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DJ Jim Q's Playlist: Magic

Magic is inherently creative, it relies on the imagination to work and a willingness to accept the illogical in favor of the mystical. You have to suspend disbelief and let yourself fall into the fantasy. Or maybe you are a believer. Or maybe it exists.

I used to believe in magic. When I was young, everything unexplainable and beyond my limited understanding seemed like magic—time, death, feelings, thoughts, existence, it all seemed so mysterious and magical. The world is a bit more romantic for those that believe; I kinda wish I still did. Maybe I still can.

Music seems to have a magical ability to affect us. Why do certain chords evoke specific emotions? Why do major chords make us feel “happy” and minor chords make us feel “sad”? While there are a lot of theories ranging from the physiological reaction to sound waves and frequencies, to societal and cultural associations based on experience, no one really know why. That sounds like magic to me.

Abracadabra, presto chango, this month’s playlist will dazzle and amaze even the most salty of skeptics. Ladies and gentlemen watch closely as I assemble a playlist of unlikely bedfellows from “Nina Simone” to “2 Chainz”, with no tricks up my sleeve. Ok maybe that’s a little over the top, but magic is all about the drama, right? From Girlpool’s “Love Spell” to Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard”, it’s all here. Well almost.

I would have opened this playlist with De Le Soul’s “Magic Number” but due to sample licensing issues, their early records are not available on streaming services or for download from digital music stores. They were recently on “Bloomberg” talking about it. Too bad for us, those first three records are brilliant. Get “a copy on vinyl” and check it out. I’ll wait.

I’m super excited that I was able to include one of childhood favorites, “Magic” by Olivia Newton John. I have always had a special place in my heart for the Aussie angel, her voice is so innocent and celestial you can’t help but swoon. She had a string of pop hits in the 70’s and 80’s including this one which was on the soundtrack for the film “Xanadu”. It turns out John Lennon was also fond of the song, in a 1980 interview with Newsweek, it was one of two contemporary songs he mentioned liking, both from the Xanadu soundtrack. I like to imagine John and Yoko sitting on the couch watching Xanadu and eating popcorn.

This month’s theme comes from the “Porto chapter” and I always like to include music from the city that picked the theme. What a treat this month. In doing my research, I found some fantastic music. I included The Partisan Seed’s “Las Brujas” and Astrodome’s “High Spirits”, but if I weren’t restricted to the magic theme, I would have included a lot more. I recommend you check out the Porto music scene, maybe start “here”. There are some really awesome bands in Porto with lots of diverse sounds, it seems like a thriving creative scene. I’m already fantasizing about a trip to Porto, meet me there.

Thanks for listening, I hope you enjoy the playlist this month. If you do like these playlists, please share them and give me a holler on Twitter @jiquin. See you next month.

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