By Peter Bjorn and John
May 31st, 2016
Welcome back to Takeover Tuesday, where each week Billboard taps charting artists and tastemakers to compile their very own playlist exclusive to Billboard's Spotify account. We give the artists free reign to base the list on whatever subject they want and add whatever tracks they choose. The only rule? Make it as creative and unique to them as possible.
Peter Bjorn and John are back! It has been five years since the Swedish group released their last album, Gimme Some, and their latest record, Breakin’ Point, is set to drop June 10. Already making waves, the pop-rock group recently unleashed three cuts off the LP, including “Dominos,” “What You Talking About?” and “Breakin’ Point.” This will be their seventh studio album, and PB&J are already back on the road taking their latest music for a ride; see upcoming dates here.
The guys compiled an exclusive playlist including tracks that inspired Breakin' Point, as well as some of their all-time favorite songs. And while we couldn't include every single track (follow the playlist to hear it in its entirety), we did break out their 17 most-loved tracks below.
1. Peter Bjorn and John, "Breakin' Point" (Peter)
2. Buddy Holly, "Listen to Me"
"Buddy Holly's songs were some of the first I ever learned on the guitar because they are usually easy; 3 or 4 chords, and yet they formed the foundation for all jangly guitar-pop to come. Rockabilly and '50s music is big in Sweden, so I've got this in my blood. I even saw his backing band The Crickets live as a small boy. He is the godfather!!" (Peter)
3. Hortlax Cobram, “Night Still Young”
"When going on the road this time, we bring two extra musicians. One of them was Jennie, this amazing Swedish solo artist. Here you can hear her voice on a song that I released with my solo project Hortlax Cobra." (John)
4. Cutting Crew, “(I Just) Died in Your Arms”
"I've known this song since it came out in the '80s, and I love the melody. It was a big tune in the north of Sweden, and probably everywhere else too. Don't know anything about this group and I don't intend to find out, but it's still massive." (Bjorn)
5. Barbelle, “Ohwhyyeah”
"The other musician's name is Claes and this track is the first release from his new solo project Barbelle." (John)
6. The Hollies, "Stop Right there"
"Of course, The Hollies were such big [Buddy] Holly fans, they even named their group after him. When I became a Beatles geek (around the age of 7), I asked my dad what to listen to next, and he said, 'Maybe The Hollies?' How right he was. While he probably said that because he wasn’t a music nerd and The Hollies were HUGE in Sweden -- dad didn’t know about 'cooler' bands like Byrds or Zombies -- I think The Hollies are way underrated. Of any other band, their sound is probably comparable to The Beatles, though they do have a very distinct flavor of their own.
"Their pure pop singles are wonderful and timeless; the harmonies, great guitar riffs, Bobby Elliot's fantastic drumming. But their secret weapon was of course Graham Nash's flowering writing powers. His almost Greek or eastern style on cuts like this one are pretty unique. His new album is pretty good, and yet everyone still thinks Neil Young and David Crosby are cooler. Well, not everyone." (Peter)
7. Peter Bjorn and John, “What You Talking About?” (Bjorn)
8. Bessie Banks, "Go Now"
"While we are in the British Invasion era of the mid-'60s, I need to say this: One of the shameful things about the era is how white boys got the bigger hits out of some amazing original R&B tracks. This original still stops me in my tracks and gets me deep every time." (Peter)
9. Niki & the Dove, “So Much It Hurts”
"This is a Swedish duo that opened up for us on a couple of gigs a long time ago. Their new album is fantastic. They seem to love the sound of the mid-'80s as much as I do. You can hear echoes of Miami Vice, early Prince and again the sweet touch of Sir Mr. Phil Collins. The chorus on this song makes my ears and eyes sweat." (John)
10. First Floor Power, “Time Time”
"Old-school Swedish indie you gotta respect." (Bjorn)
11. Barbara, "L’aigle Noir"
"I’m a sucker for the French chanson tradition. Something about the melancholic bittersweet melodies and harmonies is right up my alley and moves me. When I feel there’s a 'French' touch in one of our songs, that's a good thing (there's a little bit on 'A Long Goodbye' from the new record). I’ve just started listening a bit more to Barbara. Amazing. And the funky production on this is great!" (Peter)
12. Frida, “I Know There's Something Going On”
"All three of us in the band have our own 'solo projects' outside the band where we can do whatever kind of music we want. Apparently, Frida from ABBA also felt the need to create something without her bandmates.
"On this track, Frida teamed up with a craft brother of mine, Sir Mr Phil Collins, and I really love his signature massive drum sound that was used on 'In the Air Tonight,' Peter Gabriels fourth solo album, and on this track.
"A journalist we met recently told us that he had heard that ABBA's manager 'Stikkan' Andersson got very pissed off when Frida played this music for him. After Frida had played him 'I Know There's Something Going On,' he said something like, 'WHAT!? IS THAT IT?!' He must have had a bad day, or maybe he was afraid that ABBA would break up after this?" (John)
"A song I produced -- but what a lovely voice this guy has. Can't deny it. More great things to come from Albin for sure." (Bjorn)
14. Electric Light Orchestra, “Confusion”
"Some of the earliest pop music I got into as a small kid was ELO’s albums Out of the Blue and Discovery. Probably because I was intrigued by the artwork with the weird spaceships, the overblown productions and the childlike lyrics of songs like 'Wild West Hero.' I recently re-listened to Discovery for the first time since then. I remembered every note!!
"I still really like Jeff Lynne's way with a melody. And the funny thing was how I felt the mix of things on this album; disco strings and beats, guitar and bass riffs, pianos, synths, harmonies and the clever way they were arranged like a multi-colored mix of candy, popping with hi-fi surprises, reminded me so much of our new album. I guess we haven’t come that far since 1979? But we do have better lyrics." (Peter)
15. Letta Mbulu, “Nomalizo”
"When we played our first show in NYC recently, a DJ played this track out in the bar. Before any of us had managed to raise our smart phones and Shazam it, our tour manager (named Paul) told us what it was. It was one of his all-time favorite songs, and it's performed by this artist Letta Mbulu from South Africa. I really love the beat and the vibe of this track. It sounds amazing in a bar, for instance." (John)
16. Laura Mvula, “Father, Father”
"LOVED Sing to the Moon. What a special talent. Can’t wait for her new album to drop!" (Peter)
17. Drake, “Pop Style”
"The new Drake album is amazing and this is a great single from it. Fantastic melodies all over this record. Classic." (Bjorn)