Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing We asked our panel of public-radio hosts to share their favorite new tracks. The resulting mix includes a Swedish R&B singer, a rising L.A. country star and an 18-year-old rapper.
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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: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/409672024/409672025" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Time now for our music project, "Heavy Rotation." Each month, we ask our colleagues at public radio music stations around the country to name a new favorite song. And today, we hear from Carmel Holt, a DJ and assistant music director WFUV in New York. She's loving a song by a Scandinavian artist named Seinabo Sey.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD TIME")

SEINABO SEY: (Singing) Hard time forgiving, even harder forgetting before you do something you might regret, friend. Hard time forgiving...

CARMEL HOLT: The only thing that starts us off is that one minor chord and then - bam - her voice comes in.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD TIME")

SEY: (Singing) ....Might regret, friend.

MONTAGNE: That's Carmel Holt, who says Seinabo Sey comes from a unique background.

HOLT: She was born in Stockholm, Sweden to a West African father and a Swedish mother. Her father is a famous Afro-pop star, Mawdo Sey.

MONTAGNE: As a child, Seinabo Sey heard the work of her father. And as a teenager, she studied soul music and came to love modern R & B.

HOLT: She soaked up Afro-pop rhythms and sounds and reggae music. And her heroes are, like, Beyonce and Erykah Badu.

MONTAGNE: Carmel Holt says all of those influences collide in the song "Hard Time."

HOLT: The whole song has this propulsion, and it's a very simple song. It's repetition. There's no chorus at all. That's the hook, is the repetition.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD TIME")

SEY: (Singing) Took me for granted, but call it love if you will. I'm aware of this. I did let you in.

HOLT: You might think, you know, there's been a million songs written about struggles in love or out of love. And this is actually written in response to a hard time that she was having with a girlfriend, with a friend.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD TIME")

SEY: (Singing) Thought you got away. This here ends today. You thought hell was hard. Let me show you now.

HOLT: She found herself in the wake of an argument and realizing that she'd outgrown this friendship, and she was done. This is my favorite part of the song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD TIME")

SEY: (Singing) This time I will be louder than my words. Walk with lessons that, oh, that I have learned.

HOLT: It's such a powerful statement. You know, she's not a pop diva, but it's such a strong pronouncement of her power.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD TIME")

SEY: (Singing) I will hunt them down. Hard time forgiving...

HOLT: She never pushes her vocals. And there's such a power and depth, a centeredness about it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD TIME")

SEY: (Singing) ...Even harder forgetting before you do something you might regret, friend.

HOLT: And there it is. And then the song just ends just like that.

MONTAGNE: That's Carmel Holt of WFUV, talking about the song "Hard Time" by Swedish artist Seinabo Sey. Hear more "Heavy Rotation" picks at nprmusic.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD TIME")

SEY: (Singing) I'm aware of this. I did let you in.

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