Tag Archives: metro tracks

Metro Tracks: Single Tracking with MS MR

The idea for Metro Tracks started last summer when my iPod somehow shuffled a tiny fraction of my library into a blissful commuting mix. It reached aimlessly across genres and generated sonic perfection by combining bhangra, Sigur Ros, Bright Eyes, Keith Urban (?!?!), and lots more – it somehow all yinned and yanged, despite the weirdness.

This is NOT one of those playlists.

I’ve known about MS MR for a while, but for whatever reason, in the past 48 hours, I’ve listened to nothing of note other than their Secondhand Rapture (released May 14 on IAMSOUND). I don’t hate it.

The singer-producer duo is a futuristic Florence and the Machine with slightly less spook and a bit more sex. From vocals to music to presence, there’s the depth of Florence, but it’s all a bit more organic and less guarded. Below, there’s a list of the best songs from Secondhand Rapture. You’d be crazy not to check these out. (Go to Spotify for better audio quality on the YouTube songs.)

MS MR at Sweetlife 2013

MS MR at Sweetlife 2013

Head is Not My Home is the single track that launched this recent obsession. Its first verse seems fairly tame; if you aren’t listening on good headphones, you might miss the foreboding bass drum. Lizzy Plapinger’s talent really reveals itself for the first time in the chorus. The lyrics themselves, their percussive delivery, that faint “oh” paired with a well-placed boom of that cannonlike bass drum – it all makes for a truly epic chorus, one that shows itself even better in the final minute of the song, as Plapinger lets go of all inhibition and just belts. Delicate keyboards and perfectly placed backing vocals accompany the whole ride. It’s invigorating, exhausting, and 100% addictive.

“Hurricane” – MS MR’s first single

“Ash Tree Lane” – Slightly more low-key as a whole, but you won’t get away from a big, textured chorus.

Think of You has some lyrics that could have come from any angry 15-year-old’s diary. That doesn’t mean it’s not catchy as hell.

Salty Sweet – Handclaps, sliding vocals, minimalism. Irresistable.

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Metro Tracks – July 19, 2012

Surprise, surprise – I had not been looking forward to my commute at all today. Since finishing the god-awful chick lit book I’d been reading, I’d been caught in this pathetic, bookless, music-less void, sick of listening to the same Robyn and U.S. Royalty on repeat, my usual go-to metro music. Clearly the stars aligned or something, and my iPod playlist of 4,201 of my favorite songs cranked out some of the very best, even when I left it up to fate, or as most people call it, shuffle mode.

So if you want to be cured of a boring commute, throw together a playlist of these “Metro Tracks” that were such a pleasant surprise for me today, and maybe you won’t notice the B.O. or the elbows shoving into you or the squish of the people who are more than a little too big for that open seat next to you.

  1. Libertango – Yo Yo Ma et al. Think cello music won’t wake you up? Pair it with an accordion and more strings, and give them a gloriously seductive Argentine tango to play, and yes, you will change your mind. I posted this as I listened to "Libertango"
  2. I Got You (I Feel Good) – James Brown This needs to explanation, just a warning: May cause intense urge to move one’s hips while standing on a metro platform. Not that this actually happened or anything.
  3. Days Go By – Keith Urban – For those of you who have ever called me a hipster, you may now take it back. I don’t like much country, but this is an undeniably catchy, poppy song. It made me wish I’d worn my cowboy boots today.
  4. Betcha Nickel – Ella Fitzgerald – A slightly tamer song to aid recovery from the fast pace of Keith Urban. And with words like, “You can fool some of the people some of the time/But you can’t fool all the people all of the time,” you’ll be reminded to be yourself during your day at work.
  5. Gatekeeper (full mix) – Feist – It’s worth finding the version of this song from her album Open Season for the gentle but captivating beat in the background and the general increase in energy compared to the original. Granted, the original is just lovely and the only acceptable version if you’re listening to Let It Die as a whole, but for a morning commute, you’ve just gotta have more oomph.
  6. Dum Dum Must Hai (remix) – Band Baaja Baraat There’s nothing quite like Bollywood in the morning, I can tell you that much. There’s also nothing like running into your boss at a crosswalk, him asking you if what you’re listening to is good, and kind of being stuck speechless because you don’t even know how to explain how or why you know this music from half a world away or why you once danced to it in front of hundreds.

My evening commute was about twice the time, so I’ll only burden you with half the songs from that.

  1. My Girl – The Temptations – The definition of a feel-good song, whether you’ve ever had someone sing it to you or not.
  2. Song for the Fields – Fields – Much darker than anything else I’d listened to today, but when I was stuck at Metro Center tonight for way too long, it was an appropriate soundtrack to my frustration.
  3. All for You – Sister Hazel – If you don’t know what song this is from the title, just go listen to it. Undoubtedly one of the best songs of the 90s.
  4. Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – Backstreet Boys – Did I say that was a good song from the 90s? I’m sorry, I meant that this one was better. And only about 500 times more embarrassing when a cute guy asks you something you can’t hear because you’re listening to this song. Not that he could have heard, but the fact that I knew was enough. The rest of the time though, I felt like I was on top of the world.
  5. Black Mirror – Arcade Fire – And now we’re getting back into normal Allie music mode. This is perfect for walking up giant hills or escalators or whatever. It’s just the right combination of anger and self-pity and semi-inspirational sounds. You’ll feel like a hipster when you listen to this, so there’s that.
  6. Go Do – Jónsi – There’s nothing like some flowery, hopeful, chilly Icelandic music to accompany you as you sweat the final stretch to your house and walk in the door. Except maybe “We Are The Champions,” but my iPod didn’t like that today.

Depending on whether or not the shuffle/fate mode on my iPod continues to be up to par, “Metro Tracks” may or may not become a regular feature. At any rate, I hope you’ve found or been reminded of a song or two that might ease the pain of your commute.

Check back soon for a feature I’m thinking of calling “Whitest Girl Alive, Meet Mama Africa.”

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