5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To is a collection of our newest favorite songs. Every week we ask an artist that we love to tell us about the music they love.
Listen to the whole segment and all the songs below.
1. Interpol picks “Black Tux, White Collar” by A$AP Rocky
Our guest today is Paul Banks, lead singer of Interpol. Interpol is a post-punk band from New York City that’s been around for the better part of a decade. They’ve released a handful of amazing albums, their newest being “Marauder” of which we are playing the song, “The Rover.” My guest today is Paul Banks, lead singer of Interpol.
Justin Barney: Paul, what is one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
Paul Banks: “Black Tux, White Collar” by A$AP Rocky is the song that I have in heavy rotation today. It my go back to “Mob Ties” by Drake tomorrow, but today it’s that one.
Justin Barney: What does “Black Tux, White Collar” do for you?
Paul Banks: Well it’s just a great record. “Testing” is the name of it. He’s got some really interesting production choices, and it’s a sick beat, and then it goes into some hook-y chorus-y parts that are very air-y and vibey.
It’s a great record overall and then you get to the end of it and that one comes on and it’s like, “Oh my god, this is still dope.”
Justin Barney: Yeah, I feel like delivery is such an important thing especially in hip-hop. What do you like about A$AP Rocky’s?
Paul Banks: That’s a very good question. I think in the new generation there is a couple guys that are really really relaxed on mic. I think 21 Savage is that way and I think that A$AP just sounds like a cool dude. And I think probably part of what that is is how relaxed he is.
The wordplay is good. He’s got a very relaxed cool flow that sounds effortless.
And on a record like, “Testing” it’s like a production carnival where it’s going all over the place in a really interesting way.
- A$AP Rocky’s new album, “Testing” is out now.
- Listen if you like: 21 Savage, Drake, the new school of hip-hop
- FULL INTERVIEW
2. Sylvan Esso picks “Say My Name” by Tove Styrke
My guest today is Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath, who are Sylvan Esso. Sylvan Esso are one of our favorite bands. Nick Sanborn was born in Madison and spent 11 years in Milwaukee where he met Amelia Meath at the Cactus Club. They’ve released two fantastic albums and just last week they played two sold-out shows at the Pabst Theatre. In between those two shows, they stopped by to talk to me. Returning to 5 Songs is Sylvan Esso.
Justin Barney: Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Amelia Meath: I’m really into this woman named Tove Styrke.
Nick Sanborn: She’s amazing.
Justin Barney: Great pronunciation.
Amelia Meath: I know, because she has a phonetic spelling of it on her instagram. And she is an actual pop queen from Sweden who is writing…just, bangers. And people are starting to pay attention to her.
Justin Barney: I’ve heard the name–
Nick Sanborn: It’s so good.
Justin Barney: –not pronounced, but I’ve read it.
Amelia Meath: It’s SO good.
Nick Sanborn: She’s so good.
Justin Barney: What’s the song?
Amelia Meath: She just put out this EP called “Sway.” Each song on it is incredible, but I think–
Nick Sanborn: Which one are you going to pick?
Amelia Meath: I don’t know, dude. I’m, like, into each one of them.
Nick Sanborn: Maybe “Say My Name?” Just a classic.
Amelia Meath: I’ll just say, “Say My Name.” The economy of the words in the song is just incredible. It’s something that I truly aspire to. The hook is, “Say my name. Wear it out like a sweater that you love because I can’t get enough of you.”
Justin Barney: I love that.
Nick Sanborn: Yeah, I think something me and Amelia talk about all the time is making pop music that doesn’t dumb down the human experience.
Justin Barney: Yeah.
Nick Sanborn: I think she does a pretty amazing job of that. She writes legit stadium-sounding pop songs–
Amelia Meath: Yeah.
Nick Sanborn: –that talk about complex — like trying to figure out if you like somebody. You know, it’s good.
Amelia Meath: She’s also figured out that the subject matter is always like: I have a crush on you.
Nick Sanborn: Yeah.
Amelia Meath: Which I try to avoid.
Nick Sanborn: Yeah, but she goes for it and does in a way that feels real.
Justin Barney: Yeah.
Nick Sanborn: Which is fun. I don’t know, it’s great.
Amelia Meath: It’s super fun.
- “Say My Name” was the first single on Tove Styrke’s album “Sway” released on April 28, 2017.
- Listen if you like: progressive, electronic pop, Sweeds.
