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. Ziggy Marley picks “HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar
Justin Barney: What is a song right now that you have been listening to a lot recently, or that means something to you?
Ziggy Marley: Well, I’ve been listening to Kendrick Lamar a lot. I like Kendrick Lamar. I like “HUMBLE..” I think there’s honesty in him in how he comes across, how he expresses himself.
He’s not the typical stereotypical image of what a rapper looks like, or would be or how he sounds. I like that truth. I think he speaks truth. I think his voice is truth. I think he’s not pretending to be something that he’s not, so I respect that and I love his words and his music. You know?
Justin Barney: Yeah, there’s definitely an honesty there, you know?
Ziggy Marley: Yes.
Justin Barney: How can you tell the honesty? That’s something that everyone tries to be. How does it show itself- that something is real?
Ziggy Marley: I think it depends on every individual’s antennas- how sensitive their antennas are to these things. There are artists who cannot be real and still come off as real, but my antenna is very sensitive. So that’s just how I am. I can say, “Alright. I hear this artist.” I have a good feel for people, I would say. That’s how I feel when I listen to Kendrick and I might not feel that way when I listen to somebody else because my antenna is not picking up that honesty in it, but with Kendrick it does.
- “HUMBLE.” was released last year on Kendrick’s album, “DAMN.”
- Listen if you like: the best album of 2017, possibly the best song of 2017, the GOAT
- Full interview
2. Larenz Tate picks “Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley
Our guest for song one this week is actor Larenz Tate.
Larenz Tate is a fantastically talented actor. He’s been in movies like “Crash,” “Love Jones,” and “Girl’s Trip.” Our guest today is Larenz Tate.
Justin Barney: Larenz, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Larenz Tate: One song that I cannot stop listening to, wow. Because I’m in work-mode right now and on the way to work I’m always listening to Bob Marley. And it’s either “Get Up Stand Up” or “Stir It Up.” Those are the two songs I like to listen to on the way to work. I’ll probably be listening to them on Monday morning at 5AM.
I just like the throwback. Sometimes the new stuff that’s on the radio right now can get you in a good mood, but I kind of like to just settle into the space that I’m going to be in. So right now it’s a lot of Bob Marley right now.
Justin Barney: What does Bob Marley do for you?
Larenz Tate: It settles me. It inspires me. His music had such a strong message.
It’s interesting, I’m working in New York right now and any time I’m going through the boroughs and the neighborhoods it seems like his lyrics actually match the things that I’m seeing. Or I like imagining what he was thinking or feeling when he wrote those lyrics.
Again, it just settles me, inspires me, and gives me a sense of strength.
- “Get Up Stand Up” was originally released in 1975 on the album, “Live!.”
- Listen if you like: You don’t need this, you know what this song sounds like
3. Courtney Barnett picks “Make Me Feel” by Janelle Monáe
Our guest this week is Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett. She is one of the smartest songwriters making music right now, as well as one of our favorites here at Radio Milwaukee. She has a new album coming out called “Tell Me How You Feel” which includes the song “Nameless, Faceless” that can be heard on 88.9. She will be coming to Milwaukee on October 17 at The Pabst Theater. You can read my full interview with her here.
Justin Barney: One question that I love to ask every artist is, “What’s one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?”
Courtney Barnett: Oh my God. The new Janelle Monáe song- I love it so much.
Justin Barney: Oh my God. Which one?
Courtney Barnett: It’s called “Make Me Feel.”
Justin Barney: “Make Me Feel.” Yeah. What do you like about that?
Courtney Barnett: I don’t know. I’m not sure what it is. I just know I like it a lot. It’s gonna be my favorite song of the year.
Justin Barney: Do you remember where you heard it for the first time?
Courtney Barnett: Yeah, probably in this room the other day on Spotify. That’s not very exciting. It’s just a really great song.
Justin Barney: Yeah. Well, let’s listen to it. This is “Make Me Feel” by Janelle Monáe.
