A Pop Playlist to Entertain at the Cookout

Photo credit: Mom + Camera (Jacqui Roberts)

If you’re on the beach for family vacation or just out back with some good old fashioned charcoal, this is a great weekend to put on some new music while you celebrate. Pop music takes on many different characteristics. Here’s a playlist of several pop tracks that are sure to entertain your guests at the cookout.

Mr Byrd – “Why God Why”
-Usually when we hear “pop” we think uptempo and bubble gum, but that’s not the case for this bluesy heartbreak song. For this definition you have to back to the 60s, a sound emulated here by Mr Byrd. It’s a fascinating little song questioning omnipotence, but also longing for rejuvenation amidst the debilitating feeling of rejection.

Peridot – “Tightrope”
-It’s not easy to explain the pop sensibility of Peridot, but it’s definitely there. Fans of Fleetwood Mac will hear a really familiar sound here. The songwriting is peaceful and easy with a vocal to match it. The sense of tension in the midst of a contested relationship is evident.

Zak Messenger – “Years Gone By”
-This sound is what I call New Soul. It’s got elements of the sort of Allen Stone “blue eyed soul” world, while also adding in the Mac Ayres style electronic production. As it all blends together, I find myself connecting with the true soul of the track. The timeliness of this for me personally was stunning. Hopefully it hits for some of you as well.

Daisy Clark – “Worlds Away”
-It’s a snappy pop sound that makes you feel like you’re out on a trendy date. At least that’s how I feel about this song. Whether you hear KT Tunstall or more of an Ingrid Michaelson vibe, this is an engaging song from a contemporary singer songwriter. Dripping with pop chords and vocal styling, it’s sure to find some fans at the cookout.

Through Juniper Vale – “Will I Find My Home”
-If you like pop folk music, you can’t do much better than Through Juniper Vale. The sound is infectiously good. The lyrical question about seeking home (or familiarity) in relationship is really good. It’s the kind of song that has delightful instrumentation, quality vocals, and a timeless set of intellectual and emotional questions. I dig it. It’ll make all your friends who like Lumineers say, “wait, who is this?” Out hipster them. Do it.

Meadowlark – “Body Lose”
-Fans of Maggie Rogers and the emotive electro movement will find a lot to like with Meadowlark. The vocal is top notch and the electronic elements actually serve to develop the sound. The emotion drips from the lines. It’s also got this infectious sultry quality that I just can’t quite shake. I’m not sure I want to. Put it on repeat.

BC Unidos – “Bicycle”
-So lyrically this track doesn’t quite have the depth of some others on this list, but I’ll tell you what when it comes to dancing your ass off… this one might take it. I can’t really explain how this beat gets into you so well, but you’ll find yourself busting out moves you haven’t done since the 7th grade dance. It’s got this incredible innocence that captures bygone eras, but also a raw, gritty realism that feels positively carnal. Get down with your bad self, you might say…

LANKS – “Comfortable”
-When it comes to relaxing music to set the mood for a backyard party, LANKS gets the point on this one. It’s about as chill as you can get in the electro genre. The song really feels comfortable, as it should. Chill out with this one, contemplating unique lyrics about existence and the possiblities of love.

De Joie – “Oslo”
-Whether you call it pop folk or some other more hipster description, this is an incredible song sung by some outstanding voices. The layers of expressive folk music all serve to cast vision for joy and harmony. The central theme of freedom feels about as perfect for this holiday weekend as could be possible. Sing along; it won’t hurt. Fans of Lord Huron found a new one to add to your rotation.

Courtship – “Perfect People”
-Some of the artists on this list could use the press; they’re realy trying to make it. But Courtship are arriving as we speak. This song – what with its pure indie rock style – is as enjoyable as that warm apple pie. The gang vocal and ironic, critical lyrics resonate perfectly. Put this on and mock your culture; what could be more American?

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