1. Sharon Jones picks “It’s A Man’s World” performed by JAMP
Every week we ask one artist that we love to tell us about one song that they love. This week “Miss Sharon Jones” the documentary about the life of Sharon Jones screens TWICE at the Milwaukee Film Festival, and she is our guest.
Justin Barney: One of my personal favorite concert moments was when you were in Milwaukee probably six or seven years ago for Summerfest and you closed your set with “It’s a Man’s World” by James Brown. It was an absolute destroyer and seeing you perform it was so powerful. Why do you choose to perform that song?
Sharon Jones: I don’t know if it was James Brown’s birthday around the time, you know it could have been, but I don’t know why, I’m just glad we did it. Because I didn’t even remember that until you told me.
Justin Barney: Oh my god! It was one of those concert moments I will always remember.
Sharon Jones: You thing that was great? You should see, you know Dianna Brown, James Brown’s daughter, she works with a group of kids. They got a school in the south called JAMP. James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils. And they got a young lady that plays the bass.
This young lady plays the bass and she can sing “Man’s World”… in opera.
So I got a chance to see her and I did James Brown “Man’s World” and she did the “Di di diiiiii” and played the bass. And Dianna, James Brown’s daughter was just crying. I asked her why she was crying, and she said, “Oh my god, you remind me so much of my Daddy. You remind me of my father. And I said, “Wow.”
I need to record that single with her. Her doing the opera, and me doing the James Brown part.
- Listen if you like: James Brown, soul + opera, young talent
2. Danny Brown feat. Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt – “Really Doe”
There is definitely a racial component to hip-hop and the listening of hip-hop. Really, before just a couple of years ago I didn’t really listen to any hip-hop. I’ve always been a rock guy, born in the suburbs of Milwaukee. Music was my identity and a multiculturalism component really wasn’t part of my identity. I didn’t have any of it in my life. And kind of subconsciously, I kept it out of my music listening. Plus you just can’t listen to everything so I think you make unconscious musical decision based on that.
And then I made a conscious decision to not just rule out a rap song just because it was a rap song, and listen to it like I would listen to a rock song. And it turns out, there is a bunch of hip-hop that I really love. There is a lot that I don’t love, but there is a lot of rock that I don’t like either. And one of the rappers that I really love is Danny Brown.
Danny Brow has got this super high nasally delivery that’s way up in his nose, you can hardly figure out what he’s saying. And he kinda talks like he’s getting really excited about something and his voice gets higher and his words get tighter and kinda out of control, and he just lives there.
And I love that. I get infected by the energy of Danny Brown every single time. On this track there is Kendrick Lamar, there is Ab Soul, and there is Earl Sweatshirt too, but for me, the highlight is the out of control Danny Brown delivery.
- Danny Brown’s new album, “Atrocity Exhibition” will be out on September 30th.
- Listen if you like: posse tracks, hardcore hip-hop, Danny Brown’s nasal delivery
3. Leonard Cohen – “You Want It Darker”
In this song Leonard Cohen knows why he love him, and sees his value to us, the listener. You want it darker he says. Because we’ve always loved the darkness in his song.
Cohen uses one of his signature songwriting conventions in this song. He directly addresses God himself. The omnipotent is his audience as he growls at him, you want it darker. At the chorus Cohen looks up and sings Hineni hineni, which is Hebrew for “here I am”
Cohen’s songs often read like parables in The Bible. You can almost see Cohen as a character in the book, reluctantly submitting to an all powerful God, with arms open, battered and bruised, he’s spent his life trying to find the light, only to be met with darkness, on knees, ready for the holy one to put out his light.
- Leonard Cohen’s new album, “You Want it Darker” will be released on October 21st.
- Listen to if you like: Tom Waits, Nick Cave, total darkness
4. Frank Ocean – “Self Control”
Justin Barney: This is 5 Songs we can’t stop listening to and I’m here with our own Makenzie Boettcher.
Makenzie Boettcher: Hi I’m Makenzie.
Justin: Mak, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Makenzie: The song that I can’t stop listening to, it’s really a different song for me. I’m super into kind of power pop anthems, sing-alongs, and songs that are big and dramatic. But this is kind of the opposite of that.
“Self Control” by Frank Ocean, it’s off the new album, “Blonde” which, I don’t care what anyone says, I really like the new album.
Justin: Who is saying bad things about Blonde? I have heard nothing but amazing things.
Makenzie: Really? I’ve heard people say it was overhyped and not a whole lot of good from it.
Justin: Well, what do you like about self-control?
Makenzie: It’s slower, it’s sad, which I’m always a sucker for.
Makenzie: The track also features Austin Feinstein and Yung Lean. So in the refrain it’s this really really high pitch melody that come out, and it’s just…ugh…right in the heart.
Justin: We were listening it, just like on my phone in the studio here, and you said, “It’s better if you listen to it on headphones, because then you can cry.”
- Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” is out now.
- Listen if you like: new R&B, sad tunes, sad guitar
5. Dirty Projectors – “Keep Your Name”
At the heart of this song is conflict. Lyrically you can’t escape it. My favorite line being, “What I want from art is truth, what you want is fame.” And conflict pervades in the lyrics throughout the song. Conflict what keeps the song together.
The song is a reflection of conflict. It’s simple and extraordinarily complicated. It’s tender and it’s tough. It’s deafeningly slow, but it’s also blindingly fast.
There is a lot here. There is a Gene Simons quote, and a quasi-hip-hop verse. Church bells, piano, synths, guitar, all kinds of effects, and possibly the kitchen sink.
All of these things, together, confusing, and conflicting.
And we get the resolution of a song.
- A new Dirty Projectors album has not been announced yet.
- Listen if you like: everything in one song, breakup songs, James Blake