With the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon still on my mind, the series once again creeps into a playlist ripe with the rediscovery and newfound appreciation of familiar tunes. But it’s a new track from a band that I’d never listened to before that takes top honors as we head into the Christmas season.
- “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” – Car Seat Headrest
I’d never heart of Car Seat Headrest before I read about them in Rolling Stone and listened to their most recent album, Teens of Denial. I was greatly impressed and it was hard to pick just one track to highlight here. I loved “Destroyed by Hippie Powers,” but upon subsequent listens, I find that this track of dueling travesties hits even harder. Don’t worry, the chorus will only be lodged in your head for about a week.
- “You’re a Big Girl Now” – Bob Dylan
I’ve been listening to a lot of Dylan’s early masterworks lately, but Blood on the Tracks has always been my favorite. It’s themes of heartbreak and loneliness spoke loudly to me when I first heard them, and I’ve always preferred the soft, sentimental side of Bob Dylan over his angry political one. This is a great example of where great poetry comes together with goosebump-inducing musicianship.
- “The Lament of Falling Stars” – Morikazu Aoki and Hideaki Kuroda
I was into the Pokemon series for weeks before Sun and Moon were released, but after playing those games the series means something even more powerful to me. Even though this gorgeous piano track isn’t from the new games, it remains one of the greatest pieces of music in Pokemon’s 20-year history and it makes me wonder why Junichi Masuda hasn’t brought Aoki and Kuroda into the studio more often.
- “Claudia’s Theme – Version Eight” – Lennie Niehaus and Clint Eastwood
I’m a sucker for westerns featuring haunted characters that are badass marksmen, and there’s no better example of that than Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. But a gripping movie would be only that without an equally emotional score. Thankfully, Eastwood worked with Lennie Niehaus to create one of the truly great movie themes of all time that makes what happens on the screen that much more impactful. On a much more personal note, it’s also what I listened to when I walked into my deceased friend Dan Jones’ office one last time before my college graduation, and it’s become that much more powerful to me ever since.
- “Downbound Train” – Bruce Springsteen
I’ve always known Born in the U.S.A. is a classic album, but I had forgotten how fantastic this dark, dismal track is. On an album filled with optimism and repetition, “Downbound Train” hits extra hard, and with Trump’s recent election, it’s arguably more powerful than ever.
For more playlists, including my master Burnes’ Turns playlist that contains over 2,000 songs, search for Andrew Burnes or Burnes’ Turns on Spotify.