Starving Saturdays 11/2/2019

I've been posting curated music playlists to Spotify off and on since last year, and I recently I decided to make it a weekly feature on the website. I'll give a breakdown of the songs and artists chosen as well as a little background on why these artists were featured.

I've been feeling a bit melancholy and low recently, so as I often do, I turned to music. I caught myself listening to the same types of songs over and over, and I decided to turn that informal rotation into a playlist I wanted to share. The best way to describe this mood is 'purple'. I tend to see images in the songs I hear and hopefully those descriptions will illustrate my mood. Enjoy.

(W)here - Holy Other

I first heard of Holy Other from one of my favorite YouTubers and ever since then he's maintained a spot on all sorts of playlists. Mysterious and enigmatic, his music reflects that persona through a deep, dark house base full of distortions and voices. It sounds like a party in slow motion, the blur and haze of falling in and out of a one-night love.

Rune - Clams Casino

I've been a big fan of Clams Casino since Long.Live.A$AP, mostly due to his moody production style. It sounds like what you'd hear if you went to a kickback in Atlantis, an underwater style full of ghostly voices and a vibe reminiscent of the lo-fi that's had a resurgence in popularity in recent years. After a few years of silence, this is his return track, which does not disappoint.

Mirror Maru - Cashmere Cat

This absolute beauty of a song came to my attention in the most unlikely of places, that being Grand Theft Auto V. As much as I love jumping out of blimps with laser guns, this song made me re-appreciate the detail and love put into these environments, and listening to it apart from the game gives you that same sense of love and detail.

On Melancholy Hill - Gorillaz

"Up on melancholy hill, there's a plastic tree/are you here with me/just looking out on the day of another dream/well you can't get what you want but you can get me/". These lyrics are absolutely gorgeous in the saddest, most honest way. They're poetic without pretentiousness and express the feelings of love, loss and hope.

Weekend featuring Miguel - Mac Miller

Mac Miller was always one of those "vibe rappers", as I call them. They won't necessarily wow you with flow or dizzy you with bars, but they will take your emotions and feelings and put them into the dopest adjectives you've ever heard. Weekend is a great example of that, especially with Miguel's wistful, earnest vocals complementing Miller's raspy, cool voice. It sounds like he's patiently impatient in his bars, floating over the beat and over the weekdays. Rest in peace Mac.

Mural Jr. - Lupe Fiasco

Mural's father is a nine-minute odyssey into the mind of the best lyricist of all-time. If Mac Miller is a vibe rapper, Lupe is on the opposite end of the spectrum, a "rappity-rapper" whose methods sometimes outweigh his message. Don't get me wrong, Lupe's message has always been strong, but since his 2004 debut, he's always made you earn the insight and meaning into his songs. Which is what makes Junior so interesting. Where Mural is excessive and obsessive, Mural Jr. is restrained and reclusive. But that's the beauty of it, and Lupe knows that. Even the video reflects the idea, a spoken word exhibition underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, unaccompanied by even a beat. Drogas Wave is not a happy album, but Mural Jr. ends the project with hope, concisely expressed in final words: "But this Junior's Mural".

That Power - Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino definitely leans toward the "vibe rapper" scale, making what I consider the best vibe rap album ever, Because The Internet. But before that magnum opus of emotion and expression, Childish Gambino was a slash trying to make his way in the rap world. When I say "slash", I mean he was another actor/rapper in a long line of actor/rappers. And although Camp isn't a great album, it's still a good album (better than a 1.6, who let that rock). And to be quite honest, That Power starts as a good not great song, kind of what we've come to expect over the past twelve tracks (except Letter Home, good lord, that song is fantastic). But the the outro happens. I have a lot of opinions on DC Pierson, I think he's the absolute low point of those early Gambino mixtapes, but the story he creates for the outro is absolutely incredible. Summer love, childish expectations, adult realizations gel together to form some of the most amazing storytelling hip-hop has had in years.

New Person, Same Old Mistakes - Tame Impala

If I have one regret, it's not getting into Tame Impala earlier. I heard this song at Pharos Joshua Tree watching an early premiere for the first season of Atlanta and I immediately fell in love with it. It sounds like falling asleep in one dream and waking up in another and the lyrics are an interesting mix of introspective and wistful. Tame Impala has become kind of the go-to indie rock band and songs like this are kind of the blueprint as to why. Currents is such an interesting album because it's full of gems like this and New Person, Same Old Mistakes is a worthy flagship for this group.

Groupie Love featuring A$AP Rocky - Lana Del Rey

Quick story: I was at Camp Flog Gnaw a few years ago and Lana Del Rey performed. I met this really cool girl from Canada and fell in love with her that night, since Lana Del Rey's sultry, smoky voice provided the perfect heartbroken soundtrack to a I'm-only-in-the-city-for-one-night weekend in Los Angeles. And this song does much the same. A$AP Rocky and Lana Del Rey's relationship is fascinating to me because their music sounds almost Romeo And Juliet-esque in how their opposites attract. Rocky being the Harlem drug dealer-turned-rapper and Lana being the upstate girl dreaming of past glamours. This record is another melancholy masterpiece from the two.

