So, this blog exists again. I killed it a few months back because I had just grown tired of the whole thing despite the fact I listened to (and liked) more music last year than I had in a number of years, convinced I didn’t need the outlet and that I would find it easier to just post on Twitter and Facebook when something hit home. (Quick aside: thanks for all the kind words about the blog when I killed it. That meant a lot.) Anyways, sure, all that social media posting from my phone was easy, no doubt, but as the dead of winter has hit I’ve found myself missing the whole idea of this blog a lot, so I started to think about how I could bring it back in a way that would make me like it again. What I landed on was this: I’ll do a post at the end of each month (or, more likely, as happened this time around, the early part of the next month) outlining what stuck with me during the month and, most importantly, a little context of why I like it/why it stuck.
Truthfully, I was never really happy with the lazy nature of my posts the last few years, but I also had a crazy run of getting married and moving a few times and helping bring a new baby into the world and all that, so I suppose it makes sense why I lacked the ability to give any details beyond ‘it’s good and sounds nice’ for why I liked any particular song. I find myself with a bit more sleep nowadays, and a renewed feeling of wanting to write a bit about the music that floats around my life, so when I’ve got more to say I’ll add it. Also, I’ve gotten real into- read: somehow more into- making playlists, so this will serve as a sort of recap of what I put together and what’s been updated recently, in case you missed a social media post or two (we should all miss more social media postings). Related: one of the playlists each month will be one with the 20 songs I like most during that month. 20 feels like a good number, and I’ll try to outline some things I really liked as an introduction to it.
So, this is the first post of this blog’s new life. Below is what stuck with me in January. I hope some of this music connects with you. Enjoy.
“Light On (La Blogotheque – Live in Paris)”- Maggie Rogers
I won’t ruin this for you if you haven’t seen it yet, but there’s a moment that happens about a minute into this gorgeous video that unleashes the kind of joy we all need more of in our world. It brings this song to life in a way that the proper single version of it fails to, the exuberance that pops off the screen a perfect visual accompaniment to a song about gratitude and support. So, allow yourself to soak in the joy of this one. We could all use it.
This is three minutes and thirty seconds of bombastic youth, all ramshackle and rambunctious, full of sweaty anxiety and shouted brashness, and I love it more than I should as a dad/35 year-old. Also: we should all admire the way lead singer Stefan Babcock pulls off his wordy, Craig Finn-like disregard of the rhythm/time signature. Also: more songs with words like ‘calamity’ in them please. Also: I am a sucker for hook-laden melodic punk that reminds me of when I was much younger/not so, so, so old, you guys, so I would like more of it in my life in this, the year 2019.
my favorite tracks from January
Truthfully, the month got off to a slow start in general, but by the end I had a lot of trouble cutting this down to just 20 tracks. That Lizzo track is, as you’d expect, a banger. As someone who never got into Pedro the Lion when he was younger I think ‘Quietest Friend’ might be my gateway into fandom. The latest tune from Lady Lamb reminds us that a) she is a master b) she has a way with words/phrases and c) you’re never actually prepared for how many twists and turns her songs have (or the fact she can have it going 1000 different directions at once but it never seems out of sorts). The Better Oblivion Community Center track is my favorite from Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst’s new group, as it reminds me a bit of I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning-era Conor, which is what we all really crave. Frances Cone put out my favorite records so far this young year (Maggie Rogers and William Tyler also put out great albums in January), and the title track is such a tremendously beautiful, layered thing. The covers from both Perfume Genius and Lucy Dacus are superb, and it’s good to hear again from old friends Fort Frances, Small Houses, Josh Ritter, Bear’s Den, Strand of Oaks and Beirut. All in all, I’ve got extremely high hopes for 2019. (Click here to listen/follow on Spotify.)
some playlist updates, in case you’re looking for some other stuff to listen to:
Up over 130 songs now on this ongoing playlist, all of them made for the cold and short days. I’ll keep adding on this until my body tells me it’s time for it to be spring. So, soon, maybe, because winter remains the worst. (Click here to listen/follow on Spotify.)
So, I finally hit the wall on kids music and have recently become obsessed with introducing our baby girl (even subliminally, because she’s not standing still long enough to listen intently to a song, I can assure you that) to the best the world has to offer, or at least the songs I think are perfect and I wouldn’t change anything about. I’m continuing to add as I go, but it now stands at 100 tracks and I would engage in fisticuffs about any one of them. Additionally, some friends have taken on the same project and it makes me so happy a) that people are as big of nerds as me and b) to see the WILDLY DIFFERENT ideas people has as to what are perfect songs. If you’ve got a list like this that you’ve put together, I’d love to hear it. Music: the best, still. (Click here to listen/follow on Spotify.)
25 minutes with…
Related to our baby girl and our continued effort to make sure she listens to good music, I put together a whole bunch (20+) of mixes of artists I think she needs to be exposed to that are around 25 minutes long (the time it takes us to get to/from daycare). They aren’t always the best songs from a particular artist, though that sometimes happens, but my main goal was to feature upbeat songs from timeless artists that I think she, an 18-month old baby tornado, could maybe enjoy as she looks at herself in the backseat mirror. Below are two that have gotten her approval so far- Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon- but you can go over to my Spotify profile, click on public playlists and then scroll down to find all the others if you are looking for music for your baby (or even yourself and your commute).