Last year began in a way, for me, that could only have been worse if I were in direct impact of one of the many California fires. Things got off to an incredibly rocky start when what turned out to be my last pick from the right side of the debate for commander-in-chief was preparing to be sworn into office. (Kasich was my gop preference, although I would have even taken Rubio or Jeb over the eventual DT.)
What I won’t do here is give an overt discussion presented in op-ed fashion about the downfall of western civilization catalyzed by the inauguration of DT. What I will do, rather, is present a book-ended installment to the catalog of essential listening that I have been sharing since the untimely death & destruction of my last house’s kitchen*.
*a big shout out and THANK YOU to the many friends, family, & acquaintances that rushed in to help us in our most troubling of times. You know who you are.
The year began with a bang. Angst proved that it knows no age as my listening habits reflected such truth.
In January, Good Riddance hijacked my ears and gave me a proper outlet channeling the frustrations coming from personal misfortunes and national disappointment. From there I traveled back through time and revisited entire careers of old favorites only to piece together what would become a series of writings; essential listening mini music reviews written and designed for selfish reasons of cope and stability disguised as ranked recommendations. Your welcome.
After the initial Good Riddance installment I ventured forward to The Eels, Millencolin and Thrice. These are long time staples that I find myself shuffling through their back catalogs of often. From that point, I remembered what it was like to discover new music before internet technology as I dug deep into the career of Idlewild, of which was followed by MxPx, Brand New, and The Foo Fighters. Then, I would continue my journey of essentials only to explore music of NoFX, Thursday, Third Eye Blind, and Spoon. It was at this point that I would get the most vulnerable (and painfully nostalgic) when I shared my thoughts on Blink-182 and Tom DeLonge. I then felt it undeniably necessary to redeem myself and create essential listening from Kurt Vile immediately followed by (yep!) more nostalgia when I listed my favorite Alkaline Trio songs. Immediately after that the untimely news of Chester Bennington’s death was heard and I felt a heavy passion to memorialize his Linkin Park career with one of my essential installments. I regrouped my mental state with a revisit to music by Say Anything and Squad 5-O.
Then Tom Petty passed.
I was devastated.
Tom Petty is definitely a top 3 artist for me, so I doubled down and gave any readers I have gained (and my future self) a list of 26 essential songs. Thirteen each from him with the Heartbreakers and thirteen without.
From there I softened things up a bit and explored John Vanderslice then immediately jumped back to angst with The Lawrence Arms. I closed out my year in music with a review of Prevention Songs Vol 1, a final installment of nostalgia with The Ataris, and then a three part series of my favorite music of twenty seventeen which included honorary mentions, runner up top ten, and the top ten.
Now to cap off my essentials I wanted to end with something newer. Something that I currently am listening to. Something that I find a calming sensibility to the songs despite the often dreary subject matter of the lyrics. My favorite album from twenty seventeen was from the band that I just described: The National. Last year, it was my overly analyzed opinion that they released the best music of their career. Baritone-Berninger vocals have become a regular installment of the dad-rock that frequents my stereo.
All good things must come to an end. And though it may be up for debate as for if any of these lists of essentials have been good, coming to an end is what it has become nonetheless.
13 | all dolled-up in straps
12 | the perfect song
11 | mistaken for strangers
10 | bloodbuzz ohio
9 | lucky you
sad songs for dirty lovers
8 | nobody else will be there
sleep well beast
7 | daughters of the soho riots
6 | walk it back
sleep well beast
5 | heavenfaced
trouble will find me
4 | fake empire
3 | the system only dreams in total darkness
sleep well beast
2 | slow show
1 | all the wine