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}

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Everybody Who’s Anybody Is On Sesame Street

I have been waiting YEARS for someone to tell me how to get to Sesame Street. They drop the question in the theme song, but the show debuted 45 years ago today and still nobody has answered it.

When I was 3, one of the kids who hung around Mr. Hooper’s store looked like my neighborhood best friend, and I stewed for days over how she got on the show.

In preschool, Sesame Street led to my first ever wave of nostalgia. On a class field trip, my teacher turned on Sesame Street for us in her conversion van, and I realized that the show was still airing every day without me – when I was stuck playing duck duck goose with a bunch of sticky-handed tots who couldn’t even read yet. Remember, this was 1990, when there were no 24-hour children’s networks or YouTube clips. The only way to get to Sesame Street was to stay home from school.

A few years after that, one of my friends was convinced she was going to be on Sesame Street because of a donation her mom made during the annual PBS drive. Nope, that’s not how you get to Sesame Street either!

And now, as a full adult, I’d like to get to Sesame Street more than ever. Sure, part of it is that it represents a time in life when you could watch t.v. in your pajamas during the day. But mostly, these days it’s all about the guest stars. These clips make me feel as mad as I did in 1990, realizing that Sesame Street dares to go on without me every day:

Comedians Are On Sesame Street!

Jon Stewart delivered the fake, fake news.

Amy Poehler exercised (sort of!) with Elmo.

Ricky Gervais says “stumble” so many times it no longer sounds like a word.

And Cedric The Entertainer makes me wonder whether canteens are more relevant to kids’ lives than I realized. I grew up in the era of juice boxes.

Tina Fey is some sort of a book pirate.

What’s more adorable than Jimmy Fallon? Jimmy Fallon with Elmo. It’s all a bit much  for me.


Maya Rudolph raps, sings and dances with Elmo. Also I think she has a real future in children’s television, if she wants it.

Conan O’Brien does startlingly good dog impressions.

Even Saturday Night Live itself is on Sesame Street.

Actors Are On Sesame Street!

John Kraskinski talks about the meaning of the word soggy, interacts with a non-Elmo Muppet, and is just generally as cute as a bug’s ear.

And he’s not the only cast member of The Office to make the trip from Scranton to… is it supposed to be New York? Steve Carrell teaches us about the importance of voting and snacks.

Melissa McCarthy learns choreography from a penguin with Elmo and it’s exactly as delightful as it sounds.

Jonah Hill is making sure today’s youth are aware of the inexplicable mustache trend that’s sweeping the nation.

Benedict Cumberbatch is just generally rakishly charming, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tom Hiddleston. See comments re: Cumberbatch, Benedict.

Kristen Bell instructs us on the word “splatter” but does not instruct us on how she has managed not to age since Veronica Mars.

Our hometown hero, Taye Diggs, makes a three-year-old puppet drive him around.

Musicians Are On Sesame Street!

Remember when you couldn’t get away from Call Me Maybe? Well, it even made it to Sesame Street (no Carly Rae Jepsen, though).

Bruno Mars doesn’t want you to give up if you’re the kind of child who is bad at catching balls.

Usher teaches the alphabet and it’s just really, really good.

Even Queen Bey herself made it to Sesame Street, during her Destiny’s Child days.

You may remember this Katy Perry performance because a bunch of parents got mad that their toddlers, who stopped breastfeeding probably under 2 years ago, were exposed to Perry’s boobs. I really don’t know.

Delightful tap-percussioned group Tilly And The Wall even swung by for kids parents who are a bit more into the indie scene.

Political Figures Are On Sesame Street!

Sandra Sotomayor is hanging out with Abby Cadabby,  melting my cold lawyerly heart, and letting kids know that princess isn’t a job.

Kofi Annan suggests that the muppets resolve their conflict “the United Nations Way”; thereby creating a “choose your own punchline” moment for the grownups watching.

Michelle Obama does a little light gardening.

And lest you think Sesame Street is partisan, Laura Bush reads a book.

Assorted famous people of 1991 are on Sesame Street!

