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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Cary's Year End 2017 Music List

I know I'm going to lose some of you right off the bat with this post.  If you don't read any further than this, then let me just say that my favorite album of the year was released in 2011 and I only just heard it for the first time in August.

Nicole Atkins - Mondo Amore

I've played the absolute shit out of this one.  Her new album Goodnight Rhonda Lee is also fantastic.  Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.  

You can find it (and samples of all the others on this list) on YouTube if you're interested in taking a commitment-free listen.

For those of you in for the long haul, on to the real post:

When it comes to music, books and movies, my favorite time of year is probably the end of December.  It's a time when everyone begins publishing their "Best Of" lists in every genre and that means I spend the next month or two catching up on things I've missed.  Those of you who know me, know that I'm an addict when it comes to new music.  Something climbed into my bloodstream at the age of twelve and it's never released its grip (and to be fair, I've never honestly tried to kick it).

So with that in mind, here's my own list of what grabbed my ears in 2017.  I'm only listing a few in each genre because otherwise this would get way too long.  Also, you'll see some genres not represented because I didn't discover anything new that I loved (Blues and Jazz... I'm looking at you) and one genre is on here that you probably never thought I would ever list (K-pop). 

Here we go!


There's more great music coming out of the Americana genre than any other right now and it's without a doubt more "country" than what passes for country these days.  All three of these are fantastic albums, but Jason Isbell's "If We Were Vampires" is the most achingly beautiful heartbreak of a song I've heard in years.  It's about the sadness and terror of being truly in love.  The guy is a master.

  1. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound
  2. Whitney Rose - Rule 62
  3. Old 97’s – Graveyard Whistling 

Indie/Whatever you want to call it

I'd actually say that The xx's I See You sits in my top three favorite albums of the year. There has not been a week that's gone by where "On Hold" hasn't gotten stuck in my head at some point.  

  1. The xx - I See You
  2. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
  3. London Grammar - Truth is a Beautiful Thing 


It's not often that one of your favorite bands of all time comes out with a stunner late in their career.  It's also unheard of that it would literally be the 100th album release by that band's main songwriter, but that's exactly what Robert Pollard did this year with Guided By Voices' August By Cake.  I've had "5 Degrees On The Inside" on heavy rotation since the beginning of summer.

  1. Guided By Voices - August By Cake
  2. Cheap Trick - We're All Alright!
  3. Chuck Berry - Chuck


I'm not exactly sure where I first came across this new album by Elder.  I'd never heard of them before this year and I'm pretty sure I just stumbled on them, but Reflections of a Floating World is a masterpiece of progressive metal.  The shortest of its six tracks clocks in at over eight and a half minutes so it's not something to put on unless you're ready to commit, but trust me when I say committing is not a bad thing.

  1. Elder - Reflections of a Floating World
  2. Mastodon - Emperor of Sand
  3. Electric Wizard - Wizard Bloody Wizard


I know what you're thinking, but I should tell you now that my 15-year-old daughter listens to k-pop constantly.  I'm too old to get righteously angry over a genre I despise.  Instead, I set my "completely indifferent" ray on stun and blast myself thoroughly in the face until each song is over.  The only one that cut through my defenses was this one.  It's got an insanely catchy whistling melody in part of it.  The song actually sounds like someone wrote three songs and mashed them up, but fortunately two of the three pieces are like ear worms that burrow into your brain.

  1.  BlackPink - "Whistle"

New To Me

These are albums I'd never heard before that overtook my iPod at various times this year.  As mentioned above, without a doubt my favorite album discovery of the entire year was Nicole Atkins' Mondo Amore.  There are so many good songs on here with my favorites being "My Baby Don't Lie" and "Vultures".  Please, please, please check her music out.

Also, the only jazz album on any of my lists sits here after I spent a good part of January listening to Miles Davis albums I'd never heard before.  The result was finding an album that I truly loved.  

The third entry comes thanks to an episode of Rick and Morty.  Chaos Chaos' "Do You Feel It?" became a household favorite for a few weeks.

  1. Nicole Atkins - Mondo Amore
  2. Miles Davis - Sorcerer
  3. Chaos Chaos - Committed to the Crime

And in the interest of transparency here's the ten most frequently played songs on my iPod in 2017.  Not sure why Jenny O. placed so high but "Well OK Honey" does seem to get rotated into a bunch of mixes when I'm on random shuffle.  I'm not complaining.

  1. Well OK Honey – Jenny O.   (36 plays)
  2. Ever South – Drive-By Truckers   (31 plays)
  3. Number Thirteen – Red Fang  (31 plays)
  4. Do You Feel It – Chaos Chaos  (31 plays)
  5. On Hold - The xx  (30 plays) 
  6. Same to You – Lydia Loveless  (30 plays)
  7. Vultures – Nicole Atkins  (30 plays)
  8. 5 Degrees on the Inside – Guided By Voices (30 plays)
  9. Beautiful – The Lemonheads  (29 plays)
  10. My Baby Don't Lie - Nicole Atkins (29 plays)


Lisanne Harrington said...

Never really been into music, but I do have a question. What the heck is k-pop??

Cary said...

It's Korean pop music. Basically just all-boy or all-girl bands like the ones that took over American radio in the late-90's early 2000's, except Korean. The biggest difference aside from the language is that they tend to mash up more genres in their songs and have insanely well choreographed dance moves. My daughter (and to some degree my wife) have become obsessed with them, so I've been around it a lot. With the exception of "Whistle", I don't like any of it enough to bring it up on my iPod myself. Also, I have no idea what the hell the lyrics are about except for the parts that are rapped in English.