Five Songs I Can’t Get Out of My Head

by Ryan McRyhew

3 October, 2011

Since I was a child I’ve been drawn to music.

While most kids were enjoying their spring breaks playing outside, I was poolside with Bill Bellamy, The Notorious B.I.G, and the rest of the MTV Spring Break 95′ crew.  My walkman was permanently attached to my side, cassettes ruled everything around me. Every success, failure, celebration, heartbreak, journey, breakfast, lunch, dinner had a soundtrack. Fast forward 20 years and my life is still dictated by music.  I’m still purchasing cassettes (yes, cassettes), and watching MTV 95′ reruns on YouTube.

Music is a constant topic of discussion at The Arland Group. It shares an important role in our process.  It’s the wizard behind my creativity. I’m very fortunate to work alongside people who have that same passion.  From the moment I logon to the second I sign off my speakers are blasting… well at least they’re audible. Although my tastes are broad and vary day to day, I find that when I’m in my “zone” I consistently turn to these five songs for inspiration.

1. Al Green – Love and Happiness (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsU6_eSG4k4)

As soon as the organ comes in I’m sold. The rhythm coupled with Al Green’s soulfulness transforms my desk into a 78′ Cadillac Coupe Deville. This is truly a song I can listen to on repeat for days on end.

2. Steve Reich – Pulses (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pjy1Zv8ZFdY)

I’m a huge fan of minimalism, especially in musical form. What really grabs me about this specific composition is how smoothly it transforms over time while never overpowering the listener.  Every tone and dynamic seems perfectly positioned with precision, very much in tune with our approach to design.

3. Future Islands – Heart Grows Old (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvytG0VklAE

Although fairly unknown, Future Islands is one of my bands. I love the passion and emotion in their music.  While listening to them I really feel like Sam (their singer) is speaking directly to me, his intensity is unmatched.  I really recommend seeing them live if you ever have the chance.

4. DJ Trouble – Bangs and Wurks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99jfrAhCUeM)

Chances are if we have conversed over a couple drinks I have mentioned footwork.  It’s safe to say that I have been obsessing over footwork ever since i found out about it. The rapid rhythms and repetitive structure make my head spin. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. Understandably not everyone’s cup of tea, but when I have a long day ahead of me putting on a footwork mix makes it go by in half the time.

5. Notorious B.I.G – Juicy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QwmFOtD1w8)

I think is one of the best songs ever made. It’s a perfect combination of nostalgia and reality, melded with an infectious rhythm. His embrace of self motivation and success is inspiring.  If you have been weary of Hip Hop I think this is a great place to start, it’s an absolute classic!