Music to Be Alive To
make sure that every moment of life is valued with aarushi aggarwal
featuring artists like
Shubh Saran, Alfa Mist, Noori, Ritviz, Tame Impala, Mumford & Sons, Band of Horses, The Paper Kites, Charlie Parker
I like to believe that the wheel of emotions was built because humans are intended to experience the entire range of emotions. This does not mean that we do not chase happiness; of course, human life is wont to do that. But that does not mean that we do not savour the other moments of pain, anguish, failure and heartbreak that inevitably puncture our daily life. Moments like these which challenge our existence and incentivise us to do better and to be better.
Experiencing these emotions is an integral part of every human life and as such, we should take pride in our ability to really feel the way we do and celebrate it. Every celebration needs music so one ought to think of this playlist as a celebration of life. If your life were a movie then this playlist would be your soundtrack: ranging from the victory dance to the gut-wrenching pain.
The diversity is not limited to emotions alone. The playlist is widespread in the genres it represents too. It features as much jazz as it does indie peppered with blues induced country and Indian music. Language is no barrier because love and life are experienced universally. The combination of these tracks does not make a coherent story, rather a muddle that reflects the confusion and non-linearity of life. Love, joy, loss, anger, frustration; all find a place here to make sure that every moment of life is valued; to make sure that at every moment, we are alive.
24 September 2020
At this weird moment in time, as pain and anguish abound, let hope shine through. Give Départ a listen.
16 June 2020
Recently, the Music To community came together to put together a playlist with an uplifting and inspiring message…
12 May 2020
Have you read Normal People, or watched it? If you haven’t done either, I’d strongly urge you to do both. Start with the book, please. (And prepare yourselves for why it finds a mention here)…
5 May 2020
There are countless renderings of Summertime; it’s one of those classics that has stood the test of time and multiple genres. And nearly every time another artist attempts this, it has been a treat worth your time…
28 April 2020
As most of humanity remains indoors to combat the lethality that has sprung itself upon us, I bring to you, this week, one of the truest flavours of the subcontinent; two voices that transcend borders and the divisiveness they engender…
24 March 2020
These are testing times that none is better prepared than the next to tackle. All that anybody can really do is play their small part in this moment of crisis so that we can see each other anew on the other side of it…
25 February 2020
You are going to be sick of all the music whose string instruments I rave on about. Well, I like string instruments–and take my word for it, after listening to this track you shall too…
20 November 2019
Have you ever just wanted to shut out everything around you and be transported to another part of the world where everything is different and new and exciting…
12 November 2019
Junaid’s website describes him as a multi-instrumentalist producer who is “in love with all good honest forms of Art.” That love reflects in his music too…
11 September 2019
I cannot believe that it has taken this long for an Indian Ocean track to feature on playlist. Their music is really the very essence of what my playlist represents – music unbound to a genre, language or culture; music for the love of music…
6 August 2019
Monsoon has officially hit the subcontinent and happiness is abound. The scorched earth and parched throats have heaved a sigh of relief and in welcoming this season, Advaita’s Ghir Ghir beats a lot of other monsoon songs…
25 June 2019
Do you ever like picture chaos? And no I do not mean the lawless driving on streets. But more like happy chaos, the kind brought on by a joyous occasion. This feeling could in part be attributed to Peter Cat Recording Co.’s very peculiar use of imagery but the sense is well delivered in their music, certainly in A Portrait of a Time, both the album and track…
2 April 2019
I’m making my big comeback and there ain’t no better track do it with than this.
A lot has happened in the two months since I fell off the face of the earth. Apart from falling completely in love with hip-hop jazz, I discovered the genius of Ryo Fukui while drinking green tea at a friend’s. I don’t think life is quite the same since…
6 February 2019
I came across this track in a show, as a frequent source of some fascinating new music. The sequence gave a sense of the fleeting, of that which exists in a brief passing moment. Yet, this track lends permanence to it: as if to say that this brief experience will last a lifetime…
9 January 2019
The overwhelming emotions that the end of a year and the beginning of a new one bring, definitely need a banger. And though this one goes back about six decades, it sets the tone for what will be your 2019 – loud and chaotic yet melodic and beautiful with equal parts of highs and lows…
18 December 2018
With this track, this playlist finishes a year and I am stoked. It’s a milestone for me certainly: I have learnt so much about my own perceptions of music and why I listen to what I do listen to. Which is why I am doubly excited about this week’s track…
12 December 2018
It’s going to be particularly hard to write about this track: not for the track in itself but for Coldplay. Coldplay has been my favourite band looonggg before they became everyone’s favourite band, long before they decided to go pop and use electronic instruments…
5 December 2018
I’ve said this about a lot of my tracks before: movies and shows are two great ways to be introduced to new music. Now, Angst in My Pants isn’t exactly new but I didn’t exist in 1982…
14 November 2018
This track is, in so many ways, the truest representation of my playlist. For starters, it amalgamates musical traditions, a marker of this playlist. It is emotionally rich: mixing an acute anthemic beat with a mellow vibe…
30 October 2018
A friend once remarked to me: almost everything that one has lost can be acquired again, other than one’s innocence. And although I first heard this song long before this thought was expressed to me, it has been fused with it almost as though it was the description I did not know I was seeking to the song…
17 October 2018
A college dorm dream of having one’s own band is as fantastical as living on Mars. As a prime example of genius talent meets effort, Shorthand is living that fantastical dream, sending all their fans into a frenzy with a sound that is so new and unique….
