Sure – it’s not exactly in keeping with the idea of weekly musical posts that I had planned on doing a few months ago, but I’m trying kids! Here’s my latest post on music that I’ve been listening to and on heavy rotation on my Spotify playlists. Some of the songs are the newest hits that are hot at this moment, and other songs are ones that I’ve listened to for years that I’ve always loved. You may recognize a few of the tunes from various television shows or cinematic features – I’ll indicate what they’ve appeared in with each entry.
If you’d like to hear more from a particular artist, or have any artists I should check out based on the selections in this playlist, share your favorites with me in the comments below, tweet me your suggestions to @SylentMari, or shoot me an e-mail to sylentmari @ gmail.com.
A Spoilery Reminder: Some of the songs below come from significant moments from the TV shows and films. Major spoilers will have a warning before the scene in which the song is played is revealed. Some of the shows and films mentioned are: Lost Girl, The Matrix, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Queen of the Damned, The Crow, and The Walking Dead.
Alanis Morissette – “I Remain” – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Alanis has written some really beautiful and fantastic soundtrack songs over the span of her career, and this is one of them. “I Remain” is featured in the ending credits of the Jake Gyllenhaal-Ben Kingsley-Gemma Arterton film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, (loosely) based on the video game series of the same name. An interesting mix of Middle Eastern rhythms and orchestral magic, Alanis’ quiet and poignant vocals and lyrics compliment the music perfectly. She was nominated for a Golden Globe award for the song, which she performs quite frequently in concert in recent years, breaking up the song in three-part segments throughout her set. One of my favorite songs.
Alice in Chains – “Down In A Hole” – Dirt
If I had to come up with a Top 50 list of my all-time favorite songs, “Down In A Hole” would be featured on it, and probably in my Top 20. My favorite AIC track, this beautifully depressing song is one of the band’s strongest, and one that even non-fans are familiar with. It’s an even harder song to listen to years after Layne Staley’s unfortunate death due to a drug overdose – his haunting vocals still bring chills to me. One of my most memorable concert experiences was hearing this song live during Jerry Cantrell’s set when he opened up for Nickelback back in 2002, when Nickelback was starting to become the huge act that they are now. Layne was discovered almost two weeks before that performance, and hearing Jerry talking about the passing of his bandmate and friend while trying not to cry was hard. What made that moment even more somber and memorable was when he dedicated this song to Layne and seeing almost of the concert-goers around me pull out their lighters and holding them up high in the air in solidarity of the fallen singer, while we all sang along to the song. Such a powerful moment and one I will never forget.
Amy Lee (feat. Dave Eggar) – “Lockdown” – War Story: Official Motion Picture Soundtrack
“Amy Lee, Amy Lee…that name sounds very familiar.” If you guessed that she is the co-founder and frontwoman of Evanescence, then virtual cookies for you! While that band is currently in-stasis as Amy regroups (and sues her former record label for missing profits), she got the opportunity to venture into a creative area that’s she always wanted to tackle: scoring a feature film. That dream came true when she helped score the music for a film called War Story, released this year and starring Catherine Keener and Ben Kingsley. The music is a mixture of traditional film orchestral composition with electronic and ambient sounds swimming in-between, and Amy Lee’s signature vocals accompanying a few of the tracks on the soundtrack. “Lockdown” sounds like it could’ve been featured on Evanescence’s last record. Hope Amy decides to do more feature films with that “epic” ton she’s always featuring in her band’s music.
Ben Howard – “Oats in the Water” – The Burgh Island EP
A fan-favorite from this show’s fourth season, “Oats in the Water” plays during a pivotal scene in Season Four / Episode Five of The Walking Dead, in an episode called “Internment.” MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT! In the previous episode, Rick told Carol to “F- off” after he found out that she had mercy-killed Karen and another survivor in the prison after they were becoming worse from the horrible virus/flu that they had contracted from another survivor. You can argue with me about the nature of the killing, but as we return to the prison, we see Hershel doing the best that he can under the circumstances as he tries to treat those who are also succumbing to the same virus/flu – including Glenn. END SPOILER ALERT! Rick and Hershel have a conversation separated by a glass window that peeks into the prison’s Death Row, where the sick survivors are currently being quarantined. At one point Hershel turns to his Bible, opens it, and starts to sob as this song is playing in the background. One of my favorite episodes from the so-so fourth season.
