Just because a song is old doesn’t mean it will trigger nostalgia. If you keep Beyoncé in regular rotation, listening to “Crazy in Love” probably won’t take you back to 2003 every time. But I’ve found a kind of music that’s way more likely to trigger nostalgia: The one hit wonder.
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“Sea chanteys are work songs, so they’re designed to coordinate effort between a group of people doing physical labour,” says video producer Jamison Hermann, who sang them while working on ships at the Mystic Seaport maritime museum. “The saying in maritime historical circles is that a good chanteyman is worth ten sailors on a line” — because he helps everyone pull the rope at once.
Certain moods need soundtracks. When you’re sad, or excited, or making out, a certain kind of music can elevate the experience and lend a grandiose, cinematic quality to your life.
If you have particular music tastes, playing one of Spotify’s prefab playlists doesn’t scratch that itch. You want a custom playlist, first crafted in a few minutes, then honed over years. Here are the five playlists you should prepare for yourself.
Usually when I load up a “biggest hits” playlist, I end up skipping half the tracks. I’m barely skipping anything on NPR’s new playlist, “The 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women+”. Every song is good! Even the country songs! And the lead performers are all women or non-binary.
Highlights include “F**k the Pain Away” by Peaches, “Two Weeks” by FKA Twigs, “Drone Bomb Me” by Anohni, “Soy Yo” by Bomba Estéreo, “Help I’m Alive” by Metric, and “Good as Hell” by Lizzo. There are also megahits such as “Run Away With Me” and “Single Ladies”. This is real singalong stuff.