Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 2-15-24

In late 2002 I had credit card points that were about to expire so I ordered a bunch of CDs by artists whose music I had not heard, which included Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground by Bright Eyes, which turned out to be a good choice. The album’s title is a reference to a quote by William S. Burroughs: “The story is in the soil, lift it up, anything can happen.”

Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst was born on this date in 1980. Lots of tunes from Conor are included on today’s playlist.

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Tunes Du Jour Presents 2002


The year 2002 was a turbulent one for the world, marked by wars, terrorism, scandals, and natural disasters. But it was also a year of creativity, innovation, and diversity in music. From hip-hop to rock, from pop to indie, from dance to folk, the music of 2002 reflected the mood and spirit of the times, offering both escapism and commentary, both nostalgia and novelty, both challenge and comfort.

One of the most dominant genres of the year was hip-hop, which reached new heights of popularity and influence. Eminem’s Lose Yourself became an anthem of determination and resilience, while Missy Elliott’s Work It showcased her inventive and playful style. Nelly’s Hot in Herre was a summer smash, while Clipse’s Grindin’ introduced a minimalist and gritty sound. Tweet and Missy Elliott’s Oops (Oh My) was a sensual and empowering ode to self-love, while Truth Hurts and Rakim’s Addictive sampled a Bollywood song and sparked a controversy. Cam’ron’s Oh Boy featured a catchy sample of Rose Royce’s I’m Going Down, while Khia’s My Neck, My Back (Lick It) was a raunchy and explicit hit.

Rock music also had a strong presence in 2002, with a variety of styles and sounds. Elvis Presley’s A Little Less Conversation (JXL Edit) was a remix of a 1968 song that became a worldwide hit, thanks to its inclusion in a Nike commercial. Avril Lavigne’s Complicated was a pop-rock anthem for the rebellious and misunderstood youth, while Coldplay’s In My Place was a melancholic and soaring ballad. The Strokes’ Hard to Explain was a garage rock revival, while Wilco’s Jesus, Etc. was a country-rock masterpiece. Interpol’s Obstacle 1 was a post-punk gem, while Spoon’s The Way We Get By was a catchy and quirky indie rock tune. The Libertines’ What a Waster was a punk rock blast, while Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising was a tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11.

Pop music also had its share of hits and surprises in 2002, with some old and new faces. Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty was a provocative and edgy reinvention, while Beyonce’s Work It Out was a funky and soulful solo debut. Brandy’s What About Us was a futuristic and sleek R&B track, while No Doubt’s Hella Good was a disco and rock fusion. Bjork’s Pagan Poetry was a haunting and experimental song, while Las Ketchup’s Asereje was a catchy and silly novelty. Alanis Morissette’s Hands Clean was a confessional and catchy pop-rock song, while Rufus Wainwright’s Across the Universe was a beautiful and faithful cover of the Beatles classic.

Some of the most memorable songs of 2002 were not easily categorized, but rather blended genres and styles. Sugababes’ Freak Like Me was a mash-up of Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me and Gary Numan’s Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, creating a pop and electro masterpiece. The Flaming Lips’ Do You Realize?? was a psychedelic and uplifting song, while X-Press 2’s Lazy was a house and spoken word collaboration with David Byrne. The Streets’ Weak Become Heroes was a rap and piano tribute to rave culture, while Doves’ There Goes The Fear was a rock and electronic epic.

The music of 2002 was a reflection of the year itself: diverse, unpredictable, exciting, and sometimes challenging. It was a year of contrasts and surprises, of highs and lows, of old and new. It was a year that gave us some of the most memorable songs of the 21st century, and a year that we can revisit through this playlist. Enjoy!

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 1-13-24

“One minute you’re just cooking up someone’s order of French fries and the next minute you’re laying on the floor and they blow your brains out.”-   The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne reflecting on being held up at gunpoint when he was a fry cook at Long John Silver’s 

The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne on this date in 1961. A few of his band’s cuts are included on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 12-31-23

The year after I graduated from college I moved out of my parents’ house into my own apartment in Woodbridge, New Jersey, where I lived for two years before moving into Manhattan. Woodbridge was no great shakes, though there was one cool thing about it. Around the corner from me was an independent record store whose name I will never recall. Always on the hunt for new music, I would spend hours there flipping through the racks. It was on one of those occasions, in 1986 or ’87, that I chanced upon an album named Let It Be. I already had an album at home called Let It Be by a different band, and that one was pretty good, so I figured I’d take a chance on this Let It Be. It’s by a band named The Replacements, and while I had never heard their music, I did recall reading positive things about them in the music press. I splurged the $9 + tax on the still sealed vinyl LP, took that baby home, and have never looked back. I now own every album ever released by The Replacements in triplicate plus one (is that called quadruplicate?), not because I’m an obsessive, but because I worked for their record company. And because I’m an obsessive.

The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg was born on this date in 1959. A few of the band’s earlier recordings are included on today’s playlist.

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My Favorite Songs Of 2023

Five years after then president of The Recording Academy proclaimed that women need to step up, the ladies have responded with “How’s this, jerkface?” Women dominate this year’s Grammy nominations. More importantly, all but two of the top 20 songs on my year-end list are led by female artists (with one guy showing up to provide guest vocals). That’s a record, I think, but don’t quote me on that. I’m too lazy to check. I don’t have a deep analysis for this phenomenon, but I do have a deep appreciation for the talent and diversity of these women (not that women have ever been underrepresented in my annual tallies). The highest placing male acts on my 2023 list are none other than The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Yes, you read that right. The legends are back, and they still can show the young-uns how it’s done. With their song “Angry,” The Rolling Stones have achieved a remarkable feat: the longest span from first appearance to most recent appearance in my year-end surveys. In 1981, my first year of making such lists, the group placed with “Start Me Up.” The 80s are also well represented by Kylie Minogue and Madonna, each of whom made a triumphant return to my list after long absences. Welcome back, ladies! And last but not least, let’s give a round of applause to Megan Thee Stallion, who has been in my top five for five years in a row. That’s a record, I think, but don’t quote me on that. I’m too lazy to check. Now, without further ado, here is my list of the best songs of 2023. Enjoy!

