What’s Your Playlist: James Patrick Carraghan

James Patrick Carraghan

James Patrick Carraghan is an award-winning activist, writer, librarian and student at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He spends his free time gardening, hording books and flirting. You can follow him on tumblr at http://thelibrarynevercloses.tumblr.com/

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Designing a playlist is always a complicated process. When you’re DJing, there’s a need to make the songs flow together in a way that’s coherent and pleasing, but just listening to songs one by one you can do whatever you want to do. Here are five of the songs I’ve been listening to a lot recently.

Spinning Signs by Painted Palms

I stumbled across ‘Spinning Signs’ by complete accident, clicking on the wrong link on a website, but when I heard the song I took an instant liking to it. There are some songs that encompass what you were feeling when you first heard them; for me, this is one of those songs. ‘Why can’t any of the words get past my mouth / Can’t ever seem to let my mind out / I’m just talking to the things inside my head.’

I Don’t Care Much by Alan Cumming in Cabaret

I had the privilege of seeing Alan Cumming perform this number in the recent Broadway revival of Cabaret. Coming almost at the very end of the show, it’s basically the Emcee’s swan-song. It embodies so many passions of the Weimar cabaret and expresses the coldness of a Germany where the Nazis are about to take power. It’s become my favourite song from the show.

Suit and Tie (Oliver Nelson Remix) by Justin Timberlake ft Jay-Z

Coming off of The 20/20 Experience, ‘Suit and Tie’ gets a funky new twist with this remix. It’s a song that makes people genuinely feel good. There is an infectious beat to the song that commands you get up and dance. There is a different and original sense of life in this remix that brings a powerful new vibe to a song that was already smoking cool.

The Operation by Charlotte Gainsbourg

Gainsbourg is better known as an actress, but the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Berkin has produced three albums now that are quite good. Off of her first album, 5:55, this haunting song is expressed through soft, whispery vocals—almost frail. It’s a wonderful little piece that produced a great music video. For those who are interested in more of Gainsbourg, I’d check out her cover of ‘Hey Joe’ from the Lars von Trier film, Nymphomaniac.

Consumerism by Ms. Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill’s debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, remains the defining album of the neo-soul movement that blossomed in the 1990s. After that, she kind of moved off the map for a while, reuniting with the Fugees for a brief period in the 2000s before going back to a solo career. ‘Consumerism’ was the second single Hill released in 2013, released on the day she finished her prison sentence. It’s a stronger song than ‘Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)’ and has a visually stunning and almost overwhelming music video. The song is billed as part of Letters from Exile; whether that is the title of a new album or just a tease, I’m dying to hear more.

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