Zweitausendachtzehn — My Favorite Music of 2018

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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.

5. Valkyrie

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.

8. Ohio

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.

9. Anxiety

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.”

15. Africa

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)

21. Amsterdam

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.

26. Caroline

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)

29. Wildflowers

The Wailin’ Jennys, Fifteen (2017)

It seems only fair to pair a Tom Petty covering another artist with another artist covering Tom Petty.

Pronunciation Guide

To native English speakers, Zweitausendachtzehn looks intimidating, but it breaks down as follows:

  1. Zwei (2)- pronounced with an “s” sound, followed with “veye” (rhymes with eye), all packed into a single syllable
  2. tausend (1000)- pronounced like the English word “thousand”, replacing the “th” sound with a straight “t” sound (there’s no “th” sound in German)
  3. acht (8)- pronounced like “oct” from “octopus”
  4. 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?