Playlist

Playlist: What we listen to in February | Bakersfield life

The eminent Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson once compared wine to “poetry in a bottle”. Stevenson’s metaphor speaks to the intense pathos we can derive from food and drink, just as we do from poetry.

In my long career as a music consumer, I’ve noticed that many songwriters link the two much more explicitly by relying on food and drink – perhaps unsurprisingly, c t is more often the drink – as a source of lyrical inspiration.

As you’ll see in this month’s playlist, when food is alluded to in a song, it can sometimes have a deep emotional resonance; other times it may make you wonder what the artist was thinking. Both can be equally pleasing to the listener.

‘Irish Margaritas’

Harriet

Most recipes for so-called “Irish margaritas” you can find online seem like a great way to ingest equal parts tequila and green food coloring. It’s not too far from the actual subject of this song, as Alex Casnoff sings “One more drink and I could tell you all my secrets, and I’m good enough to keep them alive.”

‘Champagne’

Django

I warned you that this playlist would lean towards “drinking”, right? One interesting thing about this song is how Vincent Neff’s urgent lead guitar leads the way from the unusually laid back, meandering verses and pre-chorus to a chorus as propulsive as anything the band has recorded.

‘Peaches’

Family and friends

Just as I wouldn’t recommend drinking Irish margaritas any time of the year, I wouldn’t recommend eating peaches in February. (Wait until summer is over and hang out at one of our Central Valley farms if you can.) Who knows why peaches have so captivated our most prominent musicians – a Justin Bieber song of the same name was l one of the biggest hits of 2021 – but I would much sooner recommend this one from the indie rock band from Athens, Georgia.

‘Mississippi Moonshine Girls’

Reducing agents

Here’s a (very vaguely) romantic song for a pre-Valentine’s playlist! Like many people, if Spotify play numbers are any indication, I first heard this song through The Beths’ 2016 cover. Both versions are excellent, because what better than New Zealanders singing on the Mississippi?

‘Bubblegum’

Lo Tom

Is chewing gum a food? Yes, according to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, although it distinguishes them by name as a separate category from “articles used for the food or drink of man or other animals” . Now that I’m clear to include this song in a food-based playlist, I can tell you that despite what others may say, Lo Tom is by far the best of David Bazan’s countless musical projects.

“Whiskey Eyes”

Collective

A weirdly jazzy, uptempo, Saint Motel-ish effort from this Israeli quartet, which tends to be a lot more moody, but is extremely good and extremely weird no matter what they choose to do. They also have a propensity for songs about food and drink, having followed up that 2011 effort with 2014’s “Pancakes” and 2018’s “Builder’s Tea.”

“I should live in salt”

The National

Ending any playlist with a song from The National is a great way to retroactively make it about twice as depressing, but I find it hard to resist such clever use of interleaved 9/8 bars. You don’t have to guess what vocalist Matt Berninger meant on that song, because here’s what he told NPR about the chorus: “There’s not really a direct meaning to it, but it seemed to be a bad thing to have to live in salt.”

Journalist Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.