12 songs, 54 min, 7 min reading time.
Frances contributes this standout first playlist to help you if you’re procrastinating!
1) “Lilac Wine” – Jeff Buckley
This song’s been covered many many times but it’s Jeff Buckley’s weepy voice and sparse instrumentation that make the tune (which is basically about a person getting really drunk to try and get over their ex) so bittersweet.
Album: “Grace” (1994)
Label: Columbia Records
2) “À quoi ça sert” – Françoise Hardy
One of my main motivations for maintaining my French is so I can understand Françoise Hardy’s lyrics. These ones are about the pointlessness of living your life alone (a stance I’m currently inclined to disagree with).
Album: “Comment te dire adieu (Remasterisé en 2016)” (1968)
3) “Cello Concerto in E Minor” – Edward Elgar
I listen to this when I’m about to make a big decision e.g a couple of weeks ago when I decided to move to Moscow for the summer. Beautiful piece on my favourite of all the instruments. Worth also mentioning this interpretation is by the world renowned Jacqueline du Pré, who in this recital lives up to her reputation as one of the greatest cellists of all time.
Album: “The Sound of Jacqueline Du Pré” (2012)
Label: EMI Records
4) “Confessions” – BADBADNOTGOOD
This is one of my revision tracks, which I think illustrates my days at the library quite well – a fair amount of monotony, interspersed with notes of melancholy and longing.
Album: “III” (2014)
Label: Innovative Leisure
5) “Deantown” – Vulfpeck
One of my favourite basslines by one of my favourite feel good bands. I’ve recently gathered the courage to venture into the free weights section of the gym and have been playing this when there.
Album: “The Beautiful Game” (2016)
Label: Vulf Records
6) “Monsters, Inc.” – Randy Newman
My brother recommended the Monsters Inc. soundtrack to me and I’m glad he did – I’ve been listening to it when walking to the library on particularly sunny days – a happy beginning to days of vague misery.
7) “Boyfriend (Repeat)” – Confidence Man
A friend from home put this on our shared Spotify playlist. A group of us then spent an entire car journey thoroughly dissecting all the issues of the relationship discussed in this song. That aside, it’s a fun track with a fun subject.
Album: “Confident Music for Confident People” (2018)
Label: Heavenly Recordings
8) “If It Wasn’t For The Nights” – ABBA
I (possibly deservedly) get a lot of stick for my love of ABBA but at least one of their songs will always find its way onto one of my playlists. Similarly to my experience with most ABBA tracks, it took me probably until my 5th listen of this song to realise it’s actually quite sad and not just happy pop.
Album: “Voulez-Vous” (1979)
Label: 2001 Polar Music International
9) “Nobody” – Mitski
Sometimes when I feel a little bit sad, I decide to listen to a bit of Mitski and subsequently spend the next 24 hours feeling like my life’s going to be an eternal hell of loneliness and despair. This is one of her slightly more depressing songs.
Album: “Be the Cowboy” (2018)
Label: Dead Oceans
10) “For the Sun” – Marissa Nadler
I really like Marissa Nadler’s ghostly vocals combined with the threatening guitar ostinato. I started listening to her ages ago in 2014 and this song, released this month, shows how much she’s changed since then.
Single: “For the Sun” (2019)
Label: Sacred Bones Records
11) “Skyline” – Bedouine
Another song which I spent a long time listening to without paying attention to the lyrics. When I finally clocked what the song was about (regret, thinking about the past, missing people), I put it on repeat yet again.
Album: “Bedouine (Deluxe)” (2017)
Label: Spacebomb Records
12) “Oy, Dusya, Oy, Marusya” – Otava Yo
This is one of my favourite Russian songs. I’ve tried to work out what the lyrics mean and as far as I can make out, it’s about a woman whose lover cheats on her so she puts on some makeup and he falls in love with her again. Questionable premise, but great music. I also recommend watching the music video if you fancy getting slightly baffled by the antics of a load of Russian folk musicians.
Album: “The Best of Russian World Music 2017” (2017)
Label: Yurta Music
13) “Piano Concerto No.2 in C Minor” – Sergei Rachmaninoff
I’ve always felt a bit of a connection to this piece, partly because it’s a classic Russian concerto by one of my favourite composers, partly because my mum once told me she gave birth to me with this playing in the background.
Album: “Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-4 / Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini” (1966)