We focused on currently famous folks, but Sesame Street has been hosting celebs since before the age of the remote control. This video features a number of early 90s superstars, but if you search through the Sesame Street archives you can find many more guest stars who were on the show while you were stuck in school, wishing for another field trip so you could hop in a conversion van and get to Sesame Street via the grainy tv set.

 

 

 

Bill Clinton Converses with Celebrities

Yesterday was the 42nd President’s 66th birthday, and it’s not just because I like the guy, but I always remember his birthday because he shares it with my dad. So I mean, you could consider me as the Asian Chelsea Clinton. We have a lot of similarities.

Anyways, Billy C has had a storied life, bringing him all over the world and meeting hundreds of thousands of people of every walk of life. I recently came across this pic of a young William Jefferson Clinton meeting then President John F. Kennedy at The White House in 1963.

bill clinton jfk

He was just a teen in this iconic pic but can you even imagine their conversation?! ‘Oh hey Mr. President. I’m going to be the President one day and have an affair with an intern and my wife’s gonna forgive me and so will America and people will still like me. How’s Marilyn?’ (not verbatim)

Throughout the years of his Presidency, Billy has met a plethora of famous people, and if only we could hear what they were saying …

Billy C: Hey, that goatee looks great on you. I should grow one out too, don’t you think?
Brad Pitt: … No offense sir, but I was sexiest man alive 1995. I can pull anything off. You? Not so much.

Billy C: Great job tonight son. Nice hair.
Justin Bieber: Thanks man. Who are you again?

Billy C: Hilary and I listen to your slow jamz all the time. If you know what I mean *wink*
Usher: Yeah, I got you, sir. No need to wink.

Billy C: Y’all want to start a supergroup?!
Bono & Jon Bon Jovi: … No.

Billy C: Kobe, you and I have a lot in common.
Kobe: Don’t I know it, sir!
Kobe’s Wife: *flashes diamond ring*

Mick Jagger: Let’s go team-m, let’s go!
Billy C: You’re clapping off beat.

Betty White: Oh! Mr. President!!
Billy C: This is the most action I’ve gotten in 2 years. Let this happen.

Billy C: Jennifer, thanks so much for my award. Such a pleasure to meet you!
Jennifer Lawrence: HAHAHA I’m such a big fan I loved you in the White House I mean as the President not like ‘IN the White House’ like I’m a fan of you when you were the leader of the free world not like I was stalking you in the White House… you’re from Arkansas and I’m from Kentucky, we’re both from the south, isn’t that great?! *falls flat on her face*

Billy C: Charlize! Have you met Matt Bomer? He’s convinced me to do Magic Mike 2!
Matt: It’s true! I didn’t convince him to wear that fedora though…
Charlize: Are you sure you’re gay??

Bill Cosby: Now sir…. have you heard the joke about the penguin and the spaghetti…
Jerry Seinfeld: What’s the deal with the spaghetti?
Billy C: I honestly have no idea what either of you are saying right now.

Billy C: Hey Mikey, how’s that monkey of yours doing?
Michael Jackson: Not here, Mr. President. Not here.

Michael Jordan: I love you man, thanks so much for coming out to play golf with me.
Billy C: This picture is going to be framed and hung up in my Harlem office.

Billy C: Bruuuce! Can I bring out my saxophone now?
Bruce Springsteen: Alright man, but only on Born to Run.

Lyle Lovett: *mumbles*
Willie Nelson: Hey Pres, I got some realllly nice pot backstage if you wanna take a few hits before we go back out there.
Billy C: I don’t trust your pot, Willie… Let’s use mine.
Whoopi Goldberg: Child, this is NOT The View that I signed up for.
Eric Clapton: WTF am I doing here, I’m not even American.

Billy C: I can’t believe I’m hugging THE Meryl Streep!
Meryl Streep: Someone take this peasant off of me.

Tom Cruise: So now that you’re not the President anymore, how are your stress levels? Can I interest you in a free test? All the celebrities are doing it…
Billy C: Nice try, Tommy.

Billy C: *thumbs up*