Playlists for going outside 🌳 ☀️ 🌸
+ Ratboys // ROSÉ // Syd // Rostam
“I wanna go outside again,” sings Ratboys’ lead singer Julia Steiner over soft strums on the band’s latest single. “I wanna sit back with the windows down and breathe it all in.” While the pop-punk band has released twangy songs before, this one is pure country — so wistful and earnest that on first listen, it honestly brought to mind Sandy Cheeks’ “I Wanna Go Home” anthem from Spongebob. And while the lyrics sound like a case of Covid Blues, “Go Outside” was actually written in 2019 between tours, about the itch to travel and spend time with loved ones. In other words, the perfect Spring 2021 anthem.
Even better: Steiner paired the song’s release with a “a lil playlist inspired by the itch to go outside and explore” called the great outdoors.
“Go Outside” serves as the final track, following tunes from Fleet Foxes, The Chicks, Wild Pink, Animal Collective, Joni Mitchell, and more. As Steiner tweeted, the mix “makes me want to go on a long ass drive to nowhere!” Hopefully it does the same for you, but if not, here are a couple more top-tier seasonal playlists worth following…
Spring out of pandemic: a mix of seasonal classics and deep cuts for our slow-but-steady return to normal, from L.A. Times deputy managing editor (and Hear Hear reader) Shani O. Hilton. A few sleeper favorites of mine are in here: Albert Hammond Jr.’s indie-rock reinvention of “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright,” Haim’s underrated gem “Leaning On You,” and the mellow “Pass The Vibes” from Chance the Rapper’s work with The Social Experiment. Plus, gems from Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, and others.
can’t hardly wait 2 and spring cleaning: two collections of essential new songs from rising stars like beabadoobee, ROSÉ, Goth Babe, serpentwithfeet, and more. Both playlists are curated by music supervisor Rob Lowry, best known for his excellent work soundtracking Gossip Girl and Ramy, among others.
Dark Blue: songs for “blue hour” or more specifically, “just after the sun fades away and beyond.” This mix for picture-perfect skies is curated by graphic designer and top-notch playlist curator Laura Filas. It’s full of open-air Americana gems from Bob Dylan, Cut Worms, Tennis, Kevin Morby and more.
2021 catch-up: Great songs you might’ve missed
Nearing the end of April also means we’re somehow a third of the way through the year, which is ridiculous. As time does its weird thing, I’ve missed the chance to highlight a few tracks on my ongoing “fave songs of 2021 so far” playlist here in the newsletter. So here’s a little catch-up — and as always, they’re all in the Hear Hear playlist for your listening pleasure.
“Missing Out,” Syd. Released in February as an anti-Valentine’s anthem, Syd’s slow-burn stunner is an addicting swirl of chimes, synths, and smooth vocals. It’s also her first solo track in over three years, but a worthy follow-up to the classic 2018 album Hive Mind from her band, The Internet.
“On The Ground,” ROSÉ. Part of the massively popular K-Pop quartet BLACKPINK, ROSÉ has gone solo with this insanely catchy, impeccably produced bop. Shades of 1989-edition Taylor Swift on this one, mixing confessional guitar pop with electro beat drops and a huge chorus.
“Checking Up,” Adult Mom. Earnest, radiant power-pop with deeply emotional melodies that I haven’t been able to get out of my head for weeks.
“Husha” // “Heat Wave” // “Ring Finger,” Born Ruffians. Extremely aware that I never shut up about this band, but that’s because they keep releasing great music. Pulp is now their third album in 378 days, joining Juice and Squeeze to complete a remarkable trilogy of punchy indie-rock.
“4Runner,” Rostam. The producer extraordinaire and former Vampire Weekend member has continued his string of solid solo tracks. This is the best of the batch, a soothing wall of sound complete with propulsive drums and a surprising-but-very-welcome harmonica.
“Farm Song,” Nervous Dater. This song slots in alongside others (from bands like Ratboys and Pinegrove) that perfectly mesh country twang with punk-rock sensibilities.
We can link, we can build
Tierra Whack’s new LEGO-infused video is as delightful as all her other videos.
I’ve got a bridge to sell you
Thanks to the smash hit “Drivers License” from Olivia Rodrigo, the bridge — the differentiated section of a song usually connecting a verse back to a chorus — is having a moment.
On a recent episode of the great podcast Still Processing, hosts Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham talk about what makes Rodrigo’s bridge so good. (As they mention, it even inspired an instant-classic SNL sketch.) Then, they list their favorite bridges of all-time, from “We Can Work It Out” to “Umbrella.” The full ep is worth a listen, but the NYT also compiled their favorites as a playlist.
Funny enough, music writer Grant Sharples also wrote about the art of the bridge in his latest newsletter, and crowdsourced a playlist of great bridges from Twitter. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a lot of classic arena rock — from The Killers to U2 to Radiohead. (As Sharples writes, few bridges top “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier.”)