Much like the classic mixtape, Tracklisted presents a collection of songs under a selected theme, which you can check out below. Click on the provided Spotify playlist and listen to this week’s arrangement while you read a few words about the selections.
Earlier this month, we hosted an Exclusive Spin with NYIKO, whose new song “Drag Me Down” was reworked by Tyler Daniel Bean for an upcoming EP. Nyiko Beguin reached out to us, inspired by his collaborator’s Tracklisted piece, to create his own.
In his words: “These songs and artists have inspired my writing and production approach in varying degrees. Most of them are tied to a memory of a lover, of friends, both vague and vivid.”
Blood Orange — You’re Not Good Enough
Sometimes the best way to get over a breakup is to focus on the bad parts; the qualities of the person that help justify letting them go. The vocal duet, bass line and synth work on this song are brilliant, effortlessly capturing the sentiment of losing a lover and trying to move on.
Twin Shadow — Run My Heart
Late July 2012. We were visiting my relatives outside of Montreal. The night we arrived, we decided to go for a drive around the neighborhood. It was dusk and the entire countryside was blue. Warm summer air was blowing in through the windows. This song came on and a feeling of incredible nostalgia washed over me, as if I knew in that moment that I would remember it. “This isn’t love. I’m just a boy and you’re just a girl.” Strange lyrics to sing along to with your partner, but it felt appropriate, as if we were speaking a truth to each other under the guise of a song.
Tegan and Sara — Dark Come Soon
Obsession is probably the most accurate term to describe my high school infatuation with T&S. I saw them live countless times, listened to all their records, learned how to play their songs, and searched message boards to find live recordings, covers, alternate versions, etc. Fortunately, this wasn’t a solitary experience. A few of my bandmates and friends were equally enthralled. The Con came out the summer before my senior year and it breaks my heart whenever I listen to it. It might be one of the most listened albums in my collection.
Owen — Who Found Who’s Hair In Who’s Bed?
Dan Smith, one of my oldest friends and the drummer on a lot of my songs, introduced me to the majesty of Owen (side project of American Football’s Mike Kinsella). I remember going to see them in Allston, MA. It was 2007, the day after Christmas, and after his set we overheard he got a text that his dad died. He had to cancel the rest of the shows on the tour. It was incredibly sad. It’s wild to have been there for that moment and to now hear him sing about it in his music. This song was written well before that show and it’s about infidelity — one of the central themes of “Drag Me Down,” the b-side of the You Know I Loved It 7”.
Future Islands — Seasons (Waiting On You)
Summer 2010 at the Monkey House in Winooski, VT. They had just released In the Evening Air and it was Jana Hunter’s first time touring as Lower Dens. Insane line-up for a 100 person capacity space. I remember being completely entranced by Sam Herring’s stage presence and shakespearean aura. I read an interview where he discussed the inspiration for ‘Seasons’ and it hit close to home: long-term relationship, trying to change for another person, trying to get them to change for you – love doesn’t really work that way.
Crystal Castles (ft. Robert Smith) — Not In Love
I came home, closed all the blinds in my living room, turned on a strobe light, and blasted this song on the stereo. One of my roommates came in and we jumped up and down for the entirety of the song.
Bright Eyes — Lover I Don’t Have to Love
Conor Oberst is a great storyteller. I’ve always thought of him as our generation’s Bob Dylan, just more depressed. Every time I listen to this song I come back to the same line — “love’s an excuse to get hurt.” It sounds like a defeatist attitude toward love, but then he follows it up with “do you like to hurt?” “I do! I do!” “Then hurt me.” That notion of diving into a relationship well knowing that most end with heartbreak. I think it serves as both a dialogue and an inner monologue.
Mirah — Fleetfoot Ghost
Winter, 2014. We were all sitting on the floor. A local promoter had rented out an office space to host one of Mirah’s living room performances. I was single again and feeling especially lonely. For those 45 minutes, I was able to escape and be completely consumed by Mirah’s performance, hanging on every note. This is one of those songs that puts me on the verge of tears every time I listen to it. Between the vocal melody, Mirah’s gentle voice, and the intimacy of the guitar, it’s one of the most poetic and heart-wrenching songs I’ve ever heard.
Beach House — Myth
Being in a relationship with someone that suffers from depression can be difficult. In my case, I would get caught up in emotional guessing games — constantly trying to protect them from the gravity of the world. It’s not healthy to try to be everything for your partner and I found that out that hard way. I lost sight of myself — my needs, my ambitions. I came to realize that the person I fell in love with was gone. I was holding onto the idea of them — who I wanted them to be. The myth.
NYIKO’s “You Know I Loved It” EP will be released on May 12, via Bandcamp. It will be available as both a 7″ and cassette, and both are available for pre-order now. The EP was engineered by Chris Shar (Man Man, Santigold), features two new songs, as well as revisionist treatments from Tyler Daniel Bean, Suplington, and Sasquatch. It features themes of intimacy, suicide, mental illness and infidelity.