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This week’s list is dominated by melody. It sounds like an odd thing to single out, given that music should just generally pay some attention to melody, but I’ve been told that is not always most important. Well, every single song in this playlist is driven by melody and a characteristic that I inarticulately describe as ‘pretty’. Whether it is arrangement or vocal texture or instrument timbre, each of these songs is just so pretty it makes my brain buzz very very pleasantly.

I only discovered Irish musician Hozier late last week but two of his songs have made my playlist because – I know it sounds cheesy – but my stomach did a little flip when I first heard his voice and that’s as good a sign as any that this is some seriously good music to explore. His 4-track EP is available for download. Listen and enjoy.

Take Me To Church

Cherry Wine (Live)

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 – Prelude
I’ve been hearing this piece around for a while but I had no way of identifying what it was until I recently saw it credited in a video. There are classical guitar versions that are very good too, but I wanted to link to a cello version first since it was written for that instrument.

Bic Runga – Ordinary Girl
This may just be my favourite song by New Zealand musician Bic Runga. This is a tricky one because in the hands of a less masterful songwriter, it could have turned into a maudlin, self-pitying weep fest. As it stands it is quiet, matter-of-fact and resigned. Very very well done.

Rendy Pandugo – Belle (Jack Johnson Cover)
People accuse Jack Johnson of being bland, but Belle, a song from his 2005 album In Between Dreams is one of my favourites. It is pretty and mellow and then pokes gentle fun at itself towards the end. Here’s a good cover of it by Indonesian musician Rendy Pandugo.

Lisa Hannigan – I Don’t Know
I first heard this song on a particularly rainy day in Mumbai and it instantly made things brighter. I wish you the same for your week.

John Mayer – Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty Cover)
Performed live at a 2007 concert at the Nokia Theatre, this is, in my opinion, one of the best covers of all time. Mayer takes the Tom Petty classic and adapts it to his voice and guitar and creates an almost brand new song in the process.

Image courtesy: Hozier Official