With everyone sequestered and self-quarantining due to the coronavirus, we’ve asked our favorite artists to come up with playlists that keep you entertained. Here is veteran Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Z Berg.
With my new record, Get Z To A Nunnery, coming out, I thought perhaps I’d give you a little glimpse into my world and the many characters in it. In this world there is no summer, it is always raining, and the only way to walk home from school is through the graveyard. The buildings are ancient and cavernous. There’s a unique reverb to every room. In some rooms, you’d swear the reverb trail never truly ends… Strange things happen… People disappear. But they turn into echoes that haunt the hallways of the reverb-drenched buildings. Don’t get stuck here… you may never get out.
“Falling” – Julee Cruise
I mean… This is the sound of my happy place. The unsettling, metallic sweetness, the insidious underlying despair, the kitsch, the creepiness, the sort of contained, breathy bombast… I definitely want this song played at my funeral.
“On My Own” – Shamir
This kid is the future of music. Resilient, insightful, frisky, unapologetic, and totally unique. I discovered this song recently and I played it on repeat for about 24 hours. He slid into my DM’s after I posted about it and told me he was a big fan of The Like and I honestly died a little. Pay attention to this motherfucker. He’s the real deal.
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” – The Shirelles
I have a bit of an obsession with “perfect songs” and this one is at the top of the list for me. Honestly, it’s just unfuckwithable. It’s bottled nostalgia, evoking sadness or happiness at the drop of a hat. It feels so simple that you don’t even notice how masterful it truly is.
“Settled In” – More
As if Roy Robison and Glen Tilbrook started a band together with John Lennon helming the production. This band just checks ALL my boxes. Also, this song is written about the singer’s ex-girlfriend with the help of the ex-girlfriend herself. I’m a sucker for boundary issues.
“The Fairest of the Seasons” – Nico
When I was a kid, I remember coming home from school every day and listening to this record on repeat while watching the iTunes visualizer with a blanket over both my head and the computer… (It was a different time). I just couldn’t believe it was real. Later finding out that Jackson Browne wrote this song as a 16-year-old kid… There’s a prescience and gravity and naive profundity that can only come from a kid that age. It’s raw and odd and has the ability to encapsulate everything you’ve ever felt as both an artist and a listener. I had the true privilege of singing this song with Jackson and a string quartet at a Christmas show and midway through I left my body and it’s possible I never again returned to it.
“Crash Cart” – Ethan Gruska
If you need a really good quarantine cry, ladies and gentlemen, may I present Ethan Gruska! I’m biased on account of him having produced my record, but I find myself endlessly amazed by an artist who is so immensely talented he makes you kind of want to quit playing music while also apologizing for existing at the same time. I love this man. And his beautiful wife is a health care worker whose tremendous selflessness, empathy, and dedication inspired this song which, under the apocalyptic circumstances, really HITS HARD.
“Savior Complex” – Phoebe Bridgers
This song feels like looking out a train window through the pouring rain at the hillsides flying by and regretting leaving the place you left behind. Phoebe sings a lot of the harmonies on my record and I’m ceaselessly amazed by her ability to make anything she sings on sound instantly gut-wrenching in the most beautiful way.
“Gold Body Spray” – Phantom Planet
Dear Alex Greenwald, please write a musical. It’s what the world needs. Only you can save us.
“Cumberland Gap” – David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch are two of my favorite people and artists on this godforsaken planet. What a privilege it is to have such spectacular time travelers walk among us mere mortals.
“Disney Girls” – The Beach Boys
Another big contender for my funeral playlist. I don’t really even want to say anything else. Just settle in for a trip down memory lane to a time that never was.
“Tears in the Typing Pool” – Broadcast
Welcome to the glitchy, tragic, blue expanse. Like falling down a well and never ever hitting the ground.
“Summer All Over” – Blake Mills
What a perfect song for right now. THE SADDEST SUMMER IN THE WHOLE WORLD. Leave it to Blake to always twist the knife so beautifully that you welcome the pain.
“How The Wild Wind Blows” – Molly Drake
Molly Drake was Nick Drake’s mother and her music just makes your heart…ache. I guess I started this playlist with a couple fun ones but if you’re not crying by now…I mean maybe you’re happy and well adjusted and I’m really happy for you and also how and what is that like????