Firstpost Playlist: Old school classics, a 'non-Rihanna' song, and Norwegian music

FP Staff

Nov,05 2016 09:53 32 IST

This week, here's a slate of old school hits from Billie Holiday and Simon & Garkunfel; and an unusual song by Rihanna for our signature eclectic list. This weekend’s FP Playlist is the perfect selection of songs for the start of winter:

'Strange Fruit' by Billie Holiday

This is the song to sing in a spotlight, in an old bar, so old, please picture it in the glow of black and white. Somewhere after the meditative musical introduction, Billie Holiday, face framed in light, sings the Jim Crow South to convalescence in her plump, throaty bearing.

If you're listening, eyes on the song, don't close them like her. Stop thinking about the cold red blood on the green leaves. Try to stay in the black and white. The sun in the song has to shine colourless in the end, like a Kurosawa transition scene, completely aloof, right when she hits the high notes — "here is a strange and bitter crop."

— Eisha Nair

'Love Hurts' by The Everly Brothers

My favourite Everly Brothers' song has got to be a toss-up between 'Love Hurts' and 'All I Have To Do (Is Dream)'. The lilting melody and acoustics make for a pleasant, mellow listen, belying the lyrics about heartbreak, and heartache. What really makes any song by the Everly Brothers special of course, are their vocals. Their style of harmonising would go on to influence several other later musicians, including Simon and Garfunkel, and listening to their classic hits, it isn't difficult to see why.

— Rohini Nair

'Easy' by Son Lux

I have been currently listening to a lot of songs by Halsey. A friend recommended I listen to 'Easy', and I found that Halsey's 'Hold Me Down' was sampled from here. The music is similar but the songs are just so different that this one just starts growing on you. The video is aesthetically made, although it is difficult to understand it the first time you actually look at the video. The lyrics are beautiful and the video just makes you want to watch the song than just dismiss it. If you do listen to this song, give Halsey's 'Hold Me Down' a go as well.

— Kinjal Vora

'Love on the brain' by Rihanna

Anti, Rihanna's new album is like listening to a non-Rihanna. She shut the umbrella a long time ago and is taking in all the sun and the rain — everything else that comes with it; pain, anger, sadness, bitterness. Anti is like listening to a different artist. There is a veneer of a 'f*** off', an empowerment that comes from not really caring, but beneath her sometimes raspy, sometimes crackly voice, and barely pronounced words is aural loneliness. Ignore 'Work' on the album and listen to everything else.

'Love on the Brain' is her bluesy ode to the feelings of love and despair. And this song should be followed by 'Higher' — a beautifully sung version of a letter to a lover, any lover.

— Vishnupriya Bhandaram

'The Boxer' by Simon and Garfunkel

Autumn has passed and the winter is upon us; and that is reason enough to listen to this song. Not only does it have S&G's easy sing along tune; its lyrics are simple yet deep, almost like a poem. The song's lyrics take the form of a first-person lament, as the singer describes his struggles to overcome loneliness and poverty in New York City. Interestingly, many interpreted this song as a sarcastic and caustic attack on now Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan, who spent his early days as an amatuer boxer.

— Ankita Maneck

'Raido' by Wardruna

'Raido' is a track by sc musical group Wardruna. This song is part of the second album of their ‘Runaljod’ trilogy, which is apparently inspired by ancient runes (read: alphabets) called the Elder Futhark. The band uses sounds from nature, similar to the tapping of the tree bark at the beginning, and ancient Nordic instruments to give their songs their haunting, ethereal flavour. The mysterious history and spirituality behind the compositions by this group makes it hard to put it into the water tight compartment of folk music. If this track makes you think of the TV show Vikings, then you’re thinking in the right direction! Many songs from this album Yggdrasil were used in the series. Since I’m not familiar with Norwegian, Old Norse and Proto-Norse tongue, (not part of my SSC syllabus) I couldn’t possibly interpret the song or even the beautiful video. Thankfully the video description has the lyrics and this Youtuber has a solid interpretation of the music video (scroll down to read the highlighted comment).

— Siddhi Desai

Published Date: Nov 05, 2016 09:53 AM | Updated Date: Nov 05, 2016 09:53 AM