My songs of the Year
So I didn’t blog here that much. But I did listen to a lot of music. I decided to write a bit about that music here. Here’s some songs that made an impact on me this year.
The War On Drugs – Pain
I don’t really know what it is that makes this song work so well. The War On Drugs, to me, don’t sound innovative or even worthy of the hype they seem to get in the press. And yet, the songs speak to me, they get me, they work for me. It’s the attention to detail I guess, the trance, the combination of mood, vocals and lyrics. Pain is one side of the coin, a melancholic song that makes you a little sad and reflective at the same time. It works perfect in the Autumn and Winter. The other side of the coin has songs like Holding On, more uptempo and good for driving around in a car. It makes A Deeper Understanding one of my favourite records of 2017. And this one of the best songs.
Turin Brakes – Wait
You know what news you can wake me up for? When my favourite band announces a new album. And releases a catchy single to boot. I danced a whole Monday afternoon to this one in a pub in St. Albans. And it was caught on above video, alongside other fans. I’m so happy to have been part of a little bit of Turin Brakes history and look forward to the new Turin Brakes album Invisible Storm in January 2018. Get it folks. This band is so good, so nice, so great. So awesome. Let’s keep them going ‘till they physically can’t anymore.
Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still
The comeback single by Portugal. The Man might not be their most epic song ever, or even their best, it IS their most fun, commercially most successful and cleverest one to boot. Feel It Still makes me dance, groove and jump a little. It popped up everywhere, from Dutch Radio 1 to Apple commercials and back. Well-deserved for a band who’ve been working hard for years. And no, I did not mind they played it twice at their gig in Amsterdam last May.
The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions
I enjoyed the previous album of The New Pornographers a lot, but Whiteout Conditions has by now a special place in my heart. Especially the title track above, which hit close to home despite not dealing with the exact Whiteout Conditions the lyrics describe. When I changed jobs this year and improved both my happiness levels and feeling of accomplishments, Whiteout Conditions was the soundtrack that helped me through the harder bits of that process. And made me rock out too.
Spinvis – Trein Vuur Dageraad
My favourite Dutch songwriter Spinvis returned with an awesome album. On it is a song called Stefan & Lisette, which means I finally have a song with my name in it that I like – no actually love. But the title track of the new album is the highlight for me, combining melancholy, looping lyrics and a night train through Europe to create one of the stronger picturesque songs of the year.
Tom McRae – None Of This Really Matters
As a storyteller, how much of the story you tell is about the characters in it, and how much of it is about the storyteller himself? Tom McRae made his mostintimate, quiet album in years, literally distancing himself from the society and characters he sings about by moving to a Norwegian cabin on an island in the sea to make sense of the things that don’t really make sense: From Brexit and hate to futile things and hopelessness. It’s heartbreaking yet also clearly a labour of love, including a book full of notes, dark humour and hopefulness that add a layer to this record. Tom McRae went deep this time and therefore this album may make less sense than the previous ones to the casual listener. But I am not a casual listener. I don’t mind going deep to make the most of it. Even though society becomes more shallow everyday. So if you can get a song on the radio where everyone sings almost joyfully “None of this really matter anymore”, you can’t help but conclude that Tom McRae has lost none of his talent or drive. Keep them coming, Tom. Keep them coming.
The National – Dark Side Of The Gym
Sure, I go way more crazy over The System Dreams In Total Darkness with its electronic beeps and boops and the guitar riffs that are crazy and the horns and all that stuff. It might even be more innovative than Dark Side Of The Gym… Because yes if I made you choose with song was LESS The National By The Numbers of course you’d pick System. But haha I’m not asking you that, your opinion doesn’t even matter that much here. It’s my blog after all. MUHAHAHAHAHA. And I just really love the mood and sounds of _Dark Side Of The Gym _. So yea, deal with that my man. Or woman. Or whatever way you choose to define yourself. DEAL WITH IT. OK moving on.
Jens Lekman – Wedding In Finistere
Sometimes an album can deceive you. Tom McRae’s 2017 effort may be too quiet for you at first listen. Jens Lehman’s seemed overproduced and too heavily layered at first. But in fact it wasn’t and by the end of 2017 it remains one of my favourite records and this is one of my favourite songs with Paul Simonesque vibe but a clear Jens Lekman signature at the bottom. Jens Lekman’s storytelling will not appeal to all, but the emotions of a wedding almost breaking down but coming good in the end have rarely been put to music better than has been done in this song. And while doing that, Lekman throws some playful universal truths about growing up and getting serious. Or maybe I’m just getting old. Whatever.