Music to Chill By

Aug 31, 2012

Stressed out with the new school year? Work getting you down? Headlines making you want to pull your hair out and hide under the bed? There is nothing worse than being bald, stuck under a bed. Don’t do it! I say you need an excuse to cut out early, mute the phone and go for a joyride with some relaxing tunes.

It’s time for another installment of Laurie’s Friday Playlist!

As usual, you can find all of these songs on iTunes, Amazon and most other MP3 sites. (What I really need is a Glimpses Playlist App! I’ll put that on my to-do list…) Also, I tend toward musical multiple personality disorder and have no problem following electronica with Willie Nelson.
Ready? Okay! Today I bring you…

Laurie’s Answer to a Chill Pill — a Playlist for Stressful Times:

Let’s start out with a nice mellow groove Love is Here to Stay performed by Harry Sweets Edison and his orchestra. It’s my very favorite rendition of the oft-recorded song, and a timeless way to calm down and feel better about the world.
Nice, right? We’ll keep the relaxing vibe with a great B-side from U2, circa 1985: Love Comes Tumbling. I actually met U2 in 1989 and tried to impress Bono by discussing the hidden messages in this song. He wasn’t impressed. (Hint: there are no hidden messages in this song.) I love the trance progression and dreamlike quality and I just swear there is something subversive in those lyrics somewhere.
Feeling relaxed? Good. Let’s move into another ethereal song. This is a cover of Kanye West’s Stronger performed live on BBC Live Lounge by 30 Seconds to Mars. I still can’t believe anyone turned a hip hop dance song into deep, space-rock anthem. You’ve just got to love the Led Zeppelin-like angst in Jared Leto’s plaintive falsetto at the end.
Did someone mention Led Zeppelin? (Petrea Burchard, I’m looking at you.) Everything on Laurie’s Playlist need not be obscure. There is nothing better than Ramble On for a Friday drive.
There now, aren’t we feeling like our problems are about a zillion light years away? Stay with me as we revisit a 90s band I wish had not broken up. Here is Blue, by The Verve from my favorite of their albums: A Storm in Heaven.

While lingering in the 90s, I can’t resist adding Inertia Creeps by Massive Attack from their pivotal album Mezzanine. I love the Middle Eastern beat and dark undercurrents of this track. (The entire album is a mindblower, including samples from artists like Isaac Hayes and Zeppelin.)
Let’s have a little world beat with I Ka Barra by Habib Koité and Bamada. If you like Paul Simon’s Graceland/Rhythm of the Saints period, you’ll love this. (Incidentally, I discovered this track free in my Windows Vista music folder. Who knew Microsoft could be so hip?)
Moving from Senegal all the way to Latin America, I give you Louie Cruz Beltran performing Esperando. I first heard Beltran when he played last month at the South Pasadena Concert Series in Garfield Park. (I apologize for the short song sample on this link. Just trust me and download the entire song.)
Speaking of South Pasadena, Civilians by Joe Henry was recorded at the Garfield House in 2007. The album features guest musicians Loudon Wainwright III, Greg Leisz, Van Dyke Parks and another name South Pas locals recognize: Bill Frisell.
Let’s finish up with our mellow mix with a song that is particularly special for Jon and me. (This one’s for you, groom.) Nobody can feel blue or misunderstood or worked up with a song this hopeful. Here’s I’ll Be Your Mirror by The Velvet Underground featuring Nico.
Happy listening!

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