Welcome to the third Artist Picks feature. This feature was created about seven months ago, and I was hoping to make it a more regular feature, but, totally understandably, it takes people a while to prepare their list of what could be their Top 10 Songs of All Time. To refresh your memories, let me recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why?
Brenton Duvall is a 19-year-old producer from Washington D.C. and a sophomore at the University of Colorado. Since he began releasing tracks in April 2010, his remixes have blown up, getting thousands and thousands of downloads as well as reaching the top of HypeMachine charts numerous times. Brenton’s music is unique because it is melodic and frequently downtempo, while still being a hip hop track you can dance to. Without any promotion of any sort, Brenton is slowly gaining momentum and being recognized for his work.
Here’s what Brenton had to say:
This was really, really hard. I love music, obviously, and all different kinds, so condensing this list to ten songs was a daunting task. I decided to pick tracks that have been extremely inspirational to me as a person and artist, but that you could still listen to when you are driving with the windows down. A lot of these tracks are different than the kind of music I make. In fact, they all are. Still, these are some of the best songs ever written. Throw on some noise cancelling headphones, prepare your favorite variety of potpourri, turn off the lights, and listen to this playlist. I promise, you will be a better and more humble person afterward.
What I consider to be the greatest song ever written. The fact that David Byrne can make a beautiful love song out of a single four bar phrase is what blows my mind…it’s literally the same bass line over and over. His lyrics are so perfect and and powerful…experiencing this song in the right way makes you know what it feels like to really be in love. I can’t say enough good things about it.
Josh Ritter is the best songwriter today, and he is extremely underrated. This song, which tells an apocalyptic love story from the perspective of a guy named Adam, is hauntingly beautiful. While the subject matter is something we may not be used to, you’d be surprised with how well the lyrics resonate with you. They will make your heart wrench and your brain swirl…it is very intense.
This song came out early this year, I think. Nobody knows anything about CSLSX except that they’re an experimental pop-collective out of Philadelphia. This track makes you DANCE. So funky, so sexy, so awesome. Warm bass lines over blisscore vocals with heavy ass reverb…you can barely comprehend the lyrics, but you still know what they’re getting at. I never get tired of this song, it makes me feel SO ALIVE.
As a musician, this song is a kick in the ass. One listen to this makes you wonder how creating such a track is possible. Jeff Tweedy just knows the right lyrics for his voice, so that you can feel the emotion behind his singing. Maybe this is just quintessential Wilco for me. Lots of beautiful, acoustic instruments and brushes on drums. You can sense the cigarette smoke filling the studio, if that makes sense. Andrew Bird does a lovely live version of this song as well.
This playlist was gettin’ way heavy so I had to get a little hyphy. I started listening to Mac Dre when I came out to school in Colorado; my roomates are from the Bay. Alot of the synths in hyphy music are really inspiring, at least in the songs I make. Fat basses that make you throw on your thizzle face. This shit will cause even the whitest of crackers to GO DUMB.
You’ve probably never heard this song. That sucks. This guy, D. Gookin, is from right around D.C., but I’m not even really sure what kind of artist he is. I’ve only heard some of his other stuff, but it’s all pretty great. It’s kind of like art rock electro. This song is my anthem…once you hear it, I’m sure it will be yours too. Trust me: this shit is the definition of infectious.
Emily Haines just has such a great voice. Especially when you hear this song acoustically, it gives you chills. I don’t have alot to say about it, but it probably speaks for itself. If I hadn’t put this song in any top ten list I was making, I’d feel really bad.
You know when you hear Ratatat for the first time and you’re like “WHAAAAAT?” Well it’s the same thing with Javelin. Their set up is so crazy, it’s like 4 samplers and a bunch of old Mexican rock records, all electric pink and yellow and stuff. They really do their own thing. THIS is what rappers should be going in over. Pure insanity…you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard of these dudes yet.
I’m pretty sure Hazelton was Justin Vernon’s solo record that he put out before he became Bon Iver. I’m lucky enough to have a copy, and I think it’s out on the internet somewhere. It’s got that same Bon Iver simplicity: a set up that’s probably just Justin, an acoustic, and a shitty drum kit that you can layer tracks over. It’s really a haunting song, and the lyrics are almost terrifying. Nonetheless, Justin Vernon just has a way of presenting himself so that you know exactly what he means with his music. I really wish more people knew about this record.
When I listen to this, I imagine how it might sound today, and it really can’t be that different. Joy Division were SO ahead of their time. This isn’t any different than what alot of bands do today, and I hope the music industry recognizes how much they owe to Ian Curtis and Joy Division. The guitar riff in this song really evokes a particular feeling for me…like hope and sadness mixed into one. That’s what I love about this band.