Welcome to my list of my favorite music of the year. Well… last year. Yes, it has taken me a full year to put this list together. The music was picked out in 2017, but I somehow never got around to writing up these liner notes. It didn’t feel right to publish my 2018 playlist before 2017, so here we go. Continuing the precedent set in 2016, I’m no longer publishing a CD, but instead offer links to playlists on Apple Music and Spotify.
2017 Playlist on Apple Music Service costs $10/month, $15/month family plan. Three-month free trial membership available.
2017 Playlist on Spotify Basic service is free; $10/month to listen to music ad-free and to download tracks to mobile devices for offline use
This list, my 13th annual, is a sampler of my favorite music that I discovered this year. I hope you enjoy it. (And I promise that 2018’s playlist will come out in less than a year).
1. March of the Resistance
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestera (composed by John Williams) Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack (2015)
John Williams still knows how to write a stirring soundtrack for a Star Wars movie.
2. Dar Es Salaam
Black Joe Lewis, Electric Slave (2013)
Black Joe Lewis appeared in my 2009 CD for a song called Sugarfoot. This year I delved into their back catalog to find more of their music that I liked. Black Joe Lewis is an Austin-based blues/R&B/rock band.
3. The Way You Used To Do
Queens of the Stone Age, Villains (2017)
Hard-rocking song from Queens of the Stone Age.
4. Send Them Off!
Bastille, Wild World (2016)
Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but the spoken word intro of this track reminds me of Queen’s Flash Gorden.
5. Second One to Know
Chris Stapleton, From a Room: Volume 1 (2017)
My long-outstanding claim that I don’t like country music is developing additional cracks.
WATERS, Something More! (2017)
A great way to look to life:
All of my mistakes
All of my heartbreaks
I ain’t got no regrets
This time ‘cause
All of my fuck ups
Only brought me to you
A good acknowledgement that while we all make mistakes, they all lead us to where we are today.
7. All Around the World
Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’, TajMo (2017)
A happy Blues song.
8. Shine on Me
Dan Auerbach, Waiting on a Song (2017)
A jaunty little pop song from one half of the Black Keys.
9. Holding On
War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding (2017)
These next two acts were introduced to me from last year’s Day of the Dead Grateful Dead tribute album.
10. The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
The National, Sleep Well Beast (2017)
The National were the organizers of Day of the Dead. While much of Sleep Well Beast was kind of dull, I did like this song.
11. The Time I Spend With You
Brooks Williams, The Time I Spend With You (2008)
I’ve been a fan of Brooks Williams for well over 20 years. But he kind of fell off my radar, and I haven’t listened to any of his new stuff in quite awhile. I remedied that in 2017.
12. New York
St. Vincent, MASSEDUCATION (2017)
Ghostly and sad.
13. This Path Tonight
Graham Nash, This Path Tonight (2016)
This is, of course, the same Graham Nash that made up Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
14. The Phoenix
Lindsey Stirling, Brave Enough (2016)
Lindsey Stirling’s electronic violin instrumentals are great, non-distracting music to listen to while you work.
Octave Cat, Octave Cat (2017)
I found Octave Cat, an electronic jazz group, from Apple’s weekly New Music playlist.
16. Had 2 Know (Personal)
White Denim, Stiff (2016)
White Denim always seems a little uneven to me, but this song nails it.
17. Feel It Still
Portugal. The Man, Woodstock (2017)
Yes, I know you couldn’t go anywhere in 2017 without hearing this song. Here it is again. Sorry/not sorry.
18. Sweet Disaster
Dreamers, This Album Does Not Exist (2016)
19. Feels Like Summer
Weezer, Pacific Daydream (2017)
20. Grand Hotel
Regina Spector, “Remember Us to Life” (2016)
For some reason, this song reminds me of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Good quiet end to this year’s playlist.
To native English speakers, Zweitausendseptzehn looks intimidating, but it breaks down as follows:
- Zwei (2)- pronounced with an “s” sound, followed with “veye” (rhymes with eye), all packed into a single syllable
- tausend (1000)- pronounced like the English word “thousand”, replacing the “th” sound with a straight “t” sound (there’s no “th” sound in German)
- sept (7)- pronounced like “zeep” with a short “t” sound at the end
- zehn (10)- pronounced like “czain”, with the “cz” from “czar”, rhymes with “pain.” German has a habit of switching the last two digits of their numbers- for example, “twenty-four” in English becomes “four-twenty” in German. It used to make my head hurt. But then Nate’s kindergarten (oops- another German word) teacher told us that her kids struggle with the numbers 13-19. Think about it…
Now mash that all together in one single word. There you go, that wasn’t so hard, was it?