the likes of Barbra Streisand and Amy Winehouse. Who better to sing Happy Birthday to one of the most famous Jewish babies in the world?

Traci’s Picks

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Mel Torme and Judy Garland

This tune is one of the iconic Christmas songs we all know and love, but did you known it was written by two Jews? Mel Torme and Bob Wells wrote it in 1945 in the middle of summer in an effort to cool down. Truth. Bob was randomly writing down wintery things on a notepad like, “Yuletide carols” and “Jackfrost” and “folks dressed up like Eskimos” because he was so damn hot, but when Mel (who was 19 at the time) took a look at it he saw them as song lyrics. The rest is history. This version features Mel on Judy Garland’s self-titled TV show, and also includes a sly Over the Rainbow ref. This is the kind of song that just warms your heart.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)
Adam Levine & Sara Bareilles

Many people have covered John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s iconic Christmas protest song, but there’s something special about the pairing of Adam and Sara. Adam has the right range for it, while Sara can literally sing anything and I’d be on board.

This Christmas
Carole King

This Christmas is one of my favorite modern day holiday jamz. Maybe it’s because I grew up listening to Platinum Christmas and heard R&B singer Joe’s version on repeat, but I associate this with pop and R&B acts, not folky types like Carole King. But that’s what makes me love this version that much more. She gives it a lived in, Tapestry quality to it that makes you want to curl up by the fire and drink hot cocoa.

From a Distance (Christmas version)
Bette Midler

Listen up. Sometimes I enjoy turning up to the easy listening radio station. I can enjoy a good Kenny G tune or Celine Dion power ballad every once in a while. I can also appreciate Bette Midler and her classic tune From a Distance. BUT, in doing research for this post, I found out she made an alternative Christmas version that is maybe even better than the OG? Maybe. But the Queen of the Jews singing “Joy to the World” at the end is the best. The best.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Amy Winehouse

No bit zone – I really think Amy would’ve made an amazing Christmas/holiday album. Her voice is already astounding, but her spin on classic songs would’ve been such a hit.

Molly’s Picks

Baby It’s Cold Outside
Idina Menzel and Michael Buble

Yes, this song is creepy, but this version subs out some of the skeevier lyrics, making it my favorite rendition.

It was only a matter of time before Idina Menzel released a Christmas album. This particular song is really just a winter song, but there are plenty of Christmas-specific tracks on the album.

White Christmas
Barbra Streisand

How about a two-fer: when he wrote White Christmas, Irving Berlin, nee Israel Baline, made the most important Jewish contribution to the Christmas holiday since the Virgin Mary. Then Barbra Streisand covered it, and while nobody, not even Babs, is Bing Crosby, this is still pretty darn wonderful.

Must Be Santa
Bob Dylan

If you ever doubt the extent to which Bob Dylan DGAF, just watch this video.

Christmas Must Be Tonight
The Band

Two things you may not have known: The Band performs a good Christmas song, and Robbie Robertson is Jewish.

Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)
The Ramones

This is my second-favorite song about sparring on Christmas (after the fantastic Fairytale of New York) – and it proves that you don’t have to grow up celebrating Christmas to know that it’s a holiday that sparks a lot of arguments.

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.

 

Playlist of the Month: Songs By People Who Scare Me: The Second Coming

Halloween is in a few days, and it’s a good reminder of what will scare you and what won’t. More importantly, who are the people that will test your patience with their “pranks” with the excuse of “Halloween”? Then there are the people, namely musicians, that scare us year round, no matter October 31st or not.

In our second installment of Songs By People Who Scare Me, we pick another group of frightening artists who you won’t find on our Recently Played anytime soon. I mean, we’ve basically turned into a Hamilton blog, so these picks shouldn’t be too surprising.

<< Listen to the whole playlist on Spotify! >>

Molly’s Picks

Joanna Newsom – Sprout And The Bean

Joanna Newsom is adorable and talented, even if her voice isn’t for anyone. She’s one half of one of my favorite celebrity couples. She seems like she’d be a really cool girl in real life. That’s why I wish her music didn’t give me the willies. Maybe Joanna Newsom herself isn’t scary, but her music is what they’d play in my personal version of an exceptionally spooky haunted house. There would also be creepy dolls, a haunted dollhouse, and decrepit Miss Havisham and Baby Jane-type ladies. Shiver, shiver, shiver.

The Young Cons – The Problem

Cons as in Conservatives. They’re young, they’re white, they’re male, they’re rapping, good Lord, and they’re just the bros to get alll up in your personal health care choices and all out of government oversight of corporate activity. Word.

Insane Clown Posse – Night Of The Chainsaw

On one hand, I know that you cannot judge a person based on what music, television, or movies they enjoy.

On the other hand, I saw a young man in full ICP face makeup earlier this month, and my knee-jerk reaction was “yeah… there is definitely an above-average chance that he has tortured a cat in a basement.”

Yes, ICP was on the list last time, too, but last year it was Traci’s pick and this year it was mine. They terrify both of us.

Bobby Vee – Come Back When You Grow Up

Now, you might be thinking “Molls, this song is sketchy, but it’s just some random one-hit-wonder from the days when songs about old men wooing teens was de rigeur.” Right. Okay. But consider Bobby Vee’s other songs: Please Don’t Ask About Barbara, which sounds like a 1960s horror movie about a dead body who lives under his bed, and The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, which is a terrifying concept and a disturbing visual. One, two, three strikes, I’m out.

Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?

This isn’t a lame We Hate Justin Bieber joke. There’s something about the kid that I find genuinely unsavory. He’s just the combination of smug, entitled, and twerpy that makes me feel like he’s capable of anything. He’s no Tiny Tim – my personal scariest musician ever – but it’s more that I feel like he’s the kind of adult who would pick on a nerdy child until it cried.

Traci’s Picks

Die Antwoord – I Fink You Freeky

This rap-rave group from South Africa has had a bunch of controversies follow them throughout the years. Namely, they’ve been called out for being homophobic and racist; using blackface in music videos and repeatedly using the N-word (they’re white). How one concert reviewer criticized one of Die Antwood’s concerts:

It doesn’t really make a difference how Die Antwoord explain themselves, or whether their fans read their imagery as satirical. Cuz it’s not just the KKK outfits but their overall source material, the way they blend skinhead white supremacy (disciplined, tough, angular) and trailer park white supremacy (incestuous, washed-out, sweatpants) with art school chic and punk rock apathy to produce a pastel shade of fascism that they just can’t cleanse themselves of, progressive provocateurs that they are. We can’t stop (cue the Miley, no innocent herself) because that’s the nature of trauma, of painful, disgusting, horrible, and incomprehensibly awful things like apartheid and institutionalized racism and guilt and blame and privilege. It produces word vomit; it escapes categorization; it demands to be brought to light. It drags us down with it. {x}

Also, “Fink” and “Freeky” are not words. Bye.

Drowning Pool – Bodies

Literally the lyrics to this song are “Let the bodies hit the floor” over and over and over again. TBH I can’t even watch these videos, but the still shot of a rando in a medical chair is enough for me to by scared.

Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell

Thanks to The Osbournes’ reality show, Ozzy was made more “human” if you will, as he’s long had this persona of a hardcore metal rocker who bit the head off an unconscious bat during a concert once. But still, his alter ego, his “Sasha Fierce” is frightening and continues to be despite him yelling “SHAROONNN” will never leave my head.

KISS – Rock & Roll All Nite

This song in particular doesn’t seem like it would come from a group of grown ass men decked out in black and white face paint and huge platform shoes. But it does, and come on let’s be real – if you ran into Gene Simmons in costume in a dark alley and he sticks out his tongue, you’d be scared too.

