A Love Letter to Discover


Spotify’s Discover playlists give me FOMO.  That moment, Monday morning, when I realize the week’s been too crazy or I’ve been too out of it to give my Discover playlist a proper listen and reap the killer musical benefits is a sad one.  I start worrying about what I missed out on.  I fear the competitive hipsters I go to school with will exclude me from their proudly weird circles for not knowing the newest obscure bands (on second thought, fear may be the wrong word entirely…).  I dwell on all that jamming out that could’ve been!

But at the same time, with all the craziness that is life and college, it’s dope having a playlist full of new music generated for you.  It’s easy to listen to your standby jams over and over again when your schedule doesn’t allow for you to dive into the depths of Spotify’s music catalog on your own time.  One of my favorite pastimes is starting on the page of an artist I love and jumping from related artist to related artist.  But really, who has time for that unless they’re seriously procrastinating?

The cool factor aside, I also really dig what Spotify is doing with the Discover playlists.  Drawing attention to lesser-known artists is important.  It’s what makes the music world go round.  Check this: I recently read a—somewhat outdated but conceptually relevant—article addressing how this method of subscription services and consumption of less popular media is good for both a single business and the industry.  Essentially, lesser known artists can’t make it in the physical industry.  It’s simply too costly (manufacturing the products, packaging, shipping, etc.).  Even through services such as iTunes, it’s unlikely that a small band will rake in any truly significant amount of money given that many users buy per song opposed to per album.  However, with subscription services they may thrive.  In fact, subscription services such as Netflix or, throwing it back here, Rhapsody reported most of their plays being from their non-mainstream offerings.  And now we’ve got Spotify.  And now we’ve got Discover.  Whatchu gotta say about that, Taylor Swift?

How I Want Ya – Thames, DEV

Real good feel good song.  I’ve used this simple description before, and I stand by it still.

Dust Clears – Clean Bandit, Noonie Bao

This song is almost too bouncy and dancey for me, but I really love how it goes from the spacey verse to the concise, catchy verse.  Noonie Bao comes in with, “You better get real, real, real and realize that the situation’s going nowhere,” and the surreal gets real.  And then you’re led back into this circus of sound.  It’s a little trippy and totally great.

Pretty Thoughts – Galimatias, Alina Baraz

This song sounds just like the what the lyrics are describing: dazed daydreaming.  With echoing beats and a soft voice, this song is perfect for lazy day relaxing.  You can so simply put it on, zone out, and find yourself chasing your own pretty thoughts.

Adore – Cashmere Cat, Ariana Grande

As per usual, this may be a classic example of Mairead-doesn’t-know-what-pop-culture-is, but Ariana Grande can fuckin’ sing.  I, for one, was not particularly aware of that until Discover gave me this little gem.  But this is one of those great tracks that makes you want to dance all smooth and sexy, while still offering a badass chick edge.  And when the chorus drops, it’s tiiiiiight.  As I said, this is a fairly solid song to dance to, but my personal recommendation is listening in the car where you can bump the bass and jam.

Right for You – Lil Silva, Banks

I just can’t get over my love of Banks.  And I think this song is such a great duo, with it’s dynamic lyrical back and forth.  Also, the badass bitch within me dies at the transition from Banks’ verse to the chorus.

You’re the Best – Wet

There’s an amazing emptiness and wholeness to thing song.  It starts out very sparse and with singing about feeling lonely when being held.  But then the song picks up with simple, yet full beats and the singer finds her place and comes to a loved peace.  It feels very intimate and suddenly you find yourself humming happily along.

Halo – Ane Brun, Linnea Olsson

This is just a really nice cover.  It’s so sweet and soft spoken and actually wonderfully heartbreaking.  There’s something so vulnerable about the way it’s sung, yet comforting in the lyrics.  The contrast is really touching.

Ride This Out – Imaginary Cities

An acoustic sound with a Duffy-esque, jazzy-ish side to it.  This song gains momentum as it gets going and it’s near impossible to sit still through it.  It’s a song that’s quite simple and quite fun.

Treat Me Like Fire – LION BABE

I mean, first off, that title, that name.  So on point.  This song has a great retro feel; it’s crisp, kinda funky, and a bit soulful.  And I so love this notion of being capable of both causing and treating pain.  It’s seductively harsh and amazingly unapologetic.  Through the lyrics and the snappy sound of it all, this song inspires some killer confidence.

