Today, Philly power pop group 2nd Grade release their new album, Easy Listening via Double Double Whammy. And to coincide with the release of their excellent new record, the group has shared a new playlist of—you guessed it—easy listening songs. And yet, despite the implications of that phrase, the playlist is pretty much wall-to-wall jams: Astrud Gilberto, Burt Bacharach, Scott Walker, Alex Chilton. Hear it below.
The band’s Peter Gill says of the curated playlist: “Power-pop and easy listening: two misunderstood genres with a lot in common. On paper they are two ideal styles of popular music, instilling immaculately crafted pop compositions with the raw material of our most urgent dreams and desires. Yet in practice, power-pop is known as the commercial ‘kiss of death,’ and easy listening is often dismissed as elevator music. Spiritually they inhabit two sides of the same coin. The one is built for eager anticipation of what could happen tonight (!!!); the other is made for languid rumination of what could have once been, but is now forever out of reach. A ‘manual for living with defeat’, to borrow a phrase from the great Leonard Cohen.
“The new 2nd Grade record is named Easy Listening, and is largely concerned with the difficult existence of our hopes and dreams in this turbulent world. The following playlist of my favorite easy listening tracks can be thought of as a companion piece to the record. So go ahead and fix yourself a drink (preferably something brown and boozy), sit back, kick your feet up, and dream awhile… and dig the sounds of easy listening.”
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.