Rob Zombie – Dragula

This is the man who came up with House of 1000 Corpses in his MIND. WTF is going on up there.

Playlist of the Month: Ridiculous Summer Jams

There are two times a year when we all act so ridiculous – wearing wacky clothes and garish color combos, attending party after party, and listening to corny novelty songs – that you have to wonder if we all have temporarily lost our minds. One of these times is Christmas – too wintery, too cold, no thank you – and the other is summer.

When we look back at the summers of our past, the soundtrack is a series of pop and hip hop jams, each more ridiculous than the last. We have another month of summer to go – a whole month of sunny skies, sundresses, and warm nights! And we have just the ridiculous summer jam soundtrack to remind us of all those silly, long-ago summer tunes.

Listen to the entire playlist on Spotify!

Jump by Kris Kross
{April 1992}

This song is anything but wiggidy wiggidy wiggidy whack, and makes me want to put on my backwards overalls and sideways ball cap. [ Favorite summer style c. 1992 – 1995: overall shorts with one strap undone, pacifier necklace, keds.] Jump was such a sensation during the summer of ’92 that my brother joked that he would one day have two sons and name them Kris and Kross. 2015: his boys are named Charley and Henry.

I thought the lyrics were more overtly summery, but they aren’t. I guess as a kid I just equated summer with jumping and free-form movement and winter with huddling miserably.

Fly by Sugar Ray
{June 1997}

Summer days from the mid-90s are a blur of riding bikes with the neighborhood kids, making new friends at acting camp, and hanging out at my aunt’s pool until way past my bedtime. This song was all over the place in the summer of ’97 and I can almost still taste the chlorine-tinged Sour Patch Kids when I listen to it. It’s also a little ridiculous: you just started talking two sentences ago, why are you telling me that your mother died? What are those weird sounds you’re making in the middle of it? Are you having a stroke? Is that how your mother died?

Walkin On The Sun by Smash Mouth
{July 1997}

This band’s songs were so tied to summer in the mid and late 90s that on my initial draft of the list I just said “something by Smash Mouth.” I’m sure Smash Mouth fans existed, but I never knew any. It’s more like their music just materialized near swimming pools, beach shops, and water parks from thin air during the summers of 1997 – 2003.

Summer Girls by L.F.O.
{June 1999}

In the summer of 1999 I was about to begin eighth grade. According to the photo album from our trip to the Cape, my three teenage siblings and I were really into khaki. What can I say? Gap and Abercrombie were pushing the khakis, and the youth of America wanted to look like girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch.  Summer Girls was chock full of nostalgic references to the early 90s, which was only several years in the past … but to a 12-year-old it was a lifetime ago.

Thong Song by Sisqo
{December 1999}

Don’t let the December release date fool you: the video was released in the spring of 2000, and there were massive tie-ins to MTV’s Spring Break in order to boost it for summer’s Tacky Music Season. This was really at the beginning of butts being a thing; J.Lo’s butt was a pretty new topic in the national dialogue. I feel like Thong Song is at least partially responsible for kicking off the Butt Zeitgeist that I don’t fully understand.

Traci’s Picks

In The Summertime by Shaggy featuring Rayvon
{May 1995}

Years before Shaggy was in denial of it being him and going by Mr. Boombastic, he kept the tone light and fun by sticking to his Jamaican roots and singing straight up about hittin on chicks in the summer. I think my main problem with this, though, is that he constantly refers to himself in third person. “Shaggy say”, “Raggamuffin Shaggy” – both lines muttered by Mr. Boombastic. Also, in general he constantly sounds like he’s got nasal problems.

Cruel Summer by Ace of Base
{July 1998}

If you did a drinking game to this song and took a shot anytime “Cruel Summer” is sung, you’d probably be dead. They’re complaining that it’s too hot and it’s a “cruel summer” because of the heat. What makes this ridic is that the singer is complaining his/her mate isn’t in the city to experience the record heat, and therefore it’s an even crueler summer. Guess what – it’s going to be fucking hot no matter if your signif oth is there or not.

