1. Frightened Rabbit picks “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen
Every week we ask an artist that we love to tell us about one song that they love. This week, I’m here with Scott Hutchinson from Frightened Rabbit.
Justin Barney: Scott, thanks for being here. What’s one song you can’t stop listening to?
Scott Hutchinson: One of my favorite songs ever, which is “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen. When I was quite young, it made me feel something. You know, before you understand why you’re feeling something. I think everyone as an adult knows that “This song makes me sad” or “This song makes me elated.” But I was kind of confused at the time, because you’re not really in touch – I was maybe, like, 10 at the time. And so it was a strange feeling. I was like “this song does something to me that I don’t quite understand. And now I understand that it was a mixture of sadness and – as there is always with Bruce Springsteen – a beautiful strength or togetherness.
Justin: That’s one of the keys for Bruce’s music to me. I love sad songs, and he really takes that sadness and flips it on its head. Instead of being like “I’m sad and you should feel sad for me”, he’s like “I’m sad, but I’m working through this.”
Scott: Yeah, exactly. And I think that’s something we employ in our music as well. You can’t offer a song without having hope. And hope is something that Bruce is incredible at sort of giving his audience. The simplicity, even sonically, of this song is admirable. There’s almost nothing in it. There’s what sounds like a drum machine, a synthesizer line, and then there’s maybe some bass and Bruce’s voice. It’s one of the simplest songs he’s ever produced. The sparseness of it is perfect for the sentiment.
- “Streets of Philadelphia” was released as a single on the Philadelphia soundtrack in 1994.
- Listen if you like: Frightened Rabbit, movies that Tom Hanks did in the 90’s, devastaters
2. Eskimeaux – “I Admit I’m Scared”
Alright, if I’m gonna keep it 100, the song I can’t stop listening to is “I Admit I’m Scared” by Eskimeaux. I already knew that I loved this band, and two weeks ago, I drove up to Madison to see them open for Frankie Cosmos. It was on a Tuesday and in a weird turn of events, on Tuesdays at the High Noon Saloon in Madison they have live band karaoke at 9:30. So they book national acts to come in, but they gotta be over by 9, so the show starts at 6:30 and ends at 9. An early show, which I think that we all can agree that there should be more early shows.
So we’re at this early show and Eskimeaux is playing their set – it’s wonderful. And they ended with this song. I’ve listened to this song before, but it’s one of those things where I had listened to it but I hadn’t really heard it. I hadn’t really taken it in. They were playing this song and it was one of those moments – I go to a lot of live shows and I have these moments few and far between. They were playing this song and I turned to my right and my coworker, Amelinda, is shouting all the lyrics when they get to this rising point. There were couples all around me and everyone just seemed happy and captivated and it was a great moment.
I’ve listened to this song every single day since that show. There’s this part at the end where it rises and it rises until she screams “And if I had a dime for every time I’m freaking out, we could fly around the world or just get out of your parent’s house.” It is such a devastator. When that line comes, I have yelled, I’ve cried, I have admitted to myself that there are things in my life of which I am afraid. Listening to this song has given me so much joy.
- “I Admit I’m Scared” was released on Eskimeaux’s 2015 album “O.K.”
- Listen if you like: Frankie Cosmos, Mitski, honest/earnest lyrics
3. Marian Hill – “I Want You”
Every element is a surprise. Castanets clips into a muted trombone blast. Someone flicking a cheek. Shakers. This is the sound of a jazz combo in 2016. And Hill’s voice is an instrument in itself. She plays it like brass instrument. She plays each individual note, but there is subtlety too. You can hear her smile at one point. It’s a perfect mix of eclectic sounds put together into something really slick and cohesive.
- Marian Hill’s new album, “ACT ONE” will be out June 24th via Republic.
- Listen if you like: Chairlift, jazz vocalists, minimalism
4. Rilo Kiley – “I Never”
Justin Barney: This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To and I’m here with our very own Makenzie Boettcher. Mak, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Makenzie: the song I can’t stop listening to, not just now, but permanently is “I Never” by Rilo Kiley
Justin: And why are you absolutely wild about this song? Because I know that you are crazy about this song.
Makenzie: So, first I have to explain, to the audience, that Justin and I listened to this song before recording this, and I sang the entire song in the studio.
Justin: BUT, you don’t know any of the words.
Makenzie: I don’t know ANY of the words. I’m just yelling slurs of vowels. But you have to sing along ot it. And there is that power guitar solo. There is the break where you think it’s about to end.
Justin: And then it comes back with that screaming guitar!
Makenzie: And just as a woman too, the first line is, “I’m only a woman.” So you just want to scream it. It’s so good.
- “I Never” was released in 2004 on their album “More Adventurous.”
- Listen if you like: Jenny Lewis, Patsy Cline, killer guitar solos
5. James Blake feat. Justin Vernon – “I Need A Forest Fire”
When James Blake announced that he was going to release an album, expectations were high. His last album, “Overgrown” was on my Top 10 of 2013, as well as many other tastemakers, and his residency on BBC One has landed him even greater notoriety worldwide, and when I heard Bon Iver was on a track, were ratcheted up even higher.
And even as I started to listen to this song I wasn’t sure. It starts with a long slow build, where not a whole lot happens. And then…Justin Vernon comes in with this “WHOO!!” first thing we hear out of his mouth. And I was in.
It’s exactly what I was hoping for. James Blake producing amazingly beautiful music, and Justin Vernon’s “choirs of angels” falsetto.
The song is titled I Need A Forest Fire, I think the implication is that everything needs to burn down, I’m glad that neither artist does that musically in this song, instead they build on what they already have.
- James Blake’s new album is here. It’s called “The Colour in Anything”
- Listen if you like: rising songs, Bon Iver, James Blake and Justin Vernon doing what they do best