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”

Five Quality Tracks: May 2016

Featuring discussions of the Strokes’ career trajectory, the single most important quality of a great pop song, and more.

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1. Radiohead: “Burn the Witch”

Much of Radiohead’s music takes a while to sink in. It took me a repeated listens to fully appreciate the intricate brilliance of OK Computer and Kid A, and the band’s newest surprise album, A Moon Shaped Pool, is proving to be a slow-burner as well. There are exceptions, however. In Rainbows was an album that revealed its pleasures immediately. While most of Kid A took some time, opening track “Everything in its Right Place” was spine-tingling from the start. Similarly, the lead track on A Moon Shaped Pool, unlike the rest of the album, was instantly engrossing.

“Burn the Witch” is eerie, full of an anxious energy that boils over by the time we reach the end. The song highlights multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood’s proclivity for discordant string arrangements. Greenwood’s strings were almost like another full-bodied character in films such as There Will Be Blood and The Master. Greenwood uses the same pizzicato technique on “Burn the Witch,” and as a result, the song sounds huge, important, and cinematic in scope. It forges forward with Thom Yorke’s ethereal voice floating on top until about the three-minute mark, when it kicks up a notch and builds to a fever pitch. Jillian Mapes of Pitchfork said it best when she called it “simultaneously unsettling and gorgeous.” The lyrics match the sonic paranoia — “Stay in the shadows, cheer at the gallows,” “Avoid all eye contact, do not react, shoot the messengers,” and “This is a low-flying panic attack.”

 
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