Train is riding high right now with “Hey, Soul Sister,” their biggest chart hit since 2001’s “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me).” I spoke to frontman Pat Monahan about the band’s surprising comeback for the new issue of EW, on stands today. While I had him on the phone, I asked Monahan what’s in heavy rotation on his iPod these days.
Turns out he’s been getting into Have One on Me, the three-CD indie-folk opus Joanna Newsom released last month — an impressively left-field pick coming from a mainstream pop-rocker like him. “That’s new for me,” Monahan told me. “She has a new record, and I was like, ‘Man, what’s this Joanna Newsom thing?’ She’s super hip. All the kids love her.”
Read on for five tunes from Monahan’s iPod playlist, including Newsom and more.
1. Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now”: “I always loved so many singer-songwriters. This song is so complexly amazing that I can’t tell you enough good things about it. I’ve been listening to that over and over again. It’s the best writing, word-wise. The song is about how this woman would look up at the clouds and see circus creatures and all this fun, beautiful, magnificent possibility in every cloud — and then later in life, see those clouds as just mechanisms to rain and snow on everyone. What a heartbreaking change. Wow, that’s profound.”
2. Joanna Newsom, “Good Intentions Paving Company”: “She’s really interesting. Even the title is amazing. What a great play on how you say ‘good intentions pave the road to hell.’ What a smart thing to say. Maybe she’s the next Joni Mitchell, I dunno.”
3. Butch Walker, “Be Good Until Then”: “Butch is supporting [Train] on our tour. He’s got a bunch of songs that I dig, but this one in particular is just amazing. Butch at his best. I’m all about people being themselves on a record. I don’t need all the production. This song is Butch and a guitar.”
4. The Script, “Breakeven”: “That’s another word song. It’s this Irish band. I feel like the Irish know how to put things into words in an incredible way. These kids are all young, man, and they’re writing such super-great stuff. To be able to say that a heart doesn’t break even is super cool.”
5. Uncle Kracker, “Smile”: “My good friend [and tourmate] Kracker. I just think this is a really well-written song. I like Kracker a lot. He’s got a great group of dudes with him out there. He knows how to make people feel good in his music. I love that.”
(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)
More from EW.com’s Music Mix: