With the coronavirus outbreak causing many people to stay at home as often as possible, we've been asking musicians what music they're listening to in isolation, and this playlist comes from Get Up Kids (and former Spoon) member Rob Pope, who also provided insightful commentary on all 27 songs he picked. Listen via Spotify and read on to say what he had to say...
1. Tommy And The Commies - "Hurting’ Boys"
When I’m feeling sluggish and/or unmotivated, this song snaps me right back into place. Simply, one of the best raw punk tracks I’ve heard in a while. Perfect combination of early Ramones and early Supergrass with a baby Marc Bolan singing. I’m in love with this band and this whole record.
2. Blur - "For Tomorrow"
An early feel good track from Blur. This playlist is a bit Blur obsessed. This song has a very optimistic message but there’s still an underlying darkness to the whole thing. “Holding on for tomorrow”…aren’t we all?
3. The Stranglers - "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)"
Full blown ripper from The Stranglers. Pretty mind-blowing that this came out in 1977. It still feels like the future. “The worst crime that I ever did was play some rock ’n’ roll…but, the money’s no good…”. Indeed.
4. Marshall Crenshaw - "You’re My Favorite Waste Of Time"
This was a pick from our keyboard player Dustin Kinsey. Perhaps the most perfect power pop song ever made. It feels completely home made…warts and all. The best use of time is to listen to this one on repeat.
5. Emitt Rhodes - "Promises I’ve Made"
Every time I’m in a record store and come across the Emitt Rhodes debut LP, I buy it. I’ve given away half a dozen of his records over the years. His songs feel familiar and alien at the same time. He recorded this song completely by himself…quite a feat.
6. The Specials - "Ghost Town"
Well…come on…too obvious?
7. The Velvet Underground - "Beginning To See The Light"
Often on tour, we have debates about who is the best/most influential American band. It’s The Velvets…nuff said. When my wife and I got married in 2013, I put together a pretty killer cover band for the rehearsal party. Brian Case (Face, Disappears), Dustin Kinsey (TGUK, White Whale), Ryan Pope (TGUK), and I covered this song at the party. I like to revisit this one lately to take me back there…simpler, happier times.
8. Post Malone - "Circles"
Yeah…this song is wildly popular. It’s also really good. My kids (force me to) listen to this all day long.
9. The Whiffs - "Shakin All Over"
This is one of my favorite songs of the last year. Instant classic. These guys are the best thing to happen to power pop in a long time. The whole record is incredible. All killer…no filler. Full disclosure…I’m their manager. I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to their latest record more than anything else in the last few months.
10. FACS - "Casual Indifference"
If I can’t focus, or I’ve realized I haven’t done anything productive in a while…I put this FACS song on. This is what I’m listening to when I’m cleaning the house, fixing stuff, and in need of fresh ideas. I’ve know Brian Case from FACS since 1995. The first Get Up Kids show was in a basement in St. Louis. I met Brian at that show and we’ve been friends ever since. I’m lucky to have a friend that is this creative…he continually inspires me.
11. XTC - "Respectable Street"
When TGUK was recording “Problems”, we were listening to this song and the XTC catalog A LOT! We (luckily) had a really fun, smooth recording process for “Problems”. Listening to this song takes me right back there…. Also…I kinda tried to rip off the verse bass feel for the verses in the track “The Problem Is Me”. I give myself a solid C.
12. The Walker Brothers - "Nite Flights"
This is another Dustin pick. An amazing song from the year of my birth. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore kiddos.
13. Blur - "No Distance Left To Run"
Quite possible the most heartbreaking song in the Blur catalog. It’s a song that feels singular and disconnected. Some amazing wobbly guitar courtesy of Graham Coxon….my favorite guitarist. One helluva breakup tune.
14. Richard Hawley - "The Ocean"
I was late to the game with Richard. But, I can’t get enough. This song sends me through the entire emotional range. This song simultaneously makes me feel hopeful and hopeless.
15. Silkworm - "Don’t Look Back"
I don’t know a ton about Silkworm. I remember hearing the name a lot in the 90s and I think I have a few 7”s of theirs. I keep going back to this song when I’m looking for smart indie rock. It has all the right dynamics.
16. Superchunk - "What A Time To Be Alive"
I can’t say enough good stuff about this band. They never disappoint…this is one of their best songs ever…and there are hundreds of older songs to back this one up.
17. Kyle Craft - "Broken Mirror Pose"
I stumbled across this song on a deep Spotify dig. I love it’s slow groove and it immediately makes me want to be playing music. That’s what the best songs are supposed to do right?!?
18. Tricky - "Christiansands"
This is a Dustin Pick. This song is like meditation to me. I can put this on and close my eyes for 4 minutes and be somewhere else.
19. Blur - "There Are Too Many Of Us"
The latest Blur record “The Magic Whip” is amazing… sadly overlooked by a lot of people in the US. This song contains a sentiment we should all be able to relate to currently.
20. The Good, The Bad, The Queen - "The Truce Of Twilight"
This band combines a lot of my favorite things. Blur, The Clash, Tony Allen. This song feels like a long lost Clash track from Sandinista or Combat Rock. The drums and bass on this one drive me crazy.
21. The Whiffs - "Please Come Home"
Yet another Whiffs track. This song absolutely wrecks me. It’s a cross between the Db’s and Wire with real deal emotion. Stay safe…stay home.
22. The La’s - " Looking Glass"
The entire La’s record is amazing, but I always come back to this song. It yanks on the heartstrings.
23. The Dukes Of The Stratosphear - "The Mole From The Ministry"
Wanna get away from the modern world? Do the 60’s sound cool? Wanna do drugs? Follow me to The Dukes. This is an XTC side project that is purely mind bending. I particularly like this track…the bass playing by Colin Moulding is particularly impressive to me.
24. Spiritualized - "Shine A Light"
While on tour in Europe last summer, I would listen to Spiritualized every night on the bus late at night after everyone went to bed. I saw them play on my birthday in Boston last year. Spiritualized has never disappointed me. Shine A Light is an older song that completely sucks me in every time I hear it. I can’t have a conversation or think about anything else when this song comes on. It’s hypnotic.
25. Duran Duran - "The Chauffeur"
This is another song we were listening to a lot when we made “Problems”. I don’t think it influenced the record…but, we would play this extremely loud late at night. Such a weird song for a “pop” band at the time. It’s a song I’ll never get sick of hearing,
26. The Radio Dept. - "You Stopped Making Sense"
My wife and I fell in love in 2012 and this song was the soundtrack playing in the background. Hearing this song now takes me right back there…and that’s the best place to be while the rest of the world is buying toilet paper.
27. The Kinks - "I Go To Sleep"
The Kinks are my all time favorite band. I was lucky enough to record with Ray Davies when I was playing with Spoon in 2010. He is a proper genius. “I Go To Sleep" is a truly haunting song. This song makes the perfect soundtrack for social distancing.
Before you go, watch this live video of TGUK from way back in the day: