I had a tradition on my first blog, What We Covet, of starting each new year off with a playlist of music I intend to take with me throughout the year. As with the previous lists, the songs were culled from my current collection. Most aren't recent, but they certainly sound good to me, and that's really the goal of any playlist I ever make. They come to you in no particular order. I hope you'll check them out, if you're not already familiar with them. Enjoy!
1) "Mile on the Moon," Sarah Jarosz
Jarosz is one of those people I would hate if she wasn't awesome, because she's stupid talented and already successful at a young age--things I would love to be. Her new-Americana song is both comfortingly familiar and fresh, and her solid education, undertaken at the New England Conservatory of Music, guarantees that her musicianship is impeccable.
2) "Joanne," Lady Gaga
No, this isn't Gaga's best effort ever, but it's a heartfelt tribute to her aunt Joanne, who died very young. It gets me in the gut every time, because it reminds me of my own aunt, who was also gone too soon.
3) "The Spoils," Massive Attack feat. Hope Sandoval
If the vocalist here sounds familiar, it's with good reason: she's Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, the group that brought us one of the most ubiquitous love songs ever, "Fade Into You." Sandoval brings her haunting voice to the table, and it perfectly pairs with Massive Attack's moody synth strings.
4) "Jimmy the Exploder," White Stripes
I am rarely not listening to the White Stripes in some capacity, but I was on a serious kick with them last summer, and this song, which opens their self-titled debut album, was a great, noisy part of the soundtrack of my life in August, as I expect it will be this year, as well.
5) "Long Goodbye," Dwight Yoakam and Michelle Branch
If you don't like Dwight Yoakam, you're wrong and we can't be friends. But also, I would very much like for Yoakam and Branch to do an album together. Is that so much to ask?
6) "The One," Elton John
I'm kind of mildly obsessed with mid-career Elton John right now--roughly his 1990s discography, starting with The One, from which this single came. This is the period when his voice really transformed and he started singing in a slightly lower, richer register than he did in the 1970s and most of the 1980s. That's the Elton John I turn to for comfort.
7) "Waiting," Green Day
I will never not have a crush on Mike Dirnt, and that's all I have to say about this song.
8) "If You Had My Love," Jennifer Lopez
Believe it or not, On the 6 was a good album, and I sometimes miss this side of J. Lo--before the super-fame and extreme contouring, but after she had proven herself with her excellent work in Selena, and while she still had some Latina flair.
9) "True Blue," Madonna
True Blue is a notoriously uneven album, which is undoubtedly due at least in part to the influence of Sean Penn, who was Madonna's husband at the time. And as overly sweet as "True Blue" the song tends to be, it's good, clean, cheesy fun. Plus, check out Debi Mazar as a backup dancer!
I invite you all to make your own playlist for the coming year, and share it with me if you're feeling confessional!