We’re in the middle of the semester. The middle of the semester sucks. Classes are hard and tests are harder. All I want to do is break free from the library and walk out to the arboretum and really enjoy the pleasant fall weather. I want to just lie down on the quad and listen to some really soulful music. Some music like this…
1 – “Wavering Lines” – Willis Earl Beal:
I listened to an interview with Willis Earl Beal the other day, and the guy is simply amazing. He is humble, insightful and passionate about what he is doing. His voice is also unbelievably soulful. He recently released his sophomore album, which featured much cleaner recordings. It moves me.
2 – “Intuition” – Feist:
I saw Feist about a year and a half ago. The concert gave me the chills. She sings with power and intention. I’m still shivering.
3 – “DLM” – James Blake:
My best friend introduced me to the song “I Never Learnt to Share” by James Blake a few summers ago while driving around the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. I’ve been a massive fan ever since. James Blake does amazing things with a synthesizer, but his vocal control is even more unbelievable.
4 – “Mbira In The Morass” – Volcano Choir:
This song has a different kind of soul to it. Justin Vernon really knows how to get it right. The silence and dissonance in this song give it a sort of feeling that feels mildly uncomfortable, but just so right.
5 – “Via Chicago” – Wilco:
This recording of Via Chicago blows me away. This song is a surprisingly sweet song about murder and what not. This song also might be Wilco’s best live song because of those chaotic moments in the middle. Jeff Tweedy stays still as a stone, in a John Entwistle kind of way.
6 – “Pepertual Blues Machine” – Keb’ Mo’:
Listening to this, it’s hard to believe Keb’ Mo’ was not born and raised in New Orleans. He’s definitely got that feel though. And it feels good.
7 – “Asleep” – The Smiths:
This song has been stuck into my head now for a few days. Morrissey has the kind of voice that you consciousness could just blend into. The piano part in this one is also just perfect. I’d let Morrissey sing me to sleep.
8 – “Travelin’ On” – Norah Jones:
The mood of this song is just perfectly melancholy. I could dig it on a good or bad day. This song just says that everything is okay. It’s all alright.
9 – “Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming” – Sufjan Stevens:
As a Jew, a lot of people think it is weird that Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. It’s just a time of the year when everyone just decides to be happy, and I dig that. I also really love Christmas music. If there were three Kings of Christmas music (pun intended), Sufjan Stevens would be right up there with Sinatra and Irving Berlin.
10 – “Evening Kiss” – Willis Earl Beal:
This is from Willis Earl Beal’s first album. It was recoreded on a karaoke machine with a $20 microphone from RadioShack. This song is the truth. The low-fi recording mixed with Beal’s sincere confessions is just the truth. It’s soulful, really soulful.