CUPS x Spotify: CUPS Team Picks

Since the members of the CUPS team come from a variety of different countries and backgrounds, and have very different taste in music, we thought it would be cool to get a couple tracks from everyone and make a team playlist.

10 members of our team ended up contributing to this all-over-the-place (in a good way) 44-song playlist, and their reasons for their song choices are below.


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Salt N Pepa – Whatta Man
I look forward to Summer Stage every year, when New York puts on free concerts all through the city. One year I was lucky enough to attend the annual R&B festival in Central Park, and experienced Salt N Pepa (a duo that I grew up with in the 90’s). When they sang “Whatta Man,” Pepa actually brought her husband up on stage and sang it to him. It was a pretty special show.

Skrillex & Diplo (with Justin Bieber) – Where Are Ü Now
We all love Justin Bieber, as much as we hate to admit it…and you just can’t help dancing along to this song.

Simon & Garfunkel – Bleeker Street
Growing up with a hippie mum, I’ve always been exposed to Simon & Garfunkel (mainly while I watched my mum dancing around the kitchen, with her dance partner the tea towel). It’s pretty cool when you can listen to a song made over 50 years ago that feels like it’s still relevant. Living in NYC and grabbing brunch on Bleeker St. always makes me think of this song and my mum dancing around with her tea towel 🙂


Bob Dylan – Señor 
Dylan is an incredibly prolific songwriter, and his lyrics have accompanied me through the years. It’s very hard to grasp the amount of incredible and inspiring songs he wrote. My favorite album of his is Street Legal – not a very famous one, but I think it has some incredible songs, like Señor.

AC/DC – Back In Black
Electrifying song! This one always gets me in the mood to jump and break things.

Daft Punk – Around The World
Daft Punk’s one of my favorite bands of all time. This song has stuck with me throughout the years – I remember I was excited every time it played on MTV. Also, it has the best music video ever 🙂

A-WA – Habib Galbi
This Yemenite tune by 3 sisters from Israel is very catchy! For me, it’s a reminder of Israel’s insane cultural variety. A very young country with people coming from all kinds of cultures, with one thing in common.

Mercedes Sosa – sólo le pido a Dios
This was on my soundtrack for the year I spent in South America. A real protest song by a very powerful singer. Still gives me goosebumps.


OTT – One Day I Wish To Have This Kind Of Time
I love OTT. His music is inspiring, and there are very few lyrics but they get you good (at least for me). In my opinion, on this track he’s kind of doing an introduction to electronic music (or any new kind of music). Just go with the flow the artist is trying to create.

Massive Attack – Protection
This song’s lyrics are ok, but I just love the melody. It’s on repeat all day long 😀

Massive Attack – Light My Fire
Love The Doors, love Massive Attack – win-win situation for me 🙂


Portishead – It’s A Fire
My sister used to always have this album (Dummy) on repeat, and I would wait for this song to come up. After a few months, she gave me the CD, which became the playlist of my teenage period and has followed me through the years.

Blood Orange – Hadron Collider
I can’t stop listening to this magical song. After 200 times on repeat I decided to look into it a little bit and found out that the singer is Nelly Furtado, which makes it even better.

Kanye West – Ultralight Beam
I unfortunately can’t say that I grew up on gospel music (Watching Sister Act 1 and 2 doesn’t count, I guess), but for a few minutes, this song always makes me feel like I did.

George Michael – Careless Whisper
It’s not that I’m a big fan of Mr. Michael, but after a lot of tests I realized this is the perfect karaoke song for me. With it, I’ve reached master level (I’m talking about standing ovation level).

Mya – Case Of The Ex
This song was way ahead of its time, and there’s also the possibility that its time hasn’t arrived yet. If there’s any chance I’m helping Mya’s comeback here, it’s worth a try.


The Doors – Peace Frog
I was pretty much raised entirely on The Doors, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Rolling Stones, and this is easily my favorite song from my parents’ collection. The Doors are one of my lifelong favorite bands.

Rage Against The Machine – Guerrilla Radio
When I was a kid, like many people from my generation, the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game series was the first major influence on my taste in music outside of my parents. Tony Hawk introduced me to punk and hip hop, completely changing the way I felt about music, and this song definitely toes the line between the two.

The Cat Empire – Wild Animals
The Cat Empire are one of my favorite bands, and this song, aside from being really catchy, has some amazing lyrics.

Gramatik – Hit That Jive
Everyone in the CUPS NYC office can attest to how much I love jazzy hip hop, and this song is the ultimate blend of the two. Gramatik is in heavy rotation whenever it’s my turn to play DJ.

Bassnectar – Take You Down
Bassnectar was one of the first artists that made me realize that electronic music could actually be just as artistic and interesting as music made with physical instruments, and this song is the perfect mix of chill and heavy.


Sylvan Esso – Coffee
One of my coffee shop customers told me to check out Sylvan Esso – too appropriate, am I right? This song is great for cultivating a chill vibe at a cafe or anywhere else.

