For August, the music we're turning to is a little funky and a lot of fun. Check out our favorite tracks of the month, and listen to our favorites from the past year, too, while you're at it!
This series highlights our favorite music of the moment – discoveries we’ve made when we’re at home cooking or cleaning, at the office, or out and about. Classical or otherwise, old, new, or just really cool, these are the tracks we’ve had on repeat this month. Find a cumulative playlist at the end of this post. Happy listening!
Taylor Swift -- The Last Great American Dynasty
"Last Great American Dynasty" off of Taylor Swift's latest album has me coming back to it again and again. I'm not a "Swiftie" by any means, but I am consistently impressed with Swift's clever lyricism and tunefulness. This song is an esoteric history lesson mixed into a sly female empowerment anthem, with a catchy chorus and gasp-worthy reveal at the end. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I first heard it, and I fully expect the lyric "I had a marvelous time/ruining everything" to be on mugs and t-shirts everywhere soon.
Ari Lennox -- I Been
The last big concert I went to was in September - Lizzo live at the Paradise. The opener was Ari Lennox, and I’ve been obsessed with her album “Shea Butter Baby” ever since, in particular, the song “I Been.” This song is a whole mood and I’ve definitely had it in heavy rotation the past couple of months. Her vocal range, the funky instrumentals, the overall production on this track – so, so good.
John Williams, London Symphony Orchestra -- The Last Battle, from Star Wars: A New Hope
Summer to me means Star Wars – enough said. Recently I was listening to the "A New Hope" soundtrack, and I realized that John Williams’s electrifying music can easily get overshadowed by the equally masterful special effects and action when watching the movie. So, listening to the music by itself, without distraction, gave me a chance to really sink into how unmatched this music really is.
Sir Babygirl -- Haunted House
Been in the mood for some wild, eclectic pop this summer, and I'm scratching that itch with Sir Babygirl, a queer, trans icon and Boston local. Their manic energy and huge vocal range make me want to do a lap around the room. Do a lap with me!
Sarah Willis -- Mozart: Horn Concerto in E Flat Major, K. 447: I. Allegro
I saw a TV interview last month with Berlin Philharmonic hornist Sarah Willis, a tireless ambassador for her instrument. She had given a masterclass in Cuba, and loved it. Later she was standing in front of a Mozart statue in downtown Havana and a musician-friend said "Mozart would have been a perfect Cuban," specifically referring to the Austrian composer's love of melodies and rhythm. They were right. This album is serious. summer. fun.
Carolina Chocolate Drops -- Hit 'Em Up Style
Recently I was listening to a playlist of bluegrass covers, as you do, and this one knocked my socks off. I love the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and it's so satisfying to hear them play the absolute heck out of an R&B hit. (Also, it's worth noting that frontwoman Rhiannon Giddens was just named the new Artistic Director of Silkroad, previously led by Yo-Yo Ma.)
Listen to the full playlist: