Chris Baio, the Vampire Weekend bassist who produces and records a unique varietal of dance-synth pop music under the moniker Baio will release his first solo album The Names on Sept. 18. It’s a collection with a retro tinge and penchant for a melancholic electro edge.
Today, he shares a playlist of his favorites songs that employ names as their titles (because “Names”! Get it?). His top 10, including a tune off his upcoming album named for his wife are below.
Elvis Costello, “Veronica”
“You have three choices when you use names as your song title. Some songs have nothing to do with the lyrics, some are just instrumentals, and then some are about making a hook out of a person’s name—this one is the latter. It’s hard for me to meet someone named Veronica and not want to sing this song to them immediately. I have a lot of self-restraint [laughs]. But it’s an incredible pop song, and it has a wonderful melancholy to it.”
Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Dear Prudence”
“‘Dear Prudence’ is my favorite Beatles song, and I hadn’t heard this cover before but recently I was in a diner and it played. It feels like an ’80s version, I love the production. And I love hearing a female voice sing that song. It’s not a bad version of a Beatles song, which is what you often get, it stands on its own.”
A$AP Rocky, “Goldie”
“I live in London now but when I lived in New York I would drive around and listen to Hot 97 and there was a point where I was home from touring and this was played every hour. I love the production—it bangs so hard, the beat. It’s absolutely one of my favorite singles of the last five years.”
Axel Boman, “Klinsmann”
“This is very eerie, haunting, electronic song with the singer singing up to a friend whose passed away…and then it’s named for the German soccer player Jürgen Klinsmann [laughs]. It definitely falls into the category I mentioned above of song titles that have nothing to do with their lyrics. And I love DJ’ing this song, it’s such a good club track—it’s so big and haunting, it’s really powerful to see people dancing to it.”
The Hollies, “Carrie-Ann”
“This is a really nice romantic song, very catchy. And it’s the song that Carrie-Anne Moss was named after which is really cool—imagine inspiring the name of someone who became famous.”
Jessy Lanza, “Kathy Lee”
“This is from Jessy’s album from a couple years ago that I really loved. There’s a chopped up voice sample that sounds like its saying ‘Kathy Lee’ in the back, so it cracks me up that it’s then called ‘Kathy Lee.’ And that record [2013’s Pull My Hair Back] is such an interesting vibe—it’s her first record but I feel like it came out fully-formed.”
“So this is a cover from a doo wop group, Randy & the Rainbows, it’’s an early single of theirs, called “Denise.” Because the gender of the singer changed, Debbie Harry flipped it to ‘Denis.’ Blondie is one of my favorite new wave era bands—they’d put a lot of covers on their records and somehow they wouldn’t sound anything like the originals.”
Closer Musik “Maria”
“This was a favorite when I was doing college radio—it’s a mournful, melancholic, downbeat techno track. It’s one of my favorite electronic recordings ever. It’s completely instrumental but there’s something so perfect about naming it “Maria”, it’s very evocative, even though I have no idea why its called that.
Fiona Apple, “Jonathan”
“I’ve always been a big Fiona Apple fan and I loved her last record [The Idler Wheel]. A lot of her piano work is so cool and for my upcoming record, I started writing songs on piano for the first time in a long time. It brings extra joy to my ears to hear.”
“I had to break myself off a piece of this playlist [laughs]. I work on a lot of electronic music but my wife isn’t the biggest fan of it. But over the course of me working on this track she would come home and be like, ‘That’s a really beautiful thing, what are you listening to?’ And I wouldn’t really tell her that it was mine. So I named it after her middle name and it’s the closing track off my album.”