I was inspired to start this segment for our Blogs when I had a nasty surprise with my Spotify Unwrapped for 2020. The breakdown basically had me pinned as someone stuck in the past. It seemed like I hadn’t listened to a new song all year and my most played tune was from 2006. Don’t get me wrong, 2006 was a good vintage, I just never saw myself as someone with such closed tastes. To try and rectify this, my New Year’s Resolution was to listen to more new music. These songs are the first fruits of my resolution.
At Unorthodox (probably like everywhere), the definition of coffee shop songs is enough to spark debate. I tend to stay on the side of easy listening but am certainly partial to other genres. That said, there are times when colleagues have picked songs that have left me feeling like I’m participating in a chase scene in Trainspotting. Certainly not for me. That said, I'm not looking to start a debate on how to define "coffee shop music" but rather offer some good music to listen to whilst you're drinking your morning cup of Joe. I hope that this month’s selection has given an eclectic selection of songs that you may not have necessarily heard before. Each month a different member of the team Unorthodox will take you through their monthly selection of new releases. We hope you enjoy!
Barke, (Abdel Ray Day Remix) Falle Nioke & Ghost Culture & Abdel Ray Day
Ok, released on Christmas day 2020 (great present) so not the latest release I could have picked but this song appeared on my Discover Weekly and is something so new to me that I just couldn’t leave it off my list. It’s like Ali Farka Toure met Aphex Twin and produced this gem. With a drum rhythm that reminds me of Kanye Wests’ Fade, Barke is something completely new to my ears, and most importantly for this segment, I would happily listen to it in a coffee shop.
Toots and The Maytals, Until The Ribbon Breaks - Got To Be Tough (Until The Ribbon Breaks)
When I saw that Reggae royalty Toots And The Maytals had released a new song, I immediately had a sense of what this song was going to be like. I was completely wrong. Although I absolutely love the quintessential sound of Toots this song had to be something a bit different for inclusion on this list. This IS different. It is a commemorative reformulation of an original song released in 2020, in homage to Toots Hibbert and poignant lyrically.
Monica Heldal - Wallowa Lake
First release in a long time and it’s exactly what you’d expect from Monica Heldal. The idiosyncratic vocals, the rolling drum introduction and familiar fingerpicking guitar patterns, this is pure relaxation music.
Arlo Parks - Hope
Brilliant album, difficult to pick a song from but given that this has just been released as a single my decision was made for me. Parks combines good tunes with beautifully poetic lyricism. The significance of every line is highlighted by Parks’ delivery. Calling this song easy listening doesn’t do it justice because the lyrics are fantastic.
Kaytranda - Caution
I love Kaytranada and this song perfectly encapsulates why I’m a fan. The same funky motif is pretty much repeated throughout so this is definitely one that you can just enjoy without much effort. Just 2 minutes 30 seconds of good music.
So, there it is. The first installment of Coffee Shop Anthems. I hope you approved of my choice of music, if not - there's always next month :).