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What's the song you've listened to most during this isolation period and why?

It should be no surprise that I’ve turned to music in a big way during this period of isolation. And, luckily for me, there has been so much great new music to listen to. The new Jay Electronica record lived up to the hype, I was absolutely floored by Bob Dylan’s first single in nearly a decade (all 17 minutes of it), and there’s a hauntingly beautiful cover of Billie Eilish’s Everything I Wanted by JP Cooper that I think I’ve listened to every day for the last two weeks (my friend Hannah is on keys and produced it).

Otherwise, I’ve been turning to a lot of music that brings me a certain level of peace, which was kind of the through line in my Isolation Radio Station playlist - lots of Nick Drake, the album Riceboy Sleeps by Jonsi & Alex, Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell Live record. And this morning I put on Find You by Charlotte Day Wilson, and amidst all of this craziness in the world, everything felt exactly right for a brief moment.

What track always gets you on the dance floor and why?

My wife and I are devoted Beyoncé worshipers, so Crazy In Love tends to whip us into a dance frenzy. That song’s just military grade, pure and simple. Otherwise, Robyn’s Dancing On My Own will get us moving no matter the time or place. We’re big Carly Rae Jepsen devotees as well.

Beyonce – Crazy In Love

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What's your 'guilty pleasure' track and why?

So, true story; the first album I ever bought was Third Eye Blind’s Blue. This must have been when I was, like, eight-years-old, so around ‘99. I stole my dad’s credit card, typed ‘Blue’ into a very primitive Amazon.com and bought the first CD that came up. Much to my dismay, this was not what I wanted to purchase. I was looking for Blue (Da Ba De), which was a ridiculously massive song at the time. So, when I heard Third Eye Blind’s Blue, I was like “What is this?! Where’s the Blue song I wanted!?”

Several years later, when I was an overly emotional teenager, I found that Third Eye Blind CD in the bottom of a drawer and it blew my mind. That band can be incredibly cringe-worthy at times, but I’ll be damned, for better or worse, to find a band that believed in themselves more than those guys did. I’ve still got such a soft spot for that record. And for what it’s worth, I eventually did cop that Eifel 65 CD, which is without question another guilty pleasure I will ride for to the death.

What song always makes you turn off the stereo when it comes on and why?

We’ve got an alarm clock that we recently switched to the local light pop station (93.9 LiteFM for those Chicagoans reading this). It’s mostly classic rock and pop standards, but every now and again something comes on we have definitely never heard before. Do you know the song Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill? 

We heard it for the first time the other week and I absolutely cannot stop thinking about it. I hate it with so much blind passion that I kind of love it. It’s actually probably the most certifiably terrible thing I’ve ever heard in my life, but I also just found the music video and I am sure I’m going to watch it 10 times in a row now. It’s a problem.

We can't go out right now, but when we're finally allowed to head out for a night on the town, what track will you listen to while you're getting ready and why? 

Prince’s 1999. It’s about dancing at the end of the world, which is kind of what the world feels like right now. It’s so strange, but I honestly have no idea when we are all going to feel totally safe enough to be out and around people again. Even when the [of coronavirus cases] numbers go down, there is the understanding that they could go right back up again, and then what?

It’s just such a crazy, chaotic, frightening time, and all we can really do is take it day-by-day. So, with all that in mind, I really can’t think of a better song to kick us off into the next chapter of our lives, whenever that may be. Prince has that power more than maybe any other musician who ever lived, so yea, gotta be The Purple One.

And with that, I just want to say: I hope you are able to find some peace and wellness right now, whether that’s through music, time with your family, taking socially distant walks around your neighborhood, or whatever it is you need to feel calm, healthy, and happy. Wishing you well wherever you are.

To access Stern's Isolation Radio Station playlist, click here. If you would like to read about the genesis of Isolation Radio Station, click here.

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