It’s not much, but this week’s playlist is my holiday gift to the world. Enjoy, world!
Maggie Rogers – “Alaska”
Anything Pharrell touches seems to turn to gold. In Maggie Rogers‘ case, what she had was already golden. It just took someone like Pharrell taking notice for it to really shine.
Rogers was a student at NYU when Pharrell dropped by the Clive Davis Institute in February for an edition of Masterclass. He was there to critique music students’ work and offer advice.
But Pharrell had no criticism after Rogers played “Alaska” for him. He just sat next to her, arms folded across his chest as various expressions of impressed bewilderment cycled across his face. After the chorus hits for the first time, he gets that “Oh shit…this is a hit,” look.
“Oh shit…” is right.
Rogers will be stopping in Philly for a sold out show at The Foundry on April 7th.
Michael Kiwanuka – “Love & Hate”
For his sophomore release – Love & Hate – Michael Kiwanuka enlisted the help of highly sought after producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton. Kiwanuka told Rolling Stone that Burton helped in encouraging him to build his songs in the studio from scratch.
That approach is evident on the album’s seven-minute title track, opening with just Kiwanuka’s acoustic guitar and a full chorus providing a back beat. Layers of percussion and dramatic synths help build the landscape until Kiwanuka’s weathered voice emerges.
He sounds tired and beaten down: “Standing now / Calling all the people here to see the show / Calling for my demons now to let me go / I need something, give me something wonderful.” But in the chorus he assures us (or more likely himself) that there’s still fight left in him: “You can’t take me down / You can’t break me down / You can’t take me down.”
YAWN – “Day Trip”
Judging by the video for “Day Trip,” YAWN sure seems like a fun group of dudes to hang out with.
After wrapping a wild (chemically enhanced) Swedish Fish trip in the woods, members of the band emerge to a city rooftop party. It’s the kind of scene you would hear Stefon rave about on Weekend Update. “This private rooftop getaway has toasted Peeps, above ground snorkeling and sacrificial beard trimming.”
“Day Trip” has that “soundtrack to your summer” sound. Over a breezy, bouncy melody, frontman Adam Gil sings: “In the light of the morning / Everything feels alright / In the day morning after / Can we stay through the night?”
It’s care-free, let’s dance through the night because we can, kind of music.