18 Songs For Haunted Souls (2015)

A holiday playlist for haunted souls and the ghosts that haunt them, inspired by the ghosts of past, present and future in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

When I first came up with the title for my latest playlist – “18 Songs For Haunted Souls (And The Ghosts That Haunt Them)” – there was an aching feeling that the theme was approximately one month too late. Ghosts were so last season! Snowflakes, reindeer and oh-so-festive red cups swooped in to replace all the scary Halloween decorations. Before I had a chance to utter a single “boo” about this mix, we had officially entered the time of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You“. What business did I have hooting and hollering about haunted souls as the holidays descended upon us?

That’s when it hit me – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of the most popular ghost stories of all time. This realization led to a non-stop avalanche of inspiration. The artwork for this collection instantly popped into my head, and even better, the music itself started to make more sense. The sequencing came together without a second thought, because somewhere along the way, I convinced myself I was curating Music from and Inspired By Mickey’s Christmas Carol – a live-action gender-swapped remake of my favorite childhood movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Scrooge McDuck.

If this description somehow sounds intriguing, you can listen here or hit the play button below:

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the adjective “haunting” has been overused to death by everyone who’s ever written about music, but if you want to drag me onto an episode of Cliché Court, I’m more than willing to make my case that the description fits these eighteen selections. While this isn’t quite the equivalent of a modern-day Danse Macabre, this collection comes equipped with distorted vocals, hypnotic instrumentals and at least three blatant lyrical references to the theme at hand.

In what proved to be an exhausting exercise, I once again decided to kick it old school and jotted down a few random notes for each song. Advance apologies are offered for the point when I got sleepy and stopped attempting to talk about the actual music.

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12 Songs For Feeling Okay (2015)

A playlist for late Autumn 2015, because you need to know that everything will be okay.

Admittedly, my most recent playlist “16 Songs For Sweaters (And The People Wearing Them)” was a bit of a downer. My 2015 summer playlist was sprinkled with angst, far more appropriate for daydreaming in the shadows than prancing through sprinklers in the sunlight. Upon coming to this realization, I began to project my real-life “wet blanket syndrome” onto my online presence. “Nobody is ever going to listen to your playlists!” I shouted inside my brain with a hint of frantic anxiety. “Because they are the aural equivalent of Eeyore suffering from a bad case of lost tail.”

So, naturally, I got a new attitude! The solution was to turn the beat around. When I heard an upbeat, inspiring pop anthem, I made my best effort to tilt my head back and say “YES” like Shonda Rhimes, Grace and Frankie and Michelle Williams featuring Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland. These were my fight songs! My take back my life songs! And I needed to embrace them with open arms and an open heart.

Except, well, this started to feel disingenuous.

I wasn’t ready to have shots with Jussie Smollett, play the lottery with Michelle Chamuel or even venture to contemplate the sugary mall-pop sound of Eden xo‘s latest release. It was midway through yet another October – traditionally one of my least favorite times of the year – and I was trying to force-feed myself medicine that left a horrible taste in my mouth and, even worse, didn’t make me feel any better.

The trust was, I just felt okay… And I was okay with that.

Those are all the fascinating details behind my new playlist “12 Songs For Feeling Okay“, a collection of songs that make me feel good (without making me feel guilty for not feeling even better). Within this set, there are sprinklings of hope, romance and empowerment, yet overall, the unifying theme is a sense of urgency. These twelve selections drive you forward with the music, and if I do say so myself, they’re also pretty great for driving.

At this point, you’re welcome to hit the play button now or save that step for later. Meanwhile, I’m going to get back to the roots of It’s The Money Shot and give a painfully long track-by-track explanation for each songs’ presence on this list. Feel free to join me on this journey or abandon me to do something much cooler. It’s okay! I don’t mind.

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16 Songs For Sweaters (2015)

A playlist for Autumn 2015 inspired by sweaters, but maybe not really inspired by sweaters at all.

After reading Bradley Stern’s “State Of The Muunion“, I spent some time contemplating the past, present and future of It’s The Money Shot. Two big questions dangled around in my brain – “Why am I doing this, and um, who am I even doing it for?” Back when this blog launched in late May 2006, those questions were a lot easier to answer. I was a bright-eyed college student with a compulsive need to write about music, and I somehow deluded myself into believing that I had an obligation to share my (supposedly) unique, scattered taste with the world.

These days, I am thirty years old and pretending that I am wiser. It legitimately makes me anxious to look back at my old writing and witness the embarrassing attempts to come off as “cool” or “snarky”. I think back to the ridiculous amount of hours devoted to this blog, and I want to shake my former self, yell at him to step away from the keyboard and go play outside for a moment… And then, like a true hypocrite, I sit down in front of a keyboard for far too long, delivering these entirely unnecessary (and entirely unrelated) reflections as accompaniment for my new autumn playlist “Songs For Sweaters (And The People Wearing Them)“.


Despite the self-deprecating tone of that lovely introduction, the truth is, I’m not quite ready to give up on this blog. The days of exclusive premieres, remix contests and links from Vulture may be behind me, but I no longer have the energy to try and shout “LOOK AT MY HOT FRESH #CONTENT” louder than everyone else on the damn internet. Right now, I’m perfectly okay lounging around in a quiet, dark corner of semi-irrelevance, throwing songs together for whoever the hell is willing to listen to them.

So, uh, here’s a list of some songs you might hear if you hit the play button! Which is a thing you should do, I think.

  1. Boxed In f/ CocknBullKid – “Lo Life”
  2. Torres – “Sprinter”
  3. Charlie Belle – “I Don’t Want To Be Alone”
  4. Baba Sonya – “Hot Air Balloon”
  5. Ashley Monroe – “If The Devil Don’t Want Me”
  6. Varsity – “Amanda”
  7. LÉON – “Tired of Talking”
  8. The Internet – “Under Control”
  9. Courtney Barnett – “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party”
  10. Etta Bond – “Seen and Never Heard”
  11. Colleen Green – “Some People”
  12. Elohim – “Xanax”
  13. Kelela – “Rewind”
  14. Beach House – “Space Song”
  15. Emily King – “Sleepwalker”
  16. Laura Stevenson – “Torch Song”