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Michigander: The Albums That Changed My World


The Local Spins series highlighting the music that has most influenced Michigan musicians continues with Michigander frontman Jason Singer revealing his picks, as well as current favorites he “can’t stop” playing.

Currently opening for the Manchester Orchestra: Jason Singer from Michigander. (Photo/Eric Stoike)

EDITOR’S NOTE: All musicians and songwriters can draw inspiration from key recordings that captivated them and influenced their careers. Writer Ross Boissoneau presents world-changing recordings for Michigander’s Jason Singer today. Scroll down for a Spotify playlist of his picks, plus two Michigander gems.

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Leader of the self-proclaimed “American rock ‘n’ roll band” Michigander, Jason Singer grew up in Midland and has since lived in various locations across the state. He built a huge following nationally and regionally, playing numerous festivals and winning WYCE Jammie Awards along the way.

His recent EP “Everything Will Be OK Eventually” epitomizes the attitude he’s cultivated since the pandemic hit. This caused his initial opportunity to perform at Lollapalooza to be canceled, although he was finally able to perform there last year. Singer and Michigander are currently on tour with acclaimed indie rock bands Manchester Orchestra and Foxing, criss-crossing the country in February and March. They play a gig in Michigan on March 12 at the Fillmore Detroit.

1. James Taylor, “Greatest Hits”, specifically “Mexico City” (1976) – The first one I remember was when I was a kid on my parents’ boat in Tawas on Lake Huron. My parents didn’t listen to much music, but they had a tape of James Taylor’s “Greatest Hits”. When I heard the song “Mexico” for the first time, I said, “Let’s play it again. This song made me fall in love with the guitar, listening to James Taylor play acoustic and classical guitar. On this song, the chorus and the verse are in different keys. It was pretty common in 80s music, but it was the first time I heard it. I didn’t understand it at the time; I was 8 or 9 years old.
Listen: “Mexico”

2. Coldplay, “Talk” (2005) – On TV, there was a clip for Coldplay’s “Talk”. I thought, “Who is this band?” I remember going to the library and renting all the Coldplay CDs. Piano rock, synths, I had all their albums. A year later, “Viva La Vida” was very important to me. It was also the first concert I went to, in 2009. I said, I will do it, find a solution, one way or another.
Listen: “Speak”

3. The National, “Trouble Will Find Me” (2013) – In 2012 and 2013, it was a group that I always liked. James Taylor really influenced me, and Coldplay, then that changed when I found pretentious music. I had heard The National earlier, then heard “Trouble Will Find Me” (and) the song “Don’t Swallow the Cap”. I went to Vertigo Records (in Grand Rapids) and bought it from Herm (Baker). I put it in my car CD player and it was there until I got rid of this car. It wasn’t pop and it wasn’t mainstream.
Listen: “Don’t Swallow the Cork”

Currently loves: Youth Gang, “The Angel on 8th Avenue” (2012), The War on Drugs, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” (2012) – These are my two groups. I can’t stop listening to them. What is important to me now is that I have to believe in it. If I can’t do that, it’s hard for me to care. There is something in the music. These two, I believe what they sing, their vocal take.
Listen: Gang of Youths, “The Angel of 8th Avenue.” ; The war on drugs, “I don’t live here anymore”

ALBUMS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: Michigander’s playlist on Spotify

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