2 October 2018
Bringing back some good ol’ jazz this week.
For a virtuoso of Joe Pass’s stature, there are terribly few people who still listen to him. Considered one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century, Joe Pass is not unlike his contemporaries…
11 September 2018
How does one begin to write about the genius of a band whose reputation has sustained itself for over five decades? Whatever one can say, will be insufficient…
4 September 2018
It’s been over a month since I left India — the longest that I have been away from my country all my life. In my previous trips abroad, ‘home’ was not really very far away. The short vacation would be over and I’d be back to my old life. However, knowing that I will be away for the rest of the year has different connotations…
27 August 2018
There is some irony in the fact that a track titled You Go to My Head comes from an album called Solitude. But Billie Holiday herself is a remarkable impersonation of ironies: a life as harsh and difficult as her’s was, gave birth to a wonderfully beautiful singer whose music is still remembered as the finest jazz ever produced…
31 July 2018
I have not seen the movie that Mystery of Love features in, but this song makes me want to watch it.
I know I am not the only person who listens to a song–that they have recently fallen in love with–on repeat, endlessly. To me, this is that track right now: my go-to. Since it was written for the movie, the track chronicles its film’s story all through its length.
24 July 2018
I think of this track as the end of a story–perhaps the end of a certain chapter in my playlist. The sheer sense of tranquillity I experience every time I listen to the track is unparalleled. The sound is fresh and nostalgic, just like the Indian Monsoons…
17 July 2018
Is any jazz playlist complete without the genius of Charlie Parker gracing it? This track, however, is a deliberate choice. It showcases the improvisational attributes of jazz featuring five of the greatest jazz musicians of the age. Their brilliance, at display in a rare concert, has given us a record of a lifetime.
9 July 2018
This playlist has been a weird mix of music from across genres, cultures, languages and regions. There is one thing that ties it all though–something that I was always aware of, in some abstract academic sense, but for which I now have actual evidence…
26 June 2018
Have you ever heard a track whose first few seconds make you stop and realize just how beautiful its composition is and that you’re going to treasure it forever? Anoushka Shankar’s Traces of You was that track for me…
20 June 2018
Most bands change their sound over time either due to change in their line-up or by adapting to emerging technology which they use to make new music. Band of Horses, however, stays true to its Alternative roots, never disappointing the millions of fans that tune into their music for the sentiments and imagery that only alternative rock can offer.
12 June 2018
Jazz is not for the large stages: I have only ever truly enjoyed it in cosy and intimate settings. Autumn Leaves transports you to one of those warm jazz clubs where all that matters is the music–nothing else. This record completes the feeling of closeness with the background conversations seeping in under the strumming.
29 May 2018
Summer is in full bloom and there is no better way to celebrate the season than with this distinctive track.
Koop Island Blues is a song I have been waiting to share for weeks. My encounter with this song was serendipitous…
23 May 2018
White Winter Hymnal starts so unassuming and innocent. Fleet Foxes’s signature harmonies pick up, making way for the percussions that are almost overwhelming–but of course in a good way.
14 May 2018
When I first heard this band, and this song specifically, I could not get enough of them. Kashmiri lyrics set to a guitar riff was ingenious and novel to me. Parvaaz became the new sound of India’s indie space and I haven’t gotten enough of their music since.
8 May 2018
This week’s track is a bit of a throwback. After all, how can one leave Simon and Garfunkel out of their playlist? I’m not American, but you know you a classic when you hear one…
30 April 2018
Ahhh this track is so so beautiful. It has been on repeat for days now and I cannot get enough of it.
“Honey, you’re familiar…”
This track has everything that could possibly be expected from a perfect track…
23 April 2018
A beginning, a middle and an end. The three essential (but not sufficient) components of a good story. Ezra Koenig gets it right in Hannah Hunt from the Vampire Weekend’s album Modern Vampires in the City.
16 April 2018
There is something so powerful about sorrow set to a tune. It is almost an appeal from the artist to his/her listeners; asking for support and recognition. Yet it is so personal: for every listener to experience their own emotions through the track.
10 April 2018
Following your friends on music streaming platforms can be quite rewarding. Stumbling upon Alfa Mist was one of the better things that came out of it.
2 April 2018
Here’s a track that I will never forget to add to my playlists, never stop listening to and certainly never stop loving.
