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5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To -- Artist Takeover

5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To -- Artist Takeover


1. The Decembrists’ Colin Meloy picks “Clyde Water” by Nic Jones

Justin Barney: Now every week we have a guest that we love on the show to talk about one song that they love. Our guest this week is one of my favorite writers and musicians of all time, I honestly thought that I would never get to talk to him, and here we are. I’m here with Colin Meloy: the front man of The Decemberists.

Colin Meloy, what is one song that you can’t stop listening to?

Colin Meloy: There are lots of songs that sort of bear multiple repeats. I would say there’s a song, it’s a traditional song, called Clyde Water that I know from Nic Jones who’s a British folky predominantly in the sixties and seventies. Clyde Water is a song and it’s just…it’s j-…it’s just a gorgeous tune and it tells the story that, to me, is so beautiful and so tragic.

Justin Barney: What is the story?

Colin Meloy: The story is about a guy and a girl, as most songs are. It’s about a guy who just decides he’s gonna go visit his girlfriend.

And this is like in Medieval Times, so it’s like his sweetheart or his true love or whatever. And he tells his mom that he’s gonna go and she tells him he shouldn’t go because she just doesn’t want him to go. So he goes anyway and she basically curses him and says that he’ll be drowned in the river that he has to cross – the Clyde, which is in Scotland – if he does go. Well he gets to the river and he somehow makes a deal with the river that the river will allow him to cross as long as it will drown him if he goes back. This is assuming he’s gonna find his sweetheart and he’s never going back.

Justin Barney: One way.

Colin Meloy: That’s it one way, but if I come back you can drown me then.

And so he shows up at his sweetheart’s parent’s home and calls for his lady love and her mother answers him and says that she’s sleeping and that she’s unavailable and that in fact she is with another guy.

Justin Barney: Oh my god.

Colin Meloy: And so he-heartbroken-gets back on his horse and leaves and heads back; knowing full well and he goes into the river and he drowns. And so it switches to the girl waking up from her slumber saying that she dreamt that somebody was calling her name. And her mom tells her what happened how she sent this guy, William, away. And so she goes after him and goes into the river to find him and drowns too.

Justin Barney: That is… that all happens in one song?

Colin Meloy: That is one song. I mean it’s like 6 minute song, but I mean the thing about traditional folk songs, when you can kind of just sit and listen to them and enjoy the melody and enjoy the playing, but sometimes they require a lot extra attention to actually follow. So I think I’d heard this song peripherally on a record for months before I actually sat down one day and I was like ‘I’m gonna listen and hear what happens this whole story’ and I just broke down crying. Like after finishing it, realizing what it was actually about. I think it was one of the only times that a song has brought me to tears.

Justin Barney: Awww.

Colin Meloy: I was like driving my car with just like tears pouring down my face.


  • “Clyde Water” was recorded in the seventies and released in 2006 on the album “Game Set Match.”
  • Listen if you like: The Decemberists, British folk songs, wonderful stories


2. Alexander Ebert A.K.A. Edward Sharpe of The Magnetic Zero’s picks “My Sweet Lord” by Nina Simone

Every week we ask one of our favorite artists to tell us about one of their favorite songs. This week we had the pleasure of talking to Alexander Ebert, who is Edward Sharpe of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Justin Barney: Alexander, thank you for being here. What is one song that you can’t stop listening to?

Alexander Ebert: Nina Simone’s cover of “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison. It’s pretty phenomenal. It’s amazing.

Justin: Do you remember the first time you heard it?

Alexander: Yeah, I remember the first time I heard it, sort of. I remember just playing it over and over again in the apartment on Frenchman street in New Orleans.

What I really love about it was that I didn’t really realize what song it was until a good seven minutes in or something and I realized, ‘Oh my god, this is a cover of My Sweet Lord.’ She just took it and made it her own.

I guess that’s sort of what’s so amazing about her, to me: is that everything she does seems born in her belly. That’s something you theoretically want to strive for but can’t always attain.

There’s this one moment. You know, she plays the piano so she’s essentially conducting the band as she’s going and you can’t help but know that it’s not terribly pre-arranged, and that everyone’s got to be on point. So if she does one thing or the other she has to follow. And there’s a moment in the song, I won’t be able to do it because it’s too early…

Justin: Can you just give me a bit?

Alexander: *starts singing* Myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy sweet lord. And the band has to hold off and they don’t know when to come back in, and she cues them to come back in, but it’s this loooong like ten second hang. It’s a fun iteration of that song.