Björk – “All is Full of Love” – Homogenic / Greatest Hits
You gotta love Björk and all of her eccentricities that bleed into her widely imaginative musical career. You also have to be cautious around her or she’ll go nuclear on you (she’s mellowed out in recent years and hasn’t had any major temper tantrums). Björk has always been a favorite artist of mine because her music is so hard to pin down and so different from most everything out there, past and present. “All is Full of Love” was featured in the 1999 religious-themed film Stigmata, starring Patricia Arquette as an atheist who has strange wounds appearing on her hands and body, which look strangely similar to the wounds Jesus himself had on the cross (if you believe that Jesus existed). Of course random stuff starts happening to her, and it gets a bit convoluted at times and a bit heavy-handed. As an atheist I found it a little offensive because it presumes that we’re selfish jerks until we “see the light,” one of the messages of this film. I hate that stereotype – most of us are very compassionate people who love, care, and try to help our fellow human beings in any way we can. Mini-rant over – ahem. Besides being featured in that film, this is a gorgeous track that is fast becoming of my new current favorite tracks.
Christophe Beck – “Close Your Eyes (Buffy & Angel’s Love Theme) – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Original Television Series Soundtrack
Lots of fangirl feels ahead! There are songs that sometimes bring strong emotions to us when we hear them, reminding us of certain moments in our lives or things that we’ve experienced while watching our favorite films or television series. In the case of this instrumental track featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it gives me chills along with tears. MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT! Playing towards the end of the Season Two episode “Becoming, Part 2” (Episode 22), Angel lost his soul midway through Season Two and became his psychotic vampiric self again, Angelus, who succeeded in mentally, physically, and emotionally torturing Buffy and her friends. He even killed a then-key member of the Scooby Gang – technopagan and Giles’ lover, Jenny Calendar. Buffy and Angel have an epic swordfight and just as Buffy’s about to kill Angelus, sending his evil self to Hell and closing a portal to a demon dimension that he had opened up, his soul return. Angelus becomes Angel again, and the poor guy has no clue what’s happened since his demon took over again. Poor Buffy is so conflicted at this moment – while her lover has returned, she has to kill him to save the world. She whispers to him, “Close your eyes,” as they hold each other – while this track plays in the background – and she runs him through with her sad. END SPOILER ALERT! Also one of my favorite moments from any TV series, as sad as it is.
Depeche Mode – “Surrender” – “Only When I Lose Myself” Single B-Side (UK)
This song is one of the tracks left off from Depeche Mode’s ULTRA album, and I wish it had made the final tracklist. ULTRA is also one of the all-time favorite albums, and this would’ve been a nice track to close out the album with. When I hear this song, I imagine a 1920’s or 1930’s-inspired video with burlesque dancers, gangsters, flappers, and a detective trying to solve a crime in film noir-style, complete with traditional black-and-white film. I see the band performing in a smoky bar, with Dave Gahan front and center and performing his magic in a very dapper outfit. If you’re a DM fan that hasn’t heard this song yet, listen above and seek it out if you can find the single, ‘cause I still love to buy albums and singles in physical forms like vinyl or CD’s.
Econoline Crush – “Razorblades and Bandaides” – The Devil You Know
When I look at my many playlists of songs that I love and am influenced by in my creative works, I’ve noticed that many of them are dark, bitter, emotionally heavy, depressing, and break-up songs. I’ve always liked sad songs and I sometimes find them more interesting than upbeat or “happy” tracks. This song from Canadian band Econoline Crush is one of my favorite break-up songs. “I miss you more than words could ever say, I miss you every single empty day…” The thoughts those words reflect sometimes swim through our heads after we’ve gone through a painful end to a relationship, but maybe it had to end for a reason – to find ourselves, to find the person we’re really meant to be with, etc. If you’ve never heard of Econoline Crush, check out their albums The Devil You Know and Affliction and the Purge EP. They’re a mixture of post-grunge, industrial, and heavy alternative rock.
