Here’s an entire playlist from Starbucks. You actually had to buy one of those sugary frozen drinks or something to get it. It came out in May and we didn’t get summer until roughly August 15th, making the playlist yet another source of bitterness. God I hate it here.
Unlike most Starbucks selections, with their slant toward singers with novel voices, this seems to be mostly straightforward, pretty good rock bands without too much exciting about them. If I hadn’t known The Airborne Toxic Event, I would have been thrilled to discover them. As it is, Matt Nathanson’s and Parts & Labor’s songs were great discoveries and most of the rest were new songs from bands I am vaguely familiar with.
- Telekinesis: “Country Lane” – I want to hate this more given my review of their previous album, but I happen to think this one’s pretty good. Straight out of the Telekinesis playbook. Like.
- Cold War Kids: “Skip The Charades” – Great beginning. Shouldn’t this be “Skip The Charade” singular? Otherwise it’s kind of like skipping the game. Straightforward rock about troubled relationship. Almost good enough to keep, especially since I have nothing else from this band, but I’ll keep it at like.
- Fleet Foxes: “Battery Kinzie” – Jesus I hate Fleet Foxes so bad. As soon as Robin Pecknold starts singing I fly into a rage. It’s so wrong. They are, not my reaction. But after several listens this may finally be growing on me. If I’m in a good enough mood, this is like, so we’ll be generous and leave it at that.
- Matt Nathanson: “Faster” – Great energy. Almost has a “Life Is A Highway” vibe, which is another song I initially disliked only to later love. Lyrics about the object of his desire making his heart beat faster. Is it a song about his love for a city? “You’re all night noise/Your sirens howl.” “You bite my lip.” I guess the metaphor doesn’t quite hold up. Keep.
- Parts & Labor: “Rest” – Sounds crazy familiar. Definitely leans on early Pink Floyd, but it’s also just good rock and roll. Love the chorus. Where do I know this from? Mix.
- The Airborne Toxic Event: “Half Of Something Else” – It’s encouraging that they selected the best song from their album for the playlist. I’ll mark it as mix, which it was then, but it’s obviously really a ditch since I don’t need to keep this lossy version around.
- Death Cab For Cutie: “Underneath The Sycamore” – It’s fashionable to bash Death Cab For Cutie now. I don’t really know them, and I’m sure their earlier work was better. But this song is not bad. Great chimes sounds in the second verse. Like.
- Peter Bjorn And John: “Eyes” – These guys have never really re-captured the magic of their whistling “Young Folks,” or whatever it was called. This is fine, but fairly nondescript. Like “Young Folks” it relies on one little hook repeated, this time a quick seven-note guitar riff. Like.
- Booker T. Jones: “Just A Friend (feat. Biz Markie, Matt Berninger, and Sharon Jones) (Bonus Track)”- Basically a cover of the original. Hardly any change in the lyrics and, with its gruffer voice, sucked any charm there was out of the original, leaving only the neanderthal misogyny and ridiculously awful lyrics. Why is he shown where door three is “for the moment”? Does door three move around? And why does he add that he met the woman “from the U.S. nation.” Wouldn’t that information be assumed? And that’s just scratching the surface. Ditch.
- We Are Augustines: “Chapel Song” – I think I ditched a song from these guys in the iTunes mix. No, that was Augustana. Indistinguishable band alert. Actually this song is better than that one. “Tear off the forklift/Cuz it’s a bright blue sky”? There’s no way that word is “photograph.” Not sure from this song why WNYC’s John Schaefer is all goopy for them, but like.