Here’s the truth: So Hot Right Now posts are always hard for me to write. I play those 15 songs obsessively, plucking many of them out of thin air and promptly devouring them over the course of the last week of the month. That’s supposed to quell my wandering attention span, that batch of new songs. I line them up and play them on repeat, I pledge my endless listening devotion to them, for the next month at least. I slide one in next to the other, drag it down, rearrange tracks 7 and 15, then 12 and 3, then think about transitions. What sounds delicious? What bridge between two songs is so luscious and unexpected that it has to be honored? A few months ago Joshua slipped “Flowers in Your Hair” by The Lumineers right behind “Summer Breeze” by the Isley Brothers and that movement from one song to the next plucked an emotional chord. It sounded like the first buttery sunshine filled day of summer or the rosy cheeked heat of a new crush. It was perfect. It was the ideal transition. I wanted every transition on my lists to sound as good.
I am obsessive. There are all kinds of corners and knick knacks in my apartment that get fondly pinged by my passing fingertips several times a day. I often listen to a song more than ten times in a row. And that obsessiveness is sometimes fun, but when it comes to making mixes, it’s easy for it to get exhausting. One of my favorite songs last year was “Closer” by Tegan and Sarah. It’s almost unbearable to listen to now because I listened to it so many times. At this point it sounds like construction or a loud clock—that low level jarring kind of noise that pinches your nerves. I wear out so many great songs, I have to shelve them and come back to them months later, if ever (Seriously, after waiting for the new Tegan and Sara album for months, it’s disappointing to have to skip the excellent kick off that is “Closer” every time I listen to it). So Hot Right Now mixes are lists of songs I’ve worn down to the bone. I post them here, and I run as far away from them as I can.
The past week of this brand new month has been full of big emotions, good and bad. I kept meaning to post my original list, but it seemed like it expired on February 1st. I didn’t want to hear all the stuff I’d listened to last month. I wanted the comfort of songs that I loved, songs I could never get tired of. I wanted Tom Petty and Etta James and Liz Phair. I wanted slightly less familiar songs from albums I play often, songs like “Where I’m Waking” by Slow Club and “Again Today” by The Feelies. I wanted the relief of new songs that I’m still charmed with, like “Young Adult Friction” by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and “Golden Haze” by Wild Nothing. I didn’t want to sort them out because they sounded so perfect and right just where they were, all in a row, where I wanted them to be when I needed to find them.
In case you were curious, and because it was a very good mix, that mix I made and couldn’t listen to for another second, here’s my original So Hot Right Now for February. I hope you enjoy them both—let me know what you’re listening to this month in the comments.