Well, it’s nearly the middle of February already – so it seems as good a time as any to wrap up this round up of the previous years best songs. They don’t call me The Timely Content Kid for nothing. Also some might call having 25 songs on a top 20 list something of a cop out. To which I have no real argument.
It was a great year for music though and I think this list demonstrates just how good. Especially since it was a year in which I didn’t find much time to delve into all that much hip hop – Busdriver and Milo narrowly missed the cut for the list but that was about it for my rap listening in 2015, bar a couple of L’Orange produced albums – and almost completely ignored what was by all accounts an excellent year for black metal. It was a year of Too Much Music and this, for better or worse, is how I spent it. And given how much fun I’ve had putting this list together I’m leaning towards, “for better.”
Part 17 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of 2015
Father John Misty might be a bit too popular for this here blog. He made the top of many an AOTY list for 2015 after all and I’d be risking my reputation as a Pointless Contrarian if I were to start agreeing with people, especially Indie Tastemakers.
Lucky then that the record didn’t make a great deal of sense to me as a whole. Despite it’s attempts to puncture its own sense of smugness, going out of it’s way to show how knowing it is about it’s own sense of self-importance, I couldn’t help but feel that I Love You Honeybear was still a bit too pleased with itself for my liking. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but ultimately it felt like it was trying to have it’s unappetising looking cake and eat it. So I checked out.
Later I heard The Ideal Husband by chance during one of the three or four occasions I tuned into 6 Music throughout the year. It’s slightly ramshackle nature seemed kind of appealing all of a sudden and it’s lyrics seemed to strike the right note of both revelling and revulsion in the worst aspects of the male ego in a way that reminded me of Greg Dulli’s work, so I threw it on my current listening spotify playlist. It ended up being brought with me to St Ives for me and my partner’s annual trip down there with her family. With no internet connection of any kind in the flat we stayed in the songs I had on my phone were the songs I had for the whole week. And I kept coming back to The Ideal Husband. It accompanied me during a few nights where I had more than a few too many drinks – through drunken breakdowns and bouts of bracing self-loathing. It’s not a song you’d really want to strike a chord with you. But there I was belting out the line, “wouldn’t I make the ideal husband?” with the same knowing snarl as Misty, three sheets to the wind on the end of a pier wondering what the hell I was doing with myself.
I listened to Honeybear again since, thinking it might have been my way in, that I might finally see what all the fuss was about. But I still got nothing out of it. The Ideal Husband is a one off moment of connection I guess. A brief instant where me and Father John Misty shared a knowing glance across the bar, from one fuck up to another. But I still wouldn’t want to have a drink with him.
Taking us up to a nice round 100 tracks (and around 10 hours worth of music) for the year I present to you the 4th and final installment of Wanton Playlistery for 2015. It was compiled during a period in which I was giving myself a headache trying to decide what should and shouldn’t make my Record of the Year list, a time in which I’m forced to listen to so much music I forget what I actually like, if I like anything, and start to wonder what the point of this whole music thing is anyway, and why is there so much of it, and who could possibly listen to enough of it to pass any kind of judgement on what is and isn’t worthy, and does it actually mean anything I mean after all it’s just a series of vibrations in the air being interpreted by strange mechanisms inside our heads and how can anyone possibly praise or criticise the air and our ability or inability to parse what it means or is intended to mean and when did run out of coffee and oh god please make it stop..
Somewhere in all of that I decided these 25 tracks were worthy of more attention. Is it any wonder I ended up selecting an electronica backing to a Leonard Nimoy reading of a Ray Bradbury story alongside some all out gone instrumental Swedish psych rock, a cut from a concept hip-hop record about a pair of janitors at a Ballard-esque housing complex and the terrifying final part of Wrekmester Harmonies’ Night of Your Ascension which probably makes no sense in isolation? It’s a strange time which called for a strange soundtrack. It’s been a great year in music, albeit one with few towering achievements. It’s instead been crammed full of minor masterpieces and strange and wonderful detours into rich little musical hinterlands. Did any of it mean anything? Well, there’s at least 100 tracks that meant something to me on WD now ready for anyone with the inclination to listen to. Maybe some of them will mean something to somebody else too.