A dip into my Q1/Q2 Spotify playlists:
- “Beginners at Best,” Tullycraft. I love these guys! Sure, a lot of the songs sound the same, sort of breathless-bratty-twee with clever lyrics about being in various degrees of love, and I don’t think even they would consider themselves essential (they named an album “Lost in Light Rotation”) but fun. This sounds like a song about young, hesitating love happening to people not so young, but I could be wrong. Better not to worry it too much and take pleasure instead in the way the lead singer tosses off the words “Jinx…light.” (I’m not sure what that means either.)
- “Downtown Lights,” Frankie Lee. A song that sounds like a thousand other songs (with minor variations) and tells a story we’ve heard before (with no variations). Our hero has been whipped by the big city and is going back to where he came from. Hearts will be broken in the process! But I like the slow sway of it and Lee’s sweet voice where we’d expect to hear someone like Waylon Jennings. The singer says there’s nothing left on Memory Lane, but this song kind of is.
- “I Wanna Keep Yr. Dog,” illuminati hotties. I am developing quite a crush on these guys, who are really not guys at all but one woman, Sarah Tudzin, who will live to regret her band name. “Paying It All Back” was one of my faves of 2018 and this single rocks just as hard. It has one of the best song premises I’ve heard in a while: she wants to break up with a guy but can’t because she’s grown too attached to his dog. I have a friend who was going to have a no-fault divorce until he and his wife couldn’t agree to dog custody and had to bring in lawyers! There is of course an Iggy Pop reference and Sarah even has a public playlist on Spotify of other dog songs. I like someone who does their homework.
- “Randall Knife,” Steve Earle. I’d heard the song, written by Guy Clark, before, but Steve’s version from his new album of Guy cover versions destroyed me. Just beautiful writing about fathers and sons and life and grief. “I’d cried for every lesser thing/Whiskey, pain and beauty.” Play it on Father’s Day and try to hold back the tears. (I will be on a plane on Father’s Day and out of respect to fellow passengers will not take my own advice.)
- “Pearl Cadillac,” Guy Clark. Saw him perform this on Saturday Night Live and was so impressed. That shredding guitar! That Prince-like vocal! It sounds so sexy but the lyrics could as well be addressed to the singer’s mother as girlfriend. “Late nights, fussing and fighting at home/I’m sorry for the things I did wrong.” So play this one on Mother’s Day, and maybe follow it up with Chance the Rapper’s “Sunday Candy.”