My man and one of my all-time favorite American writers, Vonnegut, couldn't have said it better. He was brilliant and in one of his most famous quotes he urges readers to take the time to notice and appreciate the little things in life, on a daily basis. So simple yet so profound. Today, I’d like to take the time and give thanks for the existence of music. I mean, have you ever stopped to imagine what life would be like without it?
My friend Viv and I have somewhat of an unhealthy obsession with exchanging knowledge, ideas and music. Good problem to have, I’d say, but it gets to be a bit excessive at times. To cope and find a place for our exchange of songs, we decided to start co-creating thematic playlists. For our first mix, we chose gratitude. Both of us contributed 5 songs and provided a brief explanation on each. I don’t know about you guys, but I never received or gave someone a mixtape. And I’m kind of upset about it! This curated mixtape , if you will, is our gift to you. Scroll down to the bottom to listen while reading the descriptions :) Enjoy!
1. “All In You” - Synapson ft. Anna Kova
This sultry and sensual song gets you grooving immediately to its sick ass beat. Then Anna Kova reminds us all to live life fully, fearlessly and unapologetically because, honey, it’s All In You. This is the kind of melody one has multiple epiphanies to while dancing euphorically on the dancefloor of some dark and underground house club. Such epiphanies might or might not be induced by certain substances, if you know what I mean ;)
2. “Brindo” - Devendra Banhart
Ah, man. The lyrics in this song give me the goosebumps every time. Everyone should learn Spanish to feel the beauty in this song as Devendra soothingly reflects and cheers to the purity + magic of his current love affair. Thank you Devendra because one day, when I am madly in love, I’ll have a perfect song to dedicate to my beau. And as a Latin woman, that’s important!
3. “Gracias A La Vida” - Violeta Parra
Damn. Where to begin with this one? Violeta Parra, pioneer of Chilean folk music, sings an achingly beautiful and melancholic ode to life while reflecting on a lover. All in one song. Perfection. Let’s all join Violeta in singing “Thank You to Life”. Here’s a translated excerpt of the song:
Thank you to life, which has given me so much
It gave me laughter and it gave me longing
With them I distinguish happiness and pain
The two materials from which my songs are formed
And your song, as well, which is the same song
And everyone’s song, which is my very song
4. “Chamber of Reflection” - Mac Demarco
Crack a beer open, kick back and let this number lull you into a reflective odyssey. Do this by yourself though. As Oscar Wilde said, “...it's very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” Amen to Wilde for writing it and DeMarco for putting a melody to it.
5. “Love & Mathematics” - Broken Social Scene
Do you ever have one of those highly stressful days in which your anxiety is through the roof and you simply want Earth to crack open and swallow you? Or maybe disappear by means of teleportation to a more pleasant place, like a sunny and quiet beach, with a cold alcoholic beverage (preferably something with lime + cucumber) waiting for you? The next time you need a breather and mental reset, do yourself a favor and listen to Broken Social Scene’s “Feel Good Lost” album, in its entirety. It has soothed and calmed my erratic mind on countless occasions. Thanks to the former lover that introduced me to this album.
Viv’s Picks (written by her)
Vivian Delgadillo is an emerging multi-media artist with a focus on B&W film photography. An earth-girl at heart living on Chicago's south side, Vivian aims to expose hyperlocal events and social issues through an abstract lens.
6. “My Way Home”- Kanye West
Been thinkin back to a time where “Yeezy” was “Mr.West”. Back to a time where Kanye was just a n*gga from the South Side sampling classic rap and soul artists like Gil Scott-Heron. Back to a time where Common and West were relevant and local as f*ck. Back to a time where I lived on the South Side of Chi City. Now, I’m back in Marquette Park and happier than ever. This wouldn’t be possible without the unconditional love I receive from Ma and Pa. So, this song goes to my family for taking me back home. I’m grateful for everyone who supports me on my journey as I’m on my way home again, you know who you are.
7. “Sweet November”- SZA
Mmmmmm yes. This is a sexy ass song. Little bit of soul, hip hop feel and that guitar riff mmmhmmm. Let's all thank SZA for reminding us it's okay to keep it sweet in November. Know what I mean?
8. “Let me Watch”- Viktor Vaughn ft Apani B
Probably one of the best hip hop songs...it has that lyrical storytelling to remind you of the struggle of finding a "sweetie". Thank you Vik, for reminding me that whatever is meant to be is meant to be. Ladies, don't forget to "bring a change of clothes in case it get's all groovy"...YES.
9. “La Rebelion”- Joe Arroyo
La historia de la esclavitud. The story of slavery. Who knew a whole salsa song could provide a narrative on a black slave girl? Amazing. This song makes me happy that I took that intense slavery class in college, thus allowing me to visualize an entire salsa song. Thank you Professor Storey.
10. “Some Velvet Morning”- Nancy & Lee
So many emotions in this song. So, it seemed right to make a video using this song and some of my recordings from the Chicago area. Yeah, I would say "velvet" is probably the best adjective for this song. No one is really certain on how they feel about velvet. I’m grateful for whoever created that strange ass material. Btw, wtf is this song about?
Here's the playlist! Make sure to follow it as it will continually be updated with new themes. And let me know what your opinion is, in terms of which songs you like, hate or which you would have included yourself.