Stripped Down: A Playlist

Acoustic

1. Toxic – Yael Naim 

 I am a huge Britney fan and I was a little apprehensive to give this cover a chance. But Yael Naim brings something really soft and beautiful to this song and interprets the song in a way that you wouldn’t think was possible for a super poppy song. (Lauren)

2. My Man (Acoustic) – Oh Mercy

Oh Mercy’s 2012 album Deep Heat was a journey for lead singer Alexander Gow. He explored the concept of writing in third person, assuming the roles of different characters while examining aspects of desire and sexuality. ‘My Man’ was a soulful, upbeat hit with lots of drums and a powerful horn section that filled it with exuberance. The acoustic version turns the track into more of a sultry lament that burns with emotion while a switch in gender roles that adds to the tension. (Shana)

3. Diary of Jane (Acoustic) – Breaking Benjamin

The original version of this rock hit offers an aggressive, perhaps overwhelmed emotional explosion of one trying to find their place in the heart/life of another. The acoustic version, however, shares a more emotional and vulnerable version of the tale… leading to a place where many have been, wondering whether the target of their affection even knows they exist. (Jayson)

4. Starring Role (Acoustic) – Marina And The Diamonds

This song is a haunting testament to a darker side to the game of love. Her voice, without the addition of the background noise, truly shines and masterfully tells this sad story (Jayson)

 5. Duvet (Acoustic) – Bôa

This song was the British band’s first hit single released in 1998 while they were signed with the Japanese record label, Polystar. Gaining popularity while promoting their first album Race of the Thousand Camels, Bôa worked with producer Stuart Epps to produce an acoustic version of “Duvet”, which became the opening theme song for an anime called Serial Experiments Lain. It is arguably better in its acoustic form because it highlights Jasmine and Steve Rodger’s amazing vocals and the really gorgeous and dreamyl melody of the guitar. (Alixe)

 6. The Living Proof (Unplugged) – Mary J Blige

The stripped down version of the iconic song from The Help demonstrates exactly why Mary J Blige is a true queen. (Jayson)

 7. Piseleh – Elliott Smith

If I had to listen to one song for the rest of my life, this would be it. It’s an acoustic number as much of Elliott Smith’s work is. Haunting notes complement his vocals beautifully, “The first time I saw you, I knew it would never last/ I’m not half what I wish I was/ I’m so angry, I don’t think it’ll ever pass…”  This track off XO renders me as vulnerable as an infant, and I love it. (Danielle)

8. Tightrope (Acoustic)- Walk The Moon

There’s just as much energy in the acoustic version as there is the original (if not more!), and the harmonies are on point. It sounds like it’s just a bunch of your friends having a jam session in your living room and it puts an automatic smile on your face! (Bri)

9. Hurricane (Acoustic) – Parachute

Listening to this song will just make you want to hug Parachute’s lead singer Will Anderson. His vocals are spot on, and are sure to make this a song you’ll be repeating many times. (Jayson)

10. Unreleased Song (Harry Styles) – Taylor Swift

 It’s a shame that this song did not find its way to an album release. Online its referred to as Unreleased Song Harry Styles Breakup… so it doesn’t have a cool name, but what it does have is Taylor Swift at her very best–raw and honest. (Jayson)

11. River (acoustic version) –LIGHTS

The original version is pretty fast and upbeat where the acoustic version is slower and gives the song a whole different feel to it.  It’s really beautiful and relaxing. (Brittany)

12. Dancing in the Moonlight (Thin Lizzy Cover)- alt-J

This cover is unbelievable (as is all of alt-J’s acoustic stuff). It strips away the rock-infused feel from the original Thin Lizzy track and completely transforms the song. It’s raw, romantic and fits Joe Newman’s odd vocals perfectly. The original and alt-J’s version can’t even be compared because alt-J’s version just brings a whole new feel to such a classic. I get chills every time!  (Bri)

 13. Can’t Help Falling in Love (Recorded Live at Daytrotter) – Ingrid Michaelson

This is one of the first songs I’ve heard from this artist. I thought it was really beautiful and not overdone. It is a song that we have all heard time and time again, but for some strange reason it felt brand new to me. She puts an almost pulled back passion into it in the sense that she doesn’t have to belt out an intense song to make it a really impressive cover. (Bri)

14. Cinema- Jason Evigan

 Originally by EDM artist Skrillex, you would never know it, but the words are actually really sentimental. The artist recorded it and played it for his wife as a surprise for their wedding song- sweet and sorta badass. (Amanda)

 15. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun- Greg Laswell 

While the original Cyndi Lauper version is an upbeat girls’ night out anthem, this acoustic version takes a different angle, turning it into a soft, sad ballad. Its an ode to expectations versus reality, evoking a sense of longing and reflection from the listener. Can be heard in the films Confessions of a Shopaholic and My Sister’s Keeper. (Rachel)

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