Hold My Liquor - Kanye West

Kanye West's Yeezus era was special for the way he arrogantly talked about his insecurities. Hold My Liquor is my standout track from this album, with Kanye taking Chief Keef's aggression and Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon's sense of grounding and turning it into the angriest cry for help you've ever heard. I know this album is pretty divisive, but the way this record comes together is bitter and brutal in the best ways.

Puke featuring Nyck Caution, Erick The Architect, Meechy Darko and AKTHESAVIOR - Beast Coast

When I heard Beast Coast was finally making an album together, I expected to hear the mosh pit smashes from Flatbush Zombies and Underachievers' joint EP Clockwork Indigo. I was pleasantly (Powers Pleasant, that is) surprised at the raw emotional depth of how the project came together. Usually rowdy and rambunctious, the New York ultragroup made up of Joey Bada$$, Nyck Caution, CJ Fly, Powers Pleasant, Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers made a very introspective album closer to August Greene than Wu-Tang Clan. Despite the title, this is another look-mama-I-made-it-song, even if it's from the perspective of a wild night out.

Zanarkand - Nobuo Uematsu

It's so pretty. Square Enix has always had amazing music and Nobuo Uematsu is so skilled at capturing the mood of the games in his soundtracks. For the past thirty-two years, Uematsu has given voice to the sprawling, heartfelt fantasies that have been a gaming mainstay. Taking a indefinite hiatus in 2018, if Uematsu retired from composing today, he'd still be probably the most influential composer in video games.

Alyssa Interlude - Vince Staples

Vince Staples is different. A gangster rapper from Long Beach shouldn't be making introspective tracks over EDM instrumentals, but he does, because Vince Staples can't be boxed in. Nothing proves that more than Alyssa Interlude from Vince's Big Fish Theory, a sample of an Amy Winehouse interview that has Vince's shrill voice quietly wishing it would rain that seems like a muted commentary on life in sun-soaked Los Angeles.

Spiral - Nujabes

Man, Nujabes is special. He was a legend of the lo-fi movement and a pioneer in the Japanese hip-hop scene, his music was featured in the legendary Shinchiro Watanabe anime Samurai Champloo, bringing him to prominence in the underground. All his albums are classics, but Spiral is one of those songs that I use as a primer when I tell someone they'd like Nujabes. It really encompasses his style and is a great primer on his discography.

Instant Crush - Daft Punk featuring Julian Casablancas

I've never really listened to The Strokes, but I think after hearing Casablancas' voice in all of its pained auto-tuned love, I think I'm going to have to start. This is one of my favorite albums of all time, Random Access Memories is the most human of Daft Punk's discography and there's actually a few songs that could've made the cut here, but Daft Punk created a song with an air of mystery due to the heavy use of distortion and auto-tune that makes you earn the satisfaction of understanding.

Nikes - Frank Ocean

It's not very often I hit repeat on an opening song on the first listen, but Nikes isn't an opening song, it's an opening salvo. This isn't Nostalgia, Ultra. This isn't Channel Orange. This is something completely different. Frank Ocean is pained and lovelorn on this album and this record introduces that. Sure, the beat change on Nights is legend. Yes, White Ferrari is haunting. And I know Andre 3000 is on Solo Reprise and he's rapping. But none of that happens without Nikes setting the tone.

Come Away With Me - Norah Jones

My mom introduced me to Norah Jones with this song and it's still one of my go-tos when I'm feeling less than great. Norah Jones has evolved her sound over the years, but Come Away With Me is timeless, sultry and slow, dripping with a melancholy sense of love and passion. The old jazz and R&B feel is so unique, especially when the song came out in 2002. After seventeen years, it still feels as fresh and new as ever.

Sleep Through The Static - Jack Johnson

Growing up in Hawaii, Jack Johnson was one of those living legends carrying the musical torch of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and Willie K. Sleep Through The Static is different than the rest of his albums since Johnson leans into a more political stance. Sleep Through The Static is near-cathartic, the wish of a man to simply have a night of rest in a changing world.

Warm Enough - Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment

Before we continue, this is easily Chance The Rapper's best project. I love Acid Rap, but Nico Segal and the various features on this album really show the range of Chance, allowing him to be Chance The Singer and Chance The Producer. Noname is the undisputed star of this track, her fast monotone flow coming off as what someone really means when you ask them what's wrong and they say nothing. Chance's voice actually mixes really well with Noname's and J. Cole sounds perfect with over slow jazzy beats, allowing him to perform one of the best verses in his career.

Castles Made Of Sand - Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is the best guitarist ever, but his songwriting skills are very underrated. Castles Made Of Sand is a masterclass in storytelling, but not in an obtuse way. You can imagine this song being performed in front of thousands at Woodstock or on an acoustic around a campfire. But the nuance of telling stories of castles made of joy as well as pain is something that's universal.

Check out this week's playlist at:

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