Heavy Rotation: 8 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing
This month on Heavy Rotation, hear the latest from indie-pop duo Tennis, a gospel-infused jazz standard from vibraphonist Warren Wolf, the '80s nostalgia of Green Day's newest track and more in this dynamic mix curated by NPR Public Radio Member Stations.
Beach Bunny, "Cloud 9"
Beach Bunny is making rock and roll fun again. "Cloud 9" is the kind of song that is so simple, it's brilliant. Sometimes all you really need is a good old-fashioned boy-meets-girl love song. Throw in a catchy hook, add a driving melody and you have a near perfect indie-pop tune. It's time to hop on the Beach Bunny band wagon and check this song out. —Benjamin McPhail, Colorado Sound
Caroline Rose, "Feel The Way I Want"
I'm starting to think that Caroline Rose is a real-time pop art installation reflecting the world via a fun house mirror. On "Feel The Way I Want," buoyant synth chords and a funky bass line propel what feels like '80s-era-Prince-meets-inspirational-choruses. It's easy on first listen to love the disco-strut pace and catchy hooks, but the sweet melody Rose sings also hides a horror-comedy of confidence with lyrics like, "Maybe it's just madness / I'm so in love with myself / It's so romantic." Maybe it's someone you know (or even you). —Eric Gottlieb, WFUV
The duo behind DRAMA play off each other's talents: Producer Na'el Shehade brings a Chicago-infused production to singer Via Rosa's sultry soulful delivery. "Years" is a robust anthem. —Ariana Morgenstern, KCRW
Green Day, "Meet Me On The Roof"
Beaming with '80s nostalgia and unironic power-pop cheer, "Meet Me On The Roof" is an anthemic ode to selling out. Well into middle-age, these Bay Area punks aren't apologizing for seeking pop chart impact nor obscuring Billie Joe Armstrong's songwriting savvy. With snappy drums, serrated guitar chords and a singalong chorus, this whimsical romp has the tunefulness of a Shins ditty. Merging stylistic bravado with ear candy is what we expect from Weezer, not Green Day. Think of this as the musical equivalent of an aging celebrity reappearing with surgical enhancements. Just enjoy the new look on an old face. —David Hyland, Wisconsin Public Radio
Lute, "GED (Getting Every Dolla)"
XXL recently posed a question: "Is North Carolina next up?" What they were referring to, in part, was the A+ rap and hip-hop talent coming out of North Carolina, like Dreamville Records founder J. Cole and Grammy-nominee DaBaby. That "Tar Heel Talent" roster continues to grow with Charlotte-based rapper Lute. On his new single, "GED (Gettin Every Dolla)," Lute gives listeners a view into his world as a Southern rapper who grew up and showed out: "I put the tears in my verse, so I get the s*** I deserve." —Joni Deutsch, WFAE
Orion Sun, "Coffee for Dinner"
Everything about Orion Sun is personal and intentional: fragments of photo albums collaged on the cover of her album Hold Space For Me; a music video shot late at night on the streets of her childhood hometown in New Jersey; the vulnerable lyrics of her new single. "Hope you remember that late night in winter / You saw a winner when I felt like a loser / coffee for dinner kept me going in the cold, made me stronger on my own," Tiffany Majette sings. Orion Sun's introspective story of overcoming trauma and self-doubt is wrapped in shimmering Prince-like guitar chords and a slick trap beat, flipping the obstacles of life into an irresistible pop earworm. —John Vettese, WXPN
Tennis, "Need Your Love"
For the past decade, Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley have carved out a niche in campy, nostalgic indie-pop with producers like Spoon's Jim Eno and Black Keys' Patrick Carney. On their latest release, Swimmer, the husband/wife duo hones their signature retro sound through a contemporary lens; the result is the pair's catchiest offering yet. Kicking off with a one-two punch of drums and piano, the album's lead single, "Need Your Love," is a buoyant meditation on the complexities of relationships. "I need your love and I need your touch / Like I need a bolt of lightning from the sky above," Moore sings across the track's standout tempo changes, which reflect the inherent tension between loving and letting go. —Desiré Moses, WNRN
Warren Wolf, "Come and Dance With Me"
Breaking from his norm and concentrating on the music that shaped him as an artist, vibraphonist Warren Wolf turned to the songs his father loved for his latest album, Reincarnation. "Come and Dance With Me" is a track that stands out, especially if you know the original. Wolf took a standard written for Frank Sinatra and morphed it into a gospel-infused piece of modern art. Pianist Brett Williams creates a soulful urgency as Wolf delivers the melody, which is true, but seems unrecognizable due to the context. Play this one for a lover of jazz standards and see if they pick it up. —Maureen Malloy, WRTI
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