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).

Continue reading

The Best of 2010: Contra to the Suits’ opinions, This Is What Was Happening

Is it just me, or did the year 2010 did just fly right on by? Usually that’s the sign of a good year, one so packed with exciting adventures that you just can’t seem to capture the time and get it to stand still. But it’s actually been a difficult one for me, a fact which may be reflected in a lot of my personal playlists from the last twelve months. Good music seemed to come out of the nooks and crannies as it does most years, but for a while, it seemed like a lot of the greatest stuff was eluding me. But that which seemed depressing at first became a place of solace during a hard year, and that which was happy became an inspiration to live a life worthy of the soundtrack. So my Top 10 list this year, while it follows my usual habit of emphasizing what I enjoyed listening to over what the critics or the general public or anyone else thought, seems to carry a little bit of extra personal weight, as I found so many moments of joy in absorbing it and in sharing it with other people. Music as a facilitator for community has always been one of my passions, and it’s because of this that I continue to expend so much energy writing about it for the handful of people who will actually read any portion of my long-winded articles.

Continue reading

Divad’s Soundtrack #73: March-April 2008

As always, it’s interesting to look back on these homemade compilations many years later and see if any themes emerge. The spring of 2008 was a pretty happy time in my life, so these songs aren’t tied to personal experiences per se. But I can tell that I was mulling over some heavier themes. Like what God would have to say about American Christianity’s relationship to the rest of the world. Or how I would know as a parent when to protect a child from experiencing emotional pain and when to let them go ahead and learn the lesson on their own. Or whether love was more of a feeling or a conscious choice. Or the joy of a two-minute punk song. (That last one’s not a particularly heavy theme. It was just a fun observation.)

In with the New:
The Myriad
Drive-By Truckers
Vampire Weekend

Out with the Old:
Fono
Olivia the Band
Andrea Corr (as a solo artist – appears later with The Corrs)
Corrinne May

Listen on Spotify:

Continue reading

Divad’s Soundtrack #72: January-February 2008

Not having seen Christine’s parents since late 2006, we took an “off-season vacation” in late January/early February to go back to Oahu and visit them. This was a much cheaper trip than usual – no side journeys to outlying islands or overnights in Waikiki hotels or anything like that. Just low-key relaxation in suburban Mililani – and of course the usual driving around and exploring the island that I can never resist doing. Most of these songs aren’t tied to memories of that trip in the direct sense, but any good vacation offers its fair share of moments to pause, take in the peace of a beautiful place far from home, and reflect on personal issues I’m dealing with at that point in time, ways that my beliefs and passions are being shaped and challenged, etc. Listening to this batch of songs ten years later, it’s pretty clear that I was on the verge of some of those changes.

In with the New:
Arcade Fire
Edison Glass
Fauxliage
Jon Foreman (as a solo artist – appears earlier with Switchfoot)

Out with the Old:
Matchbox Twenty
Wavorly
Chris Rice

Listen on Spotify:

Continue reading

Divad’s Soundtrack #71: November-December 2007

2007 was the rare year where I actually embraced and enjoyed the winter season, as evidenced by the Christmas and winter-themed songs that dominate the end of Disc Two. Southern California winters are not known for being snowy, but there’s winter imagery to be found if you’re looking for it. As a deliberate contrast, the first several songs on Disc One are dominated by the theme of fire. Because, unfortunately, wildfires are a common feature of California autumns.

Out with the Old:
Luna Halo

Listen on Spotify:

Continue reading

Divad’s Soundtrack #70: September-October 2007

Christine and I were just insatiable when it came to traveling in 2007. Perhaps it was the sense that we figured at the time we might start a family soon, and that we should get the exploring out of our systems while we still could. As it turned out, that goal was a lot further off than either of us could have anticipated at the time. We needed the time, not just to explore the grand sights and backroads of California together, but to more fully explore and understand each other, too.

In with the New:
The Polyphonic Spree

Listen on Spotify:

Continue reading