Instant Replay: 036
From the very old to the very new, this month's Instant Replay is a vibrant mix of all kinds of music! Listen to our favorite songs for April.
Las Cafeteras — Vamos To The Beach
A few months ago, I heard that Global Arts Live would be presenting Las Cafeteras this spring. I was intrigued by the brochure and sought out some of their albums, and their sunny Latin-ish pop helped keep the winter chill away. Warning: this track will give you an earworm after only one listen, and you'll be coming back for more.
Maren Morris — What Would This World Do?
James Bennett II
There’s definitely something insightful to say about this closer from Maren Morris’ latest album, Humble Quest. This album is Morris’ first without longtime collaborator Busbee, and this elegiac ballad serves as a farewell of sorts. Morris probes an existential question: how is the world and everything in it able to continue, business as usual, with apparent indifference after a component of that world that is integral to your experience of it is suddenly taken away? Despite the sorrowful overtones, this song qualifies as a bite-your-lip-beat-the-air-at-tempo affair in private, and a future karaoke go-to in public, which says a lot, because karaoke is definitively not my “thing.” But it could be, for this song.
German Brass — Bach: Organ Concerto in A Minor, BWV 593
Some music is simply addictive, the very definition of an Instant Replay. Try this bit of Bach, based on a concerto by Vivaldi, and arranged for the double quintet of German Brass. For me, once through on this track isn’t enough. When I play it, it’s set to automatic repeat.
Kaoru Akimoto — Dress Down
This 1986 J-Pop hit has been stuck in my head for the last week, and I'm not mad about it. The synths and the ultra-reverb vocals are a recipe for making you walk with some funk in your step as you listen. And it's just so 80s — every part of it fills me with an urge to buy some glittery bell-bottoms. I'd qualify it as an absolute bop!
Milton Nascimento — Saidas E Bandeiras (Exits And Flags)
I signed up to do a current events talk show on WZBC 90.3 FM, the Boston College radio station, in my freshman year there. One of the upperclassmen, who was the coolest DJ there, always played a cut from Brazilian singer (and 5-time Grammy winner) Milton Nascimento's 1976 album, Milton, on every one of his shows. The album was already old at the time, but he loved it, and so did everyone who listened to his show, including me. And yes, I still have the vinyl.
Soccer Mommy — Cool
I’ve been on a Soccer Mommy kick lately, in particular the albums Clean from 2018 and For Young Hearts from 2016. Songs vacillate between lush, trance-y melancholic longing, and more upbeat, grungy, crisp melancholic longing. It’s a vibe. The song I keep coming back to is “Cool,” with its perfect mix of sharp percussion, precisely-deployed guitar pedal effects, and a vocal that so perfectly conveys the feeling of wishing you were as cool as that one person you know (warning for explicit language).
Japanese Breakfast — Paprika
I've been playing this song obsessively on repeat ever since the weather got above maybe 50 degrees. It's fun and bright, and something about it has me looking forward to warmer days ahead.
Nirvana — On A Plain
I tend to have seasonal listening habits, and here we are now in April: Grunge Month. It’s a month of dichotomy, with dreary, grey days countered with warm sunny days that hint of spring and rebirth. There’s a kind of unintended microcosm of that symbiosis in grunge music. Coincidentally, April is speckled with the anniversaries of various grunge musicians passing away, and the songs are horribly dreary on the surface. But on the other hand, if you look closely, you’ll see that the music actually celebrates personal growth through adversity, vulnerability, and shared catharsis (“Teen Spirit,” anyone?). In other words, it’s akin to taking the unwanted “winter-ness” that life can throw you and reimagining it as an opportunity to “spring” into a more full individual — thus, for example, the etymology of “pearl” in Pearl Jam. This vulnerability is perhaps best showcased in Nirvana’s legendary Unplugged show, driven by the raw intimacy of Kurt Cobain’s voice.
Carminho — Escrevi teu nome no vento - Fado carriche
“I wrote your name on the wind, convinced that I wrote it on a page of oblivion.” Nothing captures the feeling of longing and loss quite like Portuguese fado. And while Carminho thinks she’s let the breeze take her cares away, it’s clear from her singing that it won't be that easy. “I want to forget you, believe me. But there is more and more wind.”
Fleetwood Mac — The Chain
You know that amazing feeling when you're watching a movie or TV show and a pivotal moment is underlined by the perfect song? That's the experience I had watching HBO Max's new pirate comedy "Our Flag Means Death" (which I heartily recommend, by the way), when this song came on. I've hardly ever heard a better use of a Fleetwood Mac song in any other piece of media. It's been on repeat in my house ever since.
Hear this month's playlist: