Summer Mix 2020, Part 2: Night

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Here’s Part 2 of my Summer Mix 2020 — this time, tracks to play as the sun is setting and a hot summer night settles in.

The tracklist, along with YouTube and Spotify versions of the playlist are at the bottom. But first, some notes:

  • In my post for Part 1 of this mix, I declared Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé’s “Savage (Remix)” to be the official SOTS (song of the summer). If we’re allowed to have an official SOTSN (song of the summer nights), it’s The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights.”
  • I pay close attention to the placement of each song in a mix like this (whether a song is at the beginning, middle, or end; which track comes immediately before and after it; etc.). For this mix, I think the first three songs are a perfect 1-2-3 punch for opening it up, and the last two tracks (“People, I’ve been sad” into “Summer Girl”) are classic examples of what a penultimate and closing track should be. I can’t really explain why, but hopefully you agree.

Tracklist (meant to be played top to bottom, no shuffle):

1. The Weeknd: “Blinding Lights”
2. The New Pornographers: “Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile”
3. Washed Out: “Too Late”
4. KAYTRANADA ft. Kali Uchis: “10%”
5. Tame Impala: “Lost in Yesterday”
6. Yves Tumor: “Gospel for a New Century”
7. Disclosure: “ENERGY”
8. Caroline Polachek: “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”
9. Lady Gaga ft. Ariana Grande: “Rain On Me”
10. Free Nationals ft. Mac Miller & Kali Uchis: “Time”
11. Car Seat Headrest: “Can’t Cool Me Down”
12. Khruangbin: “Time (You and I)”
13. Empress Of: “Give Me Another Chance”
14. 박혜진 Park Hye Jin: “Like this”
15. The Avalanches ft. Rivers Cuomo & Pink Siifu: “Running Red Lights”
16. Jessy Lanza: “Lick in Heaven”
17. Christine and the Queens: “People, I’ve been sad”
18. HAIM: “Summer Girl”

Summer Mix 2020, Part 1: Day

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Summer is a little weird this year. You can’t turn on a sweet new summer playlist during a party or barbecue when those parties and barbecues don’t exist. But hopefully there’s still plenty of time to bump some summery bops at home, in the car, or during your socially distant hangouts. Here’s a collection of songs that should do the trick.

The tracklist, along with YouTube and Spotify versions of the playlist are at the bottom. But first, some notes:

  • Every year, there’s a semi-official (to me, anyway) “song of the summer.” Last year, it was “Old Town Road.” In 2018, it was “Nice for What” by Drake. In 2017, it was “Slide” by Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos. This year, it’s “Savage (Remix)” by Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé, which opens up this mix.
  • I usually don’t include two songs by the same artist on the same mix/mixtape, but the new HAIM album was too good, and too “built for summer,” to only include one of their tracks. And there’s yet another HAIM song coming on Part 2 of this mix, as well.
  • “Dragonball Durag” is the funniest song of 2020.
  • It was a game time decision between “Overlord” and “Lose Your Love” by Dirty Projectors. I went with “Overlord,” but you should check out “Lose Your Love” too.
  • Yes, that’s Amber Mark covering Nirvana. And it rules.
  • I just want to shout out Waxahatchee, Tame Impala, and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, who (along with HAIM) all made killer albums this year. Check out the whole albums when you get a chance.
  • “Summer Mix 2020, Part 2: Night” coming soon!

Tracklist (meant to be played top to bottom, no shuffle):

1. Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyoncé: “Savage (Remix)”
2. HAIM: “The Steps”
3. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: “Cars in Space”
4. Waxahatchee: “Can’t Do Much”
5. Childish Gambino: “Feels Like Summer”
6. Thundercat: “Dragonball Durag”
7. Dirty Projectors: “Overlord”
8. Tennis: “Need Your Love”
9. Whitney: “Valleys (My Love)”
10. Tame Impala: “Breathe Deeper”
11. Kamaiyah: “Go Crazy”
12. Amber Mark: “Heart-Shaped Box”
13. Hazel English: “Wake UP!”
14. Alex G: “Southern Sky”
15. Rosalía & Ozuna: “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi”
16. Caribou: “Home”
17. HAIM: “Gasoline”
18. Pure X: “Stayed Too Long”

Best Songs of 2019

We are well into 2020 by now, and a deluge of good music has already come out in the new year. But that doesn’t mean we should shortchange 2019, so at long last, here are the 50 best songs of last year. It took me so long because I got burned out from writing about the 200 Best Songs of the 2010s, but I’ve rallied since then. Better late than never…? Hopefully you’ll agree, because these songs are well worth your time.

Here are 15 honorable mentions before we dive in.

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The 200 Best Songs of the 2010s

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — list season. But this time, it’s not just the end of the year; it’s the end of the decade. And as has been the case the last few years, you can celebrate a superb decade in music with a sleek, newly designed website featuring the 200 Best Songs of the 2010.

