Lollapalooza is headed back to Chicago’s Grant Park for the ninth time on August 2-4 with a jaw-droppingly awesome lineup of classic and contemporary bands such as The Cure, Mumford & Sons, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, The Postal Service, and New Order. Our friends at Chicago-based music site Consequence of Sound have assembled this Lollapalooza Playlist in order to share the 15 essential songs to know before you go. You don’t have to have a Lollapalooza ticket to get in the know; they’re all great tunes to know anyway, like The Cure’s “Fascination Street,” “If I Had a Tail” by Queens Of The Stone Age, “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons, and “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons.
Listen to the hand-crafted playlist and skim the playlist notes written by Consequence of Sound for the low-down before flying off to the Windy City.
- Nine Inch Nails - "Came Back Haunted"
Don't be the fan waiting around for "Head Like a Hole" or "March of the Pigs" or "Hurt". Get familiar with the new single and be the up-to-date fanboy that knows the words to the song and acts like it's just as good as "Head Like a Hole" or "March of the Pigs" or "Hurt".
Fans of M83, The Police, or Tears for Fears should find solace in this South African-turned-Brooklyn outfit's sound. Vocalist and singer-songwriter Jean-Philip Grobler comes off as a scholar of uplifting '80s anthems, and the chorus here is enough of an excuse to stock up on condoms.
If you've seen them, see 'em again. If you haven't had a chance yet, get there an hour early. If you've never heard of them, listen to "Falling" and then please try and keep going on this playlist, even if you want to just keep repeating this song over and over again.
- The Postal Service - "A Tattered Line of String"
Song's weak, and proves Give Up is all we ever need (or will get) from them, but recognize this track as a chance to grab a beer or meet up with a friend. Or I don't know, head out early.
- Imagine Dragons - "It's Time"
Every year, there's a mainstream talent that's bigger than anyone online gives them credit for. Imagine Dragons fits the bill this year, and if you know this track, you'll hear it all weekend on the lips of their many, many, many fans.
- Vampire Weekend - "Everlasting Arms"
You've heard and memorized "Diane Young", that lyric video for "Step" has 130 views just from you, and "Unbelievers" is old news. Start warming up to "Everlasting Arms", the other catchy track off Modern Vampires of the City. "Hold me...in your everlasting arms," might be a great pick up, too.
- The Cure - "Fascination Street"
Because Disintegration is still their best album and this song will most definitely be played live.
- Queens of the Stone Age - "If I Had A Tail"
Why do people call QOTSA sexy? Try and listen to Josh Homme's vocals here without sweating up. The Rolling Stones wish they could still write like this.
- Baroness - "Take My Bones Away"
They evaded death so they could play music for you. C'MON. This song has a whole new meaning because of that.
Tired of The Black Keys and feel like Jack White hasn't been the same post-Meg White? Deap Vally might work out for you then. They're a two-woman crew that (admittedly unsurprisingly) sounds louder than a two-woman crew. Plus, anyone who gets away unscathed with cliche lines like "And you ain't no friend of mine!" has some sort of edge to them.
- The Orwells - "Who Needs You"
We're bias. This local Chicago act brings back all the straightforward garage rock worth championing. Lewd vocalist with a heart, young guitarists with a flair for the dust, and a drummer that's shifty like Tommy Ramone — what's not to love? Okay, we're just ones with good tastes. Clearly.
- Wavves - "Afraid of Heights"
Nathan Williams evolves away from the beach and the skateboards and into something a little deeper. Don't believe us? Check out this one that gets a little existential with regards to spirituality. The hook itself is the drab line: "I'll always be on my own." Being miserable and confused never sounded so posh.
- The National - "This is the Last Time"
New York royalty, folks. One of the hallmarks of their latest opus, Trouble Will Find Me, "This is the Last Time" is an evolving track that starts somber and funereal and shifts into a steamroller of a ballad. That coda at the end... Yeah.
- Local Natives - "Heavy Feet"
Why is this playlist getting so depressing? Well, sometimes it takes a broken heart to feel hearty, and "Heavy Feet" does the job. Military percussion, emotional keys, and some of this year's strongest vocal work make this another mandatory viewing from fans and non-fans. Just grab Hummingbird, already.
- Mumford and Sons - "I Will Wait"
Sorry Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Rogers Park, but you're going to hear 80,000 people singing this song all at once come Saturday night and it'll take more than a few pillows and a handle of Jack Daniels to hide from it. This one could be That Moment everyone talks about later on.