Nylon Nights

Dave Macklovitch Of Chromeo Gets Deep About Dad Rock

“This is the Illmatic of baby boomers.”

Going out? Need a playlist? Then NYLON’s NYLON Nights playlist is here for you. Each month we invite a guest DJ to curate an exclusive playlist that will keep you going from pre- to post-game. For February 2024, Chromeo’s Dave Macklovitch digs into dad rock.

After a few years of youth, Gen Z, and TikTok dominating mainstream culture, adulthood has finally re-entered the chat — at least according to Dave Macklovitch of Chromeo. “Look at the Grammys. No, no one cared about Travis Scott. They just wanted to talk about Tracy Chapman, and Annie Lennox, and Celine Dion,” the 45-year-old singer and one half of the long-running duo says over the phone. “Now with the 2000s nostalgia, there seems to be the desire to focus on role models, icons, people who just stay fresh. It's like, OK, adults are trending.”

This observation (plus his own desire to write songs that were more relatable to their fanbase) fueled the creation of Chromeo’s new album, Adult Contemporary, a record Macklovitch describes as a funk-fueled romp through the “trials and tribulations of grown and sexy romance.” (“I always felt like “adult contemporary” could have been an erotic magazine in the ‘70s,” he adds.) Out Feb. 16, its lacquered love songs do ooze a messy maturity with Macklovitch singing about fighting insomnia during a breakup and wondering if he’s becoming too co-dependent. “[Chromeo songs] always have that neurotic twist,” he says.

In the spirit of all this grown-up-ness, below, Macklovitch exclusively curates a playlist for NYLON dedicated to an important adult in our lives: dads, which he says have been on his mind lately. Read on for his roundup of quintessential dad-rock songs, including horn-filled cuts from Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, and Aretha Franklin, and his deep thoughts about the genre.

“Don’t Do It” - The Band

We’re gonna set this off right with the opening track from the greatest live album of all time (sorry Stop Making Sense). A rump-shaking rocker with horns stabs and, oh, it’s a Marvin Gaye cover! This has all the makings of a dad classic.

“Cleaning Windows” - Van Morrison

Actually one of my pop’s fave songs. This mid-career deep cut has swagger, blue-eyed soul and again, horns. Dads love horns.

“One Of These Nights” - The Eagles

This is a proto-disco song, and I’ll die on that hill. I totally ripped off the guitar solo for [Chromeo’s song] “Night by Night.”

“Legs” - ZZ Top

This is an Italo-disco song and I’ll die on that hill. No band has influenced Chromeo more than ZZ Top, from the iconography to the attitude (ah yes, the legs.) Our ultimate goal is to become the ZZ Top of funk.

“Bitch” - The Rolling Stones

If a dad uses the b-word he’s a deadbeat and you ought to call child services. In fact, this is the only b-word anything a dad is allowed to like. But boy, what a tune. And look at that, horns!

“Rock’n Me” - Steve Miller Band

As dad rock as it gets. It’s a dad-rock song about rock.

“Back In The High Life Again” - Steve Winwood

Whole album is giving dad on a vacation.

“My Old School” - Steely Dan

One thing about dads, they love a good backing vocal.

“Have A Heart” - Bonnie Raitt

A beautiful reggae-tinged ditty from the queen of dad rock. Decades later the children listen to Haim and the father remarks that they sound just like this song — a massive compliment, btw.

“Bluebird” - Paul McCartney & Wings

It’s the ‘70s and boomers are desperately clinging to any and all leftovers of Beatles brilliance. This bossa nova number comes close.

“Freeway of Love” - Aretha Franklin

It’s 1985 and dads hate all the hair metal and MTV pop that’s around, but here comes Aretha with an ‘80s-meets-Motown jam and “boy, she’s still got it!” (Note: saxophone.)

“I Know What I Know” - Paul Simon

One year later, 1986, dads still think pop music sucks but look, it’s their old friend Paul Simon shocking the world with a slightly problematic, slightly colonialist masterpiece of an album combining afro-textures and aging angst. Parents ate it up. This is the Illmatic of baby boomers.

“Handle With Care” - Traveling Wilburys

[It’s] 1988, dads are more confused than ever and now, out comes this super group, a Wu-Tang of boomers, the boomer avengers, here to save the day in Wayfarers and 12-string guitars.

“This Life” - Vampire Weekend

There would be no Vampy Weeks without Paul Simon’s aforementioned Graceland. This tune is from the album I worked on and it’s fully dad-compatible.

“Words With You” - Chromeo

Our turn to take a stab at dad-ittude. We did it with a slightly ‘70s soul-rock feel, and guess what else … horns!