Azealia Banks – Chasing Time
Azealia Banks might be more famous for her outlandish attitude than her artistry, but you’re seriously missing out if you haven’t given her music a chance. This is one of the calmer tracks on Broke With Expensive Taste, but check out the rest of the album if you’re interested in an eclectic mix of trap beats, house, rap, and dance pop.

Screaming Females – Expire
Marissa Paternoster is renowned as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and for good reason. I saw Screaming Females live at Brooklyn Night Bazaar (RIP) having never heard their music before, and they absolutely blew me away. That show was also one of the first dates I went on with my girlfriend after we met, as well as where I met one of my closest friends.

Grimes – Kill V. Maim
When I saw Grimes at Terminal 5, she was so sick she almost threw up on stage, and she still put on a killer show. “Kill V. Maim” is my favorite track off her most recent album Art Angels, and it was even better live as her encore.

Fiona Apple – Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)
Few artists can hold a candle to Fiona Apple in terms of songwriting ability. Extraordinary Machine was one of the first CDs I owned as a pre-teen, and whenever I listen to it I’m reminded of weirdly emotional moments from middle school. Somehow, that doesn’t deter me.


Bran Van 3000 – Cum On Feel The Noize
One-hit wonders used to have it easy. The only way to listen the new smash hit was to either wait anxiously staring at MTV, or purchase the entire album. Clearly, that’s not the case anymore. Lucky for me, I had to get BV3’s debut album, Glee, just for “Drinking in LA” and ended up with one of my favorite all time albums (and bands) ever.

Be patient with “Cum On Feel The Noize,” as it’s a strange mishmash of genres, but it’s also the perfect showcase of BV3’s unique sound.

Flight of the Conchords – Carol Brown
I know every lyric of every song by this New Zealand duo. Quiz me. My favorite probably changes every few months but no matter what, “Carol Brown” still gives me goosebumps.

LCD Soundsystem – Get Innocuous!
October 2007, there was this 4-band mini festival: Les Savy Fav, Blonde Redhead, LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire. I went for Blonde Redhead and Arcade Fire, had no idea who LCD even were. They open with “Get Innocuous!” and I’m instantly in love. When Arcade Fire followed, I still kept wishing LCD would come back. That festival went on to become Governor’s Ball, and that show is still the best I’ve ever seen.

Blonde Redhead – In Particular
On the other hand, I kinda wish I had never seen Blonde Redhead live. I guess some bands should remain in the studio. Nevertheless, “In Particular” remains one of my favorite songs ever. I dare you not to tap your feet.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (A trak remix)
Just on of those rare cases where a remix blows away the original. [EDITOR’S NOTE (from Chris): This is seriously the best house song ever. Project X came out at the perfect time in my life, and I will never not love this track and its overall air of debauchery. When I was DJing frat parties in college, I played this every single time and it always brought the house down.]


Don McLean – American Pie
This will forever be one of my favorite songs. I love how ridiculously long it is, and I can go a long time without hearing it and still remember every word. It always brings me back to driving around in the summer with the windows down, belting out every word with either my friends or my parents. Classic America, gotta love it.

Emily King – Distance 
I fell in love with this song around the same time I decided to move to New York City. I never tire of it and I feel it’s one of those perfect songs to listen to with the city in the background. Whether I’m on the subway or walking the city streets, I’m always happy to hear it.

George Benson – Turn Your Love Around
This song reminds me of two of my favorite people: my cousin Taylor and my mother. The three of us love this genre of music, and this song is makes a great dance break.

Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna
My brother introduced me to Bombay Bicycle Club and I was hooked ever since. I’m a huge supporter of indie music, and these guys have an awesome sound. Also, great music video!

SBTRKT – Wildfire
Put this song on at a party – it’s a sure hit. The DJ before you (probably doing a bad job anyway) will then let you take over for the night. It’s. just. so. good.


Led Zeppelin – Going To California
I love the sweet melody, and the clear memory of where I first heard this song. My favorite Zeppelin song, no doubt.

The Kinks – Lola
Takes me back in time 10 years, to a great, memorable party. Nostalgic.

Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music White Boy
This groovy song will always lift my spirit and make my body move, even when I’m down and tired 🙂

Rammstein – Du Hast
This one brings back great funny memories of friends struggling to play it on Guitar Hero. Best German hit ever, in my opinion.

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
My ultimate karaoke song. I’ve loved this one ever since I was a kid and Wayne’s World had just come out, with my favorite movie “musical” scene of all time.


Tracy Chapman – Talkin’ Bout A Reason 
The summer I was learning to drive (no automatic in Europe, only stick) Tracy was the only CD in my dad’s car because his player was broken and we couldn’t get it out. Being 16 was hard, like finding second gear was hard. Life was real hard and Tracy got that.

La Mala – Ruso Moscú 
Basically the only female Spanish/Gypsy Hip Hop chick I know. If I was hosting a dog fight, this is what I’d play.

Ligabue – Voglio Volare
My crush in boarding school was from Milan.

Follow CUPS on Spotify for more great playlists.

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