(As recollected in 2019, by a shaky 51-year-old, who stopped consistently updating her blog…a decade ago! HA!) It turns out my last annual post of favorite tunes was in…2008. It’s almost like I planned this. HA!
2009: (I posted monthly reviews of all the tunes I bought in 2009…finishing those posts in 2010 ha.)
Favorite albums: Looking over the albums I purchased in 2009, what stands out to me are Empty Orchestra “Here Lies Empty Orchestra” and the Avett Brothers “I and Love and You”. Also loved Pete Yorn “Back and Fourth” but less so in retrospect (I still listen to the other two). I was a big fan of Matt Hires “Take Us to the Start”, his voice is so unique, try “Honey, Let Me Sing You a Song” and “Perfect Day” and see what you think. I loved Great Lake Swimmers “Lost Channels” and Shwayze “Let It Beat” (I know, his songs are ridiculous but I love (LOVE) both the Shwayze albums I own). I listened to MGMT “Oracular Spectacular” all the time.
Favorite songs not on those albums: Frightened Rabbit “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”; I still constantly listen to two Greg Laswell songs from the EP he released that year (or that I bought that year, whichever) “This Woman’s Work” and “Ghost”. This was the winter I listened to “Jai-Ho!” incessantly (from the Slum-Dog Millionaire soundtrack).
Favorite albums: Band of Horses “Infinite Arms” had so many good songs on it, I just cannot turn off “Compliments” if it comes up on shuffle; I loved the soundtracks to Whip It! and Crazy Heart (both awesome movies!); and the self-titled Head and the Heart album was on heavy rotation.
Favorite songs not on those albums: I kept listening to an older song “Hurricane Glass” by Catherine Feeny; the clappy clap “I Hope This Gets to You” by the Daylights; I loved loved loved a LOT of the covers they did on Glee, particularly “One Of Us”, and “What It Feels Like for a Girl” (sung by the boys); “This Charming Life” by Joan Armatrading from the Sons of Anarchy soundtrack (I liked a lot of songs they featured on the show!); “Love the Way You Lie” Rihanna and Eminem, omg, swoontastic, love this song, love this video, have listened to it and/or watched it 9 bajillion times at least; “Airplanes” by B.o.B and Haley Williams; and it seems like I listened to a LOT of singles that year, so… I’ll leave it at that.
Favorite albums: Bon Iver! (self-titled) The first one, I think. Oh, wow. I was still really listening to a lot of French rap back then and I loved Disiz La Peste “Les Histoires Extraordinaire d’un Jeune de Banlieu” (technically a 2005 release but 2011 is when I got it); I loved Wiz Khalifa’s album “Rolling Papers (ridiculous) and Matt Kearny “Young Love” from which basically every song should be a single (“Sooner or Later” and “Down” are both 100% irresistible). My favorite band from junior high randomly released an album this year: The Cars “Move Like This” !!! How…cray.
Favorite songs not on those albums: “Pumped Up Kicks” Foster the People (!!! love this song still); “We Found Love” Rihanna and Calvin Harris; “I’m His Girl” Friends and “Hey Boy” Magic Kids are a fun combo ; the 2007 song “Weighty Ghost” by Wintersleep was in heavy, heavy rotation, also “Marcy’s Song” the 1964 original and then the cover by John Hawkes for that icky movie I can’t remember the name of.
Favorite albums: Oh yes, Chiddy-Bang “Breakfast” a great album!! I also was super into Kishi Bashi “151A”; Of Monsters and Men “My Head Is an Animal”; and Great Lake Swimmers “New Wild Everywhere”.
Favorite songs not on those albums: “For Your Glory” Hayden Panettiere from the Nashville soundtrack, from the episode where she sings in a church; “Same Love” (feat Mary Lambert) from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis was huge that year but I also loved “Thrift Shop”; I was really into Tyler Ramsey‘s 2010 song “A Long Dream”; a teenybopper single “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, ha; “Steal Back” from Aunt Martha, a lovely jangly tune; and a country ballad “I’ve Got a Name” Jim Croce.
Favorite albums: When I look at the many albums I bought in 2013, there really isn’t one jumping out at me as OH I STILL LISTEN TO THIS ALL THE TIME the way there are in some years. I did like the self-titled Beyonce album; San Fermin put out a good (self-titled) album, featuring at the time I believe the voices of Lucius who then also put out their own album “Wildewoman”; I know I spent a lot of time listening to The Head and the Heart “Let’s Be Still” and Kasey Musgraves “Same Trailer Different Park” (aw man, “Follow Your Arrow” is just irresistible!!).
Favorite songs not on those albums: Phosphorescent “Song for Zula” was the soundtrack of 2013 for me; I also loved Ben Harper “Amen Omen” (forever and ever, not a song from 2013 but that’s when I was listening to it); “Wake Me Up” Avicci, which played at every single workout class Hannah Anderson and I went to that summer; this was also the summer of “Blurred Lines” (Robin Thicke yuck, NOT a fave, but definitely something that got stuck in your head b/c it was playing everystupidwhere), “Get Lucky” (Daft Punk) and “Lose Yourself to Dance” (also Daft Punk); “I’m a Girl” Hayden Panettiere from the Nashville soundtrack; “Never Let Me Go” an 2011 song from Florence and the Machine.
Favorite albums: My favorite 2014 album was the swoontastic Lo Fang “Blue Film”. Oh man, that album. Turn off the lights, turn up the volume, thank me later. I also loved Sturgill Simpson‘s (debut, I think?) “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”; Sylvan Esso‘s self-titled debut; Taylor Swift “1989”, whatever you think of her, that is a solid collection of songs; and Bastille “Bad Blood” a moody beyatch of an album that’s just gorgeous. Similarly beautiful and moody was “Mirror” from Robots Don’t Sleep and those are about as close to techno as I’ll ever get! There was also something just smile-inducing about revisiting all the golden oldies on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, although it will never stop pissing me off that the album isn’t in the order they were played in the movie (I obviously had to rearrange them on my own playlist).
Favorite songs not on those albums: A good ole jingly jangle “The Heart” by NEEDTOBREATHE (why is that the… never mind); all the songs Keira Knightley has on the Begin Again soundtrack, particularly “Like a Fool”; Sam Hunt “Break Up in a Small Town” ouch, so so so so much truth in these lyrics; and “It Ain’t Yours to Throw Away” Sam Palladio from the Nashville soundtrack. (I really love(d) a lot of the music from that show.)
Favorite albums: Oh man this was the year of Troye Sivan “Blue Neighborhood” which I listened to nonstop for months on end, I also went to see him live (by myself, near my birthday) and was the oldest person in the audience by probably 30 years. This was also the year the Hamilton Soundtrack entered my life, my other favorite album, and soon after the life of everyone who knows me as I passed it on to friend after friend after friend after friend… (I’m still passing Hamilton on to everyone I know; last year one of my classes read a biography of Hamilton while I simultaneously introduced them to the soundtrack and, of course, singing along!). I also loved Bon Iver “For Emma, Forever Ago” and Kate Tempest “Everybody Down” and Ryan Adams full-album cover of Tyler Swift’s “1989” made me pretty happy.
Favorite songs not on those albums: Low “What Part of Me” remains one of my all-time favorite songs, I could put in on repeat and listen to nothing else for days; Aloe Blacc “The Man” so damn catchy; Rixton “Me and My Broken Heart”; a Furious 7 feature “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa (I can play this song on ukulele, I love it that much); “Beautiful Day” by Joshua Radio and Sheryl Crow.
Favorite albums: Obviously my favorite album of 2016 was Beyonce “Lemonade”, nothing else really held a candle to Queen Bey. I still haven’t stopped listening to A Tribe Called Quest “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service”, which is also truly a masterpiece, maybe a little less fun but such a huge political statement. It’s also an album you have to be very careful about accidentally singing along with, isn’t it!?!?! (“We the People” is SO catchy and so…not a song you want to absentmindedly singing along to.) This is a much quieter selection but I also loved Passenger “Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea”.
Favorite songs not on those albums: Looking at my iTunes playlist, I feel like I listened to more singles in 2016 than albums. My very favorite single was “Starboy” from The Weeknd (swoontastic). Some other faves were “Me, Myself and I” by G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha; “Si Tu No Estas” by Nicky Jam (this seems to be the year my students started getting me into reggaeton, specifically, and Spanish language tunes, more generally); I listened to Maggie Rogers “Alaska” nonstop (which reappears in 2019 when her full album finally came out!); Margaret Glaspy “You and I”; Lizzo “Good as Hell” (another artist that would blow up 2019); “Sugar (feat Francesco Yates)” by Robin Shultz (that driving beat, yo); “One Call Away” Charlie Puth (yup, I’m still susceptible to totally cheesy teenybopper songs); the Ashanti/Ja Rule cover of “Helpless” from The Hamilton Mixtape; and some goofy students totally had me playing “Price Tag” by Jessie J, which was released in 2011.
Favorite albums: My very top album of 2017 was Kendrick Lamar “Damn” without a doubt. I had bought the Butterfly album previously but “Damn” was when I really fell under Lamar’s spell. Other faves were The National “Sleep Well Beast”; and I really liked Rostam “Half Light” even though it’s not something I would likely say was “my style” so to speak.
Favorite songs not on those albums: “Good Life” by G-Eazy and Kahlini (from the Fates of the Furious soundtrack, doh!); Shawn Mendes “Mercy” (the acoustic version); “Si Tu La Ves” by Nicky Jam; “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran; “Body Like a Back Road” Sam Hunt; and the ubiquitous “I Can’t Keep Quiet” from The Faithful Choir (made famous by the Women’s March).
Favorite albums: My very favorite album was the boygenius EP, which I liked better than any of those artists’ solo albums; I also liked Kylie Minogue “Golden” and Meg Myers “Take Me to the Disco”; the sappy, sweet and yet irresistible Matt Nathanson “Sings His Sad Heart”; and Rosalia “El Mal Querer”, which I didn’t even get until December, go watch the videos, they’re just wowza.
Favorite songs not on those albums: “Black Beatles” by The Mayries, a song from 2017 that I listened to in 2019!; Kasey Musgraves “Slow Burn” (there are others I like on that album, but I wasn’t as wowed by the overall project as most people).
If that’s not enough for you, in 2018, I actually posted a month-by-month review of the music I bought, something I probably hadn’t done…in a decade!
Favorite albums: Maggie Rogers “Heard It in a Past Life” was my favorite album this year, without question. Runners up were J.S. Ondara “Tales of America”, G-Flip “About Us”, and Lizzo “Cuz I Love You”.
Favorite songs not from those albums: “Fingers” by Zayn (something about the very first moments in that song really, really reminds me of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”); “Happier” by Bastille & Marshmello; “Here Right Now” by Joshua Radin, has that man ever made a song I don’t love?; and “Crowded Table” by The Highwomen.