- “Make Me Feel” will appear on Janelle Monáe’s new album, “Dirty Computer” out April 27.
- Listen if you like: Prince, David Byrne, just really good songs
4.Kid Koala picks “Half Time at the Proper Name Spelling Bee” by Fishboy
Our guest today is Eric San, better known as Kid Koala. Kid Koala has been a DJ and turntablist since the 90’s. He has contributed to albums by Gorillaz. He’s a part of Deltron 3030. Most recently he has designed the soundtrack for a video game called “Floor Kids.”
Justin Barney: Kid Koala, what is one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
Kid Koala: The artist is named Fishboy. It’s called “Half Time at the Proper Name Spelling Bee.” Here’s the thing, this is how I love to find out about music is through humans and not algorithms. I was doing this other show, “Nufonia Must Fall,” in Oklahoma or something- somewhere around there. This person was so into this artist and thought that I would like that he went to the store and bought a CD. I’m not saying, “just hit me up on socials with a link.” He bought this CD and he came to our show. He handed it to me after the show. I was just backstage hanging signing books and stuff. He said, “I bought this for you.” It still had the price tag. He pulled it out of an actual record store bag.
Justin Barney: That is crazy. He spent money on somebody else’s album to give it to you.
Kid Koala: Exactly, and he’s not even affiliated with the dude.
Justin Barney: I love that.
Kid Koala: He was just like, “I think you’re going to dig this dude’s whole vibe.” This album gets into this big whole “Hey Jude” ending. It’s just nuts. That whole album is a concept album to the highest order. They’re 3 minutes punk pop songs, but the dude is a narrative genius. How it goes from this romance between him and a taqueria girl co-worker at a taco bar and how they hi-jack a tank and they rob a bank, then they end up at this spelling bee somehow. It’s just the most insane record lyrically that I’ve ever heard.
Justin Barney: I love that. That is insane. Not only did this kid, who went out of his way to buy somebody else’s record to give it to you because he thought that you would love it and then you love it. He was right.
Kid Koala: Exactly.
- “Half Time at the Proper Name Spelling Bee” was released in 2007 on Fishboy’s album, “Albatross – How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State With the Power of Rock and Roll”
- Listen if you like: Mid-oughts ska-ish stuff, Bomb the Music Industry, incredible songwriting
5. John Prine picks Tex Ritter – “Hillbilly Heaven”
Our guest today is John Prine. He is a singer-songwriter from Chicago, beginning his career in the early 70s, known as the “singing mailman.” This year, he released his first album in 13 years, “Tree of Forgiveness.” Before his show in Milwaukee recently, I was able to talk to him over the phone about his new album.
Justin Barney: So, “Tree of Forgiveness,” where’s the song title come from?
John Prine: My wife and I used to eat at a restaurant outside of Dublin, Ireland called The Tree of Idleness. I liked that title so much that I stole an ashtray from there. I just kept thinking that’s a cool title, The Tree of Idleness. So, I just morphed it from there, to forgiveness. I managed to fit the title into the last song. That was the last song I wrote for the record, so I thought I had to get the title in somewhere.
Justin Barney: My neighbor, Luke, and I were listening to the album last night. He brought up to my attention that the beginning of it is awfully similar to Tex Ritter’s “Hillbilly Heaven.”
John Prine: Wow. That may be, because that was one of my favorite records when I was a kid.
Justin Barney: Really?
John Prine: Yeah, I loved that record. I like the part where it gets to his name and he’s like “OooAhh” and then he goes “I dreamed I was there, in hillbilly heaven.”
Justin Barney: Yeah! We were listening and wondering if you took the beginning has those whoosh sounds.
John Prine: I never steal anything on purpose, just by accident.
- Tex Ritter’s “Hill Billy Heaven” was released in 1961.
- Listen if you like: songs that are histories, old country music, John Prine
- Check the full interview here