- FULL INTERVIEW
3. Mitski picks “Just What I Needed” by The Cars
My guest today is Mitski. Mitski is one of my favorite artists right now. I am just so connected and in love with her music. She released her first album, “Bury Me At Make out Creek” a couple years ago and then followed it up with Puberty Two. On August 17, she’s going to release her third album, “Be the Cowboy.” And she just released the first single “Nobody.” I am so excited, my guest today is Mitski.
Justin Barney: Mitski, what is one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
Mitski: Um.. Oh my God I can’t believe I’m- I’m gonna regret saying this but, this is just the first song that came to mind. The Cars- “Just What I Needed.”
Justin Barney: Yes, and why that song?
Mitski: I think it’s just a perfect pop song, its checks all the—as a, as a songwriter myself, I listen to it often thinking oh my gosh this just checks all the little check boxes, you know? And my favorite f*ckin’ lyric- oh my God I’m sorry you can edit that out right?
Justin Barney: Yes
Mitski: Oh my god thank god. So my favorite lyric in that song and in general is “I don’t care about where you’ve been as long as it was deep.” And that was just like such a good lyric. And I’m sure what’s-his-face the writer wasn’t thinking too deeply about it. He was just like “what ends with –eep? Oh…deep.” But, I think that’s just such a good line.
Justin Barney: That is. Alright, so what is the name of the songs and the name of the artist?
Mitski: The name of the song is – I believe it’s called “Just What I Needed,” or that’s how the chorus goes?
Justin Barney: That’s what we all know.
Mitski: And that’s by The Cars.
- “Just What I Needed” was released in 1978 on The Cars’ eponymous debut album.
- Listen if you like: Mitski, classics, those drums
- Full interveiw
4. CAKE picks “Age of Aquarius” by 5th Dimension
My guest today is John McCrea, lead singer of CAKE. You know them from the songs “The Distance” and “Short Skirt/Long Jacket.” They’re going to be releasing a new 45, that will be their first new music in seven years.
On one side, is going to be the song “Sinking Ship” that John McCrea started writing when he was 16-years-old and finished this year. It’s a pessimistic song, and he wanted to balance it out on the other side by doing a very optimistic song. So CAKE is covering “The Age of Aquarius.” We talked about this whole thing in an interview that you can find here.
Justin Barney: So John, on this 45, why do “Age of Aquarius” on Side B?
John McCrea: Oh because you know, everything is sort of, you know, I don’t know if you’ve heard of the “Tao Te Ching” but it’s a book written by a Chinese wiseman maybe 3,000 years ago. And he decided to just leave and go be a hermit and everyone said, “please write some stuff down before you go.” So he wrote the “Tao Te Ching” which is, you know, not a religious thing at all but it’s really spectacular, it’s really amazing work. A lot of what it’s about is how everything sort of houses its opposite. So good time is actually a bad time about to happen. And a bad time is actually maybe a good time about to happen. Everything is sort of more about balance than any sort of our short-term objectives. Does that make any sense?
Justin Barney: Yeah!
John McCrea: It sounds kind of crazy, but yeah, I figured let’s create balance with our 45 single.
Justin Barney: I like that. So since the Cake version isn’t out yet, we are going to play the original “The Age of Aquarius” by the 5th Dimension.
- “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” was originally released in 1969 by The 5thDimension on the album “The Age of Aquarius.”
- Listen if you like: a healthy balance to the bleakness of the world today, late ‘60’s psychedelia, the current forthcoming astrological age
- Full interveiw
5. RZA picks “Adam and Eve” by Nas feat. The Dream
Justin Barney: RZA, what’s one song you can’t stop listening to?
RZA: Right now the song that’s got me hooked like it’s crack is Nas’ “Adam and Eve” featuring The-Dream.
Justin Barney: What’s got you hooked on it?
RZA: I think it’s the production that Kanye brought to that one. The sample is really cool, the lyrics of Nas give us a view into his life and the growth that he expresses in the song.
He talks about how he would meet girls, bang them in one night, drop a lot of money on them, but then realize that he was actually a victim in all reality and then seeing how he matured over the years.
I think with lyricists like Nas and other hip-hop artists, we are comfortable with discussing our youth and the fun we had in it, but also can give you a mature man’s point of view of how we evolved. “Adam and Eve” touches well upon that.
- “Adam and Eve” was released on June 15 on Nas’ new album, “NASIR.”
- Listen if you like: Kanye production, classic hip-hop, Wu-Tang Clan