Obsessive Year-End List Fest 2016: Favorite Songs

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.)

Continue reading

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool: Everything in its place, right?

2016_Radiohead_AMoonShapedPool

Artist: Radiohead
Album: A Moon Shaped Pool
Year: 2016
Grade: B-

In Brief: More surprising than its sudden release is the overall down-tempo, relaxed nature of the music throughout most of this record. At times the moods and sentiments are vintage Radiohead, but the heavy emphasis on acoustic instruments and string arrangements are definitely more understated territory than the band unusually inhabits. The King of Limbs may have had a more exciting sound, but this feels much more like a complete, fully thought-through album.

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

Divad’s Soundtrack #46: September-October 2003

The fall of 2003 was quite possibly the most turbulent couple of months I’d been through since the summer and fall of 2001. While there were enjoyable occasions – a bit of traveling here, a few concerts there, and lots of time spent with our new Sedaqah Group – I could tell that a difficult decision might be looming ahead of me.

In with the New:
Anberlin
Cool Hand Luke
Mat Kearney

Out with the Old:
Sandra McCracken

Listen on Spotify:

Continue reading