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This playlist is a part of a series called "Discovery" where I take you through my latest journey of exploring music. Each playlist is unique; some may have a specific theme, and others may be a little random. However, the process of making these playlists stays the same: I scan my music library in alphabetical order and choose an artist for each letter (This can be difficult for some letters such as Q or X, so a letter may be skipped sometimes). Once I explore each artist, I pick my favorite tracks and simply make the playlist from those songs. The results are seen below!
"Discovery Vol. 1: Just the Beginning" is the playlist that started it all. The contents of this playlist are a little random, but given my music tastes (mostly indie/alternative), you may find some things in common. Nevertheless, I attempted to make it as eclectic as possible. On this playlist, you'll find hints of Garage Rock, Classic Rock, Post-Punk, Jazz, Indie, and some Japanese music. Again, it's quite random.
In no particular order, here are my top 10 songs from "Discovery Vol. 1: Just the Beginning."
'Icky Thump' by The White Stripes
In the early 2000s, The White Stripes mastered their own dynamic brand of Garage Rock. Jack White's infectious riffs and impeccable sense of tone were coupled together perfectly with Meg White's simple yet powerful drumming. This created a sound that would give new life to the indie scene at the turn of the century. Like most songs by The White Stripes, "Icky Thump" has a heart thumping beat and a couple of snarling guitar riffs which have plenty of classic rock vibes designed to fill up a stadium.
'The Blacker the Berry' by Kendrick Lamar
What I love about Kendrick is how well he expresses what's on his mind. Whether it's a personal battle or a social commentary, he always delivers in a smart, explicit, and compelling way. He's also honest in every sense of the word. In "The Blacker the Berry," he articulates all of his anger, his frustration, and ultimately, his guilt in what I believe to be one of his best performances. He's truly one of the most gifted artists of our generation.
'Crosseyed and Painless' by Talking Heads
Of all the innovative acts to come out of the 70s and 80s, Talking Heads was one of the most creative and influential artists of that time. The eclectic and adventurous spirit of the band gave rise to new and exciting ideas circulating the music scene. "Crosseyed and Painless" is a prime example of how Talking Heads compiled influence from a variety of styles such as punk, funk, R&B, and African music and mixed in their own originality to create something incredibly unique.
'Making Plans for Nigel' by XTC
XTC paired their meticulous style of songwriting with pleasant pop sensibilities and in turn, became a pioneer of post-punk and new wave. The band's talent is evident in their catchy yet detailed lyrics and compositions. "Making Plans for Nigel" tells the story of domineering parents over energetic riffs and an unorthodox drumbeat which shows the band's sense of both direction and adventure in their songwriting.
'Great Escape' by Cinema Staff
This J-Rock outfit from Gifu, Japan poses an energetic style that incorporates noise rock, math rock, emo, and even pop into their elaborate sound. While keeping to an accessible song structure, the band keeps listeners at the edge of their seats with plenty of unpredictability within their arrangements. In "great escape," a closing theme for the popular anime Attack on Titan, Cinema Staff displays passionate and emotional lyricism along with intricate and dynamic instrumentation.
'Venus in Furs' by The Velvet Underground & Nico
It's disappointing that The Velvet Underground didn't get the appreciation they do now back when they were active. Despite critical and commercial failure during their initial time together, this band's unrelenting experimentation and unorthodox techniques eventually gained them status as one of the greatest artists of all time. In songs like "Venus in Furs," the VU showed that they were true artists and never compromised their uniqueness in their music. It's artists like these that push boundaries in order for music to continue to develop.
'Disorder' by Joy Division
Listening to Joy Division is a gloomy, twisted adventure into a dark world of sadness, isolation, and despair... and it's simply beautiful. "Disorder" is a prime example of the dark and eerie aesthetics that Joy Division projected with their music. The often tormented and melancholic lyrics of Ian Curtis and the shadowy, reverb-laden instrumentation made them stand out among their fellow post-punk pioneers.
'Hallelujah' by THE NOVEMBERS
Whether it's Gothic Rock, Dream Pop, Shoegaze, or Art Rock, THE NOVEMBERS are the epitome of unpredictability. This four-piece indie rock band from Japan presents a variety styles. The namesake of their 2016 album, "Hallelujah" paints a beautiful picture with a clean, jangling ballad with shimmering guitars, and a steady, eruptive bass and drum combination. However, this song only scratches the surface of how THE NOVEMBERS impact their listeners. Just listen to any other song in their catalog. You'll understand.
'Parachute' by Shugo Tokumaru
Tokyo-born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shugo Tokumaru creates a whole new world with his idiosyncratic and adventurous style of indie pop. Noted for the use of over a hundred instruments in his music, Tokumaru's relentless creativity gives listeners an experience like no other. In songs like "Parachute," he executes an elaborate performance by utilizing a diverse collection of sounds that leaves listeners astonished.
'Tesselate' by Alt-J
Of all of the amazing artists that came onto the scene in the past decade, Alt-J is definitely one of the most unique. This indie outfit from Leeds, England presents a rich combination of indie rock, art rock, electronica, and a bit of folk. "Tessellate" perfectly represents their own quirky style by incorporating polyrhythmic, hip-hop influenced beats, haunting keyboards, and lyrics so outlandish, it'll shake you the core.
Here's the entire list of songs found on "Discovery Vol. 1: Just the Beginning." Hope you enjoy!
- "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes
- "We Will Rock You" by Queen
- "DNA." by Kendrick Lamar
- "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons
- "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads
- "Making Plans for Nigel" by XTC
- "Fell in Love with a Girl" by The White Stripes
- "Struck Dumb" by The Futureheads
- "Sexy Body" by OKAMOTO'S
- "Pulse" by Cinema Staff
- "Light My Fire" by The Doors
- "I'm Waiting for the Man" by The Velvet Underground & Nico
- "Transmission" by Joy Division
- "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2
- "Gimigimic" by RADWIMPS
- "Hallelujah" by THE NOVEMBERS
- "Break on Through (To the Other Side)" by The Doors
- "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys
- "(Nothing But) Flowers" by Talking Heads
- "Parachute" by Shugo Tokumaru
- "San Francisco" by The Mowgli's
- "Icky Thump" by The White Stripes
- "Date With the Night" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- "Generals and Majors" by XTC
- "Breezeblocks" by Alt-J
- "Lifted Up (1985)" by Passion Pit
- "New Year's Day" by U2
- "Disorder" by Joy Division
- "I Will Follow" by U2
- "HUMBLE." by Kendrick Lamar
- "Sleepyhead" by Passion Pit
- "Rum Hee" by Shugo Tokumaru
- "Sunday Morning" by The Velvet Underground & Nico
- "Wouldn't It Be Nice" by The Beach Boys
- "Little Secrets" by Passion Pit
- "Ms" by Alt-J
- "With Or Without You" by U2
- "Something Good" by Alt-J
- "Crosseyed and Painless" by Talking Heads
- "What Little Love" by THE NOVEMBERS
- "Venus in Furs" by The Velvet Underground & Nico
- "The End" by The Doors
- "Tightrope" by Shugo Tokumaru
- "Even Time Ages" by THE NOVEMBERS
- "Flowers in Your Hair" by The Lumineers
- "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
- "Voice" by Hiromi
- "Tesselate" by Alt-J
- "Linne" by Shugo Tokumaru
- "Lahaha" by Shugo Tokumaru
- "Femme Fatale" by The Velvet Underground & Nico
- "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers
- "Skeletons" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- "Maps" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- "Mayor of Simpleton" by XTC
- "Slowly, Slowly" by The Mowgli's
- "Into the Green" by Cinema Staff
- "Somebody to Love" by Queen
- "Kimi To Hitsuji To Ao" by RADWIMPS
- "Cheated Hearts" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- "Hounds of Love" by Futureheads
- "The Blacker the Berry" by Kendrick Lamar
- "Yokubou o Sakebe" by OKAMOTO'S
- "Great Escape" by Cinema Staff
- "Kaishin No Ichigeki" by RADWIMPS