Artist: Out of the Grey Album: A Little Light Left Year: 2015 Grade: B
In Brief: While it’s quite different from the glossy, catchy and quirky pop tunes of their 90s heyday, Out of the Grey has created a mellow and mostly acoustic record that feels authentic to who they are now. It’s not so much a comeback as it is a welcome visit from old friends you haven’t seen in ages.
I don’t like a lot of hodgepodge in my year-end lists of favorite albums. But sometimes the good songs don’t end up on full-length LPs, or else they do and I just don’t discover them in time to put them on that year’s list. This is where all of that stuff goes.
The final days of 2016 are upon us, and that can only mean one thing – it’s time for some long lists that try (perhaps in vain) to sum up the best music I was listening to this year. As always, I’ll start with the individual songs that stood out to me the most. The in-depth reasons why I love these songs so much are mostly spelled out in the album reviews I’ve linked to from here, but in addition to the usual video evidence, I’ve also included a quick blurb for each of the Top 30 entries, just to keep it from being a long list with no explanation whatsoever, I guess.
I’ve also made a Spotify playlist that collects a lot of these highlights, if you’d like to spend a few hours following along. (That one’s ordered more as I discovered the songs, not so much how I’d rank them now, and it’s limited to one track per artist.)
As 2001 drew to a close, I found myself experiencing a rebirth of sorts, finally feeling plugged into a church, and really making friends who I could talk to about important, personal matters. I joined a Neighborhood Sedaqah Group (Evergreen’s term for a weekly Bible Study) in Pasadena and finally felt like part of a community.
In with the New:
Lots of turmoil and fear were packed into these few months – not just for me, but for a lot of Americans. There would be no clever plans, no “getting away from it all” – no options other than faith to get me through uncertain times. Yet, the common fears that many of us shared were probably what made it seem more natural for folks to find reassurance in baring their souls to one another, so it was easier during this segment of my life to be more of an “extrovert” and hit the ground running in a lot of new friendships. These were the first few months in which I truly got involved in the new church I’d been attending for the better part of the year. Some of the people I met and shared my hurts and fears with in those days are still good friends now, almost a decade later.
This is the dreaded “post-breakup” mix. It’s actually one of my favorites, because while I could have taken it in an unapologetically depressed and angry direction (and I did give into those emotions here and there), there’s actually a sense of hope and even a slight hint of excitement at the chance to start over that emerges as the second disc winds down. Even in my darkest hour, I was somehow convinced that there would be better days ahead.
In with the New:
Out with the Old: