I love intense, serious, dark songs just as much as the next guy, but the 20 songs on this playlist are ones that make me feel warm, happy, dance-y, and/or laugh-y.
I hope you enjoy, Dan
My comments on some of the songs…
Kiss and Make Up
by Saint Etienne
Let’s start coolly with Saint Etienne’s Kiss and Make Up. At the halfway point, Sarah Cracknel humbly and sincerely sings, “I don’t hate you, I love you,” offering a relationship reset.
by Ariana Grande
Ah, the beguiling Ms. Grande with a piece of pure pop confection.
Once in a Lifetime
by Talking Heads
A recent SNL performance of this song by a solo David Byrne reminded me of how powerful this track is.
Starfish and Coffee
“Her favorite number was 20”
by Scritti Politti
Doesn’t get more 80’s than this song (that no one from back in the day knows or remembers). “Each time I go to bed, I pray like Aretha Franklin,” what a lyric!
Jump to It
by Aretha Franklin
Let’s hear from Aretha herself. Imo Aretha’s 80’s work is underrated. Luther Vandross’ production is clean and (mostly) free of 80’s tropes. “Giving each other the 411 on who drop-kicked who this week.” There once was a room, a boom-boom room, and in that room this song was played.
Summertime (When I’m With You)
by The Mavericks
The Maverick’s Raul Malo has all the vocal qualities that I love in a male singer: power, control, intonation, articulation, and style. He elevates this rather simple song with swoon-worthy crooning–and the band rocks and swings as well.
The Rhythm Changes
by Kamasi Washington
Crank this one. “Don’t worry what happened before me. I’m here,” isn’t this what we want to say to loved ones right now? Isn’t this what we want to hear?
Cécile McLorin Salvant
Let’s end coolly. “The night is getting on…” coos Cécile McLorin Salvant, a most excellent contemporary jazz vocalist, on this Fats Waller song written in 1942. She sings with a flirty, power-grabbing unpredictability. The piano playing is equally dynamic and unpredictable.