In its current state, Chicago’s spirit animal would be the slashed Tauntaun corpse that Luke Skywalker slept in on the ice planet Hoth. Now that the optimistically titled Spring Semester has begun, the fortunate souls who made it out of town for winter break are back, and those who never left will be forced out of bed for the January — ? last leg of winter. This Audiophiles playlist has been specially curated to help you escape. Put on your headphones and start up the light therapy. …We’re going to make it.
1. “1/1” — Brian Eno
Use this piece of music as a liminal gateway out of the world and into your mind. In the album’s context, Eno intended “1/1” to ease the anxieties of the transient supermodern spaces of airports. “1/1,” in it’s sparse, uplifting, and occasionally eerie way, lends itself to meditative and transitional states. This is the point of departure to move you, the listener, into the next five tracks.
2. “Casio Daisy” — Gold Panda
This song, in synesthesiac terms, is the color of the world around you after napping in the sun — changing from the orange/pink of your inner eyelids, to the bleached-blue way things look after opening them. This piece of music by English producer Gold Panda would be perfectly suited for a videogame about lazy river water park rides.
3. “Cuban Velvet” — Monster Rally
Composer Martin Denny coined the term “Exotica,” with his 1957 album of the same name. According to him, the musical genre was, “what a lot of people imagined the islands to be like…it’s pure fantasy though.” The mythical and imagined paradises evoked by the music existed only in the minds of its suburban American listeners. Monster Rally of Cleveland, Ohio creates sample-based exotica for your listening pleasure, and collage artwork to a similar effect of sampled nostalgia for a place that was never real to begin with.
4. “Netgear” — Hella
The force of Hella’s math rock requires that the listener be wide awake. The time signature fracturing duo’s 2011 album “Tripper” has all the natural, physical wonder of a nature documentary on wolves. “Netgear” shreds its way into your heart, where it transforms into purely positive carpe diem energy.
5. “Big Bad Mean Motherfucker” — Girls
If you only listen as far as the opening lyric, “I’ve got a high school crush on a California girl, oh yeah,” you’ll get the whole picture, and your whole day will be better for it. If you listen to this entire rock and roll number from San Francisco’s now-defunct Girls, you’ll be treated to “I’ve got an ice cream cone and I’m feeling fine tonight,” and “I’ve got a cool guitar and a bag of marijuana, man.” Girls had it all!
6. “Twelve Thirty (Young Girls are Coming to the Canyon)” the Mamas & the Papas
“California Dreaming” is the obvious choice for this playlist, but “Twelve Thirty” has essentially the same message and an even more celebratory chorus. Inspired by the move from New York City to Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, this song documents a sea-change in attitude: “I can no longer keep my blinds drawn, and I can’t keep myself from talkin’” and “At first so strange to feel so friendly, to say good morning and really mean it.” The faraway blending of Mama Cass and Michelle Phillips’ voices sounds euphoric and cavernous.