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Noteworthy: Anatomy of a Playlist 9-23-2019

Posted on September 30, 2019


Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

Ivan from Noteworthy here again (Mondays, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.). I’m back to give you another detailed look of how I chose the songs for a recent show.

Carole King – Tapestry Julia Jacklin – Body Corinne Bailey Rae – Jersey Girl

I try my best to avoid starting the show with a song that has a slow tempo if I can help it. The energy at the beginning is so important to me and having a track with an upbeat pace can set the tone for the rest of the show. Ultimately, I go with what serves my opening talk segment the best, and if that leads to a slower song, then so be it. I recently played Tapestry at home for the first time in a while and I knew I could find plenty of insightful stuff to say about it. That means I started the show with a track that only features vocals and keyboards and includes metaphors about life and death. Far from uptempo? Sure, but my hope was that my passion for the album’s title track would still be engaging.

Maxwell – Drowndeep: Hula Madison McFerrin – TRY Anderson .Paak feat. Lalah Hathaway – Reachin’ 2 Much

I didn’t want to stay in slow tempo territory for too long, so I made sure that the songs that immediately followed “Tapestry” gradually added more bottom while still maintaining a cohesive sound. In other words, I continued with softer songs that had more rhythm for this segment. Luckily, all three of these artists specialize in mixing groove with softness and the latest Madison McFerrin single was the glue that helped me to casually pick up the pace for Anderson .Paak.

21 Savage feat. J Cole – a lot J.I.D. – Slick Talk Noname feat. Saba & Smino – Ace

British rapper Dave was announced as the winner of the Mercury Prize for his album Psychodrama the week before my show which gave me an excuse to talk about one of my favorite awards while also creating my own version of it. The Mercury Prize takes the 12 best U.K. albums over the past year, as decided on by a panel of people in the music industry, and awards one based on quality and not commercial success. It’s the anti-Grammys where there’s only one category and it really means a lot.

I would like to have my own version of the Mercury Prize but composed entirely of hip-hop albums instead. Hip-hop should have its own awards show that acknowledges the history and growth of the genre as understood by people who are actively contributing to it. I played the above three songs in this segment in an attempt to capture the vast spectrum of hip-hop.

2 Chainz – Threat 2 Society Arin Ray feat. Kehlani – Change Snoh Aalegra – I Didn’t Meant To Fall In Love

I wrapped up the Noteworthy Prize talk with 2 Chainz and began to ease out of hip-hop sounds for the latter half of the show. “Threat 2 Society” is another one of those tracks that I rely on as a bridge to make it feasible for me to switch genres within the span of 15 minutes. Having a 9th Wonder-produced track with a soul sample made it all the more easy for me to sneak Snoh Aalegra into tonight’s show, whose album has been getting a steady rotation from me.

Denitia – Waves Q – Lavender Suuns – Edie’s Dream

The new Denitia single became the bridge for me to get into more rock sounds toward the end of my show. All of the songs here have that sort of wet reverb guitar sound that’s been a mainstay of 2010s music and with Denitia already being a part of the R&B world, I could seamlessly transition in to some recent indie bangers by the time I went off the air.

Angel Olsen – Lark
Perfume Genius – Eye In The Wall

I’ve been heavily anticipating the new Angel Olsen album ever since it was announced. I thought that My Woman was one of the finest albums of 2016 and I was also just as impressed with its predecessor, Burn Your Fire For No Witness. With the fantastic lead single, “All Mirrors,” and now “Lark,” Olsen has put us all on notice that she’s coming for the neck of the 4th quarter of 2019.

Listen to Noteworthy live on Mondays from 6PM-8PM CT at and follow Ivan on Facebook and Twitter.


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