We welcome warmly Brooklyn-based Magana who has compiled a stellar Life Is Like A Box Of Records.
Her glorious EP is out now: https://maganarama.bandcamp.com/album/golden-tongue-ep
“Today I Started Lovin You Again” – Merle Haggard
Ok, I’m not super into country in general. But I can’t make a playlist to soundtrack my life without country music. I grew up in Bakersfield, CA and so did Merle Haggard. My mom loved him and Bakersfield country music was about all we listened to for a large majority of my childhood. Also, come on, Merle Haggard was a pretty cool dude.
“Animal Instinct” – The Cranberries
When I was in high school, my brother had a girlfriend that decided I needed to listen to the Cranberries and gave me a burned copy of “Bury The Hatchet.” This is the first song from that record, which I played on repeat in the car and basically this was how I learned how to sing. This means I sang with a slight Irish accent for years.
“Adagio For Strings – Samuel Barber
I played a lot of orchestral music when I was in high school and came upon this song at some point. Shortly after, my father died and I’ve never been able to come across a song with lyrics that matched how I felt at that time. There’s something about this song that calms me and makes me feel contemplative, while still holding on to the intensity of a real, unclouded emotion.
“Volcano” – Damien Rice (with Lisa Hannigan)
I was in college when I first heard this song and it was pretty much my anthem for the year. I loved everything about Damien Rice, and Lisa Hannigan’s voice was quiet and breathy and I felt like I could use my voice that way. I wasn’t songwriting in a serious way at that time but I started writing with my friend after hearing this song and we played it alllll time.
“First Day Of My Life” – Bright Eyes
I looooooved this record in college. Also this was one of the first love songs that I heard and wasn’t immediately grossed out by. I ended up playing it at my brother’s wedding.
“Paranoid Android” – Radiohead
Radiohead. My heroes. Thom Yorke is a total weirdo, you can’t understand half of what he is saying, they have no catchy singles, and they are total geniuses. I love his voice and I love the structure of this song. I listened to OK Computer on repeat while driving around in NorCal for some reason, and now all I want to do when I’m there is hear this album.
“Transatlanticism” – Death Cab for Cutie
I broke up with someone that I was dating long-distance and as we were finishing the “it’s just not going to work, is it?” talk this song came on and the end was just repeating “I need you so much closer” as we looked at each other. He probably put it on purposefully. He was kind of cheesy. But it seemed like a total coincidence and added a lot of drama to the breakup.
“Something To Live For” – Ed Harcourt
When I first moved to New York, I worked at a recording studio and one of the assistants that was there took a liking to me and burned me a CD of all sorts of songs that he thought I’d be into. I love a lot of those songs, but this one gets to be the one on the list because years later when I was going through one of those existential crisis moments I found this song and it perfectly described how I was feeling. I was jealous of someone who was young and beautiful and I was uninspired by the music scene and all of my musician friends who were going into real estate or back to school.
8. “Possibility” – Lykki Li
I don’t even know that much about Lykki Li and I’m pretty sure this song was on a Twilight soundtrack or something, but one of my friends played it for me and I loved the simplicity. Also, reverb. Delicious giant reverb. For a period of time, every song I wrote and recorded sounded exactly like this one.
9. “You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morrisette
I listened to Jagged Little Pill over and over again in high school so this should have been earlier on this list, but I totally forgot about this song until recently when I did a very brief stint as a singer for a 90’s cover band. It was REALLY fun to get super angry in front of large crowds of people and hear them all sing along and the whole experience helped me get over the idea that I couldn’t get angry in my own songs.
10. “Digital Witness” – St. Vincent
St. Vincent is all the stuff I want to be. She is fearless, she sings softly but she rocks out, and she calls her self-titled record “party music you can play at a funeral.” I listened to this record and it was everything that I wanted it to sound like. It’s catchy and edgy and has some social commentary.