This is one of the weirdest playlists I’ve ever come up with. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a bit incongruous.
A little back story: my sister gave me a record player last Christmas and I’ve spent the last few months playing the same four records, so over Memorial Day weekend I decided to take a trip to The Record Grouch in Greenpoint and make some additions to my collection. The experience was immensely satisfying and allowed me a bit of a peek into a bygone era when discovering new music was much more a game of sheer luck and choosing which records to buy based on how interesting their album covers were. The following playlist is a mix of the records I luckily stumbled across, those I currently own, and the ones I’ve decided my collection is sorely lacking.
Without further ado, I present to you the latest edition of The Baker’s Dozen, (somewhat less than) hot and fresh out the kitchen:
1. Bruce Springsteen – “Born In The U.S.A.”
Because this screed against the Vietnam War somehow sounds so patriotic that Republican presidential candidates constantly misinterpret it and play it at campaign rallies. Plus, it was Memorial Day, I had to buy a record with an American flag on the cover.
2. Rolling Stones – “Street Fighting Man”
Because the Stones are one of the few bands whose sound actually gets better when subjected to the warm crackle and hiss of vinyl. This song just makes you wanna fight!
3. Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean”
Because Record Grouch had a copy of Thriller for $6. Are you serious? Of course, I bought it.
4. Nas – “N.Y. State of Mind”
Because this is the first record my sister ever bought me. She knows her shit.
5. Mumford & Sons – “Reminder”
Because it’s the shortest song with the sparsest arrangement on a Grammy winning record and yet it manages to somehow be the song that always calls me back to that album. Brevity is indeed the soul of wit.
6. The Lumineers – “Charlie Boy”
Because I played this to death last spring. This is the most depressing song off of a pretty dark album. Why is it that the most painful music makes us feel the most alive?
7. The Gaslight Anthem – “Great Expectations”
Because even though this record was released in 2008, it was recorded with the intention of being listened to with a side A and a side B. This is the beginning of side A.
8. Otis Redding – “Respect”
Because I’m still mad that Aretha stole this from Otis. And because no record collection would be complete without some classic ’60s soul.
9. The Roots (feat Big K.R.I.T. and Dice Raw) – “Make My”
Because I played this song for my mom and she loved it. Whenever a rap track can appeal to middle-aged women you know it’s either great or recorded by LL Cool J. But never both. Also, this served as my introduction to Big K.R.I.T. and for that, I thank ?uestlove immensely.
10. Kendrick Lamar – “The Art of Peer Pressure”
Because this was the best rap album last year and the production values really lend themselves to vinyl. The concept also works so much better listened to as a whole rather than in individual pieces.
11. Frank Ocean – “Bad Religion”
Because this whole album knocked me on my ass for a good week or two last summer. I need to add this to my collection, stat.
12. Miles Davis – “Blue In Green”
Because there is no point in even owning a record player if you don’t have this album.
13. Europe – “The Final Countdown”
Because I’ve spent the last two weeks watching the new season of Arrested Development and now I can’t get this fucking song out of my head. If you’ve come this far, please don’t actually listen to this song. Just go to Netflix and watch some Arrested.
Until next time, keep it hot and fresh.