Here's a playlist of songs that tell a story. It's that simple.
1.) M83 - Raconte-Moi Une Histoire
A song that reminds me a little of Sesame Street at first, but it's simple and innocent and lovely, and it builds into a beautiful instrumental after the narration stops, one that needs a sunny day and perhaps a road trip to make it sound absolutely perfect. The story is about a frog and how the world can look like a giant cupcake.
2.) Suzanne Vega - Tom's Diner
When talking about making this playlist, the Suzanne Vega song that got suggested to me was Luka, which is a beautiful and sad song. But when it comes to storytelling, it has to be this track. I've been listening to this song for years and I can picture exactly what the diner looks like. It's in London, it's January and it's raining. In my head, it's near Butler's Wharf on the south bank. I don't know why.
3.) Ice Cube - It Was a Good Day
I like that Ice Cube's idea of a good day includes a cooked breakfast, none of his friends getting shot and lots of sex. But really, what more could you ask for? Awesome song but worth a listen just for the line 'even saw the lights of the Goodyear blimp/and it read Ice Cube's a pimp'
4.) Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
A song about escaping and making something different of your life. Something I'm sure everyone thinks about doing at some point. Oh yeah, also really sad and happy at the same time.
5.) Kate Nash - Birds
I have a huge girl-crush on Kate Nash and when her first album, Made of Bricks, came out in 2007, I thought it was the greatest thing ever, and listened to it in my car pretty much on repeat for several months. I still count it among my favourite ever albums. Kate Nash is a great storyteller and Birds (the first Kate Nash song I ever heard, on the radio in my car whilst driving alone at 80mph at midnight in the middle of winter) is a sweet little first-date love story.
6.) Frank Turner - Long Live the Queen
A sad story about a friend dying. But uplifting and happy at the same time.
7.) Harry Chapin - Cats in the Cradle
Another sad story about a guy not making enough time for his kid. This video has Harry explaining the story at the beginning. Which is nice.
8.) Incubus - Isadore
There's a lot of emo-kid style squabbling online about what this song is about, but Emmy, who suggested this song for the playlist says it's supposedly aboutIsadore S.Jachman's role in World War II. Which is a much better meaning than all of this.
9.) Team Sleep - Tomb of Liegia
An episodic, haunting story about a crime,a punishment and a ghost, told over several decades. It sends a chill up my spine. The title references Edgar Allan Poe. Who also sends a chill up my spine.
10.) Save Ferris - Under 21
A fun song with an awesome brass section, about being too young to get into a show, a gig or a club. And yeah, we've all been there. Wearing a tiny skirt was just one of many ways we used to blag our way into bars as 17 year olds. See also: copious amounts of make-up, pretending to have lost your ID, trying to sneak past the bouncers, bursting into tears...
So I went and got myself a plan that would work
And I went on home and got a real short skirt
And I flirt my way right through that goddamn door
11.) Tenacious D - Tribute
12.) Paul Simon - Graceland
A story about a road trip the narrator is taking with his son after the break up of his marriage. Or similar. A song that had such a profound effect on me that I did the road trip myself this year. It was AWESOME. And then saw Paul Simon performing it in London later this year. Basically, it's all about this song.
There is a girl in New York City
Who calls herself the human trampoline
And sometimes when I'm falling, flying
Or tumbling in turmoil I say
WHOA, so this is what she means
She means we're bouncing into Graceland
The Mixtape in Full:-
1 - M83 - Raconte-Moi Une Histoire
2 - Suzanne Vega - Tom's Diner
3 - Ice Cube - It Was a Good Day
4 - Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
5 - Kate Nash - Birds
6 - Frank Turner - Long Live the Queen
7 - Harry Chapin - Cats in the Cradle
8 - Incubus - Isadore
9 - Team Sleep - Tomb of Liegia
10 - Save Ferris - Under 21
11 - Tenacious D - Tribute
12 - Paul Simon - Graceland