Sunday, 31 May 2020

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

playlist for my dad

My dad Phil used to post on this blog regularly.

Here's a playlist of some of his favourite records, including most of the ones he posted on here:


Wednesday, 13 November 2019

as humanity lurches towards extinction, John Denver shows us the way back

In these troubled times I have found solace in the music of John Denver. Not only was he an incredible songwriter and singer but - bear with me here - I think his music and lyrics contain the answers to the existential questions facing the human race right now. 

Like many artists of his generation, John was searching for meaning, but rather than finding it in drugs or religion or politics, it was right in front of him - in love (both romantic and familial), nature, and home. 

It's Up To You seems to me to be an exemplary feminist love song - he doesn't want to own his partner, he wants her to flourish, be free, and choose him for all the right reasons. 

In Annie's Song (surely one of the most romantic songs ever written), he wants to give himself to his partner, but he doesn't demand the same in return.

He's inspired by the fish in the water and the birds in the air to live in the moment and surrender himself to life, wherever it may take him.

He sees himself in nature. He knows that all living beings are part of nature and connected to each other - "I love the life around me/I feel a part of everything I see".

He's "so tired of big cities and so tired of big city ways", because they involve a dislocation of humans from nature.

He writes of mining and air pollution being crimes against something sacred - nature again.

He isn't concerned with material possessions. Yes, he flies off on a jet plane in pursuit of his career, because we're all hypocrites in a world powered by money and fossil fuels, but he is sad about it, and longs to return home to the things that really matter.

He preaches tolerance and acceptance: "Rejoicing in the differences/There's no one just like me/Yet as different as we are, we're still the same."

In short, he seems to embrace some key insights of spiritualism in his music. Despite all this, he is not a hippy. In fact he could be the ultimate voice of white rural America. I wish they would listen to him now.


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Sasha Sloan - Runaway

Joe writes: This is probably my most listened to new track of the year so far.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Martin Vogel - Tough (Bruce Springsteen bootleg)

Joe writes: Just discovered this wonderful Springsteen bootleg via Michael Hann's piece about Tougher Than The Rest in the FT here.



Best Springsteen bootleg since Cousin Cole's take on I'm On Fire.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Sunday, 13 August 2017

"My baby used to dance underneath my architecture" - Lana Del Rey

Joe writes: Sometimes, rarely, I feel the need to listen to an album all the way through just to see what the artist is going to say next. I remember doing that with Eminem's debut album and also did it most of the way through Lana Del Rey's Lust For Life. There are 16 tracks on the album which is a shame - she could have made the year's best nine track album, and avoided any danger of slipping into self-parody. But even across 16 tracks she's still a cut above her contemporaries.

13 Beaches is my favourite track on the album:



My favourite Lana song since Video Games isn't on the album, seemingly because it was leaked. I love the lyric to Best American Record. Here's a cover from someone who sounds a lot like Lana:

Friday, 11 August 2017

Alex Adair - Casual

Joe writes: Love this single which came out today. Such a great lyric.

Glen Campbell

Joe writes: RIP Glen Campbell.

Glen featured on the first project I ever managed, and totally stole the show in this video, shot in the Arizona desert near his home:



Here's a playlist of my favourite Glen tracks (minus that one). Glen suggested Rikki & Daz also do a cover of Country Boy, which they did, but it never saw the light of day tragically:

Friday, 12 May 2017

George Jones - The King Is Gone (So Are You)

Joe writes: Seemingly this single started George Jones's career on a nosedive. Hard to understand because it's clearly brilliant. Yabba dabba doo.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Lorde - Liability

Joe writes: This is my favourite song of recent times. Lorde is a very special artist, a cut above almost all of her contemporaries.



And here's her awesome SNL performance:

David Ford - Stephen

Joe writes: I really believe we need more political songs right now, and this is possibly my favourite. Martin McGuinness just died and he gets a poignant mention in the lyrics.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Almost Blue - the original versions - a Spotify playlist

Joe writes: While setting my dad up with an iPod (it's the future you know), I got distracted and ended up making this Spotify playlist of the original versions of country songs covered by Elvis Costello & The Attractions on the 1981 album Almost Blue (except where the originals weren't on Spotify, in which case I've gone for the next best thing).


Saturday, 18 June 2016

Tenor Fly - Sorry If I Hurt U Feelings

Joe writes: Damn, Tenor Fly has died and Sorry If I Hurt U Feelings still hasn't been a hit. Every summer in the mid nineties Choice FM used to have a reggae playlist and that's where I heard this banger.




or if you prefer it without the annoying ident, listen on Spotify:


Friday, 10 June 2016

Monday, 22 February 2016

Story Songs, a Spotify playlist, including 7 Years by Lukas Graham

Joe writes: Everyone loves a song with a lyric that tells a story, so it's surprising how few songwriters write these kinds of songs. One good example is the current no. 1, 7 Years by Lukas Graham, which opens this playlist:


I have another observation about 7 Years. I reckon that until recently, a Danish soul/rap/pop hybrid might have been no. 1 everywhere in mainland Europe but still not broken in the UK. What's changed? Spotify, and their power to influence the charts and so UK radio. It's a huge change and mostly very positive.

Mike Skinner from The Streets did a great BBC 6Music show of his favourite story songs. It doesn't seem to be online anymore but he does talk about story songs here.

Friday, 19 February 2016

The Mother Of All Playlists and what's happened to this blog

Joe writes: I haven't been updating this blog much but I have been spending as much time as ever seeking out great music new and old - it's just that nowadays when I find a great track I tend to just add it to a Spotify playlist.

I'm sure I will post YouTube or Soundcloud links here from time to time, but mostly I will post Spotify playlists here, which are updated regularly.

This is the Mother Of All Playlists, featuring 4000+ songs and growing, including most of my favourites and plenty of new discoveries from all genres.


Friday, 15 January 2016

Paul Simon - The Late Great Johnny Ace

Joe writes: A great song about mourning recently deceased rock 'n' roll stars:


Saturday, 2 January 2016

Warren Zevon - Keep Me In Your Heart

Phil writes: I'm indebted to Spotify radio for playing me this beautifully simple and very moving song, the last track on his final album, recorded when he knew he was dying of cancer: