Everyone has different taste in everything: movies, books, ice cream flavors, driver’s seat position, shoe size etc. No topic of interest, however, has a more widespread preference palate than music, and for good reason: music comes in all shapes and sizes. Not only are there a bajillion styles, there are also a bajillion different moods and physical states people indulge in that may require a certain flavor of vocals, chord progression, instrumentation or overall vibe. People listen to music for a bajillion different reasons, sober or otherwise. Whether you’re on the jog, on the job, or on the drug of choice, these artists will help you fill each moment with the sweet ambience you’re looking for.
Upbeat: Future Islands
To start off upbeat before working toward the more dulcet tones, one of my favorite bands, Future Islands, has a pretty infectious style. Bordering on the rock/indie pop genre, they steer their songs with a funky, tantalizing bass line that drives the sound. If your head isn’t bobbing right from the start, the drop of the beat and the entrance of the synth tones will ensure it. Lead singer Samuel Herring sings his lyrics with passion and vigor, using his powerfully gruff voice to serenade and electrify at the same time. Their album Singles topped charts across the nation, with album opener “Seasons (Waiting on You)” being awarded the best track of 2014 by NME, Pitchfork and Spin. Their most recent album The Far Field gloriously perpetuates the iconic funkiness and fervor of their previous albums. If you enjoy Singles, you will absolutely love The Far Field. And if both those are up your alley, their first album In Evening Air will also suit your groovy desires.
Tranquility: Blood Orange
For more serene music lovers, Blood Orange offers a tranquil and tropical vibe while still riding the groove train. What’s amazing about everything Blood Orange puts out is this: it’s virtually all one guy. Dev Hynes, voted one of NME’s top 20 “coolest people in rock” in 2008, masters the synths, beats, live instruments and most of the vocals. His second album, Cupid Deluxe, garnered high praise from critics all over. While I’m no music critic, Cupid Deluxe remains my favorite album to date: perfect for relaxing and drifting off into a state of tropical bliss.
Hip-Hop and R&B: A Tribe Called Quest
Many of Mary Jane’s myriad maniacs prefer pairing their puffery with hip-hop and R&B spices. If that’s your deal, A Tribe Called Quest’s most recent album is a collection of poetry in motion that touches on all styles of sound. From slow, sultry jams to upbeat and hard hitting rap, We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service covers all the bases for R&B and rap lovers.
Whether or not grass is an important part of your balanced breakfast (or second breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea time, sevensies, dinner, or supper) music probably always will be. These albums may already be on repeat throughout your day but speaking as someone who’s fond of the ganja, I gotta say, these artists are always able to lift my spirits when they’re already high.