The track probably reflects the ethos of Coke Studio very well. The coming of two different artists, to produce cross-genre music. Chal Diyay has been close to my heart ever since I first heard it…
27 March 2018
It is funny how love can dispel the intense feeling of loneliness but also alienate one from the rest of the world. As Father John Misty sings about his Honeybear, it is interesting to see the picture he paints of the world around them. Their love is messy, but so is the world outside, and they’d rather stay indoors with each other…
20 March 2018
There is no way that someone who grew up in the nineties wouldn’t know who Elliott Smith was–especially if you’ve seen the generation (and genre) defining film Good Will Hunting. The movie was nominated for many Academy Awards, including Best Song in a Motion Picture for ‘Miss Misery,’ a song by Smith. Between the Bars, though, is closer to my heart: used in a precious scene between Will (Matt Damon) and Skylar (Minnie Driver)…
13 March 2018
Spring is here, and there is no better way of celebrating it–if not with this beautiful track.
By now, it should be no news now that I deeply enjoy guitar jazz (the playlist is full of it) and Anthony Wilson is a great exemplar of the genre. The entire album Frogtown is compositionally brilliant-navigating its way seamlessly between different genres like jazz, folk and soft rock…
Dil Beparvah (feat. Dhruv Bhola & Nikhil Vasudevan) [The Dewarists, Season 5] – Ankur Tewari & Prateek Kuhad
6 March 2018
It is great when two very similar artists come together to make something as beautiful as this track. Ankur Tewari and Prateek Kuhad are not new names in the Indian music scene – well known amongst fans for their indie sounds set in simple yet satisfying melodies.
27 February 2018
Sometimes, one gets to know people who one knows will introduce them to good music. A fleeting friendship with a rather interesting person was the source of my introduction to Roo Panes–and I am very happy about it.
20 February 2018
Although my introduction to Latin American culture is recent, my appreciation for it is deep. At a point last semester, I was studying the region’s history, watching a documentary series on Cuba and following a show set in Colombia. It only seemed justified to also listen to Latin American music and little did I realise that I was introducing myself to wonderful new world, where I was lucky to come across the Buena Vista Social Club.
Ascent – Shubh Saran (feat. Cale Hawkins, Angelo Spampinato, Mark Minoogian, Brian Plautz, Jared Yee, Dylan Aiello, Joshua Bailey & Tara Hanish)
13 February 2018
Sometimes I am rather grateful to my impromptu decisions. Last Saturday night was one such occasion, when on a whim a friend and I decided to go to Piano Man Jazz Club, here in Delhi. Saying that the artists were brilliant will be an understatement. I enjoyed the gig so much that I could not wait to share my favourite track from their album this week…
7 February 2018
The restlessness of the artist stands out in the track. Aside from the revealing lyrics, the music too–hints of folk, blues and country–render the track a sense of wander, made amply clear with the title Built to Roam.”
30 January 2018
Well, Sidney Bechet is a genius: a master on the saxophone and the clarinet. His music, distinguished by a wide vibrato, evokes a lot of emotion. I came across this song for the first time while watching Midnight in Paris–one of my favourite films.
23 January 2018
Needless to say, death is painful. It is also a timely reminder of one’s mortality and the selfishness that possibly defines one’s own life. The death of my Aunt earlier this week was a reminder to me of how I take people in my life for granted; that once they are gone there is no scope for another conversation or an apology…
16 January 2018
It makes me so happy that Udd Gaye is the first hindi track on the playlist. Released in late November last year, Udd Gaye was an instant hit, and Ritviz, a young DJ became famous overnight.
12 January 2018
Audrey Hepburn’s Grammy Award winning rendition of Moon River in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is an unforgettable classic. There is something so sweet and innocent about the New York socialite singing this song about expanding horizons sitting at her apartment window.
12 January 2018
This song reeks of the sweet smell of regret. It almost seems like it is every college student’s anthem. A short lived collaboration between artists from different genres, The Postal Service’s A Tattered Line of String is just the right amount of electronic in Indie Rock.
12 January 2018
The NH7 Weekender is a huge music festival that is hosted by multiple cities across India. It is one of the few times that non-Bollywood music is given a platform in the country. Artists from across the world and genres have a stage at this festival. It is an occasion of high spirits and exhilaration.
12 January 2018
Gregory Alan Isakov takes his listeners on a beautiful visual journey. He makes you pine for journeys not taken, for open fields not seen and lives not lives. He also makes you double up in pain, reminiscing as people often do. His emotion seeps into everyone because it is not complicated. It is commonplace; and the lyrics, subtle as they are, complement his raw voice and folk-induced country music.
12 January 2018
Lage is a true master of the lounge. Nothing highlights this more than Nocturne. Although written by Spike Hughes in 1933 and recorded with an ensemble of musicians, Lage’s version of it is a clear break away from the 30’s jazz. It is smoother and the use of the electric guitar, a fascinating choice, adds a new flavour to the jazz composition.