Filtered by Category: Playlists

Just Good Bops: August

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

It’s Leo season! Which, to the best of my understanding, means it’s time to…show off your good hair??? I don’t know y’all, I’m doing my best to decipher whatever the hell the Co–Star app is telling me. But what I do know is that Rachel is a Leo, and when it’s your birthday you get control of the metaphorical aux cord — so a bunch of this month’s songs are requests. [Ed. note: Listen, if you can’t handle me at my Taylor Swift “Delicate,” you don’t deserve me at my Tracy Chapman “Fast Car”!!!]

Once you’re on Spotify, you should really click through and listen to these albums in full:

Dedicated, Carly Rae Jepsen

Back in July, I — and all of Brooklyn, it seemed — saw Carly Rae Jepsen perform at Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, and this tweet perfectly sums up my experience:

Dedicated is relaxed ‘80s pop — Jepsen joked that the working title of the album was Music to Clean Your House To. It’s chill, romantic disco, and I can personally attest to the life-changing magic of Carly Rae Jepsen soundtracking the act of scrubbing a toilet. (Dedicated makes tedious and awful chores fun! Or at the very least, tolerable). “Want You In My Room,” “Real Love,” and “Too Much” are my stand-out tracks.

i,i, Bon Iver

i,i is Justin Vernon’s fourth album released under the Bon Iver moniker, and per the band’s own description, “The 13 new songs on i,i complete a cycle: from the winter of For Emma, Forever Ago came the frenetic spring of Bon Iver, Bon Iver, and the unhinged summer of 22, A Million. Now, fall arrives early with i,i.” With fall just on the horizon, this album feels like a lovely treat. It has all the familiar elements of a Bon Iver song — it swells, towers, and then crashes; it feels lush, warm, and dreamy — but with a newfound fearless conviction. The lyrics are as obtuse as ever, though.


And here’s the usual disclaimer! I’ve never been good at curating a playlist that ebbs and flows in just the right way, so just throw this shit on shuffle and have a good time. 🎧

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Just Good Bops: July

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Happy 4th of July, everyone! When I think of the 4th of July, I think of barbecuing. And when I think of barbecuing, I don’t actually think of “manning the grill” — I think of three to four friends hovering around the host’s grill, offering vague suggestions for how to get the coals going (is that even a thing??? I’m my own friend and I’m offering myself useless lighter fluid “advice”) while everyone else drinks beers and melts in the 88 degree heat. Which is all to say: when I think of July, I think of mellow time spent with friends. And because indie rock pairs nicely with low-key hangs, I used it as a jumping off point for this playlist.

Once you’re on Spotify, you should really click through and listen to these albums in full:

Hurry on Home, Sleater Kinney

Ok, so this isn’t technically an album (it’s just a single), but I wanted to call it out because not only is it the riot grrrl band’s first new song since their 2015 album No Cities To Love, it’s also an Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, collaboration. Obviously I’m living for the ~ drama ~ of Carrie Brownstein working with her ex, but St. Vincent is an unbelievably talented guitarist who mixes jazz and prog rock into songs that slap. I’m also a big Talking Heads fan, so the 2012 joint St. Vincent and David Byrne album, Love This Giant, is a personal favorite of mine, but I digress. More important: this gives me an opportunity to share the best Portlandia sketch.


Fucking Money Man, Rosalía

This also isn’t an album; it’s two tracks that Rosalía released as bundle yesterday. She took out a full page ad in the business section (!!!) of the Spanish newspaper, El País, that says “Fucking Money Man.” Between this ad, the album cover art, and the daytime game show inspired music video for “Milionària”, everything about this release has been a delight. I’m in awe of Rosalía and her ability to release absolute bangers on such a consistent basis.

And here’s the usual disclaimer! I’ve never been good at curating a playlist that ebbs and flows in just the right way, so just throw this shit on shuffle and have a good time. 🎧

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Just Good Bops: June

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

June’s here! It’s hot! It’s time to go outside and show the world your legs and arms and feet! With that in mind, I tried to make this month’s playlist broad so that it can cover any number of outdoor/outdoor-adjacent summer activities of varying energy levels — from laid-back beach days (surreptitiously drinking wine spritzes out of view of the lifeguards) to raucous weddings (hitting the dance floor with your drunk extended family members).

And once you’re on Spotify, you should really click through and listen to these albums in full:

Hot Chip, Why Make Sense?

Hot Chip consistently makes excellent pop music with R&B and house undertones. Their dance songs are fun (funny, even!) and their sweet songs are romantic, lush, and wistful. I included a song from their 2015 album, Why Make Sense?, which Pitchfork aptly described as, “probably the fourth-best Hot Chip album. But that’s not necessarily a knock, because their fourth-best album is still a very good album.” Give this album a listen, and make sure you carve out time for songs like “Boy From School,” “Over and Over,” “Ready For The Floor,” and “Look At Where We Are.”

D’Angelo / The Vanguard, Black Messiah

D’Angelo hadn’t released an album in 14 years and then, with no warning, he decided to pull the biggest flex and released an unbelievable album that spoke to the national unrest sparked by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. If you like blues, funk, soul, or R&B, then you’ll like Black Messiah. It’s weary and funky. Make sure you listen to “Sugah Daddy” and “Another Life.”

Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory

If you’re like me and you want your club bangers to come with a side of commentary on class and entitlement, then look no further than Big Fish Theory. The songs are explosive and manic in the best way possible. And I know that this is meant to be a music recommendation blog post, but Vince Staples is also an extremely good Twitter follow (but he has a habit of deleting his best tweets).


And here’s the usual disclaimer! I’ve never been good at curating a playlist that ebbs and flows in just the right way, so just throw this shit on shuffle and have a good time. 🎧

🍑

Just Good Bops: May

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Y'all already know how I feel about April, and even though May is usually an improvement on April, it’s still not consistently warm enough to make loud, energetic, danceable, and cheerful songs feel appropriate. May is June with training wheels. Summer Jr. if you will!


This month’s tracks are best enjoyed walking down a tree-lined street, looking up at the gaps of sunlight peeking through the leaves. (Fun fact: there’s an untranslatable Japanese word — komorebi — for sunlight filtering through the trees.)



And once you’re on Spotify, you should really click through and listen to these albums in full:

The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding

I included a song from this album on last month’s playlist, and I couldn’t help adding another this month. The War on Drugs sound like Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty with a side of synth. (Pitchfork has a great article on the history of heartland sync rock, if you’re that type of nerd.) Much like Mitski’s Puberty 2, A Deeper Understanding is an album I find myself returning to over and over again. It’s also great background music for parties! It’s mid-tempo enough to fill the room with warmth, but it’s not too distracting either. This is very much summer BBQ fare — the shit you should be grilling to.

Better Oblivion Community Center, Better Oblivion Community Center

Definitely listen to the Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst collab on the playlist, but — more important — just listen to Phoebe Bridgers! Regardless of whether she’s performing on her own or performing alongside Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus she’s got a folk sensibility that’s infused with an earnestness that feels genuine, not grating. If nothing else, listen to her song “Motion Sickness.”

Nilüfer Yanya, Miss Universe

I was predisposed to like Nilüfer Yanya’s new album because her song “Baby Luv” is such a banger, but I knew I was in for a treat when I read this in Pitchfork’s review of Yanya’s album: “Yanya, on her debut album, has shocked her desolate confrontations into some of the most adventurous pop-rock crucibles since Mitski’s Puberty 2.” (This blog is Mitski stan account as long as I’m involved!!!) Yanya’s synth and island vibes make for a great not-quite-yet-summer album to put into your rotation. 🎧


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Just Good Bops: April

I like to think I am pretty good at recommending things, but I also know my limits — which is why I will not be the one creating regular playlists for Just Good Shit. My taste in music is what’s known in ~ the biz ~ as “bad.” Anyway, I asked Kiyana — who designed Just Good Shit and its very cute concomitant emoji graphics — to make regular playlists of Good Shit for you (and also for me). Here’s the first one! —Rachel ✨

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

I was pretty reluctant to believe that I experienced seasonal mood changes — I like winter! I think snow is cozy and magical! — but my Spotify playlists tell a contradictory story. I definitely use the weather as a cue to soundtrack my mood. When it’s too cold to venture outside, I’m listening to aching folk music, while summer calls for bare arms and island-adjacent pop music.

TBH, it’s hard to make a playlist for April because April is kind of terrible. One minute the sun is out and I feel a BRIEF glimmer of joy, and the next minute it’s freezing and windy and I'm swearing under my breath as I rummage around for my umbrella and winter coat. So a good April playlist is all about slow burn anticipation. I’m as ready for warm weather as everyone, but it’s too early in the season for horny, glittery rap flutes. It has to be above at least, like, 73 degrees for that to be OK. Until then, I’ll be listening to mid-tempo songs that imperceptibly build and swell until they burst.

BTW! Once you’re on Spotify, you should really click through and listen to these albums in full:

Mitski, Be The Cowboy

Mitski’s Puberty 2 soundtracked the entirety of my 2017 and 2018, so when she followed it up with Be The Cowboy, I was ecstatic. Have you ever experienced that feeling where you love something so much you feel incapable of talking about it? Yeah, that’s me right now, trying to write about Mitski. Just listen to this album, I swear it’s good.

Weyes Blood, Titanic Rising

In the same way that Mitski (rightfully!!) dominated 2018 with Be The Cowboy, I think you’re going to hear a lot about Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising this year. Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood) calls herself a “nostalgic futurist” — think Joni Mitchell, but if Joni Mitchell was singing about Tinder instead of environmentalism.

ROSALÍA, El Mal Querer

A buddy of mine described ROSALÍA as having “the most beautiful voice in the entire world” and, yeah, she’s really fucking good. Pitchfork described this album as being an example of “woman-flexing R&B,” which about sums it up. Make sure you listen to “PIENSO EN TU MIRÁ - Cap. 3: Celos” and her sort-of cover of “Cry Me A River,” “BAGDAD - Cap.7: Liturgia.”


Also! I’ve never been good at curating a playlist that ebbs and flows in just the right way, so just throw this shit on shuffle and have a good time. 🎧

🍑