Welcome to my list of my favorite music of the year. Well… last year. Unlike last year, where it took me a full year to put this list together, the 2018 collection only took ten months. Progress, right?
Continuing the precedent set in 2016, I’m no longer publishing a CD, but instead offer links to playlists on Apple Music and Spotify.
Playlist on Apple Music Service costs $10/month, $15/month family plan. Three-month free trial membership available.
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 14th annual, is a sampler of my favorite music that I discovered this year. I hope you enjoy it.
1. The Sky is a Neighborhood
Foo Fighters, Concrete and Gold (2017)
David Grohl remains one of my favorites, both for his own music, and for his efforts to champion music in general.
2. Too Far Gone
Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie (2017)
Fun upbeat tune from two former members of Fleetwood Mac.
3. Figure This Out
The Wrecks, Panic Vertigo (2018)
4. Los Ageless
St. Vincent, MASSEDUCATION (2017)
I often will have a song that makes it on one playlist. I don’t listen to the album until the following year, and then another song makes it on the following year’s playlist. That’s the case here.
Battle Tapes, Polygon (2016)
A mix of alternative rock and dance. Other good songs on the album are Belgrade and Solid Gold.
6. The Nights (Avicii by Avicii)
Avicii, (single) (2015)
After Avicci’s death in 2018, I went through his back catalog and found this single that I really enjoyed. The premonition in this lyrics, though- ugh.
One day my father, he told me son don’t let it slip away
He took me in his arms, I heard him say
When you get older, your wild life will live for younger days
Think of me if ever you’re afraid
He said one day, you’ll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember
When thunderclouds start pouring down
Light a fire they can’t put out
Carve your name into the shining stars
He said go venture far beyond the shores
Don’t forsake this life of yours
I’ll guide you home no matter where you are
7. What Happens Next
Joe Satriani, What Happens Next (2018)
Mostly mellow instrumental from a guitar great.
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Upside-Down Flowers (2018)
Cool song about moving on from a place, and trying to move on from a life.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound (2017)
Jason Isbell, formerly from the Drive-by Truckers, sings a mixture of country rock and southern rock. I had an opportunity to see him play at Red Rocks over the summer. Also recommended: “Cumberland Gap”, “White Man’s World.”
10. Celebrate the Reckless
Magic Giant, In the Wind (2017)
Magic Giant passed through Fort Collins in 2018, putting on a tiny concert at a venue a block from my office. Alas, I didn’t go, but a friend told me more about them and piqued my interest enough to give it a try. I would describe them as Mumford & Sons with more patchouli. Thankfully I got an opportunity to see them live in 2019, and they put on a great show.
11. King of a One Horse Town
Dan Auerbach, Waiting on a Song (2017)
Relaxed tune from one-half of the Black Keys. Which is almost exactly what I wrote last year about another track on the album.
12. Little Dark Age
MGMT, Little Dark Age (2018)
MGMT is most famous for their smash hit “Electric Feel” in 2007. They continue to put out interesting music, even if it doesn’t get the massive headlines.
13. You Worry Me
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Tearing at the Seams (2018)
Another good album from the Denver-area musician. The song “S.O.B.” appeared on my 2016 playlist.
14. If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven
Brian Fallon, Sleepwalkers (2018)
An older, more mature version of the Gaslight Anthem. Also recommended: “See You on the Other Side.”
Weezer, Weezer (Teal Album) (2019)
Yes, that Africa. Yes, I know you think it sounds too much like the original to be an interesting cover. No, I don’t care what you think. Let me enjoy my guilty pleasure, kthxbye.
16. Live in the Moment
Portugal. The Man, Woodstock (2017)
Strangest band name ever? The more famous track “Feel it Still” appeared on last year’s collection.
17. Life to Fix
The Record Company, All of this Life (2018)
18. Real Talk
Titus Andronicus, A Productive Cough (2018)
I first encountered Titus Andronicus, when they cut a concept album about the Civil War (yes, really). I’m still not sure what keeps bringing me back to their music, because it isn’t generally my style. But this song burrowed into my brain and I found myself singing it to myself throughout the year.
19. Change the Locks
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, She’s the One (Soundtrack) (1996)
In the year after Petty’s death, I came across this fun cover. The original by Lucinda Williams is outstanding as well (but not new to me in 2018, obviously).
20. Already Gone
Brett Deneen, Let’s… (2018)
Nothing But Thieves, Broken Machine (2017)
Hands-down my Favorite Song of the Year. Also recommended: “Get Better”, “Live Like Animals.”
22. One Woman Army
Porcelain Black, (single) (2014)
Porcelain Black is a singer who has put out a collection of singles over the years. “This is What Rock and Roll Looks Like” appeared on my 2011 collection. This year I searched the rest of her catalog and found this one.
23. Raw Evolution
Warbly Jets, Warbly Jets (2017)
24. Cannonball (feat. Fantastic Negrito)[Acoustic]
ZZ Ward, (single) (2017)
ZZ Ward is a gritty sounding country-blues singer. “Ghost” is my favorite track on her full-length album, but this song introduced me to the singer.
25. St. Stephen Jam (Live from Macon 4/13/96)
Gov’t Mule, The Georgia Bootleg Box (2012)
I listened to a lot of jam bands in 2018. Grateful Dead, Phish, Allman Brothers, and of course, Gov’t Mule. Most of these aren’t really conducive to putting on a mix tape, but this particular song could both stand on it’s own and finish before the ten-minute mark.
Brandi Carlile, Give Up the Ghost (2009)
27. Black Smoke Rising
Greta Van Fleet, From the Fires (2017)
Greta Van Fleet is the Led Zeppelin of the twenty-first century. That sounds derivative, but it’s not. They sound nostalgic and fresh all at the same time.
28. Every Day’s the Weekend
Alex Lacey, I Love You Like a Brother (2017)
The Wailin’ Jennys, Fifteen (2017)
It seems only fair to pair a Tom Petty covering another artist with another artist covering Tom Petty.
To native English speakers, Zweitausendachtzehn 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)
- acht (8)- pronounced like “oct” from “octopus”
- 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?