Ivan of Noteworthy here again. As a reminder, you can listen to my show every Monday night from 6:00-8:00 right here at uicradio.org. If you liked my previous Anatomy Of A Playlist post, you should obviously be listening to the show, but I’d also recommend that you like the Facebook page for Noteworthy just to be in the loop with what’s going on from week to week. If this is your first time checking out one of my posts here at UIC Radio, the title pretty much explains itself; I take a look at a playlist from one of my recent shows and breakdown why I decided to play the songs I played. Let’s begin.
It was going to hurt me if I went another week without playing “Divisionary (Do The Right Thing).” I usually tend to put more energetic stuff in the first segment of the show, which most of the times means either songs with electric guitars, a 4/4 beat or something very loud. I felt confident starting things off more subdued this week since the Ages & Ages song is so rousing and by the time you get to it, you’re hopefully feeling some kind of enthusiasm. I also wanted to talk about Beck’s Grammy win at the top of the show, so everything was lined up perfectly to include it.
I know it’s impossible to include all of my favorite genres every week (the show might be a bit TOO chaotic if I ever attempted that), but I noticed that it had been a while since I played some old school soul music on Noteoworthy. It’s an often tricky genre to surround modern songs around because the fidelity is so distinct and would bring a lot of attention to it. Instead of trying to to find songs that matched it from a sonic standpoint, I instead went for tunes that felt like companions in sentiment. Slow tempos, yearning in the vocals, maybe a little bit of groove. You can find those attributes easily across a wide spectrum of artists. My bridge into the soul portion of the show was The Beach Boys’ “Feel Flows” from their terrific album, Surf’s Up, which I was very excited to play, but my main motivation for including some vintage sounds was Leon Bridges’ “Coming Home.” It was released only last year but convincingly sounds like a lost Stax cut. I felt that putting it in between Irma Thomas and The Three Degrees didn’t disrupt the flow of the segment at all. Listen for yourself.
From there, it was easy to segue into D’Angelo—whose newest album is one I’ve been playing a lot of on the show—and into some more modern R&B and soul that borrows from the 1980s, which I then could put next to dance songs that featured a lot of synth. For the longest, I withheld playing Silk Rhodes’ “Realtime” because I thought it would sound better with some glossy neo-soul from the early 2000s that’s heavy on the keyboard (perhaps something like this or maybe this), but I eventually went with other current artists who march to their own beat in the world of R&B.
Sometimes it takes weeks before I can find the right combination to play a song with. Sometimes I move Heaven and Earth, because BY GOD I MUST PLAY THIS ASAP. Giorgio Moroder is responsible for one of my favorite production discographies of all-time. Kylie Minogue has been making pop music feel elegant for two decades. Once I found out they recorded a song together, it made perfect sense on paper. That the song actually turned out to be pretty great made the situation urgent.
I sort of knew that I was going to end the show with Blanck Mass’ “Hellion Earth” because it fit my requirement of being seven and a half minutes or longer for the closer. The biggest journey I had to make this week was to go from soul music to experimental drone within a hour and have anyone hardly notice. I knew that I wanted to go in an electronic direction, so I decided whatever songs I played should probably have an R&B inflection. Enter Redinho. His self-titled debut album was one of my favorites of last year and it’s filled with tracks that have a fond love of ’90s R&B. There are enough modern touches on “Stay Together” that made it a logical fit in the transition from soul to electronic, plus I’ve been looking for any excuse to play tracks from his album in recent weeks.