In a rare bit of optimism I can definitively state that music – particularly alternative rock – had a good year. Even stalwarts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Liam Gallagher managed to successfully deliver memorable hits worthy of inclusion on future greatest hits compilations. More importantly, this was the first year in a very long time where I had to carefully parse the top 10 tracks and there was an actual deliberation process as to which song would take the top spot. Though it may not have been the absolute strongest year for music I’ve lived through (the second half was a little weak), it was absolutely better than 2021.
State of Pop 2022
Harry Styles is not the king of pop. It’s pretty obvious that Rolling Stone only did this to fan the flames of controversy and reignite some interest in their failing magazine, but it’s still a very silly #HotTake. Styles may have the biggest song of 2022 with “As it Was” but how many others does he have to back it up? The bland and flavourless “Watermelon Sugar”? He may very well have a successful career in the future but right now he’s just the moppet of the moment, enjoying the same sort of fervour that surrounds his fellow countrymen The 1975. The only advantage he has over them is that he’s got a few recognizable hits around the beginning of his solo career, while the 1975 are well over a decade in and haven’t had one big single to date.
Oh, did you hear? That genre you like is back in style.
Music Thoughts Nov 19 2022
My reaction to the new Gorillaz singles:
My reaction to the new Arctic Monkeys record:
The former is a long, long delayed return to form. Gorillaz haven’t released a good song since 2010 and haven’t released a good radio single since 2005 – “Cracker Island” is both.
The latter is a petulant doubling-down on a bizarre fixation with 60s lounge music. I cannot stress enough how bad the new Arctic Monkeys album The Car is and genuinely cannot imagine how anyone can defend it. Two full records of audio molasses without one single memorable moment. I wonder how the rest of the band feels that Alex Turner has hijacked their group to resurrect his side project The Last Shadow Puppets?
The only thing worse than the new Arctic Monkeys record The Car is the new Weyes Blood record that wants to be the new Arctic Monkeys record. The sooner this reductive minimalist trend of analog recording is over the better.
What sort of simulation glitch nonsense is this?
10 years ago a band called The Neighbourhood released a dark but mellow single called “Sweater Weather”. Just a few weeks ago a band called Beach Weather released a song called “Sex, Drugs, Etc” that sounds almost identical to “Sweater Weather” in both style and lyric.
Music Thoughts Sept 3 2022
The album Chopper by Kiwi jr. sounds like if Rivers Cuomo cribbed Kurt Vile’s hyper-descriptive lyrics and then recorded the most generic melodies every written with the blandest instrumentation and production available, hiding it all behind a nonchalant hipster veneer. Into the trash it goes!
Brotherkenzie is yet another mealy-mouthed zoomer who has yet to learn how to write a good song. “Die Broke” is horribly produced, “Bike No More” is two verses in search of the rest of the song and “Get on It” is yet another sarcastic Fidlar-type wannabe tune that clocks in at just about two minutes. Into the trash it goes!
I don’t know what the band Disq think they’re doing but it’s confusing. First single “Cujo Kiddies” sounds like an art school version of Mother Mother’s quirky pop, but second single sounds like a stale Gin Blossoms B-side that was left in a musty den for the past 30 years. Into the trash it goes!
Music Thoughts July 4-8 2022
I promised a few entries back that I would try my best to avoid writing tepid praise about songs that were neither fantastic nor dreadful. I have also mentioned several times that I have been trying to be more positive when it comes to critiquing music as I get very little joy from tearing down artists’ work unless it is truly terrible.
What I’m getting at is that I haven’t written for a while because there has been no good music lately and I don’t want to spend time saying “meh, it’s OK” about every song I’ve downloaded in the past month. I feel no need to write the same halfhearted semi-approval about the latest offerings from: Jimmy Eat World, Enumclaw, Imagine Dragons, Sharon Van Etten, or Broken Bells.
This has left me with precious little to dissect. So I am afraid I must get mean.