Pod Picks for Jan. 16, 2014

January 15, 2014 

This week we recommend a trifecta of pop/rock from a trio of pop/rock masters which you can download (legally, of course), or stream to your iPod, iPad, iPhone or personal media device.

“Atlas” by Coldplay

This single was recorded for the soundtrack of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and the track list is surprisingly good – the soundtrack for the previous film was produced by T Bone Burnett, but Alexandra Patsavas replaced him for this sequel. Patsavas is best known for supervising the music on “The Twilight” movies. But this is Coldplay at its best. The music is subtly dynamic and richly textured. Chris Martin’s voice is thematic without being melodramatic. Coldplay had taken a couple of turns into predictable or monotonous, but this track shows the band tapping into a vibrant sound again.

“Beautiful War” by Kings of Leon

If you’ve followed the career of this Tennessee band of kin, you know they’re either using their hands on their instruments or wrapping them around each others’ necks. But when they get in their zone, when they just shut up and play, these guys are fucking great. This is one of those fucking great moments. A soulful rock tune that strolls along the sound wave of a heartbeat – there’s no new tools used. They don’t recreate rock ‘n’ roll. What the Followill clan does is let the defenses down to create the kind of heart-on-the-sleeve music we have come to expect from these guys.

"Ordinary Love" by U2

The band with as many good causes as songs – many of those songs are dedicated to the causes they are committed to. This one is from the soundtrack “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” The song and the movie were both perfectly and unfortunately released around the same time as Nelson Mandela’s death. Like Mandela, this band is incomparable – the members have been playing together for nearly 40 years. Bono and company have been the biggest band in the world, and they haven’t parodied themselves yet. They’re still active on the charts, releasing new music, trying new things and championing new causes. Plus, this song just won a Golden Globe on Sunday.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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