One listen to Henry Hall’s My Friends Don’t Like Me, and it’s difficult to unwrap why that might be. The songs are, simply put, immediately likable. As one upbeat, off-kilter track bleeds into another, there’s a sense of unabashed, mood-lifting, retro goodness that feels boldly infectious. Nestled between jaunty guitars and upbeat percussion, though, are musings about self-confidence, likability and spending a bit too much time at home — the sort of vulnerability that adds a richer weight to any good pop song. Either way, Hall’s positive tones and melodies reveal that “everything’s fine” in the end — even when you’re friends don’t like you.
To help celebrate the release and share a bit more about what inspired the EP, we asked Henry Hall to make a playlist of songs that helped shape his songwriting. Like his music, the tracks below are varied, fun and meaningful. Enjoy!
These are some songs that were on heavy rotation during the recording and mixing of My Friends Don’t Like Me. They’re all incredibly strange and beautiful. Hope you enjoy.
Spirit of Love – The Power of Love
This song is so fragile and unpretentious. I love every second of it. I’ve never really heard a vocal performance like this. It sounds like there are tears streaming down her face the entire time she’s singing. It’s completely original and totally out there. I wanna sing like this so badly.
Ramesh – Moondanam Az Boodanet or رامش – موندنم از بودنت
Ramesh is a special artist and this is a special song. It’s not even in my native language, but I could sing along with the words after listening to it like once or twice because the melody is just that catchy. She has the greatest tone to her voice. It’s so smooth and emotive. The percussion in this song is special as well. And the wah-wah guitar too, of course.
Death Grips – Eh
This is one of my all time favorite bands, obviously, and this is one of my favorite songs of theirs. It just says it all with 1 one-syllable word — “eh.” Insane sense of humor and awesome dynamics in the vocal/instrumentation on this song. I could listen to it on repeat until I die. Eh.
Chet Baker – My Funny Valentine (Torino 1959)
Chet Baker is one of the greatest singers ever. This is probably my all time favorite performance of his. His tone and pitch feel like they could just break down at any minute — he’s right on the edge, yet somehow, it’s still such a tender and moving performance. In the comments on this video people are like “wow he’s so out of tune I can’t listen to this” while others are like “this is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.” That means it’s an amazing performance. People love it and hate it — that’s what you want. The sunglasses indoors and missing teeth are a nice touch as well.
Zapp – Computer Love (Live on Soul Train)
Roger (of Zapp and Roger) somehow always found a way to make the vocoder sound even more infectious than the human voice. This video gives me chills. Really crazy live performance. Everything is completely on point. Shirley Murdock’s dancing and vocals here are absolutely perfect. She has such a great tone to her voice and is singing some very complicated lines live. It really compliments Roger’s flawless vocoder performance. The whole vibe on stage is very theatrical too, but in the greatest possible way.
Elvis Presley – Tomorrow Night
This is the best Elvis song hands down. It touches on a very specific insecurity that everyone has definitely felt at some point — “will you love me again tomorrow?” My favorite thing is when an artist finds a new angle on love to sing about. This isn’t just “I love you” or “I miss you” — this is a very, very specific take on love and thus it’s highly impactful. That’s what I hope to do in my lyrics. Also, the guitar and his vocals in this song are unique in Elvis’ discography — he has a vulnerability here that’s hard to find in his other tunes. This is probably one of my top 5 favorite songs ever. I love it.
Connie Francis – Who’s Sorry Now?
This song is funny, smart, depressing, and really impressive musically. Connie is one of my favorite singers, and I’ll never grow tired of this tune. She sounds like she’s crying and laughing while singing here. It’s the full package. I also love the drums on this song. They sound like they’re smoking 3 cigarettes at once or something.