I always have attributed myself to the song title, “Longing to Belong” since I first heard the Eddie Vedder tune years ago. Whether the matter at hand pertained to work, love or camaraderie, I always seem to claim that I have a sort of “Longing to Belong,” which has in turn managed to drive most of my passions. I sorted the following playlist to balance out the frenetic pace of the past few playlists by implementing more contemplative, melodic compositions. I promise that I only cried once while making this playlist for you to enjoy.
“Longing to Belong” – Eddie Vedder: As complex beings, we deserve a complex tune that summarizes the essence of human nature and the disconnection that bridges love further apart. Enter Vedder, frontman of Pearl Jam, and his ukelele-driven love song that evokes more and more emotion with each listen. The lyrical rollercoaster comes to halt with one of the most profound lyrics in my life: “I may be dreaming but I’m/longing to belong/to you.”
“Julia” – The Beatles: Written as an ode to his mother, John Lennon managed to craft one of the most delicate tunes in The Beatles’ catalogue. This song influenced me the most when it comes to the various aspects of songwriting, including chord structuring and lyrical content. As the weather cools down and moods darken, the tune is a necessary companion.
“Ramona” – Beck: Many people know me to be extremely nerdy and this Beck-penned song from 2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” is the pinnacle of nerdy love songs that even transcends that of Weezer. Although Beck has often created technologically unique love ballads, such as “Think I’m in Love” and “Girl,” the number strips down Beck to his vocals and acoustic guitar while a backing percussion lays out the gentle rhythm.
“Fade Into You” – J Mascis: Before taking a listen to this cover, I immediately thought about how perfect Mascis’ voice would be to cover this Mazzy Star classic. Afterwards, all expectations were blown away as Mascis takes away the distorted guitar that makes Dinosaur Jr. distinctly invigorating and instead opts for a calming acoustic guitar that blends properly with his generally unrestrained vocals.
“Georgia” – Vance Joy: I’ve seen Joy twice and both times, this tune, off of his debut record, was the highlight of the show for me. Joy’s voice is melancholic in nature, but in good faith, as he yearns for both his love and sanity, both of which seem to have gone with “Georgia.” Forget “Riptide”; this song is the best produced song from Joy.
“Ghosts That We Knew” – Mumford & Sons: This folk rock outfit is often critiqued for their pop-like simplicity and generally similar chord progressions. However, this number off of their sophomore effort, “Babel” is dynamic and characterizes the proclivity that Marcus Mumford and his merry band of misfits have for drafting uncompromisingly beautiful rhythms and lyrical content.
“Soul Love” – David Bowie: Out of all the musician deaths that have come to define 2016, the one that hit me the hardest was that of UK musician, David Bowie. This number off of “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars” was revived for me two weeks ago after watching the Phish Halloween show. It screams space, but keeps a earthly tone that allows us measly mortals to understand the mind of a musical genius.
“My Girls” – Tall Tall Trees: I distinctly remember first seeing Tall Tall Trees live without even hearing a stitch of his music and coming out a big fan. Easily the most underrated artist on this list, Tall Tall Trees’ “My Girls” is the perfect composition of psychedelic folk and is evident of a budding artist that I assure many of you will be hearing on the radio soon.
“I. Flight of the Navigator” – Childish Gambino: Many know Donald Glover as the new Lando Calrissian for the upcoming “Star Wars” Han Solo, but few know that Glover is an extraordinary rapper who raps under the moniker of Childish Gambino. The composition projects the title aptly as it blends Glover’s voice with various electronic elements, which surprisingly works well in Glover’s favor.
“I Need My Girl” – The National: As depressing as the song may sound after the initial notes, Matt Berninger ushers in a sense of uncompromising hope that is masked in utter darkness. “I Need My Girl” was easily the best pick for this theme, of The National’s catalogue, which contains a wide array of melancholic numbers.
“Peggy-O” (Live) – Grateful Dead: I seem to incorporate the Dead into almost every playlist, so it isn’t much of a surprise to find them here. The traditional cover of a doomed romance between Peggy-O and William-O is brought to light through Jerry Garcia’s weathered vocals and as always, you can only listen to the Dead, live.
“Hallelujah” – Leonard Cohen: In what was the most devastating news of November — besides the election —, Cohen has left this celestial realm and entered the next. While his soul may have left us, he left behind a mountain of works with this song being the best love song ever written.