Jarvis Cocker’s uplifting playlist
… for raising the spirits
Cocker and his partner, Kim, have been keeping their spirits up during lockdown by doing domestic discos on Instagram Live. “You’ve got to go for the uplifting music, haven’t you?”, Cocker says from his home outside Sheffield. “The world’s on pause, after all. It’s time to remind yourself you’re lucky to be here.”
Cocker has been encouraged by how people have reached out to each other since the pandemic hit. “After all, we were voluntarily self-isolating before this, weren’t we? Ordering our Deliveroos and watching our Netflix. Now we’re in this unfamiliar psychic realm, lots of us want to talk and dance together.” Cocker also needs to uplift himself. He misses his son Albert, 17, who’s in Paris with Cocker’s ex-wife, Camille Bidault-Waddington. “I haven’t seen him properly for two months, and goodness knows when I will next, or when I’ll be able to hug him. It’s strange, that.”
Feelgood music allows us to escape entirely for a few hours, he says. “We’re stuck in our heads now more than ever, but put on uplifting songs and get lost in them, and it’s like you’ve exorcised something.”
Jarvis Cocker’s uplifting tracks
Are You Lookin’?
I got this from my stepdad, who used to work in local radio, a while ago. The lyric “If it rains on you / It rains on me” feels fitting right now, and the tune is fantastic.
I got this in a Lake District junk shop at Christmas. It picks my spirits up when I’m doing my exercises with my pilates ring.
Althea and Donna
Uptown Top Ranking
This was big when I was a kid. It’s an effortless feelgood track.
We’re Not Adult-Orientated
Such an underrated band, and there’s a brilliant Krautrock energy to this.
The War on Drugs
Under the Pressure
I love the breakdown in the middle that’s a bit like a rave track.
Dance This Mess Around
I’d forgotten how brilliant the B-52’s were.
Dancing for Mental Health
This is from an early 80s self-help record, set to electronic music, obviously.
Flat Beat (Radio Edit)
Glittering Jewel (10)
One of many songs I’ve found on Instagram during lockdown, which has been great. This is by Luke Jennings, who used to be in The Rapture.
Insomnia (Monster Radio Edit)
I had insomnia at the start of lockdown. This helped. It’s nicely intense, as you’d expect from a song that includes the lyric “tearing off tights with your teeth”.
Move Your Body
Obviously [because it’s] a fantastic house track, and because Marshall’s a really nice bloke.
Rose City Band
Rivers of Mind
This is by Ripley from Wooden Shjips, which mutates into a nice mid-70s boogie.
Love Me Sweet
This has Katrina from [Scottish indie group) the Pastels singing, with a great, insistent rhythm behind it.
The Beach Boys
Here Comes the Night
From their late-70s album, LA (Light Album). It’s all vocoders and disco, and sounds like Daft Punk.
* * *
Haim’s shimmying playlist
… for the weekly kitchen disco
Despite living “a stone’s throw away” from each other in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, the three sisters that make up Haim haven’t seen each other since 13 March, the longest time they’ve ever been apart, says bassist Este. “And it was a day before my birthday,” she adds, mock-mournfully. To cheer them all up, Este’s been encouraging them to do as much dancing as possible. “I’m on my balcony at 9am doing it. I’m the rooster of the neighbourhood! Sorry everyone.”
The sisters have also been making playlists when they’re in the mood to shimmy, Este says – but this doesn’t come without it tensions. “We’re all so competitive about our music taste. It’s ridiculous. We’re all trying to search for the ultimate sad banger all the time.” Activating a shimmying mood has also had more sensible benefits for Este, she says. Letting off energy has been helping her sleep: as a Type 1 diabetic, she’s been at pains to be extra-sensible during the pandemic. She’s found it “really hard” not seeing her family. “But sharing music helps us be together.”
Haim’s shimmying tracks
Este: Here we go: disco! The way Donna emotes! She’s a favourite of our mom’s.
Danielle, Alana and I would watch this video on TMZ, and be, wow, look at her makeup, her moves. Plus I’m obsessed with Timbaland’s production, and this is his most major.
Basically because we have a massive crush on Rosalía.
You can’t have a shimmying playlist without a song that’s literally about shaking your upper body.
Ring My Bell
Get Ur Freak On
My sisters and I always do the call and response part to this.
Groove Is in the Heart
Danielle sent this to us about a month ago and I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten it.
100% Pure Love
Ace of Base
All That She Wants
This is the best fun to sing on a dancefloor.
Life During Wartime (Live)
Because Tina Weymouth is the greatest bassist ever and if I met her in real life I’d turn into a hologram.
Don’t Leave Me This Way
Our parents were proper disco dancers. Mum has taught me the turns to this.
Bizarre Love Triangle
Bidi Bidi Bom Bom
We used to play as a family band with our parents when we were kids, and Dad only listened to Spanish music, so this is for him.
Something we all first heard on a family holiday to New Jersey in my early teens. I tried to run away to dance to it. It still gives me that feeling.
* * *
Lianne La Havas’s angry playlist
… For when you need to vent
Lianne La Havas’s father is a key worker – a bus driver – so she’s constantly trying to keep her spirits up undocer lockdown in London. “I’m grateful my family are doing OK at the moment,” she says, “but I’ve got the kind of mind that’s always occupied, that always need to find some space to relax.” As well as preparing for the July release of her self-titled new album, she’s been listening to music for longer during lockdown, and enjoying unexpected new releases popping up. She’s especially loved the new Laura Marling album (“it’s so gorgeous – she’s always been one of my favourite artists”) and songs by Nick Hakim (“listen to him right now, everyone, please – he’s a genius”).
But the music she’s gravitating towards more than most is stuff that’s great if you feel you need to vent. “Angry music always helps me relax – it fills me with adrenaline, and gets me excited and hyped, which I love. It’s also good to let off steam every now and then, isn’t it? I find that’s especially true now. Plus songs can help you do that without anyone else getting in the way!”
Lianne La Havas’s angry tracks
Caught Out There
Witness (1 Hope)
There’s lots of angry lines in this, but I love Roots’s hybrid London accent and rapping style – plus the sounds are so fantastic and squelchy.
Fix Up, Look Sharp
Another track that basically shows how much I love deep, loud, aggressive beats and shouting.
This really gets my blood pumping: that heavy beat, that minimal, raging vocal.
This captures that catty, covert anger you feel when your partner’s done something that you want to give the side-eye.
Hoist That Rag
This recording in itself sounds wonky and angry, like it’s been chucked down the stairs.
This Is America
Such a brilliant song about injustice, set in such sonically deep music.
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
An artist getting angry about something and interpreting it so poetically. You need to listen closely to the lyrics to hear Dylan’s rage.
Orban Eq Trx 4
Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole
Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter
Nina had lots of furious moments in her career but she always stood her ground.
This is me hood up in the club, elbows out, being totally antisocial. Get out of my way!
Dan Le Sac v Scroobius Pip
Thou Shall Always Kill
The first time I heard this I agreed with every lyric!
Machine Gun Funk
The angriest rapper that ever was, coming off the back of a dream-like sample. “So you wanna be hardcore?” Yes, Biggie, I do!