Obsessive Year-End List Fest 2013: Dishonorable Mentions and Mild Disappointments

When going over my least favorite music of the year, I have to point out as always that there is far worse music out there than anything on this list – mostly by artists who turned me off so much with a single or two, or with obnoxious public personas, that I wouldn’t want to listen to an album of theirs to begin with. But these are all sub-par albums I managed to listen to all the way through at least twice, by artists that I’ve genuinely enjoyed in the past (with maybe one exception).

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Divad’s Soundtrack #37: March-April 2002

I’d have to say that this mix is one of my all-time favorites, just because of the time and the experiences that it represents – in many ways, it’s the soundtrack to falling in love again.

In with the New:
Jimmy Eat World
Plus One
Shaun Groves

Out with the Old:
Audio Adrenaline

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Divad’s Soundtrack #36: January-February 2002

January 2002 was an important month in my life, because it was when Christine – the one from Hawaii who I would end up marrying – sent the fateful IM that served as our first online contact with one another.

In with the New:
ZOEgirl
Remy Zero
Downhere
Fernando Ortega
Mac Powell (as a solo artist – appears previously with Third Day)

Out with the Old:
Kepano Green

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Divad’s Soundtrack #31: March-April 2001

If you could graph my emotions during the spring of 2001, it would be a slowly declining spoke with a sudden spike in the middle of March. That spike represents my first trip to Hawaii, a place that would come to have great significance in my life even if I had no way of knowing it at the time. At this point, I desperately wanted a way to “rekindle” the fire that was rapidly dying out in my relationship with Sharon, and once the opportunity to visit a friend of hers in Hawaii came up, I held out a lot of hope that our time there together would revive our happiness.

In with the New:
Katy Hudson
Nicole C. Mullen
Linkin Park
Incubus
Tait
Andrew Peterson

It Was Worth a Try:
Skypark
Lee Ann Womack

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Divad’s Soundtrack #25: March-April 2000

For me, this was the soundtrack to identifying a depression and getting over it. There’s much more giddy joy than angst in this mix, and I think a lot of these songs got chosen, however corny some of them might sound nowadays, because I was excited to finally start feeling like myself again.

In with the New:
Beanbag
Fono
Mukala
Luna Halo
No Apples for Adam
Five O’Clock People

Out with the Old:
Pete Stewart (as a solo artist – appears later with Tait)
The Insyderz
Chasing Furies

It Was Worth a Try:
Ghoti Hook
Raze

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Divad’s Soundtrack #24: January-February 2000

The first mix of the new millennium. No wait, that technically started in 2001! OK, so… the first mix of the 2000s, a decade that would radically alter my outlook on life, and accordingly, my taste in music.

In with the New:
Weird Al Yankovic
Creed

Out with the Old:
Plankeye

It Was Worth a Try:
Believable Picnic

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Divad’s Soundtrack #23: October-December 1999

Things finally started to stabilize as 1999 drew to a close, but even as I startled to settle into the “normal adult world”, I still felt a lot of pressure and this sense of time running out, as if I would be old and have missed out on most of my life before I had a chance to realize what was going on. I felt like my prayers about how I’d be provided for were being answered, and yet I couldn’t calm down and be at peace despite no longer having the job search looming over my head. I think I had just been used to the stress for so long that my system had adopted worry as my default mood. Now I needed to figure out how to get out of that mode and learn to enjoy life again, which wouldn’t happen until midway through the following year.

In with the New:
Pete Stewart (as a solo artist – appears earlier with Grammatrain)
The Insyderz

Out with the Old:
Plaid
The Waiting

It Was Worth a Try:
FFH

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Divad’s Soundtrack #22: August-September 1999

This is the soundtrack from my “poor days” – I left camp in July with a sense of a dream and a calling, and got hit with harsh reality in August (relationship troubles) and September (a frantic and seemingly fruitless job search that made me face the reality than I was running out of money with no one to fall back on). It was one of the most difficult and scary periods of my life, but looking back, I can see the seeds being planted which would blossom into the things I’m now comfortable with and thankful for as part of my adult life.

In with the New:
Chasing Furies
LaRue
Massivivid

Out with the Old:
SonicFlood
Lloyd
Eric Champion
This Train
Silage

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Divad’s Soundtrack #18: October-December 1998

I’ll warn you ahead of time that a lot of the songs on this mix, and their reasons for being there, are exceptionally mushy ones. October 1998 was when Sharon and I “officially” started our relationship, and to someone who had never been in a serious relationship before, that rocked my world. Seems strange, reminiscing about those days now when I’m married to someone else. But it’s not about wanting those days back; it’s about realizing how those events contributed to making me the person I am today. My ex is also married now (to the guy who, ironically, had broken up with her in January 1998, which kind of led her to her initial interest in me as I tried to console her as a friend), and I think what she and I experienced together was a building block in terms of helping us both sort out what we wanted in a mate. As Lina once told me, you always remember your first love. I’d rather remember the wisdom we both gleaned from our time together, rather than being bitter and wanting to erase that portion of my life.

In with the New:
Burlap to Cashmere
The Echoing Green
This Train
Michelle Tumes

Out with the Old:
Grammatrain
4Him
Fold Zandura
Mayfair Laundry

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Divad’s Soundtrack #16: May-July 1998

The original cassette version of this mix ended up being the very last thing played in the tape deck of my old Neon in 2005, while I was driving it down to the Toyota dealership to trade it in for a Corolla. The tape was made the same year that the Neon was – in the summer of 1998. This was a very uncertain time, when I was on the verge of making an important decision that would profoundly influence the next few years of my life. That summer, I was living in an apartment in Boyle Heights with some InterVarsity friends and leaders in an experiment called “La Vida Juntos” – basically an unofficial urban mission where we simply learned to live in a poorer community, to influence and be influenced by the people there. At least, that was the idea. Personally, I spent most of my time avoiding the neighbors due to my inherent distrust of strangers, being holed up in my room with music and my journal, or chatting over Telnet with a “special someone”. It wasn’t an easy summer – four guys and four girls sharing two apartments got to feel a little crowded after a while, especially one weekend when I found out we would have no power until Monday. I wasn’t the most cooperative or helpful person to live with, and I was kind of in my own little world, mostly consumed with the task of figuring out how I truly felt about Sharon. Had I known that I would get myself into a relationship that would end in heartbreak three years later, I probably would have passed on it, but you know what, God taught me a lot as I learned to open my heart up in that way for the first time. Sometimes it’s the beauty of a transition into the unknown that really makes me look back and realize how alive a certain period of my life felt. I just never realized it at the time.

In with the New:
Model Engine
Mayfair Laundry

Out with the Old:
Zilch
The Electrics

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