Music played a big part of my life in 2017. Well it does most years, but it felt more impactful (I had no idea that impactful isn’t a real word but I’m keeping it) this year when compared to others. Not only are there new album releases from my favorite bands, but I also got to see some bands live for the first, and sadly also last, time. The other thing that “impacted” my music appreciation this year was finally falling into the vinyl record trap I knew would snare me hard. I’m not an obsessive audiophile but I do appreciate listening to music loud, and the format is a perfect fit for my home listening habits.
This year I made my first mix tapes in over a decade for an ex-partner to share with her my favorite music, and I really enjoyed the process. So while reflecting on 2017 this past year I decided to make a Spotify playlist of my favorite music from the year. The playlist is embedded below or open it directly on Spotify. I also made a YouTube playlist for those without Spotify and put that below.
Scroll below and click CONTINUE READING to read some reasoning behind my selections.
Click CONTINUE READING to read some reasoning behind my selections.
I wanted to put more than one song from each artist/album but didn’t want it to get overblown. So I only allowed myself to kind of break that rule with one artist.
1. Sun in my Eyes – Lucky Boys Confusion
“The weight of the world doesn’t hurt my back like it used to. You could say the pain reminds me I’m alive.”
Lucky Boys Confusion is a local band from Chicago that I first discovered 19 years ago my freshman year of college. They have primarily been a touring band as of late, but finally put together a new album for the first time in eight years, Stormchasers, and I recommend it highly. This was my favorite song from it, which I explained in my earlier blog post.
2. Arrows – Foo Fighters
“Arrows in your eyes, fear where your heart should be.”
The Foo Fighters have always been a favorite band of mine since they formed. I was never a HUGE Nirvana fan but the sound and lyrics that Dave Grohl brought to the Foos always clicked with me. So I always look forward to new music from them but heard they were on hiatus.
Another favorite band of mine with a completely different style is The Bird and the Bee. What do they have in common you say? Well The Bird and Bee’s own Greg Kurstin outside of being a performer in the band is also a renowned music producer, winner of the Grammy for Producer of the Year Grammy this year actually.
Then when they announced a new album Concrete and Gold was not only completed but was also produced by Greg, imagine my excitement of the collaboration. It’s a great story that they made into a nice little “making of video”. The album is neck and neck for my favorite of the year. I can be found listening to it most days.
3. Less Than – Nine Inch Nails
“And you can always justify the missile trails across the sky again”
Always a big fan of Nine Inch Nails and they randomly dropped their new Add Violence EP along with this song which in the video was perfectly paired with the once fictional but made a reality game Polybius. According to Spotify this was my most played song of the year, but only because it can’t track me playing music on the iTunes Music App. Hope to see Nine Inch Nails release their next EP which is scheduled for release in 2018.
4. Take On Me (Unplugged) – A-ha
“It’s no better to be safe than sorry”
Take on Me has always been a favorite since I first saw the video for it on MTV in the 80s. I also love cover songs a favorite rendition of this song was done by Reel Big Fish. Imagine my surprise when I see on Facebook someone had shared a video of A-ha doing a haunting cover of their own song but unplugged and acoustic. Makes the song even better I feel.
5. Young Adult – Inara George
“Where is the line between all this joy and all this sorrow?
Who do you know that helps you get from here to there to tomorrow.”
Inara is the vocalist for the aforementioned Bird and the Bee. Her voice is magical and I’ve been dying for new Bird and the Bee music. So I was happy to see she started sharing songs from her upcoming new solo album that comes out in a few weeks. Young Adult really captures the Bird and the Bee vibe too, fun music and great introspective lyrics paired with her beautiful vocals.
6. No Stars – Rebekah Del Rio
“Under the starry night long ago
But now it’s a dream”
I get David Lynch, as much as he can ever be gotten. The man loves to share his favorite music along with his art to his audience. Throughout this new season of Twin Peaks he featured one live song performance each episode. Rebekah appears on screen decked out in a black chevron dress and sings this enchanting song that just floored me. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here on YouTube. Also yes that is Moby playing along with her.
