Once upon a time people paid me to write about music and pop culture. And while that may seem like a dream job to many folk, anything gets old after awhile. It took me about two years until I could truly listen to music again for pleasure, because I had to listen to so much music that I honestly (a) didn’t care about, and (b) didn’t like. So trying to convince other people that they should care about these artists started to feel a little disingenuous. Blah, blah, blah. My First World problems are worse than yours.
I’ve come back around, though, and find myself ferreting out lesser known albums and artists again for pleasure. And in the last two years, I’ve begun giving mix discs of my own best songs of the year to friends for Christmas. It’s a simple gift that fits well with Jenn’s and my DIY aesthetic as well as our fight against things like frivolous spending and arbitrary commercialization. I’m not trying to get preachy, though. It’s also just fun, and I suspect that over the years the discs will be a nice log of meaningful songs and sounds.
So I thought I’d share this year’s 2012 tracklist.
I call the compilations “Skeleton at the Feast,” in honor of the ancient Egyptian tradition of literally placing a skeleton near the feast table to remind revelers of their mortality. I like the image, and I like the idea of these “skeleton” tracks representing an entire body of a year in music.
Be forewarned: My taste skews toward Americana and alternative pop. And any year that Okkervil River puts out music, one of their songs likely will be on the disc. (Nothing new from them this year. Frownyface.)
And lastly, props to fellow Columbus music enthusiast Curtis Lynch, whose annual Pick of the Litter disc was loosely the inspiration for all this. Curtis’s passion for music has led him to write probably thousands of music reviews for this city’s alternative monthly publication, Playgrounds, as a volunteer. He makes me feel guilty for bitching about my old job. Cheers, buddy.
Skeleton at the Feast 2012
1. “Gelid Ascent” by of Montreal
2. “Breaking the Yearlings” by Shearwater
3. “Generals” by The Mynabirds
4. “Love Interruption” by Jack White
5. “In a Big City” by Titus Andronicus
6. “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” by Passion Pit
7. “What Makes a Good Man” by The Heavy
8. “Be Good (Lion’s Song)” by Gregory Porter
9. “Bend Beyond” by Woods
10. “Pretty Girl from Michigan” by The Avett Brothers
11. “The Day I Change” by Sweet Sweet Lies
12. “Death to My Hometown” by Bruce Springsteen
13. “Big Finish” by Todd Snider
14. “Bloodkin Push (Forget the Ones)” by Will Johnson
15. “Bob Dylan Is Dead” by Marvin Etzioni
16. “Scarlet Town” by Bob Dylan
17. “Out Of Love” by Rhett Miller
18. “That’s What’s Up” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros