Becca Mancari’s Songs About Staying True

The playlist arrives along with the Nashville songwriter’s The Greatest Part, out today via Captured Tracks.

Becca Mancari‘s second album is out today, and it’s a bit of a leap from the dusty Americana she turned around three years ago on her debut. A signing to Captured Tracks, a collaboration with Alabama Shakes vocalist Brittany Howard, and tours with Margo Price and Julien Baker all seem to have aided in extending her sonic palette—not to mention the not-so-subtle pop influence of production from Paramore drummer Zac Farro—on The Greatest Part.

Above all, though, Mancari maintains a sound rooted in her adopted home of Nashville, writing in the same Midwestern surroundings as Tomberlin, while sharing many of the same lyrical themes. “I remember the first time my dad didn’t hug me back,” Mancari sings on “First Time,” recalling the time she came out to her parents. Sonically, “First Time” and many other tracks on the record sound more like the indie-folk reverie of Hand Habits’ Placeholder—albeit with plenty more slide guitar.

It’s this sense of true self that inspired both her new record and the playlist she assembled for us to complement the new release. Tracks from The Zombies, Kendrick Lamar, and the Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtrack may not have directly influenced the sounds of The Greatest Part, but for Mancari, they come from the same place.

Stream the playlist below, and order Mancari’s new record here.

Pierro Piccioni, “Mexican Dream”

I feel like I am going to put this song on every playlist I ever make from here on out. It’s just this perfect melody, and the drums and percussion elements slay me. It’s so old school Hollywood, and I wish that there was a rival of people playing this kind of full-band orchestral style music in nightclubs. Can you imagine? 

The Zombies, “The Way I Feel Inside”

I love everything about this simple track—like you can hear Rod Argent from The Zombies walk up to the mic—and it just feels really open and honest. It’s a beautiful song, and also does not hurt that Wes Anderson used this song in Life Aquatic

Lee Hazlewood, “Cold Hard Times”

I just got back into Lee Hazlewood and I was really struck by the lyrics, “It’s a cold hard world, love, these are cold hard times.” I don’t know how much more true that could be for the days that we are living in now, but even with that thought the song feels good to listen to.

Juan Solorzano, “Pinpoint”

Juan Solorzano is one of the most underrated modern songwriters, and he happens to be one of my main music collaborators! I was honored to sing on this track he wrote and produced. This song is as real as a break song can get…it hits me. 

Dua Lipa, “Don’t Start Now”

Bless Dua Lipa for putting out this record at the beginning of lock down…it got me through some dark days. The whole record just makes me feel good in general. I am so so down. 

Kendrick Lamar, “DNA”

This whole record kind of changed my life. I was able to see Kendrick Lamar play live when DAMN first came out, and I was just sitting there taking it all in, realizing that it was a privilege for me to be there. That I should be listening, not singing along; that I was there to learn. Kendrick feels like a modern day prophet and I am just thankful to be in the same universe as him…he’s the real real deal. 

Tegan and Sara, “Back in Your Head”

I’ll say it! I am a huge Tegan and Sara fan! They have been straight killing the indie pop game for years. They write these honestly unique sounding songs and I really feel like they were ahead of the curve for indie music. I also love how they have always been reinventing themselves. They’re a real inspiration. 

Hailu Mergia, “Wede Harer Guzo”

The first time I heard Ethiopian Jazz music I was floored. It’s just so honest, and beautiful, and interesting. Hailu Mergia is one of my favorites, and don’t just listen to this one song. Check out the whole record, you won’t be disappointed! 

Brittany Howard, “Short and Sweet”

This is such a special song to me because it actually was a song that I used to sing with Brittany when we had a band together called Bermuda Triangle. I will never forget the first time she played it for us, it blew me away, and I remember sometimes when we were on stage and she was singing this song live I could not believe I was standing right beside her. She is one of the greatest songwriters of our generation, and no one can bring me to tears like she can when she starts to sing. 

Henry Mancini with Audrey Hepburn, “Moon River”

Let’s end this playlist the way we began, with the perfect melody that stays in your heart and mind for your whole life. I will never forget watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the first time, had to be no older than ten, and watching Audrey Hepburn sitting on a window sill strumming her classical guitar whispering this song out. I think I knew right there that the magic and romance of music would destroy my life in the best way.

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