5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To is a collection of our newest favorite songs. Every week we ask an artist that we love to tell us about the music they love.
Listen to the whole segment and all the songs below.
1. Helado Negro picks “Todo Homem” by Zeca Veloso
Our guest today is Helado Negro. Helado Negro is a favorite of this segment, I love him. He just had an album come out, the album is called “This Is How You Smile” and it was released last Friday. Of all the albums that have been released this year, I have listened to this album more than any other album released this year. Helado Negro is a vibe for sure, and it’s so beautiful and tranquil, I just love the album. I got to catch up with Helado Negro, whose name is Roberto Carlos Lange, when he performed before Beirut a few weeks ago here in Milwaukee. I got to catch up with him before the show and this is the conversation we had. My guest today is Roberto Carlos Lange, aka Helado Negro.
Justin Barney: Roberto, what is the last song you couldn’t stop listening to?
Helado Negro: The last song I haven’t been able to stop listening to is a song by Caetano Veloso’s son, his name is Zeca Veloso and it’s called “Todo Homem.” And it’s on an album where him, Caetano, and his sons are all featured and they all write and perform and I actually think they’re on tour in the US right now performing and it’s a live recording of the show. And it’s really beautiful and a magnificent song and straddles those ideas that I really dig which are these universal feelings of caring about people and humans. Yeah, it’s nice.
Justin Barney: Right on. What’s the name of the song?
Helado Negro: The name of the song is “Todo Homem” it’s Brazilian-Portuguese by Zeca Veloso.
2. Estelle picks “Know You Good” by Busy Signal
My guest today is Estelle. Estelle is a Grammy award winning singer and songwriter. She’s collaborated with John Legend, Robin Thicke, De La Soul and a million others. She’s even started her own record label. Her new album is called, “Lovers Rock” and we’ve been playing the song “Sweetly.”
Justin Barney: Estelle, what’s the last song you couldn’t stop listening to?
Estelle: The last song I put up was from Busy Signal. He’s a reggae artist and I love him. A song called, “Know You Good.” He just put it up.
Justin Barney: What makes Busy Signal stick out to you?
Estelle: So do you remember when Beanie Man came out?
Justin Barney: Yes
Estelle: Beanie man had all these joints like back to back to back to back to back. That’s what Busy is to me. He’s just got all of these heat rocks. Without thought just like boom boom boom boom boom. And I like that vibe.
I like when you’re doing records that are up, records that are down, records that are in between, but you’re not too hyped on them. You’re more just like, “Yo, the record’s good.” The record’s great. Put it up. Four months later, here goes another one. ‘Cause you know that’s how, to me, Beanie Man built his catalogue. There are so many Beanie Man hits to me.
I was on a car ride and I just DJed Beanie Man on my phone for like two hours in the car ride. That’s how many records he has.
And that, to me, is what Busy Signal has. They are all good and he’s building that. They are all really good records. They are all good songs, not just throwaway verses, they are good records with real hooks.
Justin Barney: So what slaps about “Know You Good?”
Estelle: It’s in the beat. It’s an old ’90s dancehall beat. So it reminds me of like me in the ’90s as a teenager going to all-dayers and parties and what not and that kind of vibe. The fact that he knows that vibe, brought it back and didn’t make it corny, that’s a good time.
- Read my full interview with Estelle here.
3. Jon Lovett picks “Sign” by VHS Collection
Today my guest is Jon Lovett.
Jon Lovett is many things. He has been a presidential speech writer. He co-founded the media company Crooked Media. He has several podcasts including “Pod Save America” and “Lovett or Leave It.”
Justin Barney: Jon, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Jon Lovett: So I thought about this, and here’s the truth. The truth is that I’ve been listening to rain sounds to help me fall asleep. And it’s been life altering. And it’s on repeat. So, do we think that counts?
Justin Barney: You know I would love to play that, but we’ve got to get to the end of the song and if the song goes on for upwards of five hours, I don’t know if it’s exactly…
Jon Lovett: So there is another song that I’ve been listening to on repeat it’s called, “Sign” by VHS Collection. It’s kind of like an electro-indie-pop song that I stumbled on on Spotify and just love.
I listen to songs on repeat. I think Spotify and the other services, I love them, but I feel like the music just comes to me, I don’t have to find it as much. So I find a song and like it. I don’t know much about the band other than this one song but if I like the song I just listen to it again and again.
