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Feelin’ Good as Hell Vibes

featuring Nina Simone, Lizzo and The Beach Boys

I made this for a friend a few months ago that wanted a playlist with uplifting music. It feels like a compliment to my Keep Calm playlist, which was for when we went into the pandemic, and this is the outro, hopefully.

The silly reason I never posted this playlist on Silence before is that I couldn’t find good art for it. Then comes along Midjourney, something similar to DALI-2, that can generate images based off a string of text, and presto here she is! Guess what my input text was.

The title is based on the first three songs of this list.

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Music of the Year, 2021

Doja Cat was my #1, but Lost in Riddim defined the year

It’s been over 12 years since starting Silence and I’ve done quite a few playlists summing up each year’s “best music”, but I’ve taken this year a bit more seriously. I haven’t been able to keep up posting every song that’s been stuck up in my head this past year, but I’ll start making a habit to at least get it in a yearly round up like the one below.

I’ve been pretty on & off on this “blog” over the years with having a definitive Music of the Year playlist (I plan to go back), but I’ve kept track of my #1 musician more intentionally since 2014. That year it was Doja Cat with her Purrr! EP and this year it’s Doja again for so much more. Which I’ll need another seven years to unpack. But even more than Doja, seeing an afrobeats festival live was my most defining moment of 2021.

It’s crazy how most of my music discovery has been online over the past 25 years (since Napster), but the one thing I’ve learned writing for Silence Nogood is how much more influential it is seeing a musician live. I didn’t get to more than a few festivals in 2021, mostly because of the pandemic, but one festival influenced this best of 2021 playlist the greatest, Lost in Riddim. It introduced me to afrobeats on a level like I’ve never been introduced to any music culture in one weekend. It was a 20 act crash-course into the world’s hotspot in music right now.

The playlist is just over 10% afrobeats and nothing but dance and soul music. I’ve played this list of 50 songs over 50 times all the way through to trim it down as much possible – it started with over 100. That’s days of listening straight to only a few handfuls of music and I never got sick of any one of these 50.

A special thanks to Liz for being my third and fourth ear on this list. And everyone else listening with me over 12 years++ Sincerely, thank you. Many more to come o_0

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Pops, listen to this

A mix of old soul and new

I haven’t made many personal playlists for people, but I’m moving in that direction with technologies making it much easier. Imagine if Spotify or some other music service made it so simple to compare your music taste with someone close to you and serve up suggestions, building something that constantly updates based on each of your moods, new music, new connections, and so much else.

Until then, here’s a static playlist I made for my pops for Father’s day. I actually don’t call him father or pops, so here’s to you dad: a mix of old soul to get familiar with again and new soul that’s already among the greats for me, and hopefully one day for you too. Thanks for introducing me to the music that inspired what I love today!

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Keep Calm (Don’t Panic)

For when our world is going to shit

The first 50 or so songs (up to Prince) were meant to tell a story of our physically distant lives, but all the rest are here to keep you calm. I hope it helps when things go to shit. Or when you just need to relax.

Inspired by brandonstosuy.

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Kisses Sweet

Maybe you give me... (a love playlist)

I probably screwed this up and included some heartbreak song. It’s not about the lyrics when I select. Always the feeling.

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend said all I had was heartache playlists and nothing for love (a few exceptions,) so here one is. For her, Miz Liz. She inspires me as much as this music.

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77 “Bittersweet” Sad Soul Songs

SG Lewis' fans compiled some of the saddest songs with soul

SG Lewis asked his Twitter followers what were their favourite sad soul songs. Similar to what I did with brokemogul’s “Best Music Documentaries,” I took over 100 responses and compiled it down to 77 songs.

What I love about this list is how deeply personal and eclectic it is. It comes from over 100 different people who have the same purpose in mind and some level of love for SG Lewis but are probably pretty different otherwise. I removed a few songs that didn’t fit and some late 80’s/early 90’s R&B, but I tried to keep too much of my bias out of it.

It was hard to define what’s sad and what’s soul music. Or what’s old for that matter. Some songs may sound happy – Sam Cooke’s “Good Times” is a good example – but can be used just as well for sad times. The Twitter responses pushed the boundaries of what soul music can be defined as, which I can appreciate to a certain point (it’s still a good song.)

My biggest conflict was not including Angie Stone’s “Wish I Didn’t Miss You” and it’s for the most childish reason. Seriously, wait for it. I swear there’s a random fart noise every measure or so. Or am I just making this shit up? First one starts 14 seconds in. It’s an otherwise genuinely beautiful song.

SG Lewis still has yet to post his own sad soul song. Maybe we can get 77 more in the next year with his choice included.

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Not UR Wedding DJ

Dance to what you love and what others do too

I wanted to make a playlist for my friends’ wedding, but not with all the stereotypical hits. Unlike what I’ve promoted in the past, this playlist still caters to what music people know and love singing to (or at least dance to), but not all the hits you hear at weddings.

It starts with the best, goes into what we loved growing up in the 90’s, takes it back to what our parents grew up with, and ends with the newer favorites.

I also stuck in a few personal gems for the bride & groom. Congrats, Connie & Dan!

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A COLORS festival in Berlin needs to happen

The simplest backdrop brings out the best in a musician's performance

COLORS out of Berlin produces some of the cleanest music performances on YouTube with some of the biggest prospects in music right now. Going through the 271 videos they’ve uploaded so far, and picking 36 (13%), two themes in my selection process stuck out.

The videos didn’t help every performer sound better. In the end, it was about their vocal chops. It did, however, bring out the best in the voices that stood out. Imagine a COLORS festival in Berlin. Live is the ultimate goal for any content company and most others.

I also realized, or more so confirmed, my dislike for listening to rap from outside of the US. It’s not about what they say, it’s about how they say it. Not being exposed enough to the phonetics in other languages when it comes to music has trained my brain to prefer the American accent. Even Canadian rappers I can’t take seriously sometimes. “Aboot” makes me chuckle, let alone when it’s in a rap song.

That’s why I appreciate COLORS. I trust their selection and they expose me to rap from around the world. I know if I listen long enough, they’ll find something I love. And if not COLORS, there are plenty of other international curation houses that’ll turn something up. Although not with a simple, vibrant, one-color backdrop that COLORS displays so beautifully behind each upload.

Would love to see Durand Jones & The Indications in front of COLORS someday.

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Dream of Falling

It's like tropical house, but not terrible

In the wake of the tropical house bubble, back in the time of Kygo, came something much better. This ethereal style of house, popularized by ODESZA, will be appreciated far longer than its tropical house counterpart. Although the depths of it, beyond ODESZA, isn’t appreciated enough. That’s what this playlist is for.

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Famous Hips

Pop music remixed with groove

Remixes get a bad rap. They’ve got a famous song to compete with and the production value probably isn’t as good. That said, you gotta appreciate what they give us.

Remixes are meant to take the songs we love and make them something for the club. Give it groove. The production might not be 100% on all these, but for some they’re better than their original.

Sadly, this is the first playlist out of our latest that won’t be available on Spotify or Apple Music. Usually, the two music services have at least 50% of what YouTube Music and SoundCloud have, but this time it’s close to zero. I don’t know if one of these remixes are on Spotify or Apple. Thankfully, Dubset is changing that.

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