Jack’s Lifelong Rewind


Album art for “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” by Modest Mouse.

Jack Speake

Spotify Sampler: Jack

I seriously love recommending people music, partially because my taste in music spans to almost every corner of the music industry, I have something in my repertoire for everyone. This sampler is a small platter of songs I believe well represent my taste, the purpose of which is to help you both find new artists and to provide background for future playlists.
Obviously it’s impossible to represent every aspect of music I enjoy here, but I think this playlist does a pretty good job covering most of the bases.
Note: It isn’t shown here, but I most definitely had a staunch pop punk, EDM and even an experimental rock phase. I also listen to pop, pop-rap and more mainstream artists, but for this list I decided to focus on the more niche portions of my taste.[penci_text_block block_title_align=”style-title-left”][spotifyplaybutton play=”https://open.spotify.com/track/1595LW73XBxkRk2ciQOHfr”/]

“A-Punk” – Vampire Weekend

If I had one word to describe this band, it would have to be enlivened. “A-Punk” and almost every other Vampire Weekend song instantly puts me in a good mood with colorful guitar riffs, spunky lyrics and am overwhelmingly jauntry sound. “A-Punk” specifically has a place in my heart, not only for being one of their best songs, but out of nostalgia. Somewhere on the internet is a video of eight-year-old me playing this song on Guitar Hero. I hoisted the plastic guitar over my shoulder and stuck the cheap Wii microphone up through my shirt so I could scream the lyrics while playing the song. Honestly, if given the chance, I would do that again today.
[spotifyplaybutton play=”https://open.spotify.com/track/2lwwrWVKdf3LR9lbbhnr6R”/]

“Float On” – Modest Mouse

I absolutely adore Modest Mouse. I grew up listening to their music, honestly, I can’t get enough of them. Modest Mouse has a relaxed, yet quirky sound. Their album “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank” is my all-time favorite album. There isn’t a bad song on it, making it a masterpiece through and through. “Float On” is probably their most accessible (as in less niche and less off putting to those not knowing their style) song. It does a great job of portraying their sound without the possibly off putting strangeness of some of their music.
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“Santeria” – Sublime

I wouldn’t quite call Sublime child friendly music. Despite that, I have countless memories from my childhood of their music blaring through my dad’s speakers. Sublime’s music is deeply ingrained in my memories. At heart, the band is one of the best Ska (a mix of Reggae, Blues and Rock) bands of all time, their sound being one, that personally, no band has ever really been able to replicate (except maybe the bands formed as offshoots of Sublime after the death of their lead singer). As “Santeria” goes to show, Sublime wasn’t afraid to offend listeners with their sharp, political lyrics. “April 29, 1992” is an even more extreme example, speaking directly to the Rodney King riots and their own quasi-anarchist political take on it. Agree or disagree with their politics, I can’t help but love the way Sublime sounds.
[spotifyplaybutton play=”https://open.spotify.com/track/0qgiFuYhYuwtFXEwYakddE”/]

“I Will Survive” – Cake

Cake is a polarizing band. Even Gloria Gaynor, writer of the famous song “I Will Survive” said this song was her least favorite cover of it, though not because of Cake’s divisive nature (She disliked the song due to their incorporation of profanity). The divisive aspect of Cake comes from the vocalist; His performance falls somewhere between singing and spoken word, seriously appealing to some and harboring no interest for others. Regardless, I personally think Cake is a band that is just really fun to listen to. Their style is purposeful and memorable, refusing to cater to those who don’t like it. The reason that I chose this rendition of “I Will Survive” is because it is a song that is seen so often flipped on its head. It’s something familiar yet starkly new and I love it.
[spotifyplaybutton play=”https://open.spotify.com/track/5fpizYGbi5IQoEraj6FP0R”/]

“Intergalactic” – Beastie Boys

“Now when I wrote graffiti my name was Slop
If my rap’s soup, my beats is stock
Step from the table when I start to chop
I’m a lumberjack DJ Adrock
If you try to knock me you’ll get mocked
I’ll stir fry you in my wok
Your knees’ll start shakin’ and your fingers pop
Like a pinch on the neck of Mr. Spock”
The Beastie Boys don’t write music. They write poetry. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have heard the song before, simply browsing the words gets a rhythm thumping in your head and puts a smile on your face. Personally, “Intergalactic” is a song that reminds me of my parents. Every time I hear it I get a mental image of them singing along with it, knowing all the words.

“Where is my Mind” – Pixies

Warning: This song’s album artwork is NSFW (Not Safe For Work) and as such isn’t included in the playlist. Search for it on your own at your own discretion.
To call the Pixies alternative would be an understatement. The Pixies are a distinctly weird band with an even more distinct sound. “Where is my Mind” is as accessible an introduction to The Pixies as you can find in their discography. It’s a slow and purposeful song, each word carrying its own weight. While the uncut guitar strums and drum beats create an sturdy, thrumming platform, the hard hitting factor of The Pixies is undeniably the vocals. Even in “Where is my Mind,” one of the more vanilla Pixies songs, the lyrics aren’t quite normal and the vocals verge on haunting. Altogether, their rough yet memorable sound makes them a band truly worth listening to.
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“The Middle” – Jimmy Eat World

“The Middle” is an absolute enigma of the late ‘90s and early 2000s alongside bands such as Blink 182 and Smash Mouth. “The Middle” is both pandering and slightly angsty and yet I can’t stop myself from loving this song. Lyrics like “It’s only in your head you feel left out” and It’s “You’re doing better on your own” underline this song as a tribute to all of our 13-year-old selves. “The Middle” is an absolute earworm and a song that is so reminiscent of middle school that I can never quite leave it alone.[/penci_text_block][penci_text_block block_title_align=”style-title-left”][spotifyplaybutton play=”https://open.spotify.com/track/5PntSbMHC1ud6Vvl8x56qd”/]

“Loser” – Beck

After Beck debuted in 1994, the band became a sign of the times, taking the popular sounds and putting their own slightly bizarre spin on it. “Loser” itself is a bit. . . eccentric. The song is all over the place. “Loser” is self loathing, off kilter and a bit charming. Right off the bat, the lyrics “In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey” sets the pace for this self-deprecating song yet it isn’t depressing nor angst. “Loser”’s charming aspect is a product of its inability to take itself seriously. Personally, “Loser” stands as an incredible accomplishment representative of Beck’s ability to blend the two warring themes of depressing, angst filled self-deprecating lyrics and their nonchalant, funky sound.
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“Linoleum” – Streetlight Manifesto

Just a preface: this song is weird. Like, “What did I just listen to?”  weird. I chose Linoleum” as a representative of my taste is because in some ways it is a two for one. It both represents the original artist of the song, NOFX, yet also represents the cover artist, Streetlight Manifesto. NOFX, a real punk rock powerhouse, is a band that I have a love-hate relationship with and Streetlight Manifesto has topped my own personal charts for the past year or so. Streetlight Manifesto have an awesome sound, one like rock and Ska sort of intermixed and have such a lighthearted sense of humor it is hard not to love them. A prime example of this is their band’s description on Spotify: “In October 2005, the band was robbed of nearly $80,000 worth of equipment and possessions from its van, only to suffer another robbery while on tour in Europe the very next month. Streetlight Manifesto ended 2005 by touring alongside the Tossers on the brief (and appropriately titled) Please Stop Robbing Us Tour.”
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“The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

I can’t really explain this song. I have been hearing it my entire life, yet only a couple of months ago, after unsuccessfully racking my brain for the name while it played overhead in a Milwaukee dive, hunted it down on spotify. I love it. I don’t know anything about the band or even the rest of the album but I just can’t forget this song. I don’t have any specific memories associated with the song. It’s just one of those things that has always been there, been present. Something about the song is just comforting and even relaxing despite the quicker tempo. This song sounds like home.
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“Superman” – Goldfinger

As a keystone piece of the “Tony Hawk Pro Skater” soundtrack, “Superman” is a fast paced song that is just so much freaking fun. This song, and even Goldfinger as an artist, doesn’t really add anything to this list that isn’t already hit on elsewhere, the piece is simply just too good to forget about.
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“The Kids Aren’t Alright” – The Offspring

I actually teetered back and forth on whether or not to append this song to the list. On one hand, I loved and still love The Offspring, and for a couple of years they were all the I listened to. I also realize that they can be a bit off putting (It’s hard to explain; listen to the song “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” for a prime example) and don’t really fall nicely into any genre. Not quite hard enough to be punk nor metal, not soft enough to be rock, they kind of float around in their own realm. Moreso, my own enjoyment of their music is more based off of their sound and nostalgia rather than any specific songs. Looking through their discography, it’s apparent to me that they really don’t have any songs that really encompass them or are simply that stand out at all. Regardless, there is something to this band and I felt I would be doing both myself and the reader a disservice by forgoing adding them.
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“Hotel California” – The Eagles

If you aren’t coming into this description knowing about “Hotel California,” then drop everything, find a nice pair of headphones and give this song a listen. “Hotel California”’s fame isn’t unjustified, the song is a masterpiece composed of persistently slow and thumping baseline alongside chilling vocals. It’s six full minutes of pure Californian gold.
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“Seven Nation Army” – The White Stripes

I can safely say that I have played this song to death, and while I personally can’t quite stand to listen to it anymore I would be in the wrong if I didn’t include it here. The White are hard to pin down. “Seven Nation Army” isn’t in any way indicative of how the rest of their discography sounds, yet is one of their best works. “Seven Nation Army” comes packed with a powerful baseline right out of the game, soon working in harmony with one of the better voices in the industry. The signature sound of this song is so distinct that, having not listened to the song for nearly a month, the lyrics are bouncing around in my head. The discography of “The White Stripes” is so diverse, so packed, that, despite your thoughts on “Seven Nation Army,” you would be doing yourself a disservice to not check them out.[/penci_text_block][penci_text_block block_title_align=”style-title-left” custom_markup_1=””]This playlist isn’t a perfect representation of my taste. Over the years I have shifted from Radiohead to My Chemical Romance and even to Post Malone and somehow, none of them made the cut. This relates to my purpose, to portray the berth of my taste. To help give lesser known artists their own time of day and to show my taste as accurately as possible, even if that means ignoring important outliers.
Click here to see the whole playlist.
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