Here is the second part in my year-end series on music! This series is about my “favorites of 2016” playlist from Spotify, which is the easiest way for me to look back on my year. 2016 was a difficult year for many, and I was no exception to its “curse.” I finished my last semester of living in my college town which lead to me parting with my beloved campus radio station. A handful of these tracks were discovered via the station, and I seriously hope to continue discovering new tracks in college radio in 2017.
89. “Centerfold”- Mothxr: I am so surprised that this track isn’t higher! Mothxr’s debut album came across my desk in the Spring semester, which was my last semester as the music director for the station. I guess you could call it coincidence because I was watching Gossip Girl at the time, so imagine my excitement (and slight confusion) when I learned Penn Badgely (Dan “Lonely Boy” Humphrey) is the lead singer of Mothxr. I discovered this track when I searched for Mothxr’s YouTube channel. If you haven’t checked out Mothxr by now, head over to YouTube to see a series of one-shot music videos for a handful of tracks from the record. If you know anything about my personal music preference, it’s probably no surprise that I really dig Mothxr’s 80’s influenced sound. I think this album was the first release that I physically purchased in 2016. If you’re not sold on this track, check out “Easy.”
88. “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”- The Vaccines: If I had to capture the Summer of 2016 through one song, it would be this tune. I had heard of this band through various music circles dating back to 2010 when this record came out, but didn’t give The Vaccines a listen until I heard this track in the closing credits of a Girls episode. This track has everything I like in a single song. Loud guitars! Extremely catchy! Ra! Ra! Ra! Feedback! I think I bought the first Girls soundtrack exclusively for this song.
87. “Any Major Dude Will Tell You”- Steely Dan: My father is responsible for unleashing this song upon my life, and creating my inability to get it out of my head. I think Dad and I were just hanging out and listening to music one night, and Steely Dan happened to be his “kick” of the moment. Previously I had no connection to Steely Dan and was pretty quick to dismiss them as “dad rock.” I raised one eyebrow when Steely Dan toured with Elvis Costello for some dates last year. I was pretty against checking out any other tunes by the band since my high school’s guitar students would almost exclusively perform “Reelin’ In The Years” for every guitar show.
Let me tell you, I was dead wrong about Steely Dan when I heard “Any Major Dude Will Tell You.” What an excellent song. It’s happy! It’s catchy! It makes me almost completely forget about my weird aversion to Steely Dan.
86. “All My Life”- K-CI & JoJo: You know that song that everyone else knows, but somehow you missed out on the craze? “All My Life” was that one for me. Every girl thought this was the most romantic tune ever, and it was placed firmly at the top of their MySpace playlists. My best friend wasn’t one of those girls, but she somehow knew all of the words while I hummed the parts I did know during a night drive early in January.
85. “The Dark End of The Street”- The Commitments: I think I watched The Commitments more than any other film when it was added to Netflix earlier this year. I had seen it years ago, but had been too upset by the ending to ever watch it again. It’d had been a favorite of my parents, so I associate it automatically with comfort and I know that it’s a worthy film. When I came home for Halloween, I was so tired that I ended up not going to a party as planned, and my parents were too happy to put on their new Blu-Ray copy of the film. From then on, the movie was always at the top of my Netflix queue, and I found the soundtrack for a dollar.
When I first saw the movie at sixteen, “The Dark End of The Street” had been the song that stood out the most. I loved how the lead singer of the band had only been sixteen years old when the film was made and how mature his voice was for his age. I always have to play this song twice whenever I listen to the soundtrack on the stereo!
84. “I Feel Love”- Donna Summer:Brian Eno apparently said “I Feel Love” was the “future of music” when it was released in 1977. I STILL think it belongs to the future. I was REALLY into this song. The version I had on a playlist was eight minutes long, and it was perfect for walking up and down the hill at school. It provided me with an eight minute break from my ongoing cynicism toward the events of my life this year, and it gave me a reason to bounce around.
83. “Charlotte Anne”- Julian Cope: I’ve been a Julian Cope fan forever, and revisited his work earlier this year when I found a bunch of albums buried in my i-tunes.
82. “When Shipman Decides”- The Fat White Family: As the music director of my school’s student station, I would occasionally like to slip a track into rotation that I knew would freak everyone out and there would be a chance I would be the only one to enjoy the song. “When Shipman Decides” was my choice from the band’s LP “Songs for Our Mothers.” This band sounds like a bunch of your friends in the basement on a long baked Saturday afternoon. That’s why I like ’em; there’s no pretension here.
81. “Common People”- Pulp: Rarely do I ever listen to my friend Ford’s music recommendations, because they’re related to Duran Duran about 80% of the time. However I took it upon myself to pay more attention to Pulp’s “Common People” when he snuck it into rotation. For some reason, I didn’t make the connection that Pulp was the band that my “tumblr crush” Jarvis Cocker was in. Don’t kill me.
80. “3am at a party”- Soccer Mommy: One of my favorite releases of the year, I found Soccer Mommy around the music blogs, and discovered we had gone to high school together. I ate up her album “For Young Hearts” because it was angsty as hell, and I connect so hard with this particular song.