Steal My Sunshine by Len
{July 1999}

“Now the fuzzy stare from not being there on a confusing morning week impaired my tribal lunar-speak” WHAT EVEN ARE YOU SAYING, LEN. ALSO WHAT IS A LEN??

Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamic C
{June 2000}

This song came out when we graduated middle school, and for that reason alone, the timing was perfect and it became THE JAM. Back then, the song was reminiscing about our school daze and promising to K.I.T. forever and ever. But I’m more annoyed with it now because A), I’m older than the “we talked all night about the rest of our lives, where we’re gonna be when we turn 25” line, and B) she spoke/sang it like almost slam poetry but with less anger? And a little bit of a whisper, because Vitamin C is embarrassed of her hair, I’m assuming?

Who Let The Dogs Out? by Baha Men
{July 2000}

No one ever got the answer to this. No one cares. Carry on with your summer.

Playlist of the Month: Break Out The Cassettes, It’s 1995

We’re smack dab in the middle of Clueless Week, and to help you get more in the mood of 20 years ago – and get through hump day – today, we’re transporting you back two decades with the power of music.

Songs have this ability to bring you back to a certain time and event in your life, whether it be good or bad. As I was compiling this playlist, I realized that 1995 was one of the first years I became a *fan* of music and certain artists, as opposed to just singing along with songs on the radio. For better or worse, the songs I heard in 1995 helped form my musical tastes today, and help me reminisce about my younger years when my extent of my worries was weather Mrs. Green was going to be in a good mood in class that day or not.

So here are some of our favorite tunes to bring you back to the Clueless era, and get ready to play them on your new-fangled computers and streaming services.

Enjoy the entire playlist on Spotify HERE!

Traci’s Picks

Another Night by Real McCoy

Kids, dance music was big in the 90s. Not EDM music of today with your Calvin Harrises and Aviciis and Tiestos. But electronica, Euro-inspired dance music that The Night at the Roxbury guys would groove to in the clubs. It’s a sound that’s so specifically 90s, and I remember this legitimately being my favorite song that I would write down in personality tests.

This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan

Although this was arguably Montell Jordan’s biggest hit in 1995, I would also argue that it’s a hip-hop classic, and also one of my go-to karaoke songs.

Switch by TLC

CrazySexyCool/Waterfalls was one of the biggest albums of the 90s, with the record over two years on the Billboard album charts. It was a career-defining CD for the ladies, and was basically a soundtrack to my life when I was a kid. In fifth grade, me and three of my friends decided to enter our school talent show, and we decided to do a dance to this B-Side track. As we were practicing in my friend’s basement, I suggested someone move forward during Left Eye’s rap and basically lip sync to it. Since it was my idea, I had to do it. We got like second or third place. I believe we lost to a male-cousin team who lip synced to Ike and Tina Turner’s Proud Mary. One of them was dressed in drag. This was 5th grade.

Always Be My Baby by Mariah Carey

I think I was first introduced to Mariah when I procured Music Box on cassette, and I subsequently got Daydream – I want to say by borrowing it from the library? Anyways, I listened to it non-stop, and Always Be My Baby was probably my fave jam out of hit after hit on that record. Can we just get this Mariah back, please?

Head Over Feet by Alanis Morissette

For a long period of time, I used to tell people the first CD I ever bought was Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. It was a stock answer for anyone around my age, because that’s how big of an album it was. In reality, the first CD I ever bought was Weird Al Yankovic’s Bad Hair Day, strictly because of his parody of Coolio’s Gangster’s Paradise – Amish Paradise. I thought I was cool. Jagged Little Pill was actually a Christmas gift in ’95, and when I eventually got around to listening to it, turns out it wasn’t that bad.

