Our playlist this month comes freshly-squeezed from our longtime digital partner, turned latest acquisition, Juice Interactive — featuring Tommy James & The Shondells, Earl Hooker, Digable Planets & more
San Francisco-based photographer Kelly Puleio, who we worked with to develop The Orwells' album cover for "Terrible Human Beings," curates this month's playlist with themes of longing, movement and possibility.
These Arms of Mine—Otis Redding
Makes you stop in your tracks, grab your wife, and slow dance in the kitchen.
Georgia — Vance Joy
The kind of love that devours you.
Southland in the Springtime — Indigo Girls
Taking that drive, away from everything you have known and loved.
Either Way — Guster
Guster is a band that carried me through my first love, my first drive cross country, and into adulting. This song was where it all began.
Jacked Up — Weezer
Because every playlist should have a Weezer song, always.
Tether — CHVRCHES
California — Delta Spirit
Moving from the east coast, heading for California with a girl I didn’t love.
Wake Me — Bleachers
The song my wife quietly sings to me in the car that makes the rest of the world melt away.
Waking Up and Walking Out — Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s
My best friend (and music guru) introduced me to this song and I listened to it on repeat for months.
Bird Set Free — Sia
Sia makes me remember what the fight is for, and to sing at the top of your lungs.
OKRP's group of 2017 summer interns curated this month's playlist, a meditation on youth and possibility. Check out what the next generation of advertising sounds like!
8teen — Khalid
This song — and Khalid in general — knows how to transport you to having no responsibilities, to driving through your hometown with your friends and all the windows down, music blasting. To wondering what love was like, or worrying about coming home to a parent’s punishment. Take Khalid’s alternative R&B genius for a spin, you won’t regret it.
— Anna Alonso
Waiting in Vain — Bob Marley
“Waiting in Vain” catches the classic Bob Marley vibe that so many other reggae artists try to repeat. Bob glides over the classic reggae beat and riffs, singing as he waits in vain for some love.
— Jake Lesnik
Momma’s Boy — Chromeo
A quirky pop classic about a momma’s boy who is in search for the ideal woman. The upbeat melody of the song contrasts well with the dark comedic lyrics to weave an interesting tale about the search for love.
— Tristian Montgomery
Adieu — Tchami
This song in general for me will absolutely never get old, I can listen to it five times in a row. It has that melodic chill vibe that hits home for me, but also gets you moving when the drop comes around. I know if you are into EDM, this is a trademark song for what it is all about. Let it work on you and you’ll begin to respect it.
— Creighton Hudak
iT — Christine and the Queens
With a beat that will cause every vein in your body to dance, “iT” by Christine and the Queens should be your go-to track whenever you need a moment to sway around the kitchen or take a cruise under the city lights. Regardless of your gender, I guarantee that after playing this track you’ll be screaming, “I’m a man now” at the top of your lungs.
— Zur Thibodeaux
Flowers in Your Hair — The Lumineers
“Flowers in Your Hair” is super short, but jam-packed with meaningful lyrics. This song talks about getting older and paints a great picture. “Flowers in Your Hair” is super laid-back and easy to listen to for almost every occasion.
— Lauren Mitchell
River Lea — Adele
I remember being at DTW airport (Detroit) in December of 2015, waiting for my flight home, listening to “25” on repeat. I appreciated Adele’s ability to generate a feeling of “love lost” in me even though I haven’t necessarily lost a love. The album, as is expected of Adele, weaves a narrative of regret and rebirth. “River Lea” is where the former starts to transition into the latter. It is all about Adele coming to terms with her bad habits, the fact that they are difficult to challenge, and apologizing for the impact they may have had on her partner. The river is a representation of the habits that ruined her relationship. It has made her who she is, but has also carried her down a path she can’t continue on, emphasized in a part of the chorus, saying “I can’t go back to the river.” She is leaving behind the person she was so that she can move on to the next phase of her life.
— Guy Madjar
Why Georgia — John Mayer
Mayer’s lyrics, “quarter-life crisis” and “of a still verdictless life” indicate a feeling of being lost — however, when paired with a pop melody and soft falsetto, the listener gets a warm, hopeful vibe that makes this an easy listen. This one brings me to summer road trips with mom and miles and miles of karaoke.
— Grace Paul
Sunshine — Atmosphere
This is a feel good hip-hop song with understandable lyrics, and warm sounds to match. I choose this song so listeners can be exposed to hip-hop that tells a story while still providing a festive vibe.
— John McCormick
All the Pretty Girls — Kaleo
Kaleo is an up-and-coming group from Iceland with an “indie pop,” Bon Iver essence. I love listening to “All the Pretty Girls” when I want to unwind because of its tranquil and sincere sound. On my 18-hour car ride home from Miami of Ohio to Colorado, I listened to it probably 100+ times. It simply never gets old.
— Natalie Cofield
Our 40th volume of Whiskey & Bananas playlist is curated by Dena Blevins, Starbucks Creative Director. These tracks are as energizing as a shot of espresso.
Way Back — Amber Mark
I love this song, it just makes me happy, the positivity of getting back to where you want to be — makes you feel like anything is possible.
I Can’t Go For That — the bird and the bee
Such a cool cover of the Daryl Hall & John Oates classic.
Better Give You Up — FKJ (French Kiwi Juice)
We’ve had a revolving door of French exchange students at our house over the years and this was one of the great artists they exposed me to.
Somthing’s Missing — The Internet
My son Alec introduced me to this band, and I immediately loved their slow, cool vibes.
Vampire — Mai Lan
As a Sookie Stackhouse / “True Blood” fan, anything with “Vampire” in it gets my attention. This song is catchy and quirky — and the artwork on the single release is gorgeous.
That’s Not My Name — The Ting Tings
This album was in rotation in our creative studio at Starbucks years ago. A bunch of us from the studio went and saw their show at the Showbox in Seattle, and it was incredible. The female vocalist Katie White was a bundle of sexy energy clad in shorts and knee-high striped athletic socks. She’s pissed in this song and is letting you know about it.
Makeba — Jain
Jain is a French singer-songwriter that grew up traveling the world and you clearly hear those global influences in her work. Another find from our French exchange students.
What You Don’t Do — Lianne La Havas (Tom Misch Remix)
I love the instrumentals they wove into this remake and her vocals are sultry and smooth.
Wish I Didn’t Miss You — Angie Stone
I’ve always loved classic R&B — this takes me there. There is such a yearning, alluring feel to her vocals — you can feel the pain in her voice.
Everyday — Lucy Pearl
Love the positivity of this song — Dawn Robinson’s vocals are inspiring and uplifting.
And a hidden classic inspired by Dena’s earliest years as a music fan…
Ad legend Keith Reinhard, who is also the father of our co-founder & CCO Matt, curated this month's playlist of jazz classics, complemented by Matisse visuals.
Leave Me Alone — Johnny Griffin
When people ask what jazz is all about, I always quote the great Chicago-born tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin who said: “Jazz is created by and for people who have decided to feel good, regardless of conditions.” His Chicago “tough tenor” sound on this recording makes me feel good regardless of what else is going on. I hope you feel the same.
Intermission Riff — Stan Kenton
Stan Kenton was coming onto the jazz scene about the time I was graduating from high school. Back then his sound was considered very avant-garde. I like a lot about Kenton’s music, but especially his five-trombone section that growls in close harmony on this recording. These same trombones inspired a jazz vocal quartet at Butler University in my home state of Indiana. They became famous as The Four Freshmen, with a unique sound achieved by vocalizing Kenton’s trombone charts.
Take the “A” Train — Duke Ellington
I live very close to a subway station in Manhattan, and every time I pass by it or descend into it, Duke Ellington’s theme song starts playing in my mental hum box. The song was written by his composing companion Billy Strayhorn when the young composer was invited to visit Duke at his apartment in Sugar Hill, Harlem. “How do I get there?” asked Billy. “Take the A Train to Sugar Hill,” said Duke. “It’s the quickest way to Harlem.” This recording is by the Ellington orchestra, conducted by Duke’s son Mercer, and featuring an impeccable tenor sax solo by Branford Marsalis.
Moten Swing — Count Basie
When Benny Moten played this song with his Kansas City Orchestra back in the thirties, his orchestra included Count Basie on the piano. Since then, Moten Swing has become most associated with Basie. I love the way the brass section surprises us by shouting out, in sharp contrast to Basie on piano who, as one reviewer put it, “plays little notes but gives them lots of meaning.” Moral of the story: You don’t have to be loud to be meaningful.
Stompin’ at the Savoy — Benny Goodman
When listening to jazz, I like to think of the different instruments and sections as being engaged in a conversation. Jazz people refer to this as “call and response.” One section “calls,” the other “responds.” This song is a great example of such dialogue. First the horn section calls “pah pah,” then the reed section responds, “bah da de da da dah.” A few bars later the call and response is reversed with the reed section calling and the horns responding. Soaring above this delightful conversation, Benny Goodman lifts our spirits with his clarinet solos. Goodman was another jazz great born in Chicago. The son of poor Jewish immigrants, he grew up to form, during an era of racial segregation, the first racially integrated jazz group.
Watermelon Man — Poncho Sanchez
Talk about Feelin’ Good! How can you feel any other way when you listen to Poncho Sanchez, the Mexican-American conguero (conga player) play Herbie Hancock’s composition about a watermelon vendor? Hancock, yet another Chicago-born jazz legend, composed the tune based on the men who drove their melon wagons over Chicago’s cobblestone streets and sang out about their juicy wares. Now that you know the story, you can almost hear the words “Hey, Wa-ter-mel-on man” in the five-note melodic figure that repeats through the song. Thanks to Poncho Sanchez and other Latin band leaders, this song became a bridge between Afro-Cuban and Afro-American music.
Drum Boogie — Gene Krupa
My high school buddy, Don Neuen, and I were both percussionists in our high school band and orchestra. We both admired the great drummer Gene Krupa, who was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, and who became a handsome teenage idol. We wanted to look like him and play like him, neither of which ever happened. My friend Don, however, did become a distinguished musician as a faculty member of the Eastman School of Music and later, director of choral music at UCLA. Lacking Don’s (or Gene Krupa’s) talent, I went on to be just a music lover. But when I hear Krupa on the drum breaks in songs like “Drum Boogie,” it brings back those high school days when I was trying to master drum rudiments like flamadiddles and paradiddles. At least I member their onomatopoeic names.
Boplicity — Miles Davis
Jazz people often talk about the color of notes. You can even do a Google search to find color wheels assigning different colors to different notes. I’m not that sophisticated. But I respond to what Miles Davis and his nonet (nine-person group) are doing in this recording — experimenting with a less aggressive style of playing, and what is described as warm tonal colors, even though the album title is about the birth of cool. On the subject of color, I’ve always liked what Miles Davis himself said about the relationship between music and paintings: “A painting is music you can see. Music is a painting you can hear.”
Big Butter and Egg Man — Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of American culture. I’m also proud to say he is my friend. We met in 1992 in São Paulo, Brazil and we’ve been friends ever since. Wynton is a multi-Grammy winner and the first jazz musician ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. I love his trumpet solo on this recording of a song that takes its title from a 1920’s slang term for a big spender — a traveling businessman who spent big bucks in nightclubs. Presumably the voice of the trumpet is the voice of a woman who would like to connect with a Big Butter and Egg Man. Wynton is very wise. I once asked him how he feels if people don’t like a brave new composition. His response: “You can’t just be weird man, people gotta dig it.” What great advice for all of us. I hope you dig Wynton on this track along with his father Ellis who is on piano.
Four on Six — Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery is one of the most influential guitarists ever in jazz. A product of my home state, Wes was born in Indianapolis, the middle and most celebrated brother of a family of musicians. He recorded with brothers Buddy, a vibraphonist, and Monk, who played the electric bass. I like the fact that, as a guitarist, Montgomery is said to have introduced many people to jazz — people who knew they liked guitar but didn’t know they liked jazz.
Indiana — The Modern Jazz Quartet
First recorded in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, “Indiana” (aka “(Back Home Again in) Indiana”) soon became a jazz standard. For years, Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars would open each public appearance with this number. As a native Hoosier, it always brings back good memories of my growing up days. This recording is a good example of one of the basic elements of jazz — improvisation or spontaneous composition. The tenor sax plays the familiar melody, followed by a series of soloists improvising on the basic tune structure. In the last :30 of the track, the vibraphonist brings us “Back Home Again” to Indiana and the original tune.
Cottontail — Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
I’ve been privileged to serve on the Board of Jazz at Lincoln Center for lots of years and so I’ve been able to see and hear the best of the genre up close and personal. Under the masterful direction of Wynton Marsalis, the organization’s managing and artistic director, every member of this 16-piece orchestra could be a headliner on their own. Each musician is a composer, arranger and performer. In this closing track of my jazz playlist, the orchestra is joined by the famous tenor sax player, Illinois Jacquet. The recording is live and I hope you’ll join in the applause.
We asked our friend Ron Lazzeretti, writer, director, musician and ad man, to curate this month’s playlist, presented by “Whiskey & Bananas.”
Almost Like The Blues — Leonard Cohen
There’s not much Leonard Cohen music that I don’t like, but I like his last few records best of all. It’s like when his life was nearing its end, he collected all the wisdom he’d gathered and put it all together for an awe-inspiring grand finale.
In A Parade — Paul Simon
I took a trip to the emergency room last year. Everything turned out fine, but the insanity of that scene…the vulnerability. I love Paul Simon because, like Cohen, he writes from the perspective of where he is in life. There’s nothing sadder than an artist trying desperately to still be what they no longer are. Not just because it’s pathetic. But because it prevents them from becoming that next thing. And no one seems to know that better than Paul Simon. Or the guy coming up next…
Things Have Changed — Bob Dylan
I share a birthday with Bob Dylan. So every year on my birthday, I listen to all Dylan, all day. Which is why I guess it’s natural that I think of him when I reflect on age and where I am in my life.
Lonely Ride — Jodi Walker
This track comes from Chicago singer-songwriter Jodi Walker. It’s from her record “Broken Bubble.” I love the fact that a track titled “(It’s A) Lonely Ride” plays like a sing-along.
A Little Tattoo — Ron Lazzeretti & Naomi Ashley
OKRP suggested I include a song of mine, which honestly, felt weird. Until I thought of one that featured singer-songwriter Naomi Ashley. Her last two records, “Another Year Or So” and “Trying To Fly” are particularly wonderful. I wrote this for her and we ultimately recorded it as a duet. It’s a song about an aching yearning, a sign, and the haunting feeling that you’re on the wrong track.
It’s Not Too Late — T-Bone Burnett
Here comes some of that hope I promised. Virtually every aspect of this T-Bone Burnett gem speaks to an unmistakable air of darkness, degradation and decay. But that title, that refrain tells us that, formidable as our plight may be, it ain’t over yet.
The Boat Song (We’re Getting Loaded) — Ike Reilly Assassination
Libertyville, Illinois’ own Ike Reilly is one of my favorite writers and performers. I co-created a web series called The Graveyard Show and all the music in that series is Ike’s. Like Dylan, his songs all seem oddly topical. They seem that way because they’re timeless.
Down To The Bottom — Brian Anderson
Like Jodi Walker and Naomi Ashley, I met Brian out of the legendary roadhouse, Fitzgerald’s, in Berwyn, Illinois. There’s a wonderful music community in and around that strip of Roosevelt Road that some call The Veltway. Brian is one of my heroes from that crowd and this song about where to find the truth is one of his best.
Love Resplendent — Jenny Bienemann
Yet another artist from that scene. Jenny just released a record called “Every Soul Grows To The Light.” Absolutely beautiful. And this song about the redemptive power of love is sweet and reassuring without being saccharine and naïve.
Celebrate — Anderson .Paak
My favorite part of this wonderful, Sly and the Family Stone-style pick-me-up is when a troublesome reminder of the past is recalled, threatening to run the song’s good feelings off the rails. Until another voice interrupts, saving the day with, “Let it go, let it go, let it go.” Which is my new mantra.
This month's guest "Whiskey & Bananas" playlist is curated by John Nau of Beacon Street Studios in Venice, CA, one of OKRP's go-to musical production partners. Enjoy this groovy selection of 1970s California-vibed tracks.
Help Me — Joni Mitchell
A love song written by the master, Joni, featuring her impeccable voice and beautiful lyricism — one of the most underrated guitarists of her generation.
Beginning Again — Brian Auger
I bought the record Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express — Live Oblivion Vol. 1 at a used record shop just because of the cover. I went home and put on side one, song one…what the ??? My ears popped off my head. I loved the vibe, the style and chords, and if that wasn’t enough, Brian lays into a smoking jazz solo on the Fender Rhodes (he’s more known for his organ playing). The architect of what would later be called “Acid Jazz”…this guy can play! Killer jazz keyboard solos over Motown soul-inspired grooves.
Cherry — J.J. Cale
This guy is so cool! The king of laid-back! Always under the radar and often imitated…e.g. Eric Clapton. “Cherry” is just one of the great tracks from J.J.’s album Troubadour.
Stay While the Night is Young — Savoy Brown
Kim Simmonds went through many iterations of the band, this version being one of his best. A jazz influence creeps into the music on this set and newly added vocalist Chris Youlden’s blue-eyed soul baritone voice brings it.
Sandy’s Blues [Live] — Oscar Peterson Trio
From the record Exclusively For My Friends. My friend’s dad gave me a tape of this in high school. Upon listening to the intro to “Sandy’s Blues,” I realized I had a decision to make — quit immediately or listen and practice. I chose the latter. Oscar never disappoints. Watch him on YouTube…sooo good!
It’s For You — Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays
This track and record, As Falls Wichita, so Falls Wichita Falls, has always given me a certain feeling of melancholy that slowly turns to joy. I love this record. It’s a sonic exposé of the pastorale American heartland.
Any Major Dude Will Tell You — Steely Dan
JEEZ! Where are these guys coming from?? Well…a fusion of classic rhythm & blues, jazz harmony and rock n roll. The sardonic lyrics against the smooth intellectual musical backdrop (the jazz-infused chord changes) create some breathtaking iconoclastic pop music. No imitators here.
I Think I’ll Call It Morning — Gil Scott-Heron
Gil Scott was making music in the 60’s and early 70’s that helped tell the story of the civil rights movement and political and social injustices in America. For every poem or song that dealt with the plight of the inner city or a corrupt government, a little gem would pop on, a song of hope and beauty, this being one of them.
Gil Scott was an original! A writer of books and a seeker of the truth through his music. Hard to compare him with anybody else. With a distinctive voice and style he’s considered one the forefathers of rap music.
I Was Doing All Right — Dexter Gordon
The POET! Born in L.A., crushed it in NYC, lived in Denmark. A towering figure in jazz (literally). Total command of the tenor saxophone, deep rich tone, laid back and hard swinging, plus a dash of humor — in the sense that if you listen to enough of his solos, you’ll notice he loves to incorporate quotes from other songs (such as “If I Only Had a Brain”).
Incident at Neshabur — Santana
From the record Abraxas. I always loved the instrumentals, and Greg Rollie’s organ playing is one of my main early influences. 1970 was an exciting time for music, the lines were blurred — Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, which hit a few months earlier, helped open the door for this jazz/Latin/rock mashup! This stuff was playing on mainstream radio.
Check out our guest playlist by OKRP's director of Groupon spots, Luis Peña, who curated hard-rocking and introspective tracks for adventure and the open road.
Black Grease — The Black Angels
Oh how I love The Black Angels. I almost made the whole mix with just their songs. This is what west Texas sounds like to me.
Hustle And Cuss — Dead Weather
The sexy duo of Jack White and Alison Mosshart going at it with tension brimming at the seams. We’re starting to break the speed limit.
When The Levee Breaks — Led Zeppelin
I love air drumming to this masterpiece. Can’t help myself. Full-on smashing the steering wheel to Bonham’s thunder.
T.I.B.W.F.— Budos Band
I get lost in this song. It’s like a soundtrack to a 60’s horror film about gogo dancers. I love it.
Wish You Were Here — Lee Fields & The Expressions
My first car was a Chevy Malibu and it only had an AM radio station. And the only station I listened to was KYOK — Soul. Driving and soul go hand and hand to me.
You Don’t Love Me-No No No — Dawn Penn
I went through a big reggae phase. Actually, I reckon I’m still in it. Dawn Perry’s vocals and the rhythmic bass line gets my head moving every time.
Optimistic — Radiohead
Ah, Radiohead. You could save the world with your music. I backpacked all throughout Central America in my mid-twenties listening to OK Computer. This is off Kid A. I love how this song builds and builds tension and then releases.
Ball of Confusion — Leon Bridges
I heard this song the other day and was struck on how current it is today. Leon Bridges does a masterful cover of it. And that bass line is ridiculous.
Commit A Crime — Mr. Airplane Man
Mr. Airplane Man is the duo of Margaret Garrett and Tara McManus — drums and guitar. Simple and stripped-down grungy blues. That guitar riff makes me want to do terrible things to a Challenger Hellcat.
Miss Ohio — Craig Cardiff
Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings are on my desert island record list. But this cover of their song by Craig Cardiff is amazing. Gorgeous jazz piano ramblings. “I wanna do right, but not right now.”
We're celebrating the release of Eddie O’Keefe’s film "Shangri-La Suite" with tracks picked by the director and film’s stars - Emily Browning, Luke Grimes & Avan Jogia.
One Night — Elvis Presley
Bringing it back to the classic early days of Elvis — not the latter-day one that the film’s main characters would set out to kill in 1974.
I Want You — Bob Dylan
A love song from Bob Dylan’s 1966 classic double album “Blonde on Blonde.”
Last Kiss — Frank J Wilson and the Cavaliers
The prototypical 1950s tragic teenage pop song.
I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times — The Beach Boys
This Beach Boys classic resonates no matter what times you were born in.
I Found A Reason (Demo) — The Velvet Underground
A Dylan-esque alternate version of the track from The Velvet Underground’s final album in 1970.
Little Bit of Rain — Karen Dalton
A great lost gem from Cherokee folk singer and guitarist Karen Dalton in the early 60s Greenwich Village scene.
Half-Breed — Cher
The film’s Native American characters are mirrored in Cher’s 1970s hit about the troubles faced by being part-Native and part-white in the USA.
California Dreamin’ — The Mamas and The Papas
What’s a film about 1970s America without California and The Mamas and The Papas?
Nights in White Satin — Moody Blues
A staple of the “Shangri-La Suite” era.
Cool Summer — Bob Lind
Bob Lind is a deep-cut classic of the early 60s folk movement.
Girl From The North Country — Link Wray
Electric guitar pioneer Link Wray covers Bob Dylan to upbeat and devastating effect. (Read Eddie’s in-depth discussion of this track at Aquarium Drunkard.)
Hurt — Timi Yuro
A soulful heartbreak classic. Not to be confused with the latter-day Johnny Cash song. (Also check out Eddie’s take on this song and three different versions of it at Aquarium Drunkard.)
Ghost Walk — The Budos Band
A variety of influences from jazz, funk, Afro-beat, soul and more permeate the Budos Band, an instrumental group on Daptones Records who records in Brooklyn.
Hollywood Swinging — Kool & The Gang
Get down with the glory days of funk — 1973, to be exact.
Le Marin — Babet
You know we love our French-language grooves.
Get Out Of My Life Woman — Lee Dorsey
Check out this lost 60s classic from R&B pioneer Lee Dorsey.
Bombay — El Guincho
Whether it’s winter in Chicago or summer in Miami, this bright beat will pick you up and get you going.
Memory — The Lemons
Chicago’s own The Lemons write the catchiest little ditties around, in the classic style of 50s bubblegum pop with a modern twist.
Help Yourself — Tom Jones
It’s impossible not to love Tom Jones, the eternal guilty pleasure.
Grandma’s Hands — Bill Withers
Check out this deep cut from classic 70s soul singer Bill Withers.
Thought U Wuz Nice (Instrumental) — Phife Dawg
Pouring one out for Phife Dawg, a member of A Tribe Called Quest, who we lost to the Great Musical Icon Death Wave of 2016.
Stand By Me — Cassius Clay
That Cassius Clay? Aka Muhammad Ali, the Greatest of All Time? Why yes, he did record an album, in 1963. Another great lost to 2016.