Justin Barney: I love that. So this song. Some people are attracted to songs that are slow and sad, like me. Some people are attracted to songs that are happy and upbeat. What is the sound of this and why is it attractive to you?
Jon Lovett: I tend to be attracted to songs, they could be happy, they could be sad, but they are always poignant.
And I don’t know exactly what that means but I like songs that feel like they could be playing over the final moments of a movie. A movie where a character learns a lot about herself.
Justin Barney: Okay, speechwriter. Or if someone was giving a speech and it was playing under them in a montage.
Jon Lovett: Yes! Yes! Unfortunately yes, that’s right.
4. Sunflower Bean picks “Make Me a Song” by Eleanor Friedberger
Our guest today is Julia Cumming, lead singer of Sunflower Bean. Sunflower Bean is this kind of new band that has… they just have the X factor, you know? Julia Cumming has that star power that you look for in the lead singer. The band is just on something else. They released two albums, “Human Ceremony” and “Twentytwo in Blue,” and they recently released the “King Of The Dudes EP.” We’ve been playing them a lot. I caught up with Julia after their set and before Interpol’s recently here in Milwaukee. So we recorded this at The Pabst Theater between sets, which is why it sounds like it was recorded at a concert [laughs]. My guest today is Julia Cumming, lead singer of Sunflower Bean.
Justin Barney: Julia, that was an amazing show!
Julia Cumming: Thank you so much!
Justin Barney: The interview question is one thing and it’s very easy. What is the last song that you couldn’t stop listening to?
Julia Cumming: The last song I couldn’t stop listening to is a song called “Make Me a Song” by Eleanor Friedberger, it’s just one of my favorite songs the past couple of years.
Justin Barney: What is the thing that you really like about it?
Julia Cumming: I think Eleanor is a really interesting artist, she used to be in The Fiery Furnaces and she’s put out a lot of material and it’s all really special. But I think on this song in particular, a lot of things that make her really come together. It has a lot of these really beautiful verses and the song is about making a song. The song is about the writing of a song which usually I feel like is sort of a pretentious topic, but at the same time the way she talks about it is so right.
There is a line in the song that I interpret about making an album and she’s like, “It’s not about two fast ones and a slow one,” and it’s so true. It’s not about the speed of the song, you know? It’s not about any of these ways where you can pinpoint what a good song is. It’s about trying to find that cosmic feeling that makes a song really worth writing about and that’s what she’s writing about. She’s writing about songs that are worth writing about and feelings that are worth writing about, not trying to intellectualize what songwriting is.
Justin Barney: That is absolutely perfect. That is amazing! I can’t wait to listen to the song.
Julia Cumming: I can’t wait for you to play it!
5. Thom Yorke Picks “This Time Around” by Jessica Pratt
Our guest today is Thom Yorke. Thom Yorke is the lead singer of Radiohead and also… he’s Thom Yorke. He’s released a couple of solo albums, “The Eraser” and “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.” He has influenced an entire world of musicians and music listeners alike. Last year he wrote the score for Luca Guadagnino’s movie, “Suspiria.” Which, lead us to have this conversation at Electric Lady Studio in New York. This is a part of that whole conversation.
Justin Barney: What is the last song that you couldn’t stop listening to? Just a song out in the world. Anything.
Thom Yorke: Oh, I’ll tell you what it is. I don’t know why either, but um… I heard this on the radio. I’m a big fan of NTS. Do you know NTS?
Justin Barney: No.
Thom Yorke: NTS is like a network um… it’s based mostly in London and Los Angeles. It’s an internet radio. Independent radio.
Justin Barney: Okay
Thom Yorke: I was listening to it the other day and I heard this really beautiful, very simple… Now I can’t find it. Come on, where’s it gone? It’s disappeared off my phone!
Justin Barney: Oh, we can find it.
Thom Yorke: No, we can’t cause…give me a second. Oh, here we go! Jessica Pratt.
Justin Barney: Oh, she’s great!
Thom Yorke: Yeah, I love it. There’s this track called “This Time Around,” it just came on when I was in the car the other day and I thought, wow. I really like that and it’s dead simple, but there’s something in her voice. I’m like, that’s great. Finally!
Justin Barney: Ha ha, that’s perfect.
- Listen to our full interview with Thom Yorke here.