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Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

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Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Heavy Rotation

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/522134800/522284792" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Let's check in with our friends at public radio stations around the country, as we do every month, for a sample of what music they're playing in heavy rotation.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAYANA JAY SONG, "EVERYTHING")

EMMA SILVERS: My name is Emma Silvers, and I'm the music editor at KQED in San Francisco. My pick for heavy rotation is a song called "Everything" by Rayana Jay.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYTHING")

RAYANA JAY: (Rapping) We go back and forth, in and out, we good then we at it again (ph).

SILVERS: Rayana Jay is a 23-year-old R&B singer from Richmond, Calif., and she grew up singing in and later directing her church's youth choir there.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYTHING")

JAY: (Rapping) You the one, you the one, you the one. And you been it for a long time. I tell you to come and you come. But you came at the wrong time. I can do this all night.

SILVERS: She kind of does a cool thing where she switches between rapping and singing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYTHING")

JAY: (Singing) You're everything. You're everything. You're everything.

SILVERS: And that's part of why I picked this track is I really like the push-pull element that she uses where she kind of seduces the listener on the slow parts of the songs and then has a way of scooping you up and propelling you forward along with the song when she starts rapping.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYTHING")

JAY: (Rapping) I (unintelligible) tell you to call. I just ignore you. I rather talk for you.

SILVERS: She makes a point of working mostly with women, I would say exclusively with women - her manager, her DJ. She surrounds herself with other women working in the Bay Area in music. That's not even really a political statement. It's just, of course, I want to surround myself with women and promote their work.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYTHING")

JAY: (Singing) Everything that I need, but I don't want that right now. Oh, no.

RUSS BORRIS: I'm Russ Borris from WFUV, New York. I'm the music director and one of the DJs.

(SOUNDBITE OF JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT SONG, "HOPE THE HIGH ROAD")

BORRIS: My pick for heavy rotation this month is "Hope The High Road" from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOPE THE HIGH ROAD")

JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT: (Singing) I used to think that this was my town. What a stupid thing to think. I hear you're fighting off a breakdown. I myself am on the brink.

BORRIS: One of the things about Jason Isbell, he's just an incredible songwriter. And on this new particular song that he's written, it to me really encompasses everything that's great about a storytelling.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOPE THE HIGH ROAD")

JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT: (Singing) But wherever you are, I hope the high road leads you home again to the working woman and man (ph).

BORRIS: We just started playing this song over the last couple of days, and it just sounds absolutely perfect on the radio. It's got a great band, 400 Unit. This is the first song from the new album, which should be out in June.

(SOUNDBITE OF JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT SONG, "HOPE THE HIGH ROAD")

BRUCE WARREN: I'm Bruce Warren. I'm the program director WXPN in Philadelphia and the executive producer of World Cafe.

(SOUNDBITE OF EARL ST. CLAIR SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

WARREN: The name of my pick for heavy rotation is "Ain't Got It Like That." It's a song by Earl St. Clair.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

EARL ST. CLAIR: Oh, yeah.

WARREN: You want to say, oh, yeah, with Earl St. Clair.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

ST. CLAIR: (Singing) One in a million and maybe it's me.

WARREN: He lays down the vocal line right alongside the groove.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

ST. CLAIR: (Singing) Moving and shaking and making it happen.

WARREN: He's got you right there.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

ST. CLAIR: (Singing) Producing and singing while people was trappin' (ph).

WARREN: And I was listening to this in my car, and I wanted to pull over and get out and start dancing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

ST. CLAIR: (Singing) A whole lot of people helped the hell out of me.

WARREN: And, you know, it was one of those classic public radio driveway moments. I was actually driving home a few weeks ago listening to All Things Considered, and I heard Audie Cornish's interview with Earl St. Clair. And I had no idea who this guy was, and within seconds of when the beat kicked in, I was completely hooked.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) It means I'm going to work, yow (ph), but you want a little first yow. That ain't really how it work, yow.

WARREN: It reminded me so much of some of that early classic, early '70s Funkadelic records, like "Cosmic Slop" and "Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On." It is infectious and undeniable. Come on.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

ST. CLAIR: (Singing) Got what I want 'cause I ain't really got it like that.

WARREN: You can feel this.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

ST. CLAIR: (Singing) And one day I'mma (ph) have it like that.

WARREN: You know, Philly has always been a soul town. Our audience loves this kind of music. People are already emailing us, they're tweeting at Earl saying, when you coming to Philadelphia to play? And we cannot wait to see this guy live, so we've had a great response to it so far.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T GOT IT LIKE THAT")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) And I know that I got what I need even when I don't got what I want.

ST. CLAIR: (Singing) 'Cause I ain't really got it like that.

SIMON: You can hear more tunes in every rotation on our website, nprmusic.org. And you can hear our theme music by BJ Leiderman here every week on WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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