Welcome back to Takeover Tuesday, where each week, Billboard taps chart-topping artists and tastemakers to compile their very own playlist exclusive to Billboard's Spotify account. We give the artists free rein to base the list on whatever subject they choose. The only rule? Make it as creative and unique to them as possible.
Six years ago, Echosmith broke on the pop scene with "Cool Kids," a super catchy plea to be part the in-crowd. The sibling group — now a trio, as eldest member Jamie Sierota left in 2016 — have now brought their indie pop sound to a new zeitgeist, "Lonely Generation," which addresses how the social media age has impacted society.
"Lonely Generation" is the title track from Echosmith's sophomore album (their first since 2013), which features several other creatively contemplative songs such as the album cut "Diamonds," about realizing one's worth. Echosmith bassist Noah Sierota channels that same kind societal awareness with his Takeover Tuesday playlist, which he calls "Songs About Needing Connection."
"Our world is constantly searching for meaning, there’s incredible division all over, and ten it seems like we’re all desperate for connection," Noah Sierota says. "Connection can mean all sorts things, and I love hearing how other artists capture their perspective on this need."
After appropriately kicking f with "Lonely Generation," the 12-song playlist includes recent tracks from their indie-pop pals Rex Orange County, Maggie Rogers and Broods. Sierota also highlights some classics from R.E.M., Talking Heads and Death Cab For Cutie, but in Sierota's mind, the "true classic" on the playlist is Andy Williams' "Moon River" — particularly Frank Ocean's stunning cover the 1961 ballad.
See all the tunes on Echosmith's Songs About Needing Connection playlist below, as well as some comments from Sierota himself.
Echosmith, “Lonely Generation”: In this social media age, disconnection has marked much our experiences. Social media can create such incredible beauty and anticipation, but also ten longing for something more. “Lonely Generation” tries to capture that, and I think the rest these songs show the ups and downs our lives today.
Maggie Rogers, “Love You For A Long Time”: I love how endearing this song is. The groove is undeniably optimistic, and I appreciate the beauty found in relationship in this song. Maggie is one my favorite artists right now, so anything she puts out is bound to be my new fav.
MorMor, “Won’t Let You”: “I can see the days are numbered.” I think we can have an inbred sense cynicism in relationship, a thought that there’s no way something good will last. Dealing with that tension and hoping through it is difficult, but strength is built through the refinement difficulty. “Loving you” is sometimes just what we need.
Say Lou Lou, “The Look Love”: I really enjoy the anticipation found in this song. The beat charges forward and the vocals reach out ahead with it.
Lapsley, “Ligne 3”: “Ligne 3” is a sadder song that deals with the loss connection. I’ve experienced this all too many times in my life. It’s always strange looking back on relationships that felt so strong and now are practically non-existent.
Frank Ocean, “Moon River”: “Moon River" is a true classic and Franks Ocean’s rendition is beautiful. I love the lyric “two drifters f to see the world, it’s such a crazy world you’ll see." Our world is packed full complexities and difficulties, and walking through that with your beloved is a beautiful and challenging experience.
R.E.M., “Everybody Hurts”: This is a classic song that so perfectly captures a powerful universal truth, that everybody hurts. Pain is universal, but despite that, hope is too. I love songs that deal with the tension in life and this one does that well. It’s powerful to connect on our shared experience as human beings.
Rex Orange County, “Face to Face”: Rex Orange County put out one my favorite records 2019. Every song is so great, but I think this one captures the dynamic disconnection and connection in a relationship powerfully.
Talking Heads, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”: This is one my favorite songs wonder and anticipation found in the all too relatable “coming home” story. We’re all looking for a place to rest our heads in this life, to escape from the mundane and tiring. This song walks through that, carrying with it mixes darkness and joy.
The Japanese House, “Something Has To Change”: So ten we fall into traps in life where we repeat the same mistakes over and over. This gets in the way true and symbiotic connection. This song repeats a helpful phrase for the stuck listener – “something has to change.”
Death Cab for Cutie, “I Will Follow You Into The Dark”: Has there ever been a more beautiful song? The greatest connections say “I won’t abandon you. I’ll stay by your side. Your pain is my pain." This song captures that power so well, and it’s an idea I aim for.
Broods, “Everything Goes (Wow)”: “If we walk in the sun, we’ll have peace when it’s done” peace takes work and time. It’s a grueling process to get that, but that challenge creates an incredible beauty.