  1. Ice Cream Man. – RAYE
  2. vampire – Olivia Rodrigo
  3. Kill Bill – SZA
  4. Bongos – Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion
  5. Not Strong Enough – boygenius
  6. Flowers – Miley Cyrus
  7. Escapism. – RAYE & 070 Shake
  8. Paint the Town Red – Doja Cat
  9. Lipstick Lover – Janelle Monáe
  10. Nobody Gets Me – SZA
  11. Dance the Night – Dua Lipa
  12. Shirt – SZA
  13. AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM – Beyoncé feat. Kendrick Lamar
  14. What Was I Made For? – Billie Eilish
  15. Padam Padam – Kylie Minogue
  16. Cobra – Megan Thee Stallion
  17. Brenda Put Your Bra On – Ashley McBryde, Caylee Hammack & Pillbox Patti
  18. Angry – The Rolling Stones
  19. Now and Then – The Beatles
  20. Cool About It – boygenius
  21. RATATA – Skrillex, Missy Elliott & Mr. Oizo
  22. Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd – Lana Del Rey
  23. Calm Down – Rema with Selena Gomez
  24. Gorilla – Little Simz
  25. Seven – Jung Kook feat. Latto
  26. My Love Mine All Mine – Mitski
  27. bad idea right? – Olivia Rodrigo
  28. Jaded – Miley Cyrus
  29. Tropic Morning News – The National
  30. Someday At Christmas – Lizzo
  31. Used To Be Young – Miley Cyrus
  32. Pretty Girls Walk – Big Boss Vette
  33. River – Miley Cyrus
  34. Light On In The Kitchen – Ashley McBryde
  35. Out Alpha the Alpha – Megan Thee Stallion
  36. Bubblegum – Dawn Richard
  37. Rush – Troye Sivan
  38. It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody – Weyes Blood
  39. Weightless – Arlo Parks
  40. Psychos – Jenny Lewis
  41. The Sea – Romy
  42. Lil Boo Thang – Paul Russell
  43. Popular – The Weeknd & Madonna feat. Playboi Carti
  44. The Narcissist – Blur
  45. (It Goes Like) Nanana – Peggy Gou
  46. Tukoh Taka – Nicki Minaj, Maluma and Myriam Fares
  47. Freak Me Now – Jessie Ware
  48. Standing Next To You – Jung Kook
  49. Eyez – The Arcs
  50. What Now – Brittany Howard
  51. Thinking About You – Beck
  52. Wall of Eyes – The Smile
  53. Good Lookin’ – Dixon Dallas
  54. Girl Like Me – Dove Cameron
  55. Wild Flower – RM with youjeen
  56. Helmet – Steve Lacy
  57. Everybody’s Got to Learn – First Aid Kit
  58. Flip a Switch. – RAYE feat. Coi Leray
  59. Nothing Left To Lose – Everything But The Girl
  60. Say Yes To Heaven – Lana Del Rey
  61. Moonlight – Kali Uchis
  62. Bending Hectic – The Smile
  63. In My Head – The Lemon Twigs
  64. Snooze – SZA
  65. Attention – Doja Cat
  66. get him back! – Olivia Rodrigo
  67. Will Anybody Ever Love Me? – Sufjan Stevens
  68. Tux (Your Body Fills Me, Boo) – US Girls
  69. Lottery – Latto feat. LU KALA
  70. Bug Like an Angel – Mitski
  71. The Hands – serpentwithfeet
  72. A day in the water – Christine & the Queens
  73. Drummer Boy – Titus Andronicus
  74. Little Things – Jorja Smith
  75. Daydreaming – Harry Styles
  76. True Love – Christine & the Queens & 070 Shake
  77. Evicted – Wilco
  78. Got Me Started – Troye Sivan
  79. Eye For An Eye – Rina Sawayama
  80. Water Slide – Janelle Monáe
  81. Single Soon – Selena Gomez
  82. Odyssey – Beck & Phoenix
  83. I Don’t Know What You See In Me – Belle & Sebastian
  84. Seem an I – PJ Harvey
  85. Begin Again – Jessie Ware
  86. One of Your Girls – Troye Sivan

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Throwback Thursday: 1996

When first presented with his brother Noel’s composition “Wonderwall,” Oasis’ usual lead singer Liam Gallagher didn’t care for it. Of course, the song became a worldwide smash. Did Liam come around? In 2008 he told MTV News “I can’t fucking stand that fucking song! Every time I have to sing it I want to gag.” Guess not. What about Noel, the song’s writer? He must like it, right? Here is what he said: “Outside of England, it’s the one song we’re famous for all over the world, and it annoys the fuck out of me. It’s not a fucking rock’n’roll tune. There’s quite a vulnerable statement to it. When people come up to me and say it’s one of the greatest tunes ever written, I think, ‘fucking hell, have you heard “Live Forever”?’”

Oasis’ “Wonderwall” is one of the 1996 songs on today’s Throwback Thursday playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 8-25-23

The album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was rejected by Reprise Records, Wilco’s label at the time, for being too experimental and uncommercial. Wilco bought back the rights to the album for $50,000. The band subsequently signed with Nonesuch Records, which, like Reprise, is distributed by Warner Music. Nonesuch put out the album in 2002. It became Wilco’s best-selling album, despite the band making it available to stream for free on their website following their departure from Reprise.

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy was born on this date in 1967. Lots of Wilco on today’s playlist.

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