5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening to is a collection of our newest favorite songs. And Every week we ask an artist that we love to tell us about the music they love.
Listen to the whole thing in the player below.
1. Chuck Klosterman picks “Let Me Swim” by Cactus
This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To and every week we kick it off we ask one person that we love to tell us about a song that they love.
Chuck Klosterman is the preeminent pop culture thinker, writer, and muser of our day. He has written books such as “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto,” along with nine other books on culture. He’s written columns for Esquire, ESPN, and the New York Times Magazine. His new book is “Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the 21st Century.” I am honored to say that our guest this week is Chuck Klosterman.
Chuck Klosterman: I’m Chuck Klosterman and I can’t stop listening to the song “Let Me Swim” by Cactus.
Cactus is one of the lesser known American classic rock bands. Formed in about 1969 or 70, I guess they kind of came out of the Jeff Beck influenced hard rock at the time. The drummer in the band is the best known guy, Carmine Appice, who was in Vanilla Fudge and played for Rod Stewart.
This song is sort of an upbeat, bluesy, boogie number. It was actually covered by Van Halen a lot in the early days of Van Halen before their first record, when they were just playing house parties in southern California.
You can kind of see the influence on Eddie Van Halen’s, not so much his soloing, but sort of his riffing style in this song. If you listen to it you might say to yourself, “I could hear Van Halen playing this.” And I just can’t stop listening to it.
- “Let Me Swim” was released on their debut album, “Cactus” in 1970.
- Listen if you like: Van Halen, classic rock, heavy riffs
2. White Reaper – “The World’s Best American Band”
White Reaper puts you in the audience to a show being performed by the worlds best American band. It starts with an audience cheering and clapping along to a couple guitar riffs. Heading it off like you’re at an arena show for a classic rock band.
The lyrics talk about preparing for a show. The rock ritual. The bassline walks you through the verses until you get to that sing along chorus. The whole band gets in on it, and you do too, you’re in there amongst the beer drinkers and rabble rousers, chanting along and clapping with the riffs, banging your head and raising your goblet of rock to the world’s best American band…White Reaper.
- White Reaper’s new album, “The World’s Best American Band” is out now on Polyvinyl Records.
- Listen if you like: stadium rock, meat and potatoes rock, clever lyrics
3. (Sandy) Alex G – “Bobby”
There is a tenderness in Alex G’s voice that is heartfelt. A little strained. Not perfect by any means.
I think that gives it this intimacy that makes it feel like you are being let in on a secret. There is a harmonizing voice in this song and the whole thing feels like this little conversation or confession, or expression that they are making for each other and we just get to listen in and hear how beautiful a relationship can be.
4. Hunters & Collectors – “Throw Your Arms Around Me”
Justin Barney: I am here with our afternoon host Ken Sumka.
Ken Sumka: Hey Justin, how are ya?
Justin Barney: Good Ken, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Ken Sumka: It’s a song that actually came out like 30 years ago, it’s called “Throw Your Arms Around Me,” and it’s by Hunters & Gatherers, and Australian band.
And to Aussies of a certain age, I’d say Aussies above the age of 30 knows this song by heart because it was just huge in Australia. It was in a bunch of movies and TV shows. But to people outside of Australia and who weren’t working college radio in the 80’s like I was it’s a relatively unknown song. But it’s one of the most gorgeous songs ever written. I loved it when it came out and then through Crowded House playing it, Neil Finn, and now Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam playing it, it’s discovered a resurgence and hopefully a lot of people will discover the greatness of this song.
Justin Barney: Yeah, in 2017 is this coming back to you?
Ken Sumka: It pops up on my iPod every once in a while and it’s one of those song that I never get tired of. I’ve heard it 1,000 times.
The cool thing about Hunters & Collectors is that they are really brawny and, in the style of Midnight Oil, very heavy with a lot of horns, and you’ll hear the bass and drums in this song. You can tell that they are a brawny band and this is one of their only ballads. It’s one of those where it’s a complete 180 from the rest of their stuff, but that’s what makes it good.
- “Throw Your Arms Around Me” was released in 1984 on their album, “Human Frailty.”
- Listen if you like: Neil Finn, Pearl Jam, Australian music in the mid-80’s
5. She-Devils – “The World Laughs”
This song starts off with lead singer Audrey Ann Boucher sings,
“I want to go inside of you and control the way that you move” which is dark and kinda messed up. But there is something about the way that she says it and with the music that actually makes it kind of sweet.
It’s like hearing Frankenstein say, “I love you.”
And it’s exactly this mixture of morbid and mushy that combines to make this weird song perfect.
- She-Devil’s self-titled album is out now via Secretly Canadian.
- Listen if you like: surf vibes, dark, yet sweet lyrics, The Smiths