Back at it again, folks. A month ago, after I reached 100 songs on the GSG playlist, I wondered what the hell else I could add. But alas, there are more than 100 great songs in this beautiful world! And so, we reach the next 10.
Have you ever been asked for a lighter, only to never get it back? Well, Vybz Kartel has too, and he was so pissed about it that he made the song Lighter in which he implores his friend to get their own lighter. Like most of his songs, it’s amazing. Speaking of light, Love would love to show you some Orange Skies (probably my favorite track by this great band). Then, Cody Chestnutt is all about Boylife in America, a brilliant and weird song that inspired Kanye’s “Hell of a Life”. Next up, Sly & The Family Stone riff on the thought of Babies Makin’ Babies, and Duke Ellington keeps it lovely with The Single Petal of a Rose. The Japanese artist Piana gets transcendent with early in summer. Following this is Charles Mingus’s Flamingo, from the masterful Tijuana Moods. Then a heartbreaking Astrud Gilberto ballad in If (The Biggest Little Word), followed by a recent track from the underrated songwriter Laura Groves, M6 North. Laurel Halo rounds out the playlist this week with the spacey, brilliant Do U Ever Happen.
After 10 weeks at 10 songs a week, we’ve reached a GSG milestone: 100 songs on the weekly Spotify playlist. To celebrate there are some special picks this week. Not all songs are exactly celebratory, but these are some of my favorites.
Peter Tosh’s Fools Die is a contender for my favorite song of all time. I discovered this ballad via the documentary Life and Debt, which explores economic uncertainty in Jamaica. I’ve been blown away by Tosh’s drumless, moving paean to the downtrodden ever since. Following this is another spacey favorite of mine, Laurel Halo’s Light + Space. Next is Leonard Cohen’s Phil Spector-produced masterpiece Memories. Things speed up a bit with Devin the Dude’s What a Job, on which André 3000 steals the show. Foxes in Fiction provide some dreamy catharsis on Say Yes to Violence. Then a LOX classic with the DJ Premier-produced Recognize. Following that is an underrated, weird jam, Timex Social Club’s Green Tears. After that, Smino and Dreezy’s Fenty Sex. Johnnie Frierson, who I will be posting more about tomorrow, follows with Miracles. And lastly, one of my favorite rap/r&b songs ever, Do Or Die and Twista’s Do U?
For this hot and rainy week the wunderkind Brenda Lee welcomes us to The End of the World, then Lil Wayne eases off the drama to present us a Leather So Soft. 90s R&B group Intro, in one of my favorite R&B ballads that inexplicably features a ballpark organ, remind us that despite our troubles There Is a Way. Then another throwback to an early Nite Jewel track, Universal Mind. Possibly one of Stevie Wonder’s most underrated tracks, Creepin’, follows. To break things up, a Hyperdub classic in Joker’s Digidesign. Then my favorite Bieber song, the touching One Life. Another inspiring track follows in Mos Def’s classic UMI Says. Things cool off with Father’s ICEMAN before The Dells round this week out with their show-stopping Stay in My Corner.
This week’s addition to the mix begins with one of my favorite dream-pop songs, Darling Effect by Insides. Things remain ever-dreamy with chanteuse Alizée’s Lui ou toi and take a turn for the doo-wop in The Chandeliers’ Blueberry Sweet. An underrated Awful Records track is next – GAHM’s Sun in Your Eyes. One of the most mellow Can songs, She Brings the Rain, follows. Dirty Projectors come after that with the stoned Maybe That Was It. Eden Ahbez, who I mentioned in my review of Miles Davis’s Blue Moods, follows with the surreal spoken-word piece The Wanderer. Then comes Heralds of Change’s Spotted, Underground Rebellion’s Westbound and Karin Krog’s Hymn to Joy.
This week I locked myself out of my house, so you could say things are going pretty well! Here’s what some are saying on twitter: The good singing gum playlist… made my week. Thanks, listeners!
The late, great Nate Dogg begins this week’s addition to the mix with She’s Strange, then The Wake with the prescient (for 1985) Of the Matter – Version. From Solange’s underrated Saint Heron compilation (2013) I included Cassie’s smooth Indo. Then, old-school (I’m talkin 60s) Philadelphia singers The Orlons follow with the Muskrat Ramble. To reflect how I feel this week I included Meat Puppets’ instrumental I’m a Mindless Idiot. Next, Soft Location mine Diamonds and Gems. 21 Savage follows with his most sentimental love song, Special. Another reggae cover song (there’s a lot of great ones!) is included in Delroy Wilson’s take on Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues. The, the fiery Toni Braxton debates whether or not to do it on Maybe. Closing out this week’s mix is Deptford Goth with the ballad Bloody Lip.
The eternally cool Strawberry Switchblade kick it off with Trees and Flowers, then French producer Myd teams up with Atlanta rappers Twice and Lil Patt on No Bullshit. The late, great Shawty Lo is assisted by Lyfe Jennings on the beautiful My Love, after which the funky Faze-O are Riding High. Underrated R&B singer Dwight Sykes follows with an old favorite, the lo-fi In the Life Zone. Then the great Bobby Hutcherson with the jam Goin’ Down South. The best dressed chicken in town Dr. Alimantado sings Plead I Cause. Heather Woods Broderick takes us to Wyoming and Saafir tells the tales of a Light Sleeper. Finishing up this week is one of my favorite songs of this year, Kehlani and Jhené Aiko’s Change Your Life.
This week’s installment begins with Donna Lewis’s hit I Love You Always Forever, then Raphael Saadiq’s Still Ray, a standout from his debut album that interpolates Dr. Dre. Elzhi’s brilliant storytelling is on display with Weedipedia, then Charles Mingus’s sublime Profile of Jackie. Next, Judee Sill becomes the first artist to feature twice on the playlist as I couldn’t resist featuring the amazing Sunnyside Up Luck. Australia’s The Triffids follow with Wide Open Road and British rapper Jadasea fades (from his EP entirely produced by Archy Marshall aka King Krule). My favorite Stereolab song The Emergency Kisses flows into the laid-back Memphis Bleek/Beanie Sigel/Jay-Z collab Hypnotic. Closing out this week is the track from which my website’s name is derived: my favorite band Cocteau Twins with Spooning Good Singing Gum.
Since we should never need an excuse to celebrate them, this week’s update to the mix features 10 songs written and/or performed by women! Some are originals, some are covers, all are jams.
Kicking things off is Yvonne Archer’s fantastic version of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody, followed by ESG’s You Make No Sense. Linda Ronstadt‘s breakout Stone Poneys hit Different Drum is next along with Til Tuesday’s (Aimee Mann’s 80s band) Coming Up Close. Denmark’s Erika de Casier celebrates Puppy Love, then reggae singer Ebony with one of my favorite songs, a cover of Valerie Simpson’s Silly Wasn’t I. The underrated Ydegirl follows with I need this, before things get wild with Spellling’s Real Fun. To close things out this week, TLC’s album cut (and closer of the classic CrazySexyCool) Sumthin Wicked This Way Comes and Inoj’s banger Love You Down.
Dog-lovers rejoice as Black Sheep bring the bounce on Similak Child, then reggae legend Burning Spear gives an amazing vocal performance on Door Peep. Bobbie Gentry gets her hair yanked on the bizarre country Reunion and then Dick Hyman takes us to the moon with Space Reflex. Moving away from weird sounds, Gary Stewart with Riley spends a long night Drinkin’ Them Squeezins before Jorge Ben calls us on O Telefone Tocou Novamente (“The Phone Rang Again”). Things get real mellow with Knxwledge and Anderson .Paak on NxWorries’ Best One (Remix), then a capella group Take 6 dazzles with I’m On My Way. Wrapping up, Thelonious Monk (with the help of one John Coltrane) performs a transcendent tribute to his wife on Crepescule With Nellie, and then N.O.R.E. leaves us with the most optimistic sentiment of all: I Love My Life.
I’m really proud of today’s addition to the mix. As love is needed in these trying times, you’ll find love in the spirit of many of these songs (listed below).
First, Father’s Children ask Who’s Gonna Save the World? Van Morrison’s Wild Honey follows, then Avey Tare with Remember Mayan. Judee Sill’s stunning The Kiss comes next along with Stevie Wonder’s version of My Girl. We hear an early ambient track (1967!) in the form of The Crocheted Doughnut Ring’s Nice, after which YFN Lucci and Kevin Gates share a True Story. Then 2Pac shares some Unconditional Love, only for Kashif and Meli’sa Morgan to remind us that Love Changes. But at the end of the day, Blue Magic know that we Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely.