Frankie Mancini / Gavel Media

Playlist: Breaking the Spotify Bubble

Swedish streaming superpower, Spotify, has made shopping for music a thing of the past. Remember the dark ages before streaming? Poring over samples in the iTunes Store, pirating singles with reckless abandon, and buying CD’s and vinyl on the merit of their album cover. However, by signing our musical allegiance to Spotify, we miss out on some great songs left out of their 40 million song discography. This playlist will prove that there’s more to music than your Discover Weekly playlist.

Fiona Apple - Tymps (unreleased version) / Used to Love Him

Concerns about marketability from Sony producers cut this Jon Brion-produced gem before it saw official release. While Spotify has a reworked version (produced by Mike Elizondo) released years after the album was axed, it bears no resemblance to the expansive collaboration that Apple and Brion created. Brion’s haunting orchestration sounds like a nightmarish circus while Elizondo’s is a pleasant county fair. The song, now titled Tymps (Sick in the Head Song) drives forward with unnerving brass sections and chilling string orchestrations that butt heads with Apple’s formidable vocal and lyrical might.

Matt Elliott – C. F. Bundy

Drenched in Johnny Walker Red, Matt Elliott crawls through this nine minute track with only a few sorrowful lyrics and slow, haunting piano orchestrations. This is the kind of thing Hemingway would have jammed to while getting drunk alone in Paris.

Joanna Newsom – Good Intentions Paving Company

Acclaimed harpist and lyricist Joanna Newsom has never shied away from disparaging Spotify. Luckily, she has more than enough talent to back her up. At seven minutes, this track exemplifies her mastery of the musical and lyrical form. Keep the liner notes handy, every lyric on this track is steeped in Newsom’s characteristically arcane vocabulary.

Glenn Branca – The Spectacular Commodity

While Branca’s death may have gone unnoticed in May 2018, the indelible mark he left on the world of music will not. Through his solo work, as well as collaborations with Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Swans’ Michael Gira, Branca essentially reinvented the guitar. Listen to Branca’s only “dance” track, The Spectacular Commodity.

Ski Mask The Slump God – Worldwide (The Book of Eli)

This track’s short life began and ended as a leaked single off of Ski Mask’s 2018 mixtape, Beware the Book of Eli. While it never aired due to a possible trademark conflict with its opening jingle, this short feature is full of absurd flows and ad libs. Featuring one of the hottest producer-rapper combos of the century, Timbaland and Ski Mask, this track is well worth the listen.

lil tracy & lil uzi vert – like a farmer *remix* (prod gren8)

Rapper Lil Tracy underwent a brief retirement in the wake of Lil Peep’s untimely passing. Unfortunately, this period of silence may have robbed some of the potential he had to become a hip hop legend like Peep. This track shows what might have been. Uzi and Tracy adopt hilariously exaggerated southern accents to satirize country music with hilarious lyrics like, “Got a big ol' truck, so we all gon' ride/ I'm sippin' lean like a Coors Light (Yah, yah).”

only tomorrow – m b v - my bloody valentine

Legendary Irish rock outfit My Bloody Valentine rewrote the script with their 1991 instant classic, Loveless. After years of breakup, this 2013 track was a radical return to form, showing fans that the sounds they perfected on Loveless could be playful, chaotic, and even more contorted than before.

Pere Ubu – The Modern Dance

Pere Ubu saw little commercial success in their time, but their influence on underground and punk is everywhere. Bands like Parquet Courts and IDLES owe their signature sound to Pere Ubu’s early experimentation in punk. Whining guitars and chaotic drumming combine with singer David Thomas pleading, yelping vocals on this dancey, energetic track.

Beyoncé – Hold Up

Beyoncé reigns supreme as the most notable Spotify holdout. Married to Jay-Z and a binding contract with the Tidal streaming service, her 2016 album, Lemonade, is hard to find. Knowles co-produced “Hold Up” with Diplo and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, and the bouncing, danceable beat and cutting lyrics show it.

Mac Miller - The Spins

The juvenile Mac Miller on the cover of his 2010 mixtape, KIDS bares little resemblance to the Mac that the world lost last year. Fresh out of high school, this track reflects a more carefree Mac, with none of the anxieties that inspired his later work. Rather, “The Spins” is a celebration of youth, dreaming, and making as many terrible decisions as you possibly can.

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