While We Sip....Our Coffee House Playlist

by CLAIRE WILLETT · March 27, 2008

coffeeWe have a confession to make: we actually like Starbucks. Not, apart from their Americanos, due to their coffee, but due to the fact that the employees are always nice and the music, despite what the NYT may say, is generally good and occasionally unexpected. Today the one on Astor Place was playing this incredible jazz version of The Nutcracker, and yesterday we heard Modest Mouse's Paper Thin Walls in the one on 16th and 3rd. Inspired by two stellar choices in a row, we decided to create our own coffee house playlist. Who would feature on yours?

Andrew Bird - Measuring Cups. Makes us wish we'd stuck with the violin, sort of. The lyrics are pretty striking too, if you're in a distractable mood

Elliott Smith - Waltz No. 2. Simple, melancholic chords and hard-hitting imagery.

Sun Kil Moon - The Ocean Breathes Salty. Modest Mouse's yowling done gone soft and gravely.

Feist - Past in Present. Normally we're not a fan of "la, la, la" or female singers, but we love the way this tune swoops and soars beneath artful fuzz.

Sea Wolf - You're a Wolf. The melody flips from piping to hushed, and how often do wino Gypsies make pop-song appearances?

Beck - Lost Cause. A perfect song, with a very pessimistic narrator.

Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes. One way to cure those walking blues. Ladysmith Black Mambazo's exuberant instrumentals plus Simon's sweet vocals equals excellence. Musically educational, too.

Badly Drawn Boy - The Shining. It's hard to pick just one of his, but this one has such a beautiful intro.

Lou Barlow - Puzzle. Kind of lilting and sweet, with unfussy guitar.

Amos Lee - Colors. Less folksy and lo-fi than most of his work, to good effect.

Matt Costa - Behind the Moon. Not the most original, but very catchy folk-rock.

Pink Martini - Sympatique. Because we don't want to work either and because Ford sings her Francais like an American: slow and enunciated.

Dispatch - The General. Acoustic, but with a great hook. Plus they're from our hometown.

Ryan Adams - Nightbirds. Not all of Adams' songs show off his ridiculous range; this one