The Playlist, pt. 8

Listen on: Spotify / we7*

44. PJ Harvey – ‘Broken Harp’

Taken from the piano-and-wailing White Chalk, ‘Broken Harp’ marks a clean break from Polly Jean’s previous tough rock anthems. She arrives at a more ragged compositional style and deliberately hollow, off-key delivery.

45. Beach House – ‘Zebra’

On this year’s vaunted third album, the Baltimore duo stepped out from relatively lo-fi shadows with a more polished sound. Victoria Legrand’s vocals are as hushed as ever on this, its opening track, but the glistening guitar and synth are a powerful complement.

46. Talking Heads – ‘Once in a Lifetime’

David Byrne seems to call out warnings to those who might one day fall into midlife crisis. His question-loaded spoken verses fall neatly into place over an artsy polyrhythmic backing that has produced one of the 80s’ iconic singles.

47. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – ‘Poodle Rockin”

Before the USA’s “freak folk” contingent conquered the hearts of many a swooning outsider, the Welsh contingent had their own – perhaps freakier – claim to the title. ‘Poodle Rockin” is an vigorously eccentric cut from Gorky’s highlight Spanish Dance Troupe.

48. Pulp – ‘Common People’

Last week, Jarvis Cocker and co. shuffled back into the public eye with the announcement of their live return. With a reputation as the third (but best, really) band of Britpop behind them, the misfits’ work is ready for a fresh appraisal – for the time being, the class tourist classic ‘Common People’ remains their biggest hit.

49. Sufjan Stevens – ‘They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!’

Back in 2005, when Stevens released the career-making Illinois, his tweet-busting song titles were almost as ambitious as his music. On ‘They Are Night Zombies’, the backing vocals jerk along with the rhythm of the undead, but the real “zombies” are ghost towns of Illinois.

50. Sigur Rós – ‘Heysátan’

For a time in 2006, there seemed to be a rule against a television station broadcasting a scenic montage without accompaniment in the form of the majestic broken chords of ‘Hoppípolla’, but the pastoral ‘Heysátan’ was just as evocative of Sigur Rós’ homeland.

Read the whole playlist.

*tracks missing on we7.

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