Hello! I’m Sammy and welcome to my playlist! Things are going to get kinda dancey, kinda funky, and then they’ll mellow out to send you back out into your day. Hope ya like it!
1: All Good Things – Thom Hell
This smooth singin’ guy from Norway always strikes the right note between bright and relaxed. There’s something about this song that makes you feel like, “Yeah, I should do the thing!”
It’s a feeling of potential. The potential to get going on the goals you want in life, the potential to start that project you’ve been putting off, the potential that you’ll enjoy this playlist. You know… potential!
2: Moon Rock – Paul Steel
And BLAST OFF! I can’t remember how I found Paul Steel, but I’m sure glad I did. This song never fails to pick me up with the sense of wonder and adventure it creates. It’s just so dang whimsical! I can picture myself inside a tiny spaceship.
Oh and by the way, have any of you ever played Audiosurf? This song is SO FUN to play on Audiosurf.
3: Imagination – Miami Horror
This is another never-fail picker-upper of a song! It captures that feeling of having a scatterbrained imagination, where it’s like you’re constantly generating odd little tidbits that inspire you, but it’s hard to unscramble them and express them to other people in a coherent fashion.
It’s fine though, just bop along to that fantastic retro sound!
4: My Love – The Bird and the Bee
Need a poppy, atmospheric, kinda weird love song? Here you go! The Bird and The Bee is SO GOOD, you guys. I love Inara George’s vocals and the instrumentation and production is by Greg Kurstin, the guy who won a bajillion Grammys last year.
Fun fact: Until writing this article, I thought Inara was singing “I get excited when I think of crawling into your eyes” instead of “into your arms.” Honestly, I wouldn’t have put it past these two to have “crawling into your eyes” as a lyric. They’re quirky like that.
5: You’ll Be Mine – The Pierces
If you’re looking for a kickass sister band, check out The Pierces! I love the gorgeously dark and magical atmosphere in this song. For me, it evokes images of powerful women standing on mountains, defiantly facing down rolling thunderclouds.
Nothing wrong with getting a little spooky!
6: She Never – TalkFine
“Sooooomething aaaaaaalways remiiiiiinds me of heeeeeer…”
Ugh, what do I even say about this song other than I will passionately lip sync and dance to it in my seat when I’m listening to it while in the office alone (and often when I am not).
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I adore anything that evokes that retro funky disco feel and this is like, peak that.
7: Good Friend – Emily King
Oh yes, let’s continue to get funky! I was introduced to the music of Emily King recently and I’m still getting into her stuff but oh my goodness she is amazing. So smooth!
Also, if you ever want a gorgeous slow jam that perfectly encapsulates the importance of remaining an individual person while in a relationship, listen to her song “Distance.” Do it!
8: Cats Theme Pt. 1 – Cats
INSTRUMENTAL BREAK! Full disclosure, this is my partner Hubert’s band, so my opinion might be a little biased, but for real, this song will get you groooooving!
Honestly, I love the guy, but I wouldn’t put his song here if I didn’t think it was great and boy howdy is it! GET PUMPED.
9: Sky Mall – Vulfpeck
Everyone needs a little Vulfpeck in their lives, especially if the song is as upbeat as Sky Mall! If you’re going to clap along to a song, definitely make it this one. This track takes that bright, jingly, ad-style music and turns it into something incredible.
See if you can catch the part where a keyboard leg fell down during recording and it doesn’t throw anyone off because they are just too funky, guys. SO GOOD.
10: By Your Side, Pt. 2 – Breakbot
Take a breath after that crazy bass breakdown because we’re not done dancing yet!
I feel like I look particularly dorky bopping around to this one and my smooth moves probably don’t do the song justice, but it’s all good fun. Few songs make me wish more that I owned a pair of bell bottoms.
11: Grand Illusion – Miami Horror
WHAT IS THIS?! ARE WE IN A VIDEO GAME?! Let’s turn up the energy once more. Pretend you’re in a space shooter zooming towards the final boss, swerving past asteroids and enemy fire with the calm determination of a captain on a galaxy-saving mission.
…I mean, that’s what I think of, anyway.
12: Highway Broken – glue70
Let’s chill a bit. I used to make fairly regular trips to Toronto last year, and I would often listen to this track as I walked through the core. It perfectly captures the feeling of traversing through a busy but steadily-paced urban downtown. The cold greys of the buildings, the forward momentum of trips made in tunnel-visioned isolation, that eerie feeling of being alone together with dozens of other people…
Also I found out about this artist because another one of their songs was mashed up for use in a dumb Youtube meme, so there’s that.
13: One Marathon – Reverie Sound Revue
Here’s a hometown favourite… if your hometown is Calgary, like mine is! WOOOAH. Unfortunately these guys weren’t together for very long, but their first EP is spectacular and it always evokes images of downtown Calgary for me.
This song was prominent in the classic Canadian teen drama Radio Free Roscoe (2003-2006) which is where I first heard it, so it’s definitely connected to a lot of nostalgia for me personally. It’s also just a wonderfully dreamy tune.
14: Supervillain – Olivia and the Creepy Crawlies
Gee Bill, two hometowns? London certainly feels like home to me after 6 ½ years, and as I explore musical groups from London, how could I not listen to Olivia and the Creepy Crawlies?
This song evokes awesome Scott Pilgrim-esque superhero imagery (which seems appropriate with Bryan Lee O’Malley also being from here and all) and that combo of of pure poppiness with some darker lyrics is a winning combo for me.
15: My Emotions Are Blinding – Tennis
So halfway through last year, I stumbled across this track in a Discover Weekly playlist, ended up listening to Tennis’ 2017 release Yours Conditionally, and guys, I have not been able to stop listening to that album since. Like, it was my most listened album of 2017 by a wide margin.
This song in particular is a fantastic tongue-in-cheek skewering of gender stereotypes when it comes to emotions. “I get hysterical. It’s empirical.”
16: I Saw the Light – Todd Rundgren
Here’s an actual retro song! When I first heard Tennis, the sound instantly reminded me of this Todd Rundgren classic.
I thank my folks for raising me on The Beatles, 1960s bubblegum pop, and great tunes like this. THANKS MOM AND DAD!
17: Running Away – Joey Dosik
This is just a really pretty song. Kinda melancholy, kinda hopeful, with a dreamy 60s/70s soul-style haze over it. Snap and groove along as you think about the one who got away. Joey is a frequent collaborator with Vulfpeck and together they recorded another version of this song for Vulf’s 2017 release, Mr. Finish Line. Both version are fantastic and each has a slightly different feel.
I got to see this performed live last year and the “Woo-ooo-ooo-hoo!” parts are very fun to sing along with.
18: I’m Not in Love – 10cc
Now we’re really mellowing it out by hopping back to the 1970s again with this classic from 10cc. I often feel compelled to sing out loud to this one (I definitely make sure I am alone – no one needs to hear that). How many other songs capture so accurately the feeling of being afraid to love? Also, this is the most 1970s thing ever.
You might recognize this as the song that opened Guardians of the Galaxy! Man, that movie had a fantastic soundtrack.
19: Needle and a Knife – Tennis
MORE! MORE TENNIS I SAY! Well, they were my favourite artist that I discovered last year, what could I do? This song is from a different release, 2014’s Ritual in Repeat, but still has that oh so tasty 1970s lush pop feel.
Alaina Moore’s vocals layer so beautifully and they pull on my tiny little heartstrings.
20: Darkening Sky – The Nines
Still need a little pickup after those slightly sadder songs? Gone is the darkening sky! Hubert was reminding me that I put this song on a mix CD I gave him for our first anniversary, and I certainly think of him whenever I listen to it. Aww.
The Nines are the primarily studio-based project of Toronto musician Steve Eggers and they are extremely prolific. If you like XTC in particular (Steve sounds eerily like Andy Partridge), there’s lots to listen to!
THANKS FOR LISTENING! I hope this playlist can pick you up whenever you need it, get you dancing, and then chill you out to keep enjoying your day!