1. 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
2. Bat for Lashes – “I Do”
Bat for Lashes “I Do” comes from their new album, The Bride. The bride is a concept album. Making a concept album is a bit a gamble. You have to hold the attention of the listener, there is a lot of work on the listener’s part. But that time listening and investment can create a really cherished album for a listener.
Bat for Lashes concept album, the Bride, is about a woman left at the alter, not because of cold feet, but because he was killed in a car crash on his way to the wedding.
So her love is still there, but she was never given confirmation or closure of matrimony.
She still goes on the honeymoon. Not knowing what to do. The rest of the album is this life after death.
If you are looking for an album that you can get lost in, “The Bride” is a film for your ears. Fall in love with “The Bride.”
- “The Bride” is available now on The Echo Label.
- Listen if you like: concept albums, Leonard Cohen, Joanna Newsom
3. Emily King – “BYIMM”
This song starts with Emily King saying all the wonderful things that this her partner does in their relationship. “You took my mama to dinner, paid the bill in the end. You helped me out. You were there when I needed you.” All the things that make a relationship work.
And then she gets to the chorus. And she drops the bomb.
By you I mean me.
Every time I just want to scream out. By you I mean me. It’s this slap in the face. She’s saying “I did all those things. I paid the bill. I helped you out. I was there for you. You didn’t do any of those things.”
- “BYIMM” was released on the deluxe version of her album “The Switch” and is out now via Making Music Records.
- Listen if you like: sass, Corrinne Bailey Rae, Grace Weber
4. Natalia Lafourcade – “Hasta la Raíz”
This is Five Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To and I’m here with Cynthia Zanow – our development assistant.
Justin Barney: Cynthia, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Cynthia Zanow: One song that I can’t stop listening to is Hasta la Raíz by Natalia Lafourcade. I just saw her recently, I just got back from Chicago.
Justin Barney: I know we were talking about this! What were you in Chicago for?
Cynthia: I was in Chicago for a Latino rock festival called Ruido Fest and it’s just this amazing festival that takes place in the south side of Chicago in Pilsen, which is this historically Mexican neighborhood. And it’s this really really dope – I don’t know – gathering of Latinos in the Midwest. I mean people come from all over but they bring bands from across ‘Latino American’ and it’s such a great opportunity for Chicanos and Latinos here to just convene around their music.
Justin: Yeah! That sounds amazing. So why this song?
Cynthia: Well, I was thinking, after the festival – after the hangover – the reflection set in and I was like, ‘What does it mean to be a Chicana in the Midwest?’ from my own identity and like ‘How is identity linked to music?’ And I feel like so much of what Ruido Fest is about-and what this song is about-is that sort of reconnection to your roots, you know?
When Natalia first put out this album 2015, she did an interview and she said ‘I wanted to write something that reminded me of Mexico –something that reminded me of my roots.’ And that’s what Ruido Fest is about because you know here in the Midwest, as Latinos, we’re so disconnected from our ancestral lands, both distance wise and just like resources, you know? They’re not the same as they would be in Los Angeles or in Miami or Texas, or anywhere. And so, you know, this song’s about our language, and our people, and our food and that’s what Ruido Fest is, you know, it’s just like all there. Everything for you to exist and be in and that’s what this song is about. Hasta la Raíz which means ‘to your roots.’
- “Hasta La Raiz” was released on her album of the same name that was released in 2015 via Sony.
- Listen if you like: Sound Travels, Esteman, knowing your roots
5. Yeasayer picks “Cosmic Boxer” by Bill Fay Group
This is the final song of the week. So we always have one guest to come on and tell us about a song that they love, this week we have two. We had Andra Day on Monday, and today we have Chris Keating of the band Yeasayer.
Justin Barney: Chris, what is one song that you can’t stop listening to?
Chris Keating: Uh the song is called Cosmic Boxer by Bill Fay and I don’t know what it is about this song. I always come back to it, though. It’s just a really strange tune, so it kind of sounds contemporary but it’s not, and it has a very strange shift in the middle of it. So it’s just a really cool tune that I always go back to.
Justin Barney: I’m not too familiar with Bill Fay, what is he like?
Chris Keating: His kind of stuff like verges on folk. But this tune starts with this kind of synthesizer bed. It sounds really cool, to me. It’s like really strange, like kind of an accented vocal over the droning synthesizer and I think it’s particularly peculiar for the time period and for the type of stuff that Bill Fay normally does.
Justin Barney: Do you remember the first time that you heard it or where you were or how’d you come along it?
Chris Keating: Uh yeah I had this friend whom had made me a mixtape of a bunch of really kind of obscure, bizarre-sounding tunes and that was about ten years ago. And, you know, I mean it’s not like my favorite song in the world but it’s something that every time I put it on I’m like ‘Wow! God, that’s such a great song still. It’s so weird.‘ And, you know, that’s something that always sticks with me – that’s like exciting. And I… I don’t know. I can’t quite put my finger on what it sounds like.”
Justin Barney: And I think that’s a good thing. You know?
Chris Keating: Definitely.
- “Cosmic Boxer” was recorded in the mid-seventies and released on the album “Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow” in 2005 on Durtro/Jnana
- Listen if you like: Spiritualized, Randy Newman, Bill Callahan