Fluke – “Zion” – The Matrix Reloaded Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
A sexy funky ambient track that appears during that massive rave scene in Zion. We all know the scene – massive underground dancing orgy-athon intercut with scenes of Trinity and Neo getting it on in an undisclosed location…or their pad in Zion. It’s a cool ambient dance track and a perfect way to wind down your evening after a night out.
Garbage – “#1 Crush” – Absolute Garbage (Special Edition) / Romeo + Juliet Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
I think this is one of the mist heavenly and sexiest songs of all time. Very 1990’s but that’s not a bad thing. This Garbage hit was heard all over alternative stations when Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet came out. Do you remember the film? A then-modern contemporary take starring Leonardo DiCaprio (before he became a mega-star thanks to Titanic) and Claire Danes (known for her role on my So-Called Life at the time), the film is definitely interesting, seeing characters dressed up in ‘90’s fashions while quoting the classical Shakesperean lines from the play. The soundtrack itself is worth seeking, but “#1 Crush” is the standout. The track oozes sex in the music and Shirley Manson’s lustful vocals, and should be added to any bedtime playlist. Here’s a great live version from Monterrey, Mexico from 2012.
The Hundred in the Hands – “Keep It Low” – Red Night
The theme of this week’s playlist is electronic, ambient, moody music to chill out or be creative to. Or to have sexy nighttime moments to. “Keep It Low” fits all three categories and is a more recent favorite track. Featured in Season Three / Episode Five “Faes Wide Shut,” the song is played during the intro scene. Bo and Lauren, after having a serious discussion about their relationship at the end of the previous episode, agree to Bo feeding on others to heal herself and give poor Lauren a break form their nightly sexual escapades. The women are dressed to the lines as they look for a potential “victim” for Bo to bed while hanging out in the Dal Riata, and there’s a hilarious moment where Lauren gives poor Trick (Bo’s grandfather) a bit TMI about trying to deal with her girlfriend’s “coital requirements.”
Keane – “Somewhere Only We Know” – Hopes & Fears
Yes, this song received lots of radioplay a few years ago, but I love it. I tend to discover songs long after they’ve hit the airwaves because I don’t listen to local radio stations – I’m usually listening to our one local progressive talk station. And modern radio sucks because of all the commercials and the same songs are always on rotation, even if it’s a classic rock station. Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” has also been featured in several television series’ and films, including Grey’s Anatomy, Cold Case, Life, and the film He’s Just Not That Into You. Groove to this UK band and transport yourself five years back to 2009.
Lioness – “They Clip the Wings of Birds” – The Golden Killer
Featured towards the end of Lost Girl’s fourth episode in Season Three, “Fae-de to Black,” this song plays in the background MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT! while Bo confesses to her girlfriend, Lauren, that she slept with her ex-boyfriend, Dyson, to help herself heal after receiving a very serious injury while trying to save a human earlier in the episode. As Lauren stares at Bo, angry tears threatening to fall from her eyes, Bo pleads with her to say something. Instead of screaming at Bo or leaving her apartment, Lauren leans in and grabs Bo and pulls in for a kiss. Defeated, Lauren and Bo come to the realization at this moment that Bo needs other sexual partners to fully heal herself as a Succubus, but she will remain monogamous to Lauren. END SPOILER ALERT! One of the few times a show has even broached the topic of open relationships, in this particular instance it’s necessary for Bo to survive and what I like most about it is that it’s not frowned upon or seen as anything salacious. Along with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer scene mentioned above, this always always makes me cry. At the time it aired it was very hard for me to watch, having gone through a break-up a few months before.
Massive Attack – “Safe From Harm (Perfecto Mix””)” – The Insider: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Used in in the final scene in one of director Michael Mann’s best films, 1999’s The Insider. If you’re unfamiliar with the film, it’s based on a true story. In the fictionalized version, a research chemist who worked for one of the major tobacco companies exposed disastrous information about the harmful effects of cigarettes on consumers in an expose on CBS’ 60 Minutes. The man went through personal and professional ruin, but the film perfectly illustrates what happens to whistleblowers who release and unveil information that they believe the public needs to know about. Al Pacino plays a 60 Minutes producer named Lowell Bergman, and as Massive Attack closes out the film, we see Al Pacino making a cool exit out of a building in the only way Al Pacino can.
