The Essential Weekly Playlist of: Chris Ilett

Chris Ilett is a singer songwriter and instrumentalist whose new album ‘Wayward Fires’, is set for release on March 28, 2018. Chris’s playlist is both very interesting and varied, with artists as diverse as Sia, Elvis Costello, Skylar Grey, and Little Green Cars. You can check out Chris online on his official website, Twitter, and Facebook, and his music is available on Spotify and Bandcamp.


A surprisingly recent one it’s sublime in sound – such beautiful playing, great instrumentation and the vocals are superb. Whilst there’s so much acoustic music around at the moment, a lot of it starts to sound the same. This stands out to me – the lyrics are like nothing else, and it really tells a brilliant story. This could so easily have been over produced, but it just sounds like a massively talented guy – which is what Jono is!


One of my 2017 favourites – this has the guts of The Buzzcocks, and it’s quite simply an anthem. The dual vocal, the lead guitar… it never lets up. Again – this isn’t a massively produced anthem – it’s the sound of a hungry young band who are starting to break through and find their audience – which they deserve to do. A well crafted song like this is quite rare these days.


Like many people, I first heard this on Sons Of Anarchy – and it was such a perfect accompaniment to the scenes. Another acoustic track, but Noah’s a master of sending chills up and down spines. He does that subtle thing so well, and he just brings up the intensity and takes it right back down all throughout. Again, for me – lyrics are such an important part of a great song – I want to hear something really new and interesting – and this song delivers.


This song made me want to form a band…. exactly like Little Green Cars. I think this was out in about 2013, but it sounds a bit like something from the 1960’s – it’s a bit like The Mamas & The Papas. But with that indie edge – it’s a bit off-centre whilst still being an anthem.


I got into Sia really really late – basically because everyone wants a song that sounds like Sia wrote it – and I started getting asked for songs that sounded like that by labels. People had told me about her before – always that “her earlier stuff is better”. It’s nothing like what I would write – but I fell in love with her music – I think she’s going to be remembered for a long, long time. I love the guitar in this song – and as ever with Sia – it’s massively catchy – it seems almost like she can’t write a bad song. And if you think that’s as “pop” as I get, the next one will surprise you.


This is my favourite pop song ever. Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) wrote this – and his demo sounds almost exactly the same – he’s at the top of his game – I’ve got so much respect for that guy. But I love the Jordin Sparks version – her voice just suits this perfectly. I would love to write something like this. Or… I wish I’d written this. And not just for the cash.


Back to the acoustic vibe. I found this one through a Spotify playlist. It’s got that accessible thing that so many artists are churning out these days – there’s a definite sound around that are just getting chucked onto playlists – but this is one of the few really great songs that has some guts behind it. Yet again – the lyrics really speak to me, and as a composition, it’s interestting. And of course, the most important thing – it adds up to making a great song.


This track was so important to me when I was in my early 20’s. Headswim had a pretty big hit when i was a teenager I think, but it was my drummer who introduced them to me properly. This kind of sounds like a few things that have been around in the last 5 years, but it’s from about 2000 I think. The band could have really done some great things – but as happens so often with bands on major labels – they just didn’t get the right push. Great band.


I’ve only heard this on the radio once – and it stopped me in my tracks. Again – lyrics. Sometimes a song just captures where you are in life – and this one nailed it. I suspect Bess was fighting the same battles as me in the music industry, and therefore personally. Oh – and the acoustic version I heard is even better in my opinion. “Should it be this hard? Should it feel like disconnecting? When the role I play is a sweet and tired array” “And I can write a song, and sell it to someone who better fits my work” I choked, and wanted to cry – really caught me off guard – like someone wrote it about me.


Kenton – my old band mate got me into Elvis Costello. I just love how this starts so sweetly, and turns… snaps like people are prone to do. It’s a song of obsessive love, which can so easily be a dangerous thing. I don’t entirely relate to how far the jealousy goes in this song – I think this is one of those songs I pick and choose the lyrics I want to relate to, so it can suit my own life.


So many songs I could choose by Reuben – pretty much all of them – but I first heard this about 3 or 4 years after my Dad had died, so I really related it to my Father. Reuben’s lyrics and structures have always been really interesting to me – and even though this one is probably less an example of that, it’s still something I’ll listen to as a reference point for my own songs – does it give me that feeling? Does it build as well as that? And the guy’s voice is just so brilliant.


I’d heard Band Of Skulls before – but this song came out and seemed so fresh at the time. Around their first album, I found them so exciting – a 3 piece – brilliant dual vocals – the guitarist sort of reminded me as a cross between Hendrix and Cobain in sound. This had been a favourite for a few years, but became a song which sort of soundtracked a relationship – so it’ll always be one of my anthems (and – cheeky plug – indirectly… or directly influenced a lot of what’s happening in my next album – the ‘Fires’ theme).


“I’m in trouble, I know it” – that line always catches my attention. These guys are such great songwriters, and the vocal harmonies are so understated – they just make me want to write songs like that. But of course, Teenage Fanclub already do what they better than I could…

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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