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. Portugal. the Man picks “Care of Cell 44” by The Zombies
Every week we start off by asking an artist that we love to tell us about a song that they love.
The band Portugal the Man is from Wasilla, Alaska and they’re song “Feel it Still” has over two 200 million plays on Spotify right now. We’ve been playing their music since their 2009 album, “The Satanic Satanists” and have played every album since then including their most recent, “Woodstock.” I’m here with Eric Hope of Portugal. the Man.
Justin Barney: Eric, what is one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
Eric Hope: l would say “Care of Cell 44” by The Zombies, the opening tack of “Odyssey and Oracle.” I’ve been really freaking out on the background harmonies, on the horns, and on the lyrics in general. I think that song’s killer.
Justin Barney: Interesting. What’s your relationship with the band? Like how did you found them out for the first time?
Eric Hope: I was getting my hair cut at a shop called “Rudy’s” in Seattle when I was 22, and I’d always had this boring Alaskan hair. I kind of looked like Michael Landon from “Highway to Heaven.” Just like this overgrown, curly mop of 70’s hair. So I was getting my first like cool guy haircut, and I heard this song on their PA system that combined like The Beatles, Beach Boys, and the weird Kinks kind of very British tongue in cheek kind of stuff, and I found out that song was about someone writing to their estranged inmate significant other. You never find out what the other person did, but they’re locked up in cell 44. So it’s like love letters to an inmate in a prison, and once I figured that out I just got obsessed with the band and the sort of dark wit, and their harmonies are perfect, and I think Colin Blunstone’s the greatest singer in the world.
Justin Barney: That’s awesome. What a weird premise for a song. What is the premise?
Eric Hope: It’s “Care of Cell 44” so it’s like you know “you can tell me about your prison stay” and we’ll get together in a special way. You don’t know why the other person is locked up and it seems like from the way that Colin’s singing, it’s a boy to his girl that’s locked up for years but they never get in to why or how they got caught or what they did. It’s a love letter to a prison inmate.
Justin Barney: I love that.
Eric Hope: Yeah, but it just sounds like it would fit right in on “Pet Sounds” or “Abbey Road” you know it’s the gorgeous swirling rich layered harmonic 60’s jam.
- “Care of Cell 44” was released in 1968 on the album, “Odyssey and Oracle.”
- Listen if you like: weird songwriting, The Kinks, Pet Sounds
2. Mattiel – “Count Your Blessings”
This is one of those songs that makes you feel like whatever you’re doing is cool when you’re listening to it. Like you’re just getting out of a car door, just like a normal person, and suddenly you feel like everything is in slow motion and everyone’s looking at you and you’re glorious, but you’re really just like a dude getting out of a car.
This song makes getting out of a car sound cool because it is cool. It’s cool by association like it’s big, it’s brassy, it’s cool, it’s “Count Your Blessings” by Mattiel.
- “Count Your Blessings” was released on Mattiel’s debut album this year via Burger Records.
- Listen if you like: James Bond theme songs, spaghetti westerns, cool songs
3. Oh Wonder picks “Fever Dream” by Everything Everything
The band Oh Wonder is from London, England and they are a duo made up of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. We are playing the song “Lifetimes” from their new album “Ultralife,” I’m here with Josephine and Anthony who are Oh Wonder.
Justin Barney: What is one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
Josephine Vander Gucht: I’m listening to on loop a song called “Fever Dream” by a band called Everything Everything. They’re from the UK, and absolutely incredible. They’re really big in the UK, and this tune is glorious. It kind of builds into this walking incessant like loop and all the time signatures go out and you’re just like “Wait, where am I?” It’s stunning.
Anthony West: Yeah, a cacophony of craziness.
Josephine Vander Gucht: Yeah, it’s really cool. We listen to it walking around in the dressing room before every show just kind of like in this weird trance. It’s really good, and their albums are great, but yeah this is off their new record. They’re wicked.
Justin Barney: Alright let’s get into a “Fever Dream.” From Everything Everything.
- “Fever Dream” was released this year on Everything Everything’s alum of the same name.
- Listen if you like: Sylvan Esso, Electric Guest, songs that build
4. Goo Goo Dolls – “We Are The Normal”
Justin Barney: From the Music Desk at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, I’m Justin Barney.
Ken Sumka: And I’m Ken Sumka
Justin: This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To and I’m here with Ken Sumka. Ken, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Ken: I’m known as the dork in the office who still uses his ipod. And what’s cool about the ipod is that it’s very democratic. It just picks songs and plays them for me. This one came up the other day.
Believe it or not, there was a time when the Goo Goo Dolls were a really cool band. And I’m not insulting people who like Goo Goo Dolls now, they are nice people and they write great songs, but once “Iris” and “Black Balloon” hit I was kind of over them.
But back in the late 80’s/early 90’s they were a really cool band that was obviously really influenced by one of my favorite bands, The Replacements.
Justin: You like The Replacements?
Ken: *laughs* Yeah, believe it or not.
So back in ’91 when The Replacements were on their last tour, Chris Mars had already left the band, and, of course, Bob was already out of the band as well. And Replacements tap Goo Goo Dolls as the opener when they played Carver Hawkeye Arena which is like the BMO Harris Bradley Center of Iowa City, where I went to school. I almost didn’t go because at that point I was almost even over The Replacements because their music had sort of taken a downward turn.
But I went. And they blew me away.
And the next album that came out, Johnny Rzeznik, the lead singer/heartthrob of Goo Goo Dolls asked Paul Westerberg to write the music to the song. And Johnny would write the lyrics. So he wrote the music for the song “We Are the Normal” and Rzeznik wrote the lyrics.
Justin: That is the most Ken Sumka thing I have ever heard.
- “We Are The Normal” was released in 1993 on Goo Goo Dolls’ album, “Superstar Car Wash”
- Listen if you like: The Replacements, the early 90’s, Ken Sumka
5. Yours Are The Only Ears- “Saturn”
Yours Are The Only Ears might be a mouthful for a band name, but it’s an indication of what kind of music New York based artist Susannah Cutler creates. Sure, it’s a little wordy, but that means you have to pay attention.
She confesses, in a mere whisper, her own self-doubt. Then she takes you further in, creating the centerpiece of this song, a warm din of a sustained piano chord, quietly plucked strings, and a warbling saw that she falls into, only to break out of, accompanied by a voice underneath that might as well be an assuring inner monologue.
- This is the first song released by Yours Are The Only Ears and it was released as a single.
- Listen if you like: Frankie Cosmos, Eskimeaux, (Sandy) Alex G