The Music I Listened to in 2018 (#24-1)

In 2018, I listened to over 1,700 different musicians (and +10k unique songs) on Spotify. My last post broke down the artists that made up my top 50-25. Here’s the rest of what I listened to the most in 2018: 24. The Roots There’s probably nothing I could say about The Roots that I (or a bunch of other people) haven’t already said. BUT – this year I saw Black Thought’s unbelievable TEN MINUTE LONG freestyle on YouTube, and it was like I was hearing someone invent rap all over again for the first time – HE’S TOO GOOD. Watch it. 23. Thelonius Monk I’m certain there are enough Monk recordings out there for real jazz students to make a career out of knowing it all, but my listening has been comprised of just two albums: “Alone in Paris” and “Piano Solos.” The material is similar – both include “Round …

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The Music I Listened to in 2018 (#50-25)

In 2018, I listened to over 1,700 different musicians (and +10k unique songs.) At that scale, this list of my top 50 artists only represents about 3% of the total that I heard. So what the hell are numbers worth, anyway? As much as you can learn from recorded statistics and quantification, some of the most essential things in life will still slip through, uncaptured. When it comes to music listening, that means: a Blues Traveler radio sing-along in my wife’s car; the walk-up music just before a home run at Nationals Park; hours of spinning A Charlie Brown Christmas on vinyl. Spotify doesn’t know about or remember any of those moments, but I do. Likewise, some of the best concert performances I saw this year – Florence & The Machine, Snarky Puppy, and the Wu-Tang Clan – were by artists who aren’t on my ‘most listened’ list, but who …

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The Music I Listened to in 2017 (#50-25)

A long while ago, the painter Paul Gauguin wrote: “To be an honest critic, one must not love.” So maybe writing this post makes me dishonest, but I’ll take the risk: I’ve put together a list of the top 50 musicians that I loved in 2017. This is the time of year when all the critics start listing things. The top ten this and the top twenty that. I listened to Rolling Stone’s ‘Top 50 Albums of 2017’ podcast a few days ago and caught the bug. I’m going to borrow their format, but they can keep their judgments and assumptions about how the newest things matter the most. Unlike them, there is nothing timely about these rankings. Many of the artists had nothing to do with the year 2017. Look for the zeitgeist somewhere else. I listened to 544.66 hours of music on Spotify this year – about 13 …

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two Sundays in Sydney

Sunday, Sept. 22 Calexico, the American alt-rock band, performed at the Sydney Opera House. Like most tourists in the city for the first time, I might have been content to watch someone scrub the stage with a mop just to get a glimpse of the inside of one of the world’s most fascinating structures. Thankfully, Calexico, a band I enjoy very much, brought their drums and guitars and saved the janitorial staff from the task of entertaining me. Last year, I was introduced to Calexico’s funky blend of rock and traditional Mexican folk music by their performance on the Austin City Limits TV series. At the Opera House, they sounded great, and were enhanced by the building’s superior acoustical design. What surprised me, from my seat in the furthest row back from the stage, was how sedated the crowd was. When I’ve seen videos of Calexico performing elsewhere, it’s clear …

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