— Mairead

Discover makes me seem cooler than I am by exposing me to super rad just-under-the-radar artists. It injects a refreshing new soundtrack into every week, even as the weeks themselves get increasingly dull (remind me why I’m torturing myself with Spanish lit and grammar classes again?). It’s also given me some top-notch additions to my monthly playlists (current edition: “septemblah”) and killer biking music (but if you’re going to use headphones you’d better wear your damn helmet, kids).

I don’t have much to add to Mai’s lovely ode to this futuristic listening feature. So basically…fuck Taylor Swift, Spotify rules, and here are some dope songs that have made appearances on my Discover playlist.

WHALE- Yellow Ostrich

A great lil’ pop-y tune that just sounds like a sunny day. Does it make sense? Not really- referring to the object of your affection as “whale” may not go over too well with him or her. But whether the song has some sort of below-the-surface significance or just sounds good I’ll keep bobbing my head along nonetheless.

Truth- Alexander

I think that this song (by Ed Sharpe frontman / known loon Alex Ebert) might have been popular for a minute or two a couple of years back, but it feels so fresh and raw to me that I’ll conveniently forget about both that and the time I saw him hopping around at Summer Fest all fucked up on something-or-other. It’s a smartly written, perfectly melancholy  tune for pensieve days spent on ALSA busses and long nights of borderline-existential crises and poorly-written Spanish essays.  

And bonus: the lyrics to this song are pretty damn poetic. Check ‘em out here.

Sweet Sun- Milky Chance

This song has been my driving-to-work jam for the past couple of weeks. I dig just about everything Milky Chance has put out so far and am definitely looking forward to hearing what these messy-haired German dudes do next.

True Affection- The Blow

A memorably level, perfectly unfeeling, perpetually chill ode to love or some shit- the kind of love that doesn’t have a fairly-tale ending, that is. There’s a line in this song- “just because it’s real don’t mean it’s going to work”- that’s not as flowery as the chorus (“I was out of your league / and you were 20,000 underneath the sea”), but speaks an important bit of truth. The song itself does the same.

You Can’t Hide / Shame On You- LCD Soundsystem

As a James Murphy fangirl I’d heard this song before, but was pleasantly reminded of its brilliant, pseudo-funky fuck you-ness a couple Discovers back. 10/10 would recommend the live version from “The Long Goodbye”. Just try to keep from dancing to this gem.

NOBO- Tijuana Panthers

Slinky and sexy with some nifty guitar riffs to boot.

Don’t Let It Get To You- Rostam

Another total jam. The drums in this song remind me of Paul Simon’s “Obvious Child” and I dig them heavily. Plus, the chorus- “Please / don’t let it get to you / even if you don’t realize it / it’s still all up to you”- is basically the kind of toned-down “fuck the haters” sort of advice your mom might have given awkward teenage you on the first day of 8th grade. Cool.

Party Talk- Craft Spells

This is a tune I know I’ll be obsessed with for months to come. It’s perfect for biking, walking, driving, sweating your balls off while waiting on a CapMetro bus, getting hyped for work or school, pregaming, actual partying, singing in the shower, eating half your cupboard while procrastinating your homework, cleaning your apartment while procrastinating your homework, browsing Facebook while procrastinating your homework, and so much more. It’s perfectly upbeat (but not cheerful, fuck cheerful), just a little alluring, and catchy as hell.

Weird Honey- Elvis Depressedly

This song has some vaguely religious undertones (it’s written simply, but beautifully), an excellent lo-fi feel, and perfectly melancholy vocals. One of my favorite Discover finds overall.

Sedona- Houndmouth

“Sedona” boasts the catchiest chorus on this damn list. I think in another life I’d find this song annoying as hell, but as of now I can’t stop humming it in public. No, this is not helping me make more friends at school.

The Start of Something- Voxtrot

A vaguely Smiths-esque ode to new love. It’s kinda cutesy, but enjoyable regardless.

Shabop Shalom- Devendra Banhart

This song is silly and pleasant and clever and just wonderful…and it kickstarted my Devendra Banhart obsession, which I’m not quite sure if I’m okay with. Oh well *puts “Mala” on shuffle and succumbs to a weird fog of Devendra-induced bliss*. 

— Lauren

Check out a hybrid playlist of our Discover faves!


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