The weather’s cooling down, and it’s T-minus 10 days until Valentine’s Day. The Clog’s got a list for you to cuddle to (hey, who knows, maybe more). And if you don’t have anyone, hopefully that stuffed animal’s sufficient while you cry yourself to sleep to this playlist on Valentine’s Day.
G-Eazy — “Marilyn” (ft. Dominique LeJeune)
Here’s the problem with music for cuddling or making out — either you have someone or you don’t, and depending on the state of your love life, the lyrics can take on completely different meanings. We’ve got you covered if you don’t. Let’s start it off with something for the broken hearts out there. G-Eazy is one of our favorite Bay Area rappers, and 2014 is looking like the year for his big break, with several mentions by major publications and a highly anticipated full-length album coming out later this year. Normally, he’s rapping with a lot more swagger, but he shows his emotional side with this one.
Raleigh Ritchie — “Bloodsport”
Raleigh Ritchie’s got one hell of a voice. His style is reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s, but he’s got vocal chords capable of hitting lower notes as well as a more upbeat sound, despite some pretty heartbreaking lyrics. Near the end of 2013, he was signed by Sony Music Entertainment for a full-length album, due later this year. At the beginning of January, he released an EP entitled Black and Blue, with “Bloodsport” as his first official single. We’re loving the preview of what’s to come. We’ve had this one on repeat.
London Grammar — “Wrecking Ball” (originally by Miley Cyrus)
London Grammar was one of 2013’s best acts that flew under the radar. Its spectacular debut album and breathtaking covers continue to win over fans with Hannah Reid’s vocals as the catalyst for its fame. The trio’s show at the Independent in March has been sold out for weeks with tickets reaching more than double their face value. With this song, Reid made us like Miley Cyrus, and that’s saying something significant.
Grizzly Bear — “Will Calls” (Diplo remix)
It seemed like the remix of Disclosure’s “You and Me” by Flume was pretty much unanimously the winner for best remix of 2013, but we had another song in mind for that top spot. Trap music blew up in 2013 the same way dubstep did a while back, and that usually comes with a territory of amateur producers trying to jump in on the hype and watering down the quality of the genre. For anyone who doubts trap, this is the track to play. Diplo is one of the genre’s pioneers and masters, and he shows finesse rather than ratchet by making a melodic remix of indie rockers Grizzly Bear. Sorry, Twerkeley. This one’s a laid-back one.
BROODS — “Never Gonna Change”
Something’s going on in Australia and New Zealand. They’re pumping out quality music like it’s as easy as breathing. BROODS, a Kiwi brother-sister duo, is certainly not an exception. For songs that are about relationship troubles, these are incredibly beautiful renditions that would have you thinking otherwise (kind of like The xx). The song starts, “You’re pushing down on my shoulders / And emptying my lungs / And in a moment I’m older / In a moment, you’ve won” and remains just as devastating throughout. Strangely enough, though, it remains a make-out-friendly song.
Above & Beyond — “Satellite / Stealing Time” (acoustic version)
Above & Beyond has been around for ages making some of trance’s biggest anthems, including “Satellite.” But the group didn’t spend last year playing nightclubs or raves. Instead, Above & Beyond assembled a 24-piece orchestra and toured around playing stripped-down, acoustic versions of some of its most popular songs. This one in particular has a nice jazzy feel to it. If you’ve got time, and even more if you are familiar with its music, it’s well worth watching the full set.
Rae Morris — “Skin”
The instruments surrounding Rae Morris’ simultaneously strong and delicate voice tug at every single heartstring. It’s a song that delivers devastation and hope. The juxtaposition of instrumentation and vocal delivery makes for one hell of an emotional roller coaster. Her voice is featured on the new Bombay Bicycle Club album, but she was recently signed to a record deal with Atlantic that’s going to culminate in a debut album later this year.
Lorde — “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (Dimond Saints remix)
Tunesday has had plenty of remixes and covers in the past, but it’s not often that a remix of a cover makes the list. This trap-inspired remix of Lorde’s cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” sounds equal parts James Bond and “Tron”: extremely electronic and undeniably sultry. Dimond Saints are two producers to watch from the East Bay (Oakland, to be exact) who will be dropping their first album on Valentine’s Day. That’s good news for those of us without dates.
Alex Turner — “Glass in the Park”
Alex Turner is known for his work as the lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, but we’ve got a soft spot for his work on a movie soundtrack. “Submarine” featured several songs that Alex Turner did solo, with this one in particular being cuddle-friendly. This one’s not so much rock ‘n’ roll; it’s lay and lull (in all the right ways).
Sam Smith — “Safe With Me”
Here’s another artist to watch in 2014. There’s a chance you recognize Sam Smith as the voice in Disclosure’s “Latch,” but he’s working on some solo stuff, and it’s sounding really good. It’s got the feel of some really good ’90s slow jams like K-Ci & JoJo or Boyz II Men but updated for 2014 with some stellar production.
EMBRZ — “Slow Down”
We heard this song recently from Irish ambient electronic artist EMBRZ, and it has become one of our favorites to play when we’re restless and unable to fall asleep. Something about it summons a euphoric, peaceful feeling. EMBRZ skillfully samples Paramore and Gabrielle Aplin to make this song. Listen to it, and imagine falling asleep next to someone you care about.
Grace Mitchell — “Maneater”
Some of you may recognize this cover of Hall and Oates’ classic song from “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Grace Mitchell is normally known (and we use the term “known” loosely) for her acoustic guitar and singing, but this one’s a cover that’s reminiscent of trip-hop giants such as Portishead. She’s a newcomer without much of a reputation, but this was certainly a way to put herself on the map as a talent to watch. No word on any record deals for a debut album, but we’re excited to see what’s next for her.
Image source: Tiffany Ronquillo under Creative Commons
Ephraim Lee is the assistant arts editor. Contact him at [email protected]