I decided that I wanted to put a more concerted effort back into my music listening by reviving one of my favorite exercises: creating a mix, or a “playlist” as the youths say, just a bit under a CD’s limit of 80 minutes. The plan was to release one per month on the first of the month, and Alfred just told me to throw the next one on here, but I’m rather proud of this one as it is, so I’ll just throw this one up there too, with some commentary added.
1. Alex Lahey: “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me”
The night I put out this playlist, I actually saw Melbourne’s Alex Lahey at the 7th Street Entry play nearly every one of her songs. Fantastic set. Her I Love You Like A Brother is the 2017 that I reach for by far the most often, but this track from her 2016 EP B-Grade University is my pick for her best track, and this playlist’s namesake.
2. Low Cut Connie: “Rio”
Yet again, I reach for the band responsible for Obama likely seeing me shirtless.
3. Miranda Lambert: “Me And Your Cigarettes”
4. Paramore: “Rose-Colored Boy”
5. Robyn: “Cry When You Get Older”
It will always hurt that this is absent from Body Talk.
6. Yeasayer: “O.N.E.”
I gotta admit, I’m surprised at how seldom I see this song given its due. It’s got hooks coming out of its ears.
7. Solange: “Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work”
I still prefer True to A Seat At The Table.
8. Green Day: “Stay The Night”
Those who’ve spoken with me extensively about music know that much of my sensibility comes from an early Green Day fandom, a sense that renders my relationship with their latter day work a fairly interesting one. “Stay The Night” is by far their best song on their three-but-should-be-one 2012 albums.
9. SOPHIE: “JUST LIKE WE NEVER SAID GOODBYE”
10. Lissie: “Wild West (Roadhouse Mix)”
A top three moment from my top one experience of 2017.
11. Rilo Kiley: “The Frug”
12. Mitski: “Your Best American Girl”
13. Broken Social Scene: “Almost Crimes (Radio Kills Remix)”
For a time during the past few years, I’d been shamed away from expressing the adoration for this album I feel it deserves. Still perhaps my top album of 2002, here’s the song easiest to take in isolation (aside from maybe “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl”), carried by the best performance of Feist’s career.
14. Linkin Park: “Breaking The Habit”
Along with My Chemical Romance, I wanted to use this playlist to change the way I heard another artist. Linkin Park actually was a band I took to when I was younger, and was as foundational to me as Green Day. But whereas I never became ashamed of Green Day, I eventually spurned Linkin Park. I’d indulged a bit since then, but my listening became unabashed when Chester Bennington took his life a year ago. The video to “Breaking The Habit,” the first song Linkin Park put out with just Chester’s voice given no assist by Mike Shinoda, is one of the best, certainly one of the neatest, videos of its decade. So I wanted to see if I could couch it between the cool kids of Broken Social Scene and TV on the Radio. I could.
15. TV On The Radio: “DLZ”
This is me being lazy. I’ve included “DLZ” on so many playlists for so long. It’s just really, really easy to slip in there. I’m excited for Dear Science to turn ten.
16. Snail Mail: “Pristine”
Song of the year. It’s over.
17. My Chemical Romance: “Welcome To The Black Parade”
Thanks to the comics of Kieron Gillen, in which I frequently find myself trying to live, I wind up listening to music from 2006 more than any year. Perhaps this trend will snap once The Wicked + The Divine finishes up next year, but that’s a ways out, and September’s playlist finds me returning yet again. One of many musical gifts Gillen’s Phonogram has given me is the chance to reevaluate My Chemical Romance, a perfectly wonderful band I was too stupid and snobbish as a teenager to give its due. I began this series to end a playlist with “Welcome To The Black Parade,” assisted by my father’s recent-ish death giving this song an extra punch, and I’m very satisfied wit the result.