As you get older you stop paying attention to ‘music’ in a general way. I don’t drive a car, I don’t go to parties, I tend to listen to music that’s functionally entirely under my control, and this year I have been trying to avoid streaming services for music.
This has also meant more stealing stuff, which I feel completely fine about, but it has meant stealing stuff in low quality mp3s, which of course, the person in my life who might hear them and can appreciate bad music quality doesn’t like.
Still, here’s some stuff I found this year and I like:
It’s weird how this song, which I first found on Spotify (you know, before the stealing stuff) didn’t have an album cover to me. Now it has an album cover and I can’t imagine wanting anything else. Sick, huh?
Oh man, remember when Bridget GuiltyGear dropped and we got treated to a new wave of incredibly stupid discourse? A detail easily missed in all this was that there was a new theme song with it, and most of the Guilty Gear Strive music whips (I particularly like Disaster of Passion, the theme for May), but The Town Inside Me got to stand apart of it and included an enduringly weird line that keeps popping into my head, ‘I hate the alarm clock I chose.’
Also it’s got a horns bit! I like horns bits!
This one might be blocked in your region, don’t know, can’t help ya. It’s called Orgasm Anthem by Wanuka, and it’s a really fun, poppy Japanese song you can hum along with.
We also got the OP to Chainsaw Man Kick Back, which is… a cover? Of a Morning Musume song?
And while I’m loading up on Anime themes, I also really liked Venus Line, the opening to Birdie Wing. Oh no, wait I just noticed this one does a horns bit too. I might just be really into horns in my music?
There’s still always room in my heart for ironically pop-culture engaged pop punk though, and even if I feel like Sunrise Skater Kids is the kind of band I expect to make ‘pronouns’ jokes at some point if you give them enough rope, I still like this song just because if you’re going to make fun of a character, it helps to present them the way you perceive them.
Oh, you know what else was super popular this year? 1997 Australian pop music! For reasons undisclosed at this point I’ve been doing a lot of retro listens to 90s pop music and trying to determine if there’s some inherent quality to them I don’t appreciate enough, or if maybe it’s just making my brain think I’m a teenager again.
I like this song a lot because it feels like it’s expressing a very 2020 kind of vibe about loving music but not loving music culture, and how people and anxiety are at odds with one another for how you can appreciate it.
I don’t know anything about this one but the name makes me assume it’s part of a greater operatic structure and I absolutely do not care to hear more. But I am a sucker for the jabby violins at the start.
Finally, the thing that made me decide I needed to do a post like this.
Carmen Miranda’s Ghost is a science-fiction zine album of filks made by a variety of folk and headlined by an anarchist songmaker way back in 1989. The story of how it got made is a bit interesting and cool, and maybe the vibe of it is just something that resonates with me a lot. It’s sea shanties, but it’s also science fiction, so there’s an unreality to it and there’s worldbuilding and that’s dope as hell.
And this morning as I write this, I got confirmation of something.
There are a lot of fun names on the credit list for this album of nonprofessional music. Particularly, one of the songs is written by Mercedes Lackey, which is pretty neat (as much tolerance as you have for her). But the other thing is, on a couple of these songs, there’s a chorus voice, doing bass backup for a higher front voice.
That voice is Mike Pondsmith, the creator of Cyberpunk.
I checked with Talsorian Games, and asked if they could confirm it was the same Mike Pondsmith. They told me yes – and they called the album a rare gem.