As opposed to our favorite songs, or songs we'd like to think define our listening habits, taking a look at what a person actually listens to can be far more revealing. With that in mind, every Wednesday we ask an artist to take a look at the most-played songs in their iTunes libraries and share with us the results. We do this on the honor system, and we ask our subjects to share a few words about each song.
Yep, your eyes don't deceive you: pictured above is not Diplo but freshly-shaven Jewish hip-hop reggae man Matisyahu, who last year shed his signature beard after walking into a Supercuts on the Upper West Side in New York City. "Sorry folks," he said in a December blog post. "All you get is me...no alias." The new look is part of what the artist calls, "an amazing year filled with music of rebirth."
It's been a productive one for Matisyahu--his fourth studio album, Spark Seeker, recorded in New York, Los Angeles, and Israel, shot straight to number 1 on the Reggae charts, a rank coinciding with his acting debut in Sam Raimi's horror film The Possession (that's him as Tzadok, a Jewish exorcist, in the trailer after the jump). For a man so closely tied to his image--and that image to the Orthodox Jewish community--big changes and new projects indeed spell an exciting year for the artist. But with musical likes from Bon Iver to The Smiths, what lies under the surface, for Matisyahu, is just as compelling as outward appearances. "Things are not as black and white as we would like to think," he says. "Not everything can be oversimplified."
Matisyahu & The Dirty Heads play the Moore Theater this Sunday (9/23).
"Forget," Twin Shadow: I love his [musician George Lewis Jr.] sound and his voice. You can hear the emotion which is the most important thing in a singer's voice. On tour we had a night off and caught his show. Awesome.
"Held," Holy Other: I really like the vibe on this song. It puts me in a meditative space when I listen which is a major aspect of music that is missing in today's world.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver: I really like his [singer-songwriter Justin Vernon] melodies and the layering of his vocals, although his voice is so sweet I'd like to hear it naked at times. Listened to this yesterday backstage in Flagstaff while getting a massage in the woods.
Glimmer, Jacaszek: This is my jam. I discovered this album about eight months ago and have listened hundreds of times. I don't know how to describe this music. It is very moody and primal, with mixtures of light and dark in organic pulsing movements. Listen to whole album front to back in one swoop.
"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out," The Smiths: Love the lyrics. Our merch guy Anthony is slowly turning us all into Morrissey fans.