Music That Makes Me Happy

Don’t listen to these tracks on a phone or PC speakers. You need headphones with good bass response.

“1234” by Ozomatli, a little Los Angeles fusion

“Mojo” by Peeping Tom, hey, I told you to get headphones

“Silent Ganges” by Maneesh De Moor, Indian groove by a Dutch guy, what?

“Mishto” by Gogol Bordello, you never know when you might dance at a Romani party

“Nokta” by Rachid Taha, maybe Eastern music with a Western beat or Western music with Eastern chord structure

“Closure” by Jill Scott, sometimes I like a singer with power, and don’t be expecting no breakfast

“Some Other Dog” by Mark Sandman, love the harmonica (I don’t often say that)

“Battle Flag” by Pigeonhead, because it’s a solid funk tune with complicated rhythm lines (and c’mon, seriously, you need headphones or you won’t hear the detail)

“Better Strangers” by Royal Blood, like much of my favorite music, a slow, heavy rock song meant to be played loud

“Sari Sky” by Naked Rhythm, something about this just gets to me

“The Wisdom Behind the Smile (Cash)” by Keziah Jones, because I’m always a sucker for a slapping bass tune

“For Your Attention” by Boxing Ghandis, funky, lots of bass, sax solo, gets me every time

“Triad” by David Crosby, a simple, emotional song, almost a tone poem

Chopin’s “Ballade No.1 in G Minor Op. 23” by Nikolai Demidenko, I know, but just listen

“Roforofo” by Fela Kuti, I find it kind of meditative

“In the Still of the Night” by Betty Carter, the album is called “It’s Not About the Melody,” and it’s also not about the lyrics. vocals are just another instrument

“Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” by Carla Bley, turn it up and go along for the ride

“Ten Cents a Dance” by Anita O’Day, my enjoyment of this horn arrangement reminds me I am still my music-professor-father’s son

“Stormy Monday” by Barbara Morrison, she just rocks

“Trinkit” by Beats Antique, I’m not sure but it might be the creaky door sound and the fact that the drums song like an old trash can, plus the general funkness

“Kidda” by Natacha Atlas, from Egypt via Belgium, Middle Eastern/Western blend

“In These Shoes?” by Kirsty MacColl, shut up, I like it

“The Day I Turned Into Glass” by Honeycut, I think it’s those funky sections with spare instrumentation that get me

“Nadie Te Tira” by Ozomatli, not my usual genre, but it’s infectious

“No Wow” by The Kills, another good test of your headphones

“Capital G” by Nine Inch Nails, because it’s the official theme song of the Trump era

“The Big Come Down” by Nine Inch Nails, I don’t know if this is officially industrial rock, but the rhythm track certainly sounds industrial (and there’s that break at 90 seconds)

“Rollin’ and Tumblin’ ” by Jeff Beck, because hey, it’s Jeff Beck, and then add Imogen Heap vocals

“Left Hand Free” by alt-J, I know it’s silly but I like it

“Nicotine & Gravy” by Beck, I think it’s the multiple, slightly out of sync vocal tracks, and the discordant bridge that transitions into the cool alternate verse 3 minutes in

“The Distance” by Cake, I think it’s because there are so many moving parts

“Sex and Candy” by Marcy Playground, a radio hit at the time, but I always liked it

“Augas de Marco” by Rosa Passos, because what’s more satisfying than a little light, vocal jazz from Brazil?

“Pra Não Parar De Sambar” by Aleh, just sing along folks

“I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Cassandra Wilson, because it’s simple and deep

“Pannonica” by Tommy Flanagan, so nice, so simple

“Ellington’s Stay Horn” by the Art Farmer Quintet, I once said that listening to this is as close as I get to religion

“Sho Z-Pod Duba” by DakhaBrakha, a cool folk group from the Ukraine

“A Taste of Silver” by Until the Ribbon Breaks, I think it’s the heavy bass/drums that drop in at the beginning and the echoey vocal mix throughout

“Big Bad Wolf” by In this Moment, because I’m a sucker for loud tracks with heavy bass, and exquisite silences in between sections

“Satellite” by Nine Inch Nails, same reason as above, and please tell me you’re not listening to this on a cheap device. You need to feel the bass.

“Gross (Featuring Boom Pam)” by Balkan Beat Box. If I had known this music existed back in the high school, I might have kept playing the tenor sax

“Lautarium” by Shukar Collective, it’s like a funky prayer

“Smooth Sailing” by Queens of the Stone Age, especially the 20-second run starting about 3:50, I just find the harmonics very satisfying

“Crazy” by The Kidneythieves, because I love the way they explode the old country classic

“Can’t Truss It” by Public Enemy, not a big rap fan, but always loved old school Public Enemy

“Feel Good Inc” by Gorillaz, just appealing pop (with that hiphop style spoken section)

“Equal Rights” by Peter Tosh, always loved the political validation in the verse about crime

“Your Sister Cried” by Mary Gauthier, a great sing-in-the-car song

“Adagio for Strings, 2nd mvt. Opus 11, wait for the exquisite silence, play it loud, close eyes

“Call Me” by Fat Kid Wednesdays (the last 90 seconds, when it seems like the vocals become the background for the sax)

“Itche Koutche” by Angelique Kidjo (the instrumental ending, starting about 4:30)

“It Ain’t What You Do [It’s How You Do It !] by J. Geils Band, because I remember how much we loved this in high school, turned up as loud as we could get it

“Baby it’s You” by Smith, that scream at 2:30 just did something to my nascent 12-year-old awareness in 1969

“Jack You’re Dead” by Louis Jordan, a classic