Spotify's "Your Top Songs of 2017" and more aka... I can't believe this year has passed me by aka... concussions suck...

Holy shit, it's almost 2018...  Let's recap this crazy year, in music of course...




Honestly (as if I've ever been anything less than honest with you people), the Packers probably had no business taking this game.  The "Battle of the Bays" was won by defense, special teams, some new plays and some lucky bounces.  I was texting my brother the entire game "we'll win if we just don't throw it."  This became the "just don't throw it" game.  Every first down, every third down, every big play "just don't throw it" showed up on my phone, either from Jobe or to Jobe from me.  It was our rallying cry, and... it fucking worked!  That Williams kid is a beast and had some 2013-2014 Lacy-esque, I'm-fucking-tougher-than-you big boy runs, like his touchdown carry.  And, of course, Aaron Jones, the rookie sensation who somehow is back only two weeks after hurting his knee, had one run for twenty yards, and, oh yeah, the fucking game winning score.  I love those kids and they're only going to get better...


For anyone who didn't know how brilliant Kenny Clark has been playing this year and was questioning Clay Matthews III and his abilities/impact, welcome back to the real world.  4 1/2 sacks between them, and an unreal impact on the running game.  Those kids just fucking know how to play ball.  I know people complain about Clay and his seemingly annual ailments but injuries happen and  we shouldn't hold it against him; though I do believe health is a skill, just look at Brett Favre.  Also, I remember Reggie White playing with a torn knee ligament and destroying the Bears after they tried to cut-block him on like the second snap or something, which fucking pissed him off, and he played the rest of the game like a hungry lion who only ate quarterbacks and running backs.  I can't remember who, but someone this week got a sack off the "hump move" which I haven't seen for years.  I don't know how a move could be so devastating yet so unachievable by anyone else.  Goddamn, Reggie was special.  Wait, he was a preacher, so I'll rephrase "man, Reggie was special."  God bless him and God rest his soul.  Truly one of a kind...  Anyhow, on to the music.



I wasn't able to post this on Monday like normal due to being out of town (and busy) at a show.  My good friend Jonathan Fickes' band A View of Earth from the Moon had an album release show and party over the weekend which I was fucking thrilled to attend.  That man is true talent and I got to see, and smoke way too many cigarettes with, some old friends.  Life's journey is funny, but never as predictable it seems.  Anywhosal...


One of the only good things about the internet is Spotify.  I find more new music on there than anywhere else.  Tastemakers and aggregate websites seem to be a dying breed.  No one reliably tells me who is good and who isn't anymore, like Pitchfork used to (or B-Sides in Madison, WI, one of my all-time favorite record stores).  I spend more money on Spotify recommendations (yes, I still buy music.  Hello?  Independent/struggling artist) than on music from anywhere else.


But, one of my favorite things is when they send end of year playlists.  It's strange, and always surprising, to see what I listened to the most during the past year, so today I wanted to go over some of the highlights.  It's not what I expected but some strange events played into that, which I'll discuss.  Here are some of the songs I spun (nope, clicked) the most in 2017:

Courtney Marie Andrews - "Rookie Dreaming"


This song was high on the list from 2017 for two reasons:


1.  This is a phenomenal album that I could listen to front to back, many times over.

2.  I was forced to listen to this album front to back, many times over.


Why was I forced to listen to this album front to back, many times over?  That's a fair question.  Well, I heard "Not the End" on a Spotify playlist and listened to it over and over for an hour or so while driving.  Seeing as I had indulged in Courtney Marie Andrews' sweet melodies for that long, I purchased the album and popped it in for an upcoming five hour drive.  I brought along about five or six other CD's that I would switch out along the way but fate intervened.  As soon as I left Baker City, OR it began to snow.  As I approached La Grande, OR it began to snow, hard.  Soon, the freeways were being blocked off but I was already cruising.  I got stuck behind the snow plow trucks trying desperately to clear the roadways; at thirty miles per hour.  For the first six hours of my return trip, stuck behind those plows, the roads were still so treacherous that I was unable to change CD's as my car kept sliding around and I was trying desperately to not drive off one of the many cliffs I was passing.  So, for six hours straight I played "Honest Life" by Courtney on repeat, listening intently so I wouldn't notice my car sliding dangerously towards the edge, towards my impending death, time and time again, during what turned out to be my ten hour drive back to Portland.



