Instant Replay: 028
For July, our favorite tunes include vacation jams, nostalgic hits, hyperpop beats, and unmissable classical recordings. Pop in your headphones, and let's get started!
Tunde Olaniran — Miracle
Tunde Olaniran’s music is part of the undefinable “hyperpop” world and he regularly releases some really avant-garde and adventurous content. He’s also an outspoken activist from my home state of Michigan, and an uplifting follow on Twitter. But this is the track (from his 2018 album “Stranger”) that keeps playing in my head.
Shannon & The Clams — If You Could Know
With a retro surf-rock-meets-Motown vibe and lead vocals reminiscent of Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, and Joan Jett, the album “Onion” by Shannon & the Clams has been powering me through this latest heat wave. “If You Could Know” is a quick little earworm I keep coming back to.
Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma — Beethoven: Cello Sonatas
I have been enjoying the newly released Yo-Yo Ma/Emanuel Ax CD, "Hope Amid Tears." The title is largely up to interpretation -- a look to music to "give us hope for the future," says Mr. Ax... and Mr. Ma says, "It is his spirit in the face of personal tragedy that makes him unique. In this period of world-wide unease, grief and suffering ... it is fitting we also celebrate the 250th birthday of the composer who represents what is best in our humanity." I agree -- I hear it in every single note, every single phrase. Another beautiful Ma-Ax recording... as only friends can record and share!
Buddy Guy — Cognac
It finally feels like we’re all taking our first vacations in over a year (or two!) because of lockdown. I just got back from mine, road tripping down to North Carolina to visit some friends. I felt it necessary to DJ (see what working in radio does?) while driving around Raleigh, and because we were in the south after all, we needed some blues – so I turned to one of the greats. Oh yeah, Jeff Beck and Keith Richards play on it, too.
Yuki Kajiura — once upon a time there was you and me
This one's a deep cut. I've been diving back into soundtracks, and this track from Tsubasa Chronicle - one of my favorite anime - is the first song I ever loaded onto my ancient brick of an iPod in 2005. It's an ancient-sounding siren song that dips into a funky breakdown halfway through. What's not to love? Join me in putting it on repeat to honor my 16-year-old iPod (may it rest in peace).
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons — Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1 in F Minor, I. Allegretto - Allegro non troppo
By this point, several volumes into the Boston Symphony’s Shostakovich recording project, it shouldn’t feel like a surprise to be blown away. Nevertheless, Andris Nelsons and the BSO players – through a truly rare nuance and theatricality in the first movement of the Symphony No. 1 – stopped me in my tracks with their latest. I’ve just never heard the piece like this. An already thrilling symphony is infused with emotion and humanity like no other performance I know.
Steely Dan — Deacon Blues
A vacation is a wonderful thing. Among other things, it’s an opportunity to return to the music helps us chill, to get a little distance from our work life. For me, that sometimes involves a return to music I loved when I was much younger. So I put on “Deacon Blues” by Steely Dan. And yes, it did have the desired “chill out” effect. But it also caused me to do a double-take: like, “Hey, now. That’s really good!”
John Denver — Rocky Mountain High
Like several of my colleagues, I took some time off recently, during which I went to rural upstate Vermont with a few friends. We stayed in a house on a hill with a view of the mountains, and when we arrived, the stereo in the hall was on and playing music for us, next to a huge basket of CDs for us to peruse. Given our surroundings, of course we picked the multi-CD set of the complete works of John Denver, which wound up being the absolute best possible soundtrack for our week.
Listen to the full playlist: