PLAYING DETROIT: A Springtime Playlist

There is an undeniable shift in self when the clocks return to their forward position and warmer days begin to outnumber the cold ones. Spring, though different depending on your geographic specifics, happens under the same sky at just about the same time. Perhaps you’re like me and mending a broken heart after the end of what can only be described as a cruel internal winter, looking forward to dusting off, stretching out and starting over. But whatever version of spring suits you best, let these emotionally selected tracks from Detroit’s vast pool of feelings-feelers guide you through the waves of change.

Zoos of Berlin: “North Star on the Hill”

The Bowie-esque closing track on Zoos of Berlin’s groundbreaking return from hiatus, last year’s Instant Evening, swirls like winter’s final snow against new growth on your favorite neighborhood tree. “North Star on the Hill” encapsulates hesitance and imbalance but with a fragility suited for this polarized change in season.

Anna Ash: “Player” 

Yeah, okay. It’s no secret that I can’t get enough of Michigan native and songstress/sorceress Anna Ash’s 2016 release Floodlights. Her Lucinda Williams-esque warble and her completely unique vocal warmth could melt the most stubborn frost from the windshield of your equally stubborn ’89 Cutlass. “Player” is timeless and sun-soaked (why do I feel like it could be on the Erin Brockovich soundtrack or, like, Ally McBeal?) but what makes it a great addition to this seasonal transition is her ability to meld vulnerability with hair-flipping  “I-told-you-so” vibes.

Minihorse: “Drink You Dry” 

I’m not the biggest Minihorse fan. Or maybe it was a timing thing when they dropped their fuzzy, lo-fi EP Big Lack last year. But hey. I sort of get it now. “Drink You Dry” is laced with memories of riding around in your girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend’s best friend’s backseat while you may or may not be day-drunk, trying not to get dizzy watching the blur of houses and trees from the lap of someone you met once. It’s an afternoon. It’s boredom. It’s quietly and politely reckless. And in a lot of ways, it’s Spring.

Saturday Looks Good to Me: “No Good With Secrets” 

There’s something so nervous and sweet about this 2005 release from one of our most beloved indie pop acts Saturday Looks Good to Me. Led by the incomparable Fred Thomas, “No Good With Secrets” embodies an innocence and aimlessness that tugs on our teenage heartstrings but 12 years later makes space for our adult selves as we still carry those bashfully brazen tendencies to drive by someone’s house (even if they can’t come out to play.)

Deadbeat Beat: “When the Sun Soaks in” 

Maybe I’m getting a little too literal, but there is something perfectly riotous and manic about Deadbeat Beat’s “When the Sun Soaks In.”  It elicits that moment you realize you don’t need a jacket to leave the house and how the sight of your own bare arms turns you on. A fusion of a 1960’s beach party and a 90’s make-out session, this track is equal to smelling salts or pheromones for our shared and stagnant winter coma.

JR JR: “Gone” 

The truth is, I’ve spent more time over the past two years trying to convince myself that I like JrJr than I have actually spent liking JrJr. The verdict? I don’t get the hype or the Warner Brothers continuous record deal. This song, however, is insufferably Spring and is so infectious that you may as well make an appointment with a licensed physician or psychiatrist because even when the song ends the whistling will go on and on and on…and on. I’m sure you’re wondering why a respected music journalist with what some would say exquisite taste would include something that makes her so despairingly nauseous on a playlist about Spring. The answer is simple. “Gone” is carefully crafted to make you feel invincible. It’s a look back, a look forward and ultimately it’s about leaving what is truly gone in the dust to never be found again. This will be the last time I ever listen to this song willingly. But maybe for you, the right person in the right moment, you’ll see “the light through the trees.”