Music

Five Musicians to Follow on Spotify

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Ever wondered what Snoop Dogg listens to? Besides himself, that is.

Dubious profit-sharing agreements aside, Spotify is pretty great. It’s an easy, no-frills way to see what your friends are listening to and appropriately scorn/laud them for it. But you know what’s better than seeing what your friends are listening to? Seeing what musical celebrities are listening to. Because they’re like your friends, only richer and therefore better! Here are five famous musicians worth following on Spotify.

1. Johnny Greenwood

Radiohead’s resident guitar weirdo is on Spotify under the name mrmarmite. His Spotify is an entertaining mix of classical (Bach, Beethoven), classic rock (Talking Heads, Neil Young) and some left-field choices, like a Busta Rhymes-heavy hip-hop playlist, and a set by Bill Hicks (of course, there’s no real reason why Greenwood shouldn’t like either of those people, but he’s just so… British). My personal favorite is the Doumka Clarinet Ensemble’s haunting Afar, which is… exactly the kind of thing I expected to find on Johnny Greenwood’s Spotify. 

2. Henry Rollins

Rollins, despite now having spent more time doing spoken-word and standup than getting in the van, will always be the an angry muscle-bound guy to a lot of people. But as anyone that’s ever listened to his radio show can attest, he’s downright encyclopedic about more music than you’d ever expect someone that spent equal parts of his time in Black Flag “singing” and fighting to be. His current playlist treads a little on the Ken Burns side of ‘50s and ‘60s jazz, though he does include some more obscure picks like Sun Ra and Archie Shepp. Rollins doles out new playlists semi-frequently ― it’s worth following him through Rhino or via his Twitter ― and each one reveals another interesting side of punk’s most visible elder statesman.

3. Trent Reznor

Reznor may be edging away from downward spirals and more towards fancy high-falutin’ pursuits like “composition” and “film-scoring,” but his Spotify profile reveals a nice mix of high and low music, serious and non-serious: one of his playlists is titled “(real men wear) parachute pants.” There’s the usual shameless self-promotion, here titled “shameless self-promotion (my current faves of me),” but on the whole, Reznor’s profile is a portrait of a guy who hasn’t yet lost his enthusiasm or reverence for music. I was particularly excited to see Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio” pop up, because that song is the jam.

4. Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg’s Spotify is little more than a new forum for him to hype his own music, but I will forgive that for three reasons, which are: 1) His real name (Calvin Broadus) is what his profile displays, and that's just endearing. 2) His love of vintage R&B is on full display, which I love because a very-stoned Snoop dances around in my imagination whenever I play those songs, and 3) the fact that he put it “Hold it Now, Hit it” from the Beastie Boys’ License to Ill on one of his “mixx”es, because that is a terrible song from a not-very-good Beastie Boys album, and the fact that he's bucking conventional wisdom on that is just great. 

5. My Morning Jacket

Since My Morning Jacket have established themselves as some of rock's reigning classicists, it's unsurprising that their largest playlist contains very little modern music. For those of you who have had your hair peeled back by MMJ’s super-loud and super-jammy live shows, it might be a little odd to see their playlist populated by tender picks like Louis Armstrong’s version of “Moon River” or “It Never Entered My Mind” from Frank Sinatra’s classic quiet storm In the Wee Small Hours. But then one of those tracks bumps up against the Melvins’ “A History of Drunks” and suddenly, My Morning Jacket’s sound seems to make a little more sense: the boys might love crooning and old soul, but sometimes, you just want to hear an electric guitar that sounds like a chainsaw.