  • “My Sweet Lord” was released in 1972 on her album, “Emergency Ward!”
  • Listen if you like: Jazz improvisation, George Harrison, gospel choirs

2. Kari Faux – “Fantasy”

The song “Black Coffee” by Peggy Lee is one of my favorites. It’s so cool. Recorded in 1956 when jazz was at its coolest. But it’s got these lyrics that are not so cool, “A woman’s born to weep and fret. To stay at home and tend her oven. And drown her past regrets in coffee and cigarettes.” In this song she’s some man’s fantasy. At home all day, waiting for him to come home. But she is miserable, and bored.

Kari Faux new song is “Black Coffee” in 2016, musically, but lyrically she turns the song on its head. She’s no man’s fantasy and she never plans to be.


  • Kari Faux new album, “Lost En Los Angeles,” is out now.
  • Listen if you like: Peggy Lee, jazz in a new generation, Jamila Woods


3. Ziggy Marley picks “Zombie” by Fela Kuti

Every week we have once artist that we love to tell us about one song that they love. This week we ask the legendary Ziggy Marley.

Justin Barney: Ziggy Marley, what is one song that you can’t stop listening to? Or one song you love, it can be anything really.

Ziggy Marley: One song that I really love is a Fela Kuti song. Fela Kuti is an African musician. Lived in Nigeria. Made Afrobeat.

Justin Barney: Invented Afrobeat.

Ziggy Marley: Yeah mon, he had a song called “Zombie” ya know?

Justin Barney: Yeah. What do you like about Fela’s music?

Ziggy Marley: Well I like the energy and I like the attitude. And then Fela’s style of singing. He’s very unique, it’s a very unique style of singing. He is one-of-a-kind.

Justin Barney: Yes, he was a leader. He had a following, and the way he carried that band, he was larger than life. What do you like about the song “Zombie” in particular?

Ziggy Marley: What I like about it is the message. I guess it was particularly about the Nigerian military at that time, but it goes for everybody.

It goes for the politicians and the politics, to the religion and the religious. We have people who just believe one thing and just do what that thing says no matter what the truth is and how much more we can learn, we just stick with the zombie attitude.

If it says, “Go left.” Zombie go left. If it says, “Go right.” Zombie go right. The zombie does whatever the master tells them to do.

So I like that idea. It’s a cry for freedom really. I’m finding that many people, even in the world today are like zombies. Because they follow a certain pattern or a certain ideology, without having an open enough mind to expand beyond that zombie state.

It’s similar to some ideas that I would have, so I’m drawn to that song.

Justin Barney: That’s great. And a reminder not to be a zombie.

Ziggy Marley: Yeah! Be alive! Be willing to learn something new, be willing to question authority, be willing to be free! Don’t be a zombie.


  • “Zombie” was released on Fela Kuti’s 1976 album, “Zombie.”
  • Listen if you like: Afrobeat, songs of freedom, Sound Travels

3. Adia Victoria picks “Dollars and Cents” by Radiohead

This week we have TWO of our favorite artists telling us about music they love. Here we ask Adia Victoria.

Justin Barney: Adia Victoria, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?

Adia Vicoria: I am a huge Radiohead fan and I’ve gone back and listened to “Amnesiac” and the one song I really can’t stop listening to is “Dollars and Cents.”

Justin Barney: Why that song?

Adia Victoria: I think just getting into the music industry. Monetizing your art can have really harrowing effects on the artist. Unless it’s just your thing. But I feel like it’s a really cautionary tale by Thom Yorke about “Hey man! This stuff is real!” So he’s like my big brother.

Justin Barney: What are some difficulties you’ve had with that?

Adia Victoria:  I mean, as a woman people think they can take the liberty of telling you like, “Hey you should look this way. You should wear this or wear that. And I had some issues with a certain person on my team, who is no longer on my team, who thought that they had the right to tell me what to wear on stage. And I was like, “We now have a huge problem between us.” So I think for me any time someone comes and tells me how to appeal to more people I’m just like, “Ya gotta get out of here. You gotta go.”

Justin Barney: Yeah, because we want you. I feel like that never works when someone else comes in and tells you what works, because we want you as an artist and that’s what is going to come through.  

Adia Victoria: Right, well you give up so much control when you allow people to start playing those games with you because your sense of value and worth is predicated upon other people approving of you. So that’s a very dangerous game for me personally and I can’t do it. I will refuse. If it comes down to that I will just go back to my regular life in Nashville and “This was fun, okay bye.”


