It was immensely difficult for me to pick just 10 songs…and I truly do love all of the artists that I chose, even if I do rip on them in my description. This list contains mostly new stuff because I constantly listen to new music. There should be something in here for everyone, however. A little rap and a little soft rock never did anyone any wrong. I hope that everyone down there can get down to these tunes over their winter break…I know I will. Thanks for listening!
1. We Used To Be Friends – The Dandy Warhols
A good high energy song to start off the mixtape. I am 99% sure that when you listen to this song, your face will smile. It’s just a natural thing that will happen…like the sun rising or Mondays being infinitely depressing.
2. West Coast – Coconut Records
Who knew that actor Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, Darjeeling Limited, Life Aquatic, etc.), who is most famous for his awkward hair cut, was the front-man of a band? This dreamy song is a little on the sad side, and will probably make you reflect on things you have forgotten.
3. Little Secrets – Passion Pit
This is a man’s voice? No way! Seeing this Boston-based band at Lollapalooza was a little underwhelming, but that’s only because this song is so dance-tastic. It’s hard to recreate live, so you better just listen to it here.
4. Daydreamin’ – Lupe Fiasco
You may be saying to yourself…”Lupe Fiasco??? Like the guy who made that terrible album this year called Lasers”? Well before he was bad, Lupe used to be a lyrical genius, seemingly effortlessly rhyming over artfully selected beats (such as “Daydreaming in Blue”). This is the quintessential song portraying that.
5. What Ever Happened? – The Strokes
Once you get past Julian Casablancas’ self-centered lyrics and giant ego, quite frankly, the Strokes kick ass. This song, the lead track on Room On Fire, is everything a good Strokes song should be. It reminds me of why I was so excited and then semi-disappointed with their new album Angles.
6. See You Soon – Coldplay
This song, while not on any albums, is maybe the most beautiful Coldplay song ever written. It is incredibly simple, featuring Chris Martin over an acoustic guitar. Though I wish I could include the British band on this list more than once, this song is my favorite.
7. The Weight Of Lies – The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers are one of the few bands that is accepted by hipsters and the rural population of my hometown Monticello, Illinois, alike. Folky with a country twang, this song off of their first full length album comes complete with a brutal truthful life lesson. As this song says, “Lies don’t need an aeroplane to chase you anywhere”.
8. Summerscent – Kids These Days
Kids These Days do it all. They’ve got all the parts of a stereotypical big band…plus a rapper. This fusion is just begging to be the next big thing. Did I mention they are all one year out of Chicago’s Whitney Young High School? Better jump on the K.T.D. Bandwagon if you like jazz-rap…and who doesn’t like jazz-rap.
9. Faces In The Dark – Generationals
This song, off of possibly one of the most underrated albums of recent memory, is a jam for sure. It sounds care-free and light. Try not to tap your foot or clap your hands…it’s really hard…I tried.
10. Only One – Smith Westerns
In my opinion, Chicago’s own Smith Westerns have produced the best song off of the best album of 2011. Many times I have been walking down the quad when the beginning guitar riff enters my ears and I start to stomp to the rhythm. I probably look like an idiot…but I don’t care because this song is so good. Play it for a girl (or guy) that you fancy…they’ll dig it. Also, go see them at the Metro on February 3rd. I’ll be there.