As a listener, I'm pretty sure my musical taste peaked sometime around the second half of 2010. That's when my iPod hit the commercially ideal ratio of indie songs no one had heard of but everyone could enjoy, songs everyone had heard of but hadn't gotten tired of, and the Beatles. All of my friends wanted playlists. And with an iPod like that, well, hey, they practically made themselves!
But something seems to have happened since then. The ratios have gone pear-shaped. The pie chart has now shifted to something more like this.
My 2012 musical conversations are rather different than my 2010 conversations.
2010 MOM: This is a lovely song about parting and loss. Who is it?
2012 MOM: I just walked into your office and a man in your speakers suggested that I "get crunk?"
Lover didn't even know what getting crunk entailed. As I explained it to him, it occurred to me that discussing the etymology of "getting crunk" with a loved one is the opposite of actually getting crunk.
I blame the most recent rash of music on the sequel to The Raven Boys. There is a character who is terrible in Raven Boys II, and I very much needed for him to stay terrible. As a writer, I have a tendency to secretly give all of my characters hearts of gold. You will spot this through my works. The ice queen with the heart of gold. The child abductor with a heart of gold. The teenage drug addict/ womanizer with a heart of gold.
This particular boy needed to remain black-hearted. To remind myself of that some people in fact have a deeply hidden heart of mulch, I created a playlist of terrible music that I played whenever he appeared on the screen. Mostly, I just picked songs that were slightly more offensive than I would like.
Which turned out to be a sliding scale.
Now, while much of my iPod is still dominated by acceptable songs that I can play in the car while riding with our distinguished realtor lady friend, there is now a not inconsiderable number of songs that advise my distinguished realtor lady friend to place her booty in someone's face and back it up. Others that confess that they will sleep with her friends. And still more that just scream at her in German.
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that I'm going to start off the year with a list of my recommended songs from 2012, but I'm going to warn you that my sense of what other people like might be broken. I don't think there's anything on this list that will take your wallet or your virginity, but . . . if there is, I'm sorry.
1. "North Col" - Shearwater
2. "Dear Fellow Traveler" - Sea Wolf
3. "How Many More Times" - Field Music
4. "Lay it Down" & "The Best We Got" - The Rubens
5. "Dissolve Me" - Alt J
6. "YoYo" - Pop ETC (formerly the Morning Benders, if you care)
7. "I'm a Pilot" - Fanfarlo
8. "Submarines" - The Lumineers
9. "This is What I Said" - Cloud Control
10. "Rapunzel" - Drapht
11. "Can't Touch It" - Ricki Lee
12. "Sun" - Two Door Cinema Club
13. "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" - Tame Impala
14. "Fingers Never Bleed" & "Longevity" - Yeasayer
Things that Sound Good While I Drive Sideways
15. "Fame" - Santigold
16. "Nothing Else is Real" - Mackintosh Braun
17. "Again (Original Mix)" - Elizabeth Rose feat. Sinden
18. "Monsoons" - Puscifer
19. "Love from a Stone" - School of Seven Bells
20. "Afterlife (Neon Feather Remix)" - Switchfoot