Probably my favorite live show from 2017.  It's rare I get to just lose myself (in the music, the moment, you own it) and became an unabashed fan, yelling along to every word from the front of the pit with the other die-hards.  This show released my inner fan in a way I haven't experienced since watching maybe Ryan Adams, the Hold Steady, Jon Fickes (on Sunday) or Joanna Newsom (take your pick).


Land of Talk - "Loving"


Probably my second favorite live show from 2017.  There's just something about their albums "Life After Youth" and  "Some are Lakes" that just hit me where I need it.  Not sure exactly what it is, but I love it and want more of it.


Steve Forbert - "Romeo's Song"


I know I've posted this song before but it never gets any less impressive each time I listen to it.  Maybe Steve would never reach these heights again on a recording but, goddamn, did he nail it at least once on this beauty.  Also, I love the home movie style video linked above that has the "Classics Disco" tag in the corner...  Clearly shot when videographers thought VHS would supplant film in the movie world.  Boy, were they wrong...


Modern Baseball - "Wedding Singer"


I found this record last year and was moderately intrigued.  It popped back up on a Spotify playlist a few months later and I couldn't stop playing this on repeat.  Their incessant hipster-ing is borderline annoying but the tunes, especially this one, are just too good to hate.

Childish Gambino - "IV. Sweatpants"


Who knew an ex-writer from "30 Rock" had this in them?  Is he a brilliant MC?  No, but it's ridiculous and it's pure, silly fun.


Joan Shelley - "Cost of the Cold"


Couldn't find a decent live video for this one, but goddamn is this a beautiful song.  Again, Spotify said "Bradley, I think you're gonna like this shit muthafucker" and they were right.  The first time I heard this I was cleaning the house (which I do every Saturday) and played this song on repeat for the 1 1/2 hours it takes me to finish.  Almost every time, except for a couple moments when the vacuum was going, I found myself getting lost in the melodies and wonder of this song and completely forgetting that I was cleaning the fucking toilet or whatever.  I did this for three weeks straight, listening to this song probably, what is that, 70 times and never once got sick of it.  It landed on some playlists which pushed it up onto my 2017 most played tracks.

The Kinks - "Lola"


This one makes the list every year for sentimental reasons.  She knows why...


Bonus points since Ray Davies kind of looks like Casey Jones from the first Ninja Turtles movie in this video.


Paul Westerberg - "Things"


Again, no good live video but this song doesn't need any of my yammering or bullshit to make it brilliant.  Not sure why but "14 Songs" had a huge comeback this past year and I couldn't stop spinning, or clicking, or pushing the "track forward" button until #11 to hear this fucking song.

CHVRCHES - "We Sink"


Live from a stage I've graced more than once.  Fuck, is it just me or is the singer absurdly attractive?  It took until this past year to finally get on board with this band.  I can't remember why I wrote them off initially but I'm glad I gave them a second chance.  Damn, Scottish girls are hot...

Wesley Willis - "Rock N' Roll McDonalds"


I'll never forget the first time I heard this song and the asshole who played it for me.  He thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever heard.  He repeatedly called Wesley a retard and said this was the dumbest and most hilarious shit he'd ever heard.  It was obvious there was more going on and I was very interested in learning about Wesley.  I watched "The Daddy of Rock 'n' Roll" and my heart nearly exploded for this man.  His music never sounded the same to me after that.  All I hear now is the pain and the anger and the hurt and the love and the compassion and the desire and the beauty that isn't obviously clear.  Once I left my small town in southeastern Wisconsin, I found friends who felt the same and got this music for what it was:  tortured, more than anything else.


I don't know what else to say.  I could go on from my "Top Songs of 2017" playlist all night but these are the highlights.  Peace Bitches!


(dictated but not read.  Fuck, what do you expect?  It's goddamn 2:30 in the morning)