BitchTapes: Songs for When You’re Blue

This article appears in our 2015 Summer issue, Blue. Subscribe today!

The cover of Jessica Hopper’s new book makes a statement by title alone: The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. Hopper calls the title “both flag-waving and flag-planting,” a nod to the lack of women in the rock critic canon and a fresh precedent to inspire any girls stapling zines or blogging album reviews. (It’s also tongue-in-cheek. “We liked ‘female’ because it sounded so clinical,” says Hopper. “It’s like ‘vehicle.’”)

Today, Hopper is the editor-in-chief of The Pitchfork Review, the quarterly print issue of know-it-all music website Pitchfork (where she also runs op-ed section, The Pitch). Spanning 20 years, her byline history makes for the coolest resume ever. She published long-running riot grrrl zine Hit It or Quit It, wrote a Punk Planet column, chose the music for This American Life, served as Rookie’s music editor, and documented an ever-shifting music landscape for two decades (and counting). Read our Q&A with Hopper here.

Who better to put together a playlist for when you’re feeling a bit blue? Here are Hopper’s ten expert picks (with commentary) of songs in monochrome.

Track List: 

1. Linda Ronstadt - “Blue Bayou”

Check out Linda’s rendition of this classic on The Muppet Show where she’s backed by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. 

2. Lucinda Williams - “Blue”

She’s one of the finest songwriters to ever come out of America. This tough song is no exception.

3. First Aid Kit - “Blue”

I normally do not condone the use of baby-piano in songs, but FAK surpass the twee with that girl truth.

4. R.E.M - Blue

Patti Smith cameo, duh. This song feels likes a throwback to prime era R.E.M., to boot.

5. Beyoncé - “Blue”

Bey is often too teflon for me, but this tear-jerking ode to motherhood opens the door a bit, emotionally.

6. Bill Monroe - “Blue Moon of Kentucky”

Been done a million times, but the holler in Monroe’s voice makes this one definitive.

7. New Order - “Blue Monday”

Shows up in every DJ set ever DJ’d since its 1983 release and is still not old.

8. Dolly Parton - “Blue Smoke”

People sleep on late-era Dolly but you cannot eff with this. Her voice is still perfect.

9. Beck - “Blue Moon”

I don’t know when I turned into a dad in my forties, but this song OWNED me last year.

10. Badfinger - “Baby Blue”

Such a cursed band, such a sweet song. Borders on perfect.

by Megan Kirby
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Megan Kirby writes all over the internet and beyond. You can find her tweeting about werewolves, coffee and her public transit woes at @megankirb.

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