Everyone has those favorite few albums that they simply can’t listen to enough — the albums you don’t just indulge in, you binge. The albums that you’ve listened to so many times that either: a) you’ve had to buy twice because you needed it in your boombox and your car and god forbid you should have to hit eject ever; b) they got jammed into your computer after over-zealously pushing the CD drive too hard; or c) you kept the plastic CD case even though you put the album sleeve into your 20 disc CD holder.
Cantora Records co-founder and music venue Brooklyn Bowl talent booker, Will Griggs shares his “Top Ten Songs That I’ve Listened to Many Times in a Row” to help you pick up some brand new classics for your repertoire! Just file your new Phantogram session in your collection right after Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and before Britney Spears’ Oops… I Did it Again…
1. “Careful What You Say” by Class Actress (Journal of Ardency, above)
This track has so much going for it that I don’t know where to begin. The bouncy, ice cold synth and Elizabeth Harper’s pillowy soft voice are impeccable. But the part that makes this song 100 percent addictive is when it finally lets all of the heartbroken tension fly at the end (especially that monstrous synth bass). Makes me lose my damn mind.
2. “Don’t Call” (Demo Version) by Desire (II)
Desire is one of the many projects of Italians Do It Better label’s (who should honestly change their name to Musical Crack Records) resident producer Johnny Jewel. I’ve been a fiend for “Don’t Call,” specifically the demo version that was floating around. Sure, at first you might think you accidentally put on “Billie Jean,” but then the track’s sultry, pulsating keyboards kick in and you immediately know this is a different kind of beat. The kind that sounds like the soundtrack to a sexy ’80s thriller.
3. “Grease” by Frankie Valli (Grease)
After so many TBS (and more recently VH1 Classic) reruns, the movie Grease has become almost invisible to me. But recently I heard the title track on the radio and it knocked me out. I love that in a movie that is otherwise a caricature of the 1950s, Grease is a complete and utter relic of 1978. It has the unmistakable fingerprints of head Bee Gee, Barry Gibb all over it: a bumping bass line and furious, descending horns. And the cherry on this disco sundae? Franki Valli.
4. “The ’59 Sound” by Gaslight Anthem (The 59 Sound)
Gaslight Anthem was already selling out serious venues such as Terminal 5 when I finally caught on to their unique brand of Bruce-inspired pop-punk. Well, at least I can say I was a fan before they started playing arenas — which based on the excellence of their sophomore album The ’59 Sound” (and its excellent title track) seems inevitable.
5. “Spirit In the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum (Spirit in the Sky: The Definitive Anthology)
I’m not a big gamer, but I can get into some Rock Band. The best thing about that game is that it makes you recognize how damn good some songs are. For example, I never understood why people liked Spirit in the Skyever. Then I strapped on that plastic guitar and suddenly I was a life-long fan. I mean, cmon — what could be better than a gospel-rock tune with a shuffle groove that’s performed by a Jewish guy? It’s been a weekly listen since.
6. “Beautiful Child” by Fleetwood Mac (Tusk)
Fleetwood Mac was another band that I never understood until I TOTALLY did. My buddy Jeff (of the blog Cold Splinters) really opened my eyes; suddenly I was smitten, especially with their multi-platinum misfit album Tusk. “Beautiful Child” is a master class in all the greatness that is Ms. Stevie Nicks, with music that projects a weathered innocence. She has already accepted her broken heart and yet somehow remains infinitely naive.
7. “Mouthful of Diamonds” by Phantogram (Eyelid Movies)
I’m lucky enough to get paid to drink and play records. As a DJ, the
best you can hope for is for someone to come over and ask What is this? and not, “Do you have any Black Eyed Peas? No other song in recent memory has gotten this response more than Mouthful of Diamonds. It’s simply a terrific song built on the foundation of a great hip-hop infused beat.
8. “Whatcha Say” by Jason Derulo (Whatcha Say)
Everyone knows the radio plays the same seven Top 40 hits these days, so it’s nice to dig one of those seven tracks once in a while. “Whatcha Say” filled that void for me as nicely as any song since Ushers “Love In This Club,” which in my book is saying a lot. It isn’t that Jason has a great voice, he just has a great producer: J.R. Rotem. The brilliant, bastardized Imogen Heap sample is all that matters; Derulo just does his best to stay out of the way.
9. At Your Funeral by Saves the Day (Stay Where You Are)
A friend of mine who works at the venerable Vagrant Records recently
sent me a box of goodies. Though Vagrant has put out such awesomeness as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and the Hold Steady in recent years, the label will always hold a place in my heart as the premiere proprietor of emo-pop. One I keep coming back to is “At Your Funeral” from Saves the Day’s magnum opus Stay Where You Are. The juxtaposition of happy sounds and morbid lyrics has always been an easy way into my heart, and this tune just about nails it. Even though the fact that they could do a 10th-anniversary tour for this album next year makes me feel old as dirt, it doesn’t stop me from putting it on.
10. “Nice People” by Chief (The Castle Is Gone, album art not yet available)
Chief is a very, very good band. These guys have been nailing the Americana, three-part-harmony, spirit-of-Laurel-Canyon thing since 2005. Now that Domino Records is readying the release of their debut record, many more ears will be exposed to this glorious track and it’ll make the world a slightly better place. Although my first Chief select was You Tell Me because its one of the gutsiest songs I’ve ever heard, the song is no longer available on iTunes. “Nice People,” however, is a fierce competitor.
More Music We Love:
Top 10 Songs to Put Into a Mix CD Now
Girl Talk’s Playlist of the Week
The Best Songs to Help You Survive February