Tool – Fear Inoculum: Warriors Struggling to Remain Consequential

Artist: Tool
Album: Fear Inoculum
Year: 2019
Grade: C+

In Brief: I hate to be so ho-hum about a band’s first album back after a 13-year hiatus, but Tool is far more simmer than boil on this one. The band’s jammy, exploratory side has taken over, but their ability to be hard-hitting and thought-provoking has mostly taken a back seat to their insatiable need to drag every track out to 10+ minutes. It’s exhausting, and not in the immersive and fascinating way that Lateralus once was.

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Obsessive Year-End List Fest 2019: Favorite Songs

2019 was a weird year for me, in terms of the music I enjoyed most. A lot of artists put out genuinely great singles, only to follow them up with lackluster albums, EPs as stopgaps between albums, or really nothing at all. It’s a good thing I was following all of my favorite artists on Spotify, as well as some newer ones I was curious to hear more from, or else I might have not heard a good quarter of this list until 2019, if ever. Usually the vast majority of my Top 100 songs for the year comes from my favorite albums released that year, with some spillover from the year before. While that’s still true in 2019, it’s worth noting that nearly a tenth of my list this time comes from EPs or compilations rather than albums, and close to another tenth of the list is made up of non-album singles, that have yet to be attached to a larger collection of songs (assuming that will ever happen at all). While this speaks to the ability of many of my favorite artists to strike while the iron is hot in terms of getting new music out, it also worries me slightly where the longevity of the album format is concerned. But that’s an issue to discuss when I get to my list of Favorite Albums for the year. My Favorite Songs list, while eclectic and probably whiplash-inducing at certain points, definitely required some tough decision-making because there were so many great songs that spoke to me this year. At the end of the day, whether a song is part of a larger narrative or not, that’s really all that matters – whether the song stands out to me as unique in some way, and makes me want to keep coming back to listen to it over and over again. And everything on this list passed that test with flying colors!

As I do each year, I’ll give some insight into my reasons for picking the Top 30, and you can assume after that point that the ordering is somewhat arbitrary. Many of these songs (limit one per artist) are collected in my 2019 in a Nutshell playlist over on Spotify.

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The Best of the Ought Nots, Part V: 1-20

We’ve reached the end of the list now. These are the albums that represent the cream of the crop in the ginormous stack of CDs I’ve accumulated over the last ten years – the heart and soul of the things that get me most excited about music.

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Divad’s Soundtrack #62: May-June 2006

One of my favorite memories from the early years of our marriage is all the places Christine, who was still relatively new to Southern California and seeing it through different eyes than I always had, found for us to explore together. For some reason I seem to romanticize the idea of exploration, of filling in a previously unknown spot on the map that most of the people you know might not know anything about, and sharing that new experience together. Ten years later, I still haven’t lost my excitement about that, but new places like those have become harder to find, so I tend to look back with fond nostalgia at the “innocence” of finding out for the first time that some of these beautiful places were tucked away, far from the typical overcrowded tourist spots.

In with the New:
The Violet Burning
Rosanne Cash
Belle & Sebastian

Out with the Old:
Shaun Groves
Tool
The Corrs
Charlie Hall
Dean Gray

Listen on Spotify:

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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

Listen on Spotify:

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Divad’s Soundtrack #35: November-December 2001

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:
Corrinne May
Stabbing Westward
Steve
Kepano Green

Out with the Old:
Nicole C. Mullen

Listen on Spotify:

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