We’re going to try something new here, kiddos, so hold onto your pants while I introduce you to my new quarterly podcast-of-sorts, which I shall irreverently dub (to use the parlance of my favorite musical genre) “Beet Pharm” due to the fact that it will feature only the plumpest, most organically-grown electronic jams plucked from the loins of the internet and freshly prepared in numerical order by yours truly.* In other words, it’s a seasonal playlist, but with a brief description of what exactly I love about each song. Rock n’ read y’all!
You know, we’ve had a pretty rough go of things this summer. There was a war in Gaza, a shooting and subsequent rioting in Ferguson, an ebola outbreak, another downed Malaysian Air aircraft, and Candlestick Park closed its doors forever. We desperately need reprieve from these trials and tribulations, and some way to get back to the basics of summer. That means beer, flippy floppies, grilling, bikinis, tans (or sunburns), ALS ice bucket challenges, and if you happen to live in San Francisco, fog—the very things upon which this great nation of ‘Muuricah was founded! This is why, for my inaugural volume of Beet Pharm, I painstakingly assembled what are some of the most carefree, joyful songs I could find from the past few months. You’re welcome in advance for the feels you get.
For those of you that just want to cut to the music or are illiterate, please feel free to follow me on Spotify, where I have already posted this playlist. My username is “skrAlexxx”—yup, I’m hilarious, I know.
*I begrudgingly admit will probably be the closest I will ever come to deejaying. On a related note, if you know how to produce with Ableton, I will gladly hang out with you every weekend, free of charge.
Anyways, let’s get to it:
1. RAC (feat. Matthew Koma) – Cheap Sunglasses[display_video youtube=37RYC5aZlRo]
Seriously, even the summer breeze might not be as chill and refreshing as this song. RAC, which formerly (but no longer) stands for “Remix Artist Collective,” is the brainchild of André Allen Anjos, who has officially remixed over 200 songs from an incredibly diverse array of artists. Now, he’s making originals…really, really catchy originals, such as Cheap Sunglasses. If this tune tickles you like it did me, I would suggest you also listen to his song “Hollywood.”
2. CAZZETTE (feat. The High) – Sleepless[display_video youtube=k-sfFFnfO8g]
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard this little ditty at some point this summer. While the lyrics come from a tortured, lovesick, and ultimately sleep-deprived soul, the way in which its presented couldn’t possibly be more upbeat. I mean, DAT BASS LINE: so funky, so damn fresh. Bom bom badam bom badam bom bom bom…
3. Deadmau5 – Pets[display_video youtube=1wLxCpSmYQo]
From deadmau5’s hotly anticipated new album, while(1<2), “Pets” is easily the most heart-warming, peaceful, and simply put—beautiful—of the bunch. I bet you could achieve nirvana just by putting this on repeat. This week is looking a whole lot brighter now that you have this song in your head.
4. Gareth Emery – Long Way Home[display_video youtube=64PtSNdkVqM]
I saw Gareth do his thing at Fort Mason about a month ago, and besides being a brilliant performer, he’s also a studio wizard, and knows how many tonal layers are required to make a truly epic house beat. This is exactly one of those, and slowly builds from an infectious melody into a full onslaught of atmospheric wubs.
5. Eric Prydz – Liberate[display_video youtube=0lKWjRguRys]
Forget that bland release from Calvin Harris, as soon as I heard this song I knew it was the one and only song of summer 2014. And the video, which shows an adoring young couple frolicking in waves, perfectly compliments the vibe of the song, which is to simply forget your problems and enjoy the present. You know, YOLO or whatever…
6. EDX – Air For Life[display_video youtube=__8MW-Oljtg]
Another track you’ve already probably heard, this one uses the classic pluck chord progression to its fullest extent, evoking a melody that pulses increasingly harder and harder through the intro, which has the effect of building a lot tension. But then the drop happens, and all that tension evaporates into thin air by a perfectly positioned white noise crash, and what’s left is a thrillingly euphoric version of the same melody that stretches on for what seems like an eternity. I’m willing to bet that listening to this song on the beach at sunset would be a slice of heaven.
7. Peter Thomas (feat. Betty Who) – All Of You[display_video youtube=Bhcxm-2frcA]
I saved the best for last, which considering the serious amount of good-vibes being thrown down on this playlist, is most definitely saying something. But unequivocally speaking, this song has it all: (1) An amazingly emotive female lead vocal track; (2) A seriously dubbed out four-to-the-floor bassline (3) Synth progressions that make you want to jump out of your seat and break out in your best white boy dance (that is, for me at least); and (4) That certain “panache” or “it factor” that you can’t describe. I’ll let you in on an embarrassing secret: when this song comes on, I can’t even help myself, I start singing along in my very best falsetto; with the windows down; driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And I don’t care if I make eye contact with others, I want them to know that I’m having a way better time. I suggest you give it a try.