Click here to view the 200 Best Songs of the 2010s

Playlist links: Spotify | YouTube (Top 50)

Check back here for more end-of-decade and end-of-year coverage, coming soon.

A Look Back at the Best Songs of 2009

I have a unique experience with the music of 2009 — I didn’t hear any of it until December 30, 2010. Well, I didn’t hear most of it, at least. How could you not be exposed to “I Gotta Feeling” and “Run This Town” blasting out of various cars and backyards in the summer of ‘09?

I served a two-year Mormon mission that started the last day of 2008 and extended all the way through the last week of 2010. On a mission, you’re only allowed to listen to church-related music, and maybe some classical (as long as it doesn’t get too wild, like “Ride of the Valkyries” or something). Those music restrictions were… incredibly hard, as you can probably imagine. I would cope by periodically meandering over to the magazine rack in Walgreens and thumbing through Rolling Stone and Spin to get a sense of what was happening. It was there that I read album reviews for Bitte Orca and Brothers, learned that Jack White was forming a new band called the Dead Weather, and that Kanye West released a masterpiece called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

The very first sanctioned “new” song I heard when I got back was “1901” by Phoenix, and my mind was blown. I learned later that most people in America were sick of that song by then, since its appearance in an ever-present Cadillac commercial. But to my fresh ears, it was glorious. Was that a guitar or synth riff at the beginning? Were they singing “Fallin’, fallin’, fallin’, FALLIN’” in the chorus? Or “Ballin’, ballin’, ballin’, BALLIN’”? Who knows, but it sounded incredible.

And that’s how it was with the music of 2009 and 2010. It was like Tom Hanks finally returning home in Cast Away, except instead of learning that your wife married someone else, you get to just experience a whole two-years worth of music as if it were brand new.

Indie art-pop was a big presence in 2009, with Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, and Dirty Projectors carrying the torch. Rap was still coasting a wave of soul samples, popularized by Kanye West in the early to mid-2000s. And Max Martin was just on the precipice of his second wave of pop dominance, with hits from Katy Perry and Kesha soon to come the following year.

I started making year-end best songs lists in 2006, but for reasons outlined here, I never made a list for 2009 and 2010. Now that 2009 is ten years away, it’s time to rectify this glaring hole in my music list inventory. One added bonus is that I guarantee the list I’m making now, with ten years’ worth of hindsight, is much better than whatever I would have made in 2009 itself.

Before we get to the top 50, here are 15 honorable mentions.

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Summer Mix 2019

A new year means a new summer mix. Eighteen songs, clocking in at just a hair over an hour, made for any sun-dappled gatherings or drives during the next few balmy months. Enjoy the journey through triumphant R&B (Beyoncé, Amber Mark, Lizzo), driving rock (The Black Keys, Charly Bliss), catchy indie (Vampire Weekend, Generationals, Sufjan Stevens), soul (Anderson Paak & Smokey Robinson, Durand Jones, Marvin Gaye), chill palette cleansers (Jessica Pratt, Aldous Harding, Andrew Bird) and of course, the gigantic, unstoppable force of “Old Town Road.”

1. Beyoncé: “Before I Let Go”
2. Amber Mark: “Mixer”
3. Stella Donnelly: “Tricks”
4. Vampire Weekend: “This Life”
5. Jessica Pratt: “Poly Blue”
6. Generationals ft. Sarah Quintana: “In Green”
7. Lizzo: “Juice”
8. The Black Keys: “Go”
9. Aldous Harding: “Fixture Picture” *
10. Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus: “Old Town Road”
11. Tuxedo: “The Tuxedo Way”
12. Charly Bliss: “Hard to Believe”
13. Rosalía: “Malamente”
14. Anderson Paak ft. Smokey Robinson: “Make it Better”
15. Durand Jones & the Indications: “Listen to Your Heart”
16. Andrew Bird: “Manifest”
17. Marvin Gaye: “Try It, You’ll Like It”
18. Sufjan Stevens: “Love Yourself”

* Aldous Harding’s “Fixture Picture” is a current obsession of mine. I can’t stop listening.

Introducing the Current Jams Playlist

If you follow the D-Brad Music Instagram page, you’re already well aware of the Current Jams playlist I update every two weeks. I realized I didn’t ever officially introduce it on the site, so here it is.

D-Brad Music’s Current Jams is a rotating 1-hour-ish Spotify playlist of current favorite tracks (usually new, sometimes old). Every two weeks, I give the playlist a complete refresh, so you’ll always have new songs to hear. For best results, just listen from the top to the bottom — no shuffle.

 
Click here to open the Current Jams playlist.

And if you’re interested in listening to previous Current Jams playlists from this year collected in one place, check it out here.