Honorable Mentions: Peaches by The Presidents of the United States of America, Stay by Lisa LoebOne of Us by Joan Osborne

 Molly’s Picks

Wonderwall by Oasis

I was so young, I didn’t even know that none of this made sense.  Radio was more segmented in 1995 (before it was all, like, radio conglomerates?) so you had your station that strictly played “alternative” versus those that played pop. It was really tough for us fourth graders who were really into Mariah AND Oasis trying to hover in front of the radio with a cassette tape to record our favorite songs.

Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio

I was obsessed with this song. And like Traci, I was even MORE into Amish Paradise. I thought Weird Al was hilarious, and what can I say, I was going through a phase where I thought the Amish were awesome. But in real life, I lived in a city neighborhood. Some might even call it a Gangsta’s Paradise. By the way, watch Dangerous Minds – the movie this is from – for a very different perspective on 1995 teens than you get in Clueless.

Life, In A Nutshell by Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies were huge in our area, and with my sibs especially. I’m still jealous that one of my brothers got to hang out with them backstage, and it’s been 15 years. The 1994 album Maybe You Should Drive is filled with 90s nuggets like Alternative Girlfriend (referencing a girl in an all-girl band who has a second-hand futon), Jane (mentioning the fairytale romance between … Juliana Hatfield and Evan Dando, of course. What, you don’t remember that love story for the ages? Evan “Lemonheads” Dando!), and Life, In A Nutshell.

Big Poppa by Notorious B.I.G.

You can’t talk about mid-90s music without mentioning the big players in the rap game: Biggie and Tupac. You know what’s kind of amazing? How old-school 80s, early 90s rap had evolved to this by 1995, and it still sounds like it could be released today, maybe minus the synth.

Here Comes The Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze

I am including this strictly so that I can explain that I just learned last year that the lyrics are NOT “I’m the leprechaun gangster.” But for some cultural context, the horror movie Leprechaun was released in ’93 and leprechauns in general were much more intimidating in the ’90s.

Also, I just learned that this song is called Here Comes The Hotstepper now. Right now. While making this playlist.

Honorable Mentions: Don’t Take It Personal by Monica, Run-Around by Blues Traveler, I Believe by Blessid Union Of Souls, Roll To Me by Del Amitri (I just learned ~5 years ago that it’s not “the right time, the wrong me”), Waterfalls by TLC, Fantasy by Mariah  … I can’t stop. I could list every song from 1995. What a year.

#FlashbackFriday: Modern Day Fourth of July Songs

You’re almost there, folks! Fourth of July is tomorrow, and that means not only freedom for America, but freedom from work and nearly all our responsibilities! I hope you guys have a great weekend, but to make it even better, how about a soundtrack worthy of the amount of hot dogs and hamburgs and fireworks you’ll be taking in this weekend.

In 2013, we compiled a list of our fave America-inspired and summertime-centric songs, so we’re bringing it back again for your enjoyment in 2015. Have a safe and fun July 4th, y’all!

Enjoy the entire playlist on Spotify!

Traci’s Picks:

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

You’re probably expecting Born in the USA. But I thought I’d throw a curveball, and also I like this song better.

Jack and Diane – John Mellencamp

This may be a little ditty about Jack and Diane (two American kids growing up in the Heartland), but apparently it’s also about the loss of innocence amongst teens. So yeah, kids in the USA go through life changing experiences, and that’s a part of American culture.

All-American Girl – Carrie Underwood

A touching tale of a boy who grows up, falls in love, gets married, and hopes for a son to carry on his football legacy, his dreams changed when he has a baby girl. An ‘All-American’ baby girl. But hey, it’s 2013, girls can play football too. Theoretically.

Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts

Fourth of July obviously means summertime, and this is a great song to play if you’re chillin in the back of your friend’s pickup truck drinking an ice cold Budwiser in the middle of a corn field. Note: I’ve never done this, I just imagine that’s what kids in the country too.

Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

I think my thing with Fourth of July songs is that I picked songs that everyone knows. Independence day is celebrating America- One Nation, Under God, etc. etc. What better way to come together as a whole than by singing a song together that everyone knows? In saying that, Sweet Caroline personally reminds me of the Red Sox and Fenway Park – baseball, Americana, etc. And the ‘Ba Ba Ba’? Who doesn’t love a good ‘Ba Ba Ba’?

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus

Because, America.

Molly’s picks:

America, Fuck Yeah – Team America: World Police

On the 4th of July, you will be hearing a lot of soaring, majestic numbers about amber waves of grain and there being ain’t no doubt you love this land. Fine. But I like an America that can laugh at itself. LOL jingoism.

Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters

Independence day barbecues are all about the cheerful oldies. You need to play a selection of the summery ones – whether it’s this song, Summer In The City, Surfin’ USA, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini … whatever it takes to make you feel like Megan Draper without all the, you know, troubles.

Electric Feel – MGMT

    If I picture outdoor summer parties from the past 6 years or so, this song is always playing. I don’t know who made the rule that every 20-something’s summer party in the 2010s has to play MGMT, but the rule exists and you may as well follow it.

Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

    Right?! Right.

At The Beach – The Avett Brothers

    If it’s 4th of July, I need some kind of country or folksy music. It’s no wonder that the best 4th of July celebration I’ve been to was in Nashville. Something about the modern version of country/bluegrass/folk just makes me really happy to be from the good ol’ U.S. of A. So put on Devil Makes Three, or the Avett Brothers, or Father John Misty, or Old Crow Medicine Show, or whatever, and thank God that you live in America.

American Pie – Don MacLean

    Everybody knows this song, everybody loves this song, and it’s one of the best singalong tunes I know. Plus the word “American” is in it so… you know.

Playlist of the Month: La-Las and More – Songs From Gilmore Girls

If you marathon Gilmore Girls episodes, there are two songs you won’t be able to get out of your head. One is the theme song, which is surprisingly hard to skip on Netflix. The other, of course, is the la-las. Literally, a woman singing the word “la.” Sad las when things get rough, lighthearted las when things are peppy, a romantic la or two during a confession of love. In our imagination, this post was comprised of all of the different types of la’s. But since those aren’t on Youtube, actual songs will have to do. From that early Bangles concert to Lane’s band, music was actually a big part of life in Stars Hollow.

Listen to the whole playlist on Spotify! 

Traci’s Picks

Eternal Flame by the Bangles

{Season 1, Episode 13: Concert Interruptus}

When Sookie offers tickets to the Bangles concert for Rory AND Lane, I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that’s a really tight knit group of gals’. Seems stupid, but I didn’t grow up with a mom who was a teen in the 80s when she gave birth to me, nor did she have a cool best friend, nor did I have a best friend who hung around enough for my mom’s best friend to get her a concert ticket. All of it just seemed so cool and it was one of the first scenes that made me really fall in love with the show.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper

{Season 2, Episode 7: Like Mother Like Daughter}

In one of the rare moments of the series, Lorelai and Emily are surprisingly getting along without even saying a word. They’re both signed up to walk in a fashion show benefit for Rory’s school and Lor is stunned to find out she’s wearing a match outfit to her mother. But what was her worst nightmare turns into something she wants deep inside – to just have fun with her mom. The scene shows a playfulness in both of them, especially Emily, and it doesn’t hurt that Luke’s watching on admiring Lorelai from the side.

Reflecting Light by Sam Phillips

{Season 4, Episode 21: Last Week Fights, This Week Tights}

SPEAKING OF LUKE – let’s be real, I’m a Luke and Lorelai shipper til the day I die. I had to stop myself from putting every L+L related song on the playlist. But let’s start with the first real romantic moment between them. Luke saw her face. He invited her to be his date to his sister’s wedding. He does the unexpected and takes her out on the dance floor. Proves he can waltz. Luke can waltz. Luke can waltz? Luke. Can. Waltz.

