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. Deer Tick picks “Shark Smile” by Big Thief
For the first song of every week we always ask one artist that we love to tell us about a song that they love.
Ian O’Neil is the guitarist for the band Deer Tick. They are from Providence, Rhode Island. They just released two albums on the same day, “Deer Tick Vol. 1” and “Deer Tick Vol. II.” We are playing their song, “Jumpstarting,” I am here with Ian O’Neil of Deer Tick.
Justin Barney: Ian, what is one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
Ian O’Neil: The one song I can’t stop listening to right now is “Shark Smile” by Big Thief off their album, “Capacity.” That is the song I’ve been listening to pretty consistently over the past three or four weeks.
Justin Barney: Why is that?
Ian O’Neil: Something with the delivery, the recording, something about certain vocal melodies, and I love basic 1,4,5,6,4 chords. Chords you hear every day in rock’n’roll and folk music.
It moves along in the same way “Dancing In the Dark” or something like that does. It’s got a lot of emotional peaks and valleys, but it kind of cruises the whole time.
Justin Barney: That is so interesting to me. There is something about this song. So I ask this question to a lot of musicians and I swear to god in the past two months, it’s been you, The Shins, and the guys from Hippo Campus who all picked this song.
Ian O’Neil: Really?
Justin Barney: Like, two years ago it was Tame Impala, and this year the musician’s musician seems to be this band Big Thief.
Ian O’Neil: Yeah, that’s totally true. All of my musician friends seems to be clamoring over them at the moment.
- “Shark Smile” was released this year on Big Thief’s album, “Capacity.”
- Listen if you like: The Shins, Hippo Campus, classic chords
2. Chance the Rapper – “First World Problems”
This is a perfect Chance the Rapper song. We have been there since the come up, a kid who wrote his first mixtape on a ten day suspension in high-school. Second mixtape, Acid Rap, nodding to his idol Kanye, with its wild eye on having fun and seemingly capturing happiness in a bottle.
To Chance 3, AKA Coloring Book, taking over the world, selling out arenas, six Grammys, Chano For Mayor Campaign, Kanye featured on the album, hanging with Obama, the global takeover.
But, also, father, brother, friend. Chance reminds us why we love him in the first place with this one. It’s honest. It’s Chance.
- “First World Problems” has not been announced as part of a larger work or album, yet.
- Listen if you like: the quieter side of Chance, introspection, the old Kanye
3. Shilpa Ray – “Shilpa Ray’s Got a Heart Full of Dirt”
This was the first song Shilpa Ray wrote for her new album. She wrote it after working around her last album to a bunch of record labels and getting rejection letters. One of those letters simply said, “I don’t see a hit. She doesn’t write strong enough hooks.” Hot off reading that, she recorded this.
- Shilpa Ray’s new album is, “Door Girl.”
- Listen if you like: The New York Dolls 1973 self-titled debut, Little Anthony and the Imperials, 1958 single, “Tears on My Pillow,” Rock ‘n’ roll
4. A Tribe Called Red – “The Virus”
Justin Barney: This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening to and I’m here with Program Director, Jordan Lee. Jordan, what have you been listening to.
Jordan Lee: The new album from A Tribe Called Red, “We Are the Halluci Nation.” This record is really resonating with me right now.
Justin Barney: Why’s that?
Jordan Lee: We’re having this conversation in the nation right now, about, well everybody knows what we’re talking about right now. From politics to race, to culture, and all of these things are going on. A lot of the narrative is red and blue. It’s black, it’s white. And this album talks about a whole bunch of issues that have existed a lot longer than a lot of the things we are talking about today. And I would say a great majority of the people I love and talk to and work with and talk to every day of my life, including myself are completely ignorant of the complexities of the issues that face any native nation from this part of the world.
Justin Barney: So what issue is it specifically dealing with?
Jordan Lee: To me, specifically, the thing that hits me the strongest is that the ideas of our regular vernacular that we use every day, weather we say Native American, or incorrectly say Indian, or we say whatever we say, that’s not really the identifier that any of the people from any of the nations from any part of North America. And I have had this awakening of my own ignorance and want to dive deeper into understanding the native peoples of the part of the world.
And A Tribe Called Red is mixing the best practices of EDM to get the attention of a younger generation to teach a narrative that was never presented to them.
- “The Virus” is on A Tribe Called Red’s album, “We Are the Halluci Nation.”
- Listen if you like: spoken word, innovative use of electronic music, history
5. Davie – “Testify”
In his debut EP singer Davie has figured out how to make a banger. First, he starts with the hype man. A preacher, smart, saying “I testify.” Short, energetic, perfect. Second, handclaps as the percussion. It makes it feel lively and fun. You’re gonna wanna clap along as you hear it. Third, a bass line James Brown would be proud of. So funky. He’s got that foundation, so all Davie has to do is dance around on top of that, and dance he does. Get ready for this song, it claps.
- Davie’s debut EP, “Black Gospel Vol. 1” is out now.
- Listen if you like: Earl St. Clair , James Brown baselines, Mayer Hawthorne