  • “Dollars and Cents” was released in 2001 on the album, “Amnesiac.”
  • Listen if you like: not-selling out, staying true, Adia Victoria


4. The Avett Brothers pick “Wendy” by Clem Snide

Every week we ask one artist that we love to talk about one song that they love. This week we are talking to Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers. Justin Barney: Scott Avett, what is on song that you can’t stop listening to? Scott Avett: Okay, I hope this doesn’t sound random, but right now, it’s by a band called Clem Snide. And I like the song “Wendy” a lot right now. They’re just a terrific band that’s been around since the late 90’s that I somehow missed, but I have just been devouring their catalogue. Justin Barney: Why have you been devouring that catalogue? Why that band? Scott Avett: Because I got their album that came out in 1999 and I was instantly in a conversation with this writer. So I would listen to a song and I would love it so much and on top of that I would react to it and find myself writing. It just ignited my own writing. Which is the best flattery for me, that I listen to something and next thing I know I’m at the piano and I’m basically copying them. And doing a poor version, but that’s how a lot of my songs come about. You know, Dylan was doing that with Woody Guthrie, we all do that. And the best idolizing is copying them and imitating them. So with Clem Snide’s songs I feel like there is a voice that I understand very well. In fact in an interview I saw him saying, “Most bands tell you that everything’s all right, and let’s have fun. I kind of felt like, hey, you’re gonna die. It’s alright! Let’s have fun.” And I like that. That’s wonderful. It’s dark and all that, but.. Justin Barney: But that’s real and that’s honest. Scott Avett: That’s real.  

  •  Clem Snide’s album, “Girls Come First” was released in 2015 on Zahpwee Music.
  • Listen if you like: The Avett Brothers, Tallest Man On Earth, thinking about death

4. LVL Up – “Pain”

What is the guitar solo in 2016? I think that guitar solos can be cheesy and self-gratifying. I’ve never really been into them, until recently. I’ve found myself loving them. I think it’s because guitars are no longer ubiquitous and guitar solos aren’t the end-all-be-all in music. Nor are they shows of technical perfection. Pay attention to the guitar solos in this song. They are super loose and kind of lazy. It’s a comma, not an exclamation point. They are there to remind you that they are fun and they add to the understanding of the message of the song.


  • LVL UP’s new album, “Return to Love” will be out on September 23rd.
  • Listen if you like: great guitar solos, classic indie stuff, fuzzy guitars and distortion


5. Andra Day picks “People” by Laura Mvula

Every week we ask one artist that we love to come on and talk about a song that they love. Andra Day has made music with Questlove, Sharon Jones, The Dap Kings, Raphael Saadiq. She’s even sang with Stevie Wonder. She put on an amazing performance at Summerfest recently. Before that performance, I got to go backstage and catch up with Andra Day. Justin Barney: Andra Day, what is one song that you can’t stop listening to? Andra Day: One song that I can’t stop listening to…like right now kind of? Justin: Yea, like right now. It could be anything. Andra Day: Oh man…Right now I’m listening to Laura Mvula, “People.” Over and over and over…and over…and over and over and over again. Justin: And why that song? Andra Day: It’s just so good. I mean I think the message in the song is reall-, is wonderful. Its just a very socially conscious song and then musically-sonically-she’s very orchestral in her music and so there’s all these harmonics in it that are really beautiful and they just give me goose bumps every time I listen to it. It just makes me feel powerful. It’s really…it’s an amazing record. Justin: What’s the message in it? Andra Day: The message is-it talks about oppression and not dealing with it and not taking it anymore. But doing it in a way that we remember that we are full of light and we are full of love and to use those forces-those powerful forces to affect change. It’s a great song, really.  

  • “People” was released on Laura Mvula’s album “The Dreaming Room” which is available now on Sony.
  • Listen if you like: Lianne Andra Day, La Havas, Algiers

5. Jonwayne – “Wonka”

Justin Barney: I’m here with our intern Eddie, AKA Fast Eddie. Eddie you have been haranguing me about playing one artist and a song in particular. Could you tell me what is the song and artist you can’t stop listening to?

Eddie: First of all the artist is Jonwayne. And the song that I really want to listen to is “Wonka”

Justin Barney: Why Wonka?

Eddie: So basically the little history is that Jonwayne was allegedly retired. He put out an album saying that Jonwayne is retired so he hadn’t talked to anyone in like two years, and then all of a sudden he comes out of nowhere at the beginning of the summer with “Wonka” which is the single. And “Wonka” is basically an ode to the new Jonwayne, and kind of a scathing review of everyone who doubted him. It’s like a diss-track but in like a really powerful way.

Justin Barney: Like an affirmative diss-track?

Eddie: It’s an affirmative diss-track, but in his own manner. He did an interview right before he dipped out on the public and he was like, “I hate rap. I hate hip-hop. I’m not rap. I’m not hip-hop. I’m my own person. I’m a musician and I don’t care about what you want to say about me. I’m here doing this self-gratifying level of music, and if you’re gonna disrespect me for being a hip-hop artist I don’t care because I’m not a hip-hop artist. I’m a musician.”

And I love that.


  • Jonwayne’s single “Wonka” is out now.
  • Listen if you like: MF DOOM, dogma rap, affirmative diss-tracks