Welcome back to the Fingertips Eclectic Playlist Series, my ongoing attempt to make sense of 50-plus years of rock’n’roll music. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. Or not, perhaps—look, after all, at the strictly segregated way music tends to be presented online, broken almost always into playlists devoted to specific genres and/or specific decades. Isn’t it just a tiny bit more interesting, not to mention aurally enlightening, to hear late-’80s Paul Kelly segueing into current Arctic Monkeys banging loudly into a fierce piece of early ’90s singer/songwriter goodness from Brenda Kahn? Isn’t it more interesting to hear a track you might have forgotten (“Jeannette”) from a band you might not have forgotten? Not to mention a cool-sounding song you might never have heard in the first place? (I’m thinking “Iron for the Iron” is this time the most obscure number, especially as it remains unavailable on Spotify; see further discussion below.) I know such eclecticism is not for everyone but I also know that “the public wants what the public gets,” so some of this is just a matter of going against the grain and figuring that increasing numbers of people will catch on over time. Or not, and I’ll still have fun.
Note that as of this month, I will be anchoring the playlists on Mixcloud rather than Spotify. Spotify users will still find the lists available there, but, to be blunt, the Spotify lists are just not as good as the Mixcloud ones, and haven’t been from the start. The main reason Mixcloud is better is that each time I make one of these lists, I end up selecting one or two songs that are not available on Spotify. I try to make substitutions in these cases, but I’m not happy about it. On Mixcloud, I am physically uploading the playlist so all songs remain the same.
As a bonus, the playlists on Mixcloud have genuine, radio-like segues rather than randomly different amounts of dead air.
I encourage you to listen via Mixcloud, which is as easy to do as clicking the button below. You don’t have to visit the site, you don’t have to sign up for anything, and proper licensing fees are being paid. The track listing is available simply by scrolling within the Mixcloud widget, here:
This playlist also exists on Spotify, but in a bastardized version. Two songs come up missing on Spotify: the awesome cover of “You Can Call Me Al” by the band Chamberlin, from 2012, and the largely forgotten new-wave-era single “Iron for the Iron,” from the British band the Planets, which was released in 1980. I replaced the Chamberlin track with a song from the band Zeus but the Planets song I just left out. The Spotify playlist has 19 songs instead of the usual 20.
But if Spotify is your thing, here you are: