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.”
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.
Episode two – in which our hero contends with the realisation that Bad Guys frontman Stuart is his partially long haired doppleganger, and that perhaps he’s not the glistening adononis he imagines himself to be:
Y’know I still can’t quite get my head around the idea of music videos existing without actual music channels to play them. I know there are still technically such channels around, all with names like 90s teen girl magazines that play the same 3 videos in rotation (so far as I can tell there are only 3 videos shared by all the latest pop hits). But it’s not like it was Back In The Day when MTV stood for music television and if you sat and watched patiently for several hours you might see a decent video, is it? Those were the days. Or what about the heyday of MTV 2 where if you waited until 2am and were willing to watch 8 or 9 videos of identikit glitchy electronica you could see a few videos by semi-decent indie bands, eh? Good times. Now in this god forsaken age you can just type in what you want into an internet searchamajig and there it is. Blam: Bad Guys are singing about prostitutes right into your eyeballs. It all still seems like voodoo to me. But then I didn’t have access to the internet until I was 20 – I had to go round my mates and run up his phone bill on dial up waiting 2 hours to download the new Offspring single on Napster.
And they call this progress.
Ok, so maybe it’s not quite the stories of hardship my old man tells me about his tough Northern upbringing in the 60s. Yet I still get the feeling that when I try to explain this to my kids one day they’ll look at me the same way I did him when he told tales about hiking 7 miles in the snow to school.
Anyhow, in the absence of any kind of curated content (I’m ignoring the million or so curators on youtube; who would trust the kind of myopic psychopath who spends his time compiling internet videos?) I tend to careen sideways into music vids every now and again and go, “ooh, that’s quite good, isn’t it?” And then I put together this, the latest installment of the seemingly annual series Wanton Miscellany, in which I present some of these videos that I’ve stumbled over like a drunk idiot struggling to navigate the living room in the dark at 2am falling onto an upturned plug and screaming like he’s taken a hot knife to the liver.
That was a rough night.