I immediately wanted more of her music and went to Spotify to add her to listen to more of her stuff. The whole soundtrack album from Twin Peaks is great but this song was the standout to me due to not just it’s performance but also the lyrics itself which were co-written by David Lynch actually
7. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
“We come from the land of the ice and snow.
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land.”
I watched the Thor Ragnarok teaser so many times that this song itself may be the most listened to song of 2017. Plus never noticed how the song’s own lyrics spoil the movie slightly (the last line in the lyrics above.) The director Taika Waititi clearly had this in mind when he picked the song for his pitch of the movie.
8. Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears for Fears
“There’s a room where the light won’t find you
Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down
When they do I’ll be right behind you”
A long time Hall and Oates fan I finally got to see them live this spring along with another favorite Tears for Fears. That was such an incredible show to see both bands in one night.
9. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates
“’Cos I ain’t the way you found me
and I’ll never be the same”
See #8 but I picked this song because it’s easily my favorite. But I always have wondered if that’s because it sounds like the DuckTales Theme Song.
10. Last Dance With Mary Jane – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
“Buy me a drink, sing me a song
Take me as I come ’cause I can’t stay long”
So much to say here. Tom Petty announced a 40th Anniversary Tour back in late 2016 and me and my friends all leaped at seeing this legend play at the equally legendary Wrigley Field.
Almost 8 months later the concert finally happened and it was amazing. Even with the pouring rain. I walked out on a high and will remember that concert forever, especially since what happened later… (see #12)
11. More of You – Chris Stapleton
“Everything that you do
It makes me want more of you”
When Tom Petty announced he was coming to Wrigley Field I was not familiar with his opening act Chris Stapleton. A few months later I entered into a relationship with a woman who was a huge fan of his. She recommended some songs of his for me to listen to before the show. This song of his in particular stuck a chord with me, and to me will always remind me of her and how she made me feel.
Sadly Chris didn’t actually play this song at the concert, I remember telling her I was disappointed by that. I really wanted to hear it live.
12. I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty performed by Jason Aldean
“In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down”
October 2nd, 2017. What a day. We all woke up that day with the news of the Las Vegas shooting at the concert of country musician Jason Aldean and went to bed knowing we had lost rock legend Tom Petty. The rest of that week for me I was drowning myself in Tom Petty and Vegas shooting media trying to find a balance. At the end of the week on Saturday Night Live Jason Aldean opened the show cold with a performance of I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty. He found the balance and sent a powerful message that we won’t be terrorized.
13. Power of Love – Huey Lewis and the News
“It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes
but it might just save your life”
Another artist I was dying to see live sometime was Huey Lewis and the News. This year he also came to Wrigley Field so I had to be there. I grew up on Back to the Future so of course this song is the song I think of when I think of the movie and how it opens. Huey is still great live even to this day.
14. Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet
“Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
But I know it’s my own damn fault”
Huey was actually the opening act for Jimmy Buffet at Wrigley Field. Only could Jimmy Buffet convince Huey Lewis to open for them. What a show it was, a giant party with more beach balls being thrown around than I knew existed in the world. Also funny to see Huey get brain freeze when drinking a whole frozen margarita when he joined Jimmy Buffet on stage. I could totally see Jimmy Buffet again, if only to get a margarita.
15. Imagine covered by A Perfect Circle
“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one”
The last concert I saw this year was A Perfect Circle. I was hoping that they would play their cover of John Lennon’s Imagine, and they did.
This show was also important to me as it was one of the first concerts I went to after my back injury began to heal. I was unsure I could stand the entire time, and thankfully we had seats and not standing room only.I made it through with only a few times of having to sit.
16. BONUS: Total Eclipse of the Heart covered by The Dan Band
A fun little bonus is this song, a favorite cover of the song I heard SO MANY TIMES because of this year’s Total Solar Eclipse. Dan Band makes the song a lot more fun, you may remember them in the movie Old School as the wedding band.