MMH got the opportunity to curate a playlist for motorcycle chic fashion brand All Saints. Check out the playlist here and her thoughts on each artist and her song choices below.
Featuring: Bjork, Sampha, Kelela, Arca, and Ramona Lisa
RAMONA LISA x BACKWARDS AND UPWARDS
I think this is an amazing and incredibly underrated record. We already all know Caroline is an incredibly talented, unique,and beautiful human being, etc. etc. but this record is really just her writing music alone on a tour bus and in airports with zero inhibitions and expectations. I feel like that’s a side of her we hadn’t seen before. Plus, the music is dope. Like walking around in someone else’s dream. Extremely specific as far as the lyrics and sonic palate, but strangely relatable. It has a dark, ethereal “Alice in Wonderland” mood about it. It’s bizarrely beautiful in its experimentation and completely original in its sound. It’s one of those records that sounds throwback because it’s so lo-fi, but will continue to sound “modern” and “new” for years after this because of those very same reasons. Basically I just want to say that I. Love. This. Record.
BJORK x CHARLENE
I can’t write about music without writing about Bjork. I still remember when I heard “Hidden Place” for the first time when I was 14 and I was just like “WHHHHAAAAAAT?!” I had never heard anything like what she was creating. I was huge into Fiona Apple, and Tori Amos then, who I still love and appreciate, but Bjork wasn’t just writing songs, she was building these universes with her voice, poetry, and well-curated synthetic and organic sounds. I heard that choir, those strings, these pulsing synth beats, and her voice—gawd—that voice, and it literally changed my life. I’ve never been able to think about music in the same way again. Every time I write a new song, I think about Bjork and that moment. I owe so much to her and her vision.
KELELA x THE HIGH
I love Kelela because she curates her collaborations really, really well. She works with all these different producers and still maintains her “sound”. It’s really difficult to keep that up when you’re songs pass through so many hands... Producers, engineers, etc. She writes really simple lyrics that become multi-faceted through her vocal phrasing and tone. Every time she sings a line, she sings it completely as herself. Its unmistakably Kelela. I love that. You have to be super secure in who you are as an artist to do that. Also, the chords in the song have a Robert Glasper quality to them and that is always only a good thing.
ARCA x &&&&&
I don’t know if this really is following the 5 song theme for this post but, I just had to include it—“mix” or not. “&&&&&” makes me feel feelings I wasn’t even sure I had and can’t catalogue yet. I feel like I’m a superhero driving a flying car through slow motion explosions in the future when I listen to this music. WTF is that even called?? Arca has the power to build sonic worlds with his music. It’s transformative. It transports you to whatever world he’s writing about. To me that’s what music is all about. Taking people you’ve never met and successfully being able to place them inside something they’ve never seen or heard before. To me that’s success. That’s when you’ve “made it”.
SAMPHA x INDECISION
I want to be friends with Sampha. No one else is writing songs and producing their tracks in as honest a way as he is. His lyrics are deeply thoughtful, introspective, and just—raw. Like he writes music just because he loves writing music. That shouldn’t be a mind-blowing thing, but it is at the moment. There aren’t many out there who are doing that right now. Most of us can’t even help it honestly. Wanting to release music for public consumption is a loaded desire. So much gets attached to it. It’s hard to do it just to do it. Just because you love it. Sampha writes music that helps me remember why I love writing music. It’s pure, it’s deeply personal, it’s just—beautiful. I remember hearing this song and like, crying. I felt like he was talking directly to me—I know how cliche that sounds. As you listen to him sing the chorus, it becomes a sort of mantra. “Let it all work out” starts to feel like he’s actually saying “It will all work it” for some reason. I think it’s an infinitely hopeful song. Like he wrote it as a pep talk to himself. He's working through his emotions and experiences on paper. In front of us all. You can’t fake that.