Wedding Bell Blues by The 5th Dimension

{Season 5, Episode 13: Wedding Bell Blues}

I have a love/hate relationship with this episode. On the one hand it’s perfect and hints at Luke and Lor heading down the aisle, and they take the dance floor yet again, but then Christopher comes into the picture, and if you’ve seen the episode, you know what happens. But during the ‘love’ portion of the episode, Richard (</3) dedicates the first/second dance to his new/second wife Emily with a song that was engrained in his memory from when their only child Lorelai was a baby, and the sentiment is too sweet. I became obsessed with this song after this episode and retroactively became a stan for The 5th Dimension. Is that weird?

Magic to Do from Pippin

{Season 6, Episode 5: Magic To Do}

Another reason why I love this show – the amount of musical theatre references. From Into the Woods to a kid production of Fiddler to Tony winner Kelly freaking Bishop just being in the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino clearly has a love for the Broad Way. I recently saw the revival of Pippin and TBH, I only knew two songs, Corner of the Sky and Magic To Do – solely because of this episode. Whenever Miss Patty has some kind of show, it’s always a treat, and it was no different when Lorelai and Sookie had to sit through kids doing a fairly creepy version of this song and blowing glitter in their faces. Their reaction gets me every time.

Molly’s Picks

Walkin’ My Baby Back Home by Nat King Cole

[Season 3, Episode 7 They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They]

One of my favorite things about Gilmore Girls is all of the crazy Stars Hollow events. The dance marathon of season 3 really brought it – both as a plot device in the Rory and Dean relationship, and as a way to gather some of our favorite town personalities in one place. You have to love the visual of Kirk running his victory lap around a crying Rory and Lorelai.

99 Luftballoons by Nena

[Season 3, Episode 13 Dear Emily And Richard]

I’m always a sucker for any reference to Young Lorelai. Like Traci said, we don’t have parents who were teenagers in the ’80s, so when we were in high school it seemed so cool to have a mom who was just like all those kids from John Hughes movies. In this episode, we were treated to flashbacks of young pregnant Lorelai – a reminder that while she’s a hip, successful mom throughout the series, during Rory’s early years she was just a kid listening to ’80s German pop on her Walkman.

Fell In Love With A Girl by The White Stripes

[Season 3, Episode 19 Keg! Max!]

Pull up a chair, children, while Granny Molly tells you about the good old days. See, back in the early 2000s, hipsters weren’t like they are now. Especially in the high school set, the same people were more likely to be called “alternative” or “scene kids” or “emo.” Any self-respecting early 2000s teen knows that the White Stripes were in no way emo, but they were part of a lot of indie kids’ playlist for a while there. When Lane’s band plays this, it’s a nice cultural window into the demographic she (covertly) fell into. Plus, remember Lane and Zach’s wedding cake?

Science Vs. Romance  by Rilo Kiley

[Season 5, Episode 4 Tippecanoe and Taylor Too]

This one is another cultural touchstone. Since we were basically Rory’s age (a year younger), a lot of the soundtrack lines up with what I was listening to when the show is on. Nothing can put you in the mindset of your 18-year-old self quite like listening to the same songs you did then. When I was rewatching the show and Lane played this, I had a big rush of “oh yeah, remember that song?”

Kool Thing by Sonic Youth

[Season 6, Episode 16 Bridesmaids Revisited]

Gilmore Girls has fans from all walks of life – even people like then-Sonic Youth members Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. You may have seen their cameo playing at a Stars Hollow festival along with their young daughter. When I was reading Kim Gordon’s memoir, she mentioned how her family’s thing was watching whole tv series together, and immediately knew that this was one of them. So anyway, I’m including a Sonic Youth song because that’s what’s so awesome about Gilmore Girls for me – everyone from one of the coolest rock stars ever, to her tween kid, can find something to love about it.