Welcome to “Weekend Stream,” where every Friday, Darian Lusk—comedian and writer living large in Brooklyn—will gently recommend something new and exciting to stream, listen to or play over the weekend. Follow him on Twitter @eatpraylusk to send suggestions for future installments.
Whether you’re a casual Spotify user or a Premium boi like me (where my Premies at?!), we can all agree that public playlists are one of the best parts of the streaming service.
Making the jump from iTunes to Spotify is a tough but necessary part of becoming an adult. If you were a 6,000+ song iPod guy like myself, a.k.a. popular and respected in high school, this is an especially arduous task. Making the move means losing a piece of your youth—and many Youtube-to-Mp3 gems that aren’t on the music service. But it was for the greater good, as my phone now has enough space for apps, and I can share my “Summer 17 Vibez” and all-Burt Bacharach playlist, “The Burt Locker,” with the world.
Spotify not only lets users create and customize these public playlists, but artists can create mixes too, which conveniently appear on their public profiles for all of us to enjoy. Suddenly we have insight into what our favorite musicians are listening to and even what informs their work. And yes, we’ll forgive them for peppering their mixes with their own songs.
Here are eight of the best artist-curated playlists out now. Though none of them hold a candle to my “Best Songs on Spotify” playlist, which is just Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road over and over. Please subscribe.
Father John Misty’s Royalty-Free Terrestrial Juicebox (23,541 followers)
Josh Tillman has been fine-tuning this beautifully named playlist since 2015. The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Royalty-Free Juicebox is that it embraces 50s AM gold, and also death. With tracks like Satan Is Real by the Louvin Brothers and God Is In The House by Nick Cave, existentialism is at the forefront of Misty’s Spotify library. Also, I saw him perform at Kings Theater this week and my glasses broke in the middle of the show, so I can relate.
Reclusive genius Frank Ocean surprised the world this year by remaining out of the shadows and premiering singles on his new Beats 1 radio show (objectively the only good thing about 2017). This playlist is a collection of the tracks he’s played, his and otherwise. Blonded is rife with R&B jams, from D’Angelo to Kodak Black. There’s also some Guided By Voices in there, for good measure. Also Frank, please don’t cancel your Panorama set this year. We need this.
San Junipero by Charlie Brooker (37,871)
Charlie Brooker, British TV darling and creator of Black Mirror, drummed up something special for fans of what is arguably the show’s best episode, San Junipero. This full-on ’80s playlist features the tunes that wound up in the iconic episode that showed us it’s never too late for eternal love, as well as ones that didn’t make the cut. And yes, Heaven Is A Place On Earth starts AND ends the playlist.
Homemade Dynamite by Lorde (30,866 followers)
In anticipation of Lorde’s upcoming album Melodrama, the 20-year-old Kiwi sensation (also a good shampoo name!) released a Spotify playlist she’s “gonna update regularly.” Which unsurprisingly features a lot of hip new releases, from Phoenix to Feist. Lorde definitely seems like that chill younger cousin who says like three words to you at Thanksgiving but then you look over and see she’s listening to Solange. And then your uncle starts going on again about how you should consider journalism grad school, and suddenly you’re having a bad time.
VAN JAMS by PUP (274 followers)
Pop punk band PUP clearly likes to get a little saucy on tour. Their VAN JAMS playlist ranges from Built to Spill classics like The Plan to Katy Perry’s ROAR, so there’s something for everyone on this pump-up mix. Also, you have to respect a band that still tours in a van.
What Rivers Listened To In 1993 by Rivers Cuomo (422 followers)
Weezer frontman and Good Tweeter Rivers Cuomo excels at Spotify playlists. The singer has posted a mix chronicling what he was listening to during most years of his life, which is an extremely High Fidelity move. My personal favorite is the 1993 edition, which was pretty Beatles and Beach Boys heavy, an influence that is clear on Weezer’s most recent album.
Played by Jamie XX by Jamie XX (65,581 followers)
This sprawling 180-song mix chronicles the dance tracks the XX frontman has played while DJing. If you’re designated roof party DJ at any point this summer, pulling out this playlist will impress your peers and guarantee a chill, Limearita-filled afternoon. Also, why were you designated DJ? This feels like too much.
Frankie Stew by Frankie Cosmos (1,971 followers)
Indie singer Frankie Cosmos’ Frankie Stew is a delightful study playlist that bumps Liz Phair and Steely Dan. It also features a bevy of female singers, some of which I didn’t know about, like Connie Converse. And did you know Frankie Cosmos’s dad is Kevin Kline? If there’s any takeaway from this week’s column, it should be that.
Other great things to stream this weekend:
Bill Wurtz’ History Of The Entire World, I Guess: Youtube songwriter Bill Wurtz’s found his niche in 2016 with the nine-minute History of Japan. The acclaimed educational video garnered 25 million views, but then he went on radio silence. Why? Well now we know. Wurtz returned to Youtube this week with the incredible History Of The Entire World, I Guess. The 20 minute-long experience, which yes, chronicles all of human history, is pretty much the most exhilarating and ambitious thing I’ve seen on Youtube. And that includes every Aerosmith music video. (Added May 10)
Get Me Roger Stone: This bonkers documentary traces the five-decade rise of one of our slimiest, most ridiculous political figures, Roger Stone. Referred to as the “sinister Forrest Gump of American politics,” Stone has a tattoo on of Nixons’ face on his back and has been influencing politics for that long. And he revels in the infamy. This timely hate-watch provides insight into Stones’ appetite for destruction, and even some insight into how we got, well…here. (Added May 12)