P!nk – “Try” – The Truth About Love
I’ll just leave the music video here:
My favorite P!nk song. It’s beautiful, it’s somber, it’s heartbreaking, it has more adjectives I could use, and it’s also one of the best pop songs released in recent years. The video is beautifully shot and executed and breathtaking. If you’ve seen any of P!nk’s live performances, you know how well-choreographed they are with the acrobatics and dancing. I never get tired of listening to this song and could put it on repeat easily.
Robot Koch (feat. John LaMonica) – “Nitesky” – The Other Side
I started seeking out more of Robot Koch’s music after I first heard the song below in a fan-made music video. I found this song on Spotify and instantly loved it. Along with the song below, I can’t easily describe it, but it’s a sad, quiet, melodic track to listen to in the background when company’s over, or alone and with your thoughts as the day ends.
Robot Koch (feat. Susie Suh) – “Here With Me” – “Here With Me” Single
I don’t have any words to describe this song beyond amazing and touching. The first time I heard this song was in a Lost Girl fanvid for Doccubus called “Here With Me,” same as the song. The song wouldn’t leave me afterwards, so I immediately sought it out. I’ve added the video below, and even if you’re not a fan of Lost Girl or Doccubus, the video is still worth checking out because it’s very well-done and edited. The song is also featured in Season 1 / Episode 3 of the show The Blacklist.
Sara Bareilles – “Gravity” – Little Voice
I always discover really good songs from artists that I like years later, it seems like. Maybe I should buy more albums when I get the chance. I love “Gravity.” It’s a song that kills me a little on the inside every time I hear it, but only because it’s such a beautiful piece of music. I discovered this song while listening to Alanis Morissette’s Valentine’s Day Spotify playlist. She had this song and “I Choose You” on her list, and I thought it was cool that she was a Sara fan too. If the song sounds really familiar, you may have heard in several different shows, like The Vampire Diaries, Army Wives, Community, and So You Think You Can Dance.
Static-X – Cold (Radio/Deep Freeze Mix) – Queen of the Damned: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
This movie was the epitome of everything wrong with a movie that was trying to pander to teens and be “original” in a post-Matrix world: really horrible CGI, really wooden acting, a very generic soundtrack half-filled with decent songs, and destroying the integrity of not one but two books that was its source material: Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat and Interview with the Vampire. Some of the highlights of the movie were Aaliyah (for the younger readers out there, a popular R & B singer from the ‘90’s who died too young in the early 2000’s) as the vampiric goddess/queen Akasha, mother of all vampires, and this song from Static-X, which was featured in the film. Wayne Static also lent his vocals to the song “Not Meant for Me,” another song from the soundtrack. Check out the video for the song on Youtube – it has a cool vampiric theme to it.
Stone Temple Pilots – “Big Empty” – Purple / The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
This song, along with a few others on this playlist, were brought to you by the 1990’s – or when alternative rock was badass. Stone Temple Pilots was one of the biggest bands of the decade, and they were featured on several soundtracks, including this one. It’s a perfect addition to The Crow and it brings back lots of memories of the decade and the first time I watched the film and ventured more into the world of The Crow.
You+Me – “Break the Cycle” – rose ave.
Have you heard of You+Me? No? A musical duo that’s flown under the radar how could that be? And those vocals sure do sound familiar… If you haven’t listened to the indie folk pop stylings of You+Me yet, drop everything that you’re doing and seek out their debut album, rose ave., and you won’t be disappointed. You+Me is the collaborative duo of Alecia Moore and Dallas Green, who are better known by their stage names and projects: P!nk and City and Colour. Dallas is also the former frontman for the Canadian group Alexisonfire, if you’re into the modern post-hardcore movement. “Break the Cycle” was one of the first singles released from their debut album, and it’s a wonderful example of their musical collaboration, and something different for P!nk fans to check out. I hope they continue to make more music in the future because rose ave. is a really terrific album.
The xx – “Angels” – Coexist
See the Robot Koch entries. A pretty minimalist ambient electronic number with great lyrics. Great dream pop to lull yourself to sleep with. Featured in the new version of 90210, Gossip Girl, and Made in Chelsea.