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This is a playlist of ~40 songs by emotional males curated by an emotional male. A sample below:
1. Frank Ocean – “Thinkin Bout You”
Hands up everyone who sings along the falsetto part of this song. “Cuz I been thinking bout foreverrr… oooooo.” Emotional male test #1: A+
2. SAFE – “20 Years On”
Chris Edley, aka SAFE, has a twitter profile that says just “emotional singer.” It’s true. He is also a friend of mine and (him, us together, and a few others) a progenitor of #EMOTIONALMALE.
SAFE has an EP coming out soon on Himanshu Suri’s Greedhead Records, a mixtape with Das Racist’s Kool AD, and a full-length following shortly thereafter.
This video/song is the most emotional, and one of the most beautifully sung, on this list.
3. Asaf Avidan – “One Day/Reckoning Song”
This one is newly on repeat, if likely forgotten soon. I’m not even sure it’s a good song, but I really like how it’s simple and direct. That’s the most poetic oftentimes, no?
No more tears, my heart is dry/
don’t laugh and I don’t cry/
don’t think about you all the time/
but when I do I wonder why
And then that exhortation:
“One day baby we’ll be old, oh baby we’ll be old, think of all the stories that we could have told”
4. Girls – “Hellhole Ratrace”
Chris Owens is one of the more emotional males making music today. This video makes me really nostalgic for when I lived in San Francisco — the closing scene at Silver Crest diner and then on top of Bernal Hill. The song plays to the vibe and pace of that city, day-dreamy-beautiful and grey-sleepy-sad.
5. John Coltrane – Naima
Coltrane wrote this song for his first wife, Naima. He called it a love letter.
Why I found this song so compelling remained just-beyond-words for me, until one day when I was riding in a car with a friend of mine who’s always been a ‘player.’ He’s intelligent and deeply affectionate with friends, but always shallower in romance, less open to love. Some terrible story came up — I don’t remember how, on the radio or in conversation — about a man losing his wife and children in tragic circumstances — a murder or an accident. He said, “God, could you imagine?” I looked at him, my tall, handsome, ladies-love-him friend, as terror crawled on his face, empathetic terror, maybe sick to his stomach, with tears in his eyes. I realized at that moment, to my shame, that it was not some inability to feel that kept him from loving. It was a depth of feeling.
He seemed… the word that keeps coming to me is ‘reverential.’ And the reminder he gave me that day serves as my explanation for Coltrane’s song — a love song but so mournful-sounding, so restrained.
We say that “rather have loved and lost…” thing so flippantly, like it’s universal, and without considering the incredible responsibility of bearing its consequences. I guess what he reminded me of is that those who don’t want to lose, who would rather not take the chance, who choose not to love — well they can be, their reasons can be, really romantic too.
That’s become what this Coltrane song is about for me. He’s showing us just how sharp that line is, between love and loss, and the responsibility that comes with it all. He’s showing how love is the Higher Power, a not-unfrightening God. And the song cries in reverence.
6. The Rolling Stones – “Angie”
Bad boys can be emotional too. Some rumors say that Mick wrote this song for David Bowie’s then-wife, Angie. Then there’s a story where Angie caught Bowie and Mick having sex with each other. Or the song is by Keith, about his love Anita Pallenberg, who he stole from bandmate Brian Jones. I can’t help but love the Stones.
7. Charles & Eddie – Would I Lie To You?
This song is kind of who I think I am when I’m courting a girl.
So that’s it. An emotional male playlist of about 40 tracks. Add more in the comments and maybe I’ll put them in. Also, I was tempted to end with Ramping Shop. Aren’t you glad I didn’t end with Ramping Shop? (Which, besides the homophobia, I do genuinely think is a really nice love song.) Did I just lose my #EMOTIONALMALE cred? Damn. Well listen to the playlist on 8tracks or subscribe on Spotify anyway.