Some new music I liked in 2022

This isn’t a “best of” list and it’s not going to be in any particular order, except maybe for the first two, which probably are the best new albums I listened to this year. Most of these are 2022 releases, although they’re all from this year or last year and one of the 2021 releases is from someone you’ve never heard of so it doesn’t matter what year it came out anyway. Before I talk about those, though, I should point out that this was probably the year of Counting Crows. Pearl Jam is still my favorite band and have been for long enough that it’s probably reasonable to say that they always will be, but Adam Duritz spent the year feeding my soul and chances are if you randomly sampled what I was listening to at any given moment it was more likely to be the Crows than anything else. But they didn’t release anything new this year, so I don’t have a particular album to talk about.

Also, music reviews are essentially gibberish to me and I don’t understand them when I read them and I sure as hell can’t write them, so expect this to be several different minor variations on “This was good and you should check it out.” Y’all got Spotify and shit, it’s not like it’s going to cost you any money.

Also also, you’re going to notice a theme, and I swear it’s not something I did intentionally, either in the writing of this piece or the actual collection of the music.

At any rate, in no particular order, again, except the first two:

Delilah Bon, by Delilah Bon, a British radical lesbian feminist screamy guitarist whose music is punk rap, and I can’t stop listening to this Goddamned album. I think I caught a literal minute of a live concert on TikTok and immediately ran to spend money. This is her only full-length record at the moment although I hit up her website for the cover image and there’s something she’s calling a “horror EP” out too? I haven’t listened to that yet but this is some really amazing music and if you want something angry you can headbang to you won’t regret picking it up.

2022 was Lizzo’s year, right? I have Cuz I Love You, which wasn’t her debut but was definitely her breakthrough, and Special just … towers over it, in every way. There isn’t a single weak track on the album, and while they’re not all the dance-poppy stuff she’s become known for she’s at the point where she can basically do whatever she wants musically and it’s going to come off great. She claims in a spoken word outro at the end that she wrote over a hundred songs and these were the twelve that made the cut, and I don’t have trouble believing that. There’s just no damn filler at all. I almost don’t want her next album because after this I don’t see how it won’t be a letdown.

Look at Miley Cyrus’ white girl ass look at it.

This was the year where I transitioned; I fucking love Miley Cyrus’ music and I don’t care who knows it, and it took her deciding at the ripe old age of holy shit Miley Cyrus is 30 to decide that she wanted to be Janis Joplin when she grew up and I am one hundred percent here for it. She’s developed this raspy cigarette-smoke growl to her voice that I absolutely fucking love, and it turns out that she’s awesome live? She didn’t release an album of new music this year that I’m aware of but she did drop this one, along with a ton of cover songs from pretty much any 1970’s rock and roll artist you can name and it’s all fantastic. She’s at the point where she’s shed her skin so many times that she clearly feels free to do whatever she wants, and while we probably won’t get to keep Growly Rock Goddess Miley Cyrus forever, I’m here for as long as the ride lasts.

I would be an entirely different person– I can’t even tell you how, I just wouldn’t be me– if I hadn’t encountered KRS-One’s music in fifth grade. This guy, no shit and no exaggeration, probably had more influence on my life than anyone outside my actual family except maybe J.R.R. Tolkien, and he’s dead. He is still releasing music on a fairly prolific schedule, although he tends to work with smaller labels so I find myself missing stuff all the time. That said, I managed to cop the ridiculously named I M A M C R U 1 2 (“I am a MC, are you one too?”) right after release, and it’s one of his strongest efforts since the nineties. Which were long enough ago that I don’t want to think about how long ago they were. He’s had a string of mostly forgettable records for the last several years which I keep buying out of pure loyalty but this one reminded me of why I’m still doing it.

One of the problems with listening to nearly all of my music digitally nowadays (the rest is on the radio) is that it’s harder to appreciate cover art if all you get is a little .jpg of the cover; to wit, I didn’t realize the woman on the cover of Halsey’s If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power had a boob out until just now when I was looking for a copy of the cover at a decent resolution. Halsey snuck up on me; this thing happened where a couple of times a week I would realize I liked a song (or part of one) on the radio or something and I’d think I wonder who that is and either look the song up or ask my wife, and I noticed that Halsey’s name was coming up an awful lot in those types of questions. I like her music a hell of a lot but I bought three of her albums this year and I don’t think I can name more than one or two songs, because for whatever reason I don’t process her music or her voice that way. But you could pick any song from any of her albums and play it and ask me Hey, Luther, do you like this song? and I’d listen at it for a minute or two as if I’d never heard it before and then tell you yeah, that’s a great song, and probably ask you who it was.

I know that doesn’t sound like a recommendation, but I’m going to call myself a fan anyway.

We’ll call that a top (ish) five (limited to new stuff) and offer this series of .jpgs so that you can see what else I bought this year. Anything that shows up twice is because Apple Music is stupid and I haven’t been able to fix it.

As if I have a choice

Oh screw it

I have spent some time actively resisting trying to write this, but fuck it, I’m pissed and if I can’t complain on my own Goddamned blog I can’t complain anywhere.

I have only very recently and very reluctantly become a Taylor Swift fan. To this day I don’t know why the hell I downloaded folklore, it was a completely random decision, but for some reason I loved it, and then when Evermore dropped a few months later I bought that too, and then I found out that she was re-releasing her old albums basically just as a giant screw-you to her previous producer, and to hell with it, that’s punk as fuck, and so now I’ve got Taylor’s Versions of Red and Fearless on my hard drive too.

Also, to make it clear, I don’t stream. I still buy music. I’m not gonna stop. Just take that as a given and roll with it.

Anyway, she announced Midnights, and fuck it– I actually preordered the Goddamn thing, and do you see my mistake yet? Are you keyed into Taylor Swift’s shenanigans enough to know where the rest of this post is going? Because three fucking hours after this album I pre-ordered became available for download, before I had even woken up to listen to it, she released a new “3 AM” version of it with seven additional tracks.

There is no way to pay the $3 difference between the cost of Midnights and 3 AM to get the extra tracks. Since I pre-ordered two months ago, I can’t get a refund on the original version and download the new one. My only option is to pay $1.29 for each individual song, which means paying $21.02 for an album that I could get for $14.99 if I hadn’t pre-ordered the album.

This is a shitty, shitty thing to do to your fans, lady. You’re a multifuckingmillionaire and you’re trying to bilk my ass out of nine bucks. And I have nine bucks! Daddy can do this. All day, every day. No problem.

But you best believe I’m stealing those seven songs anyway.

Shit.

Because I love you

My son encountered this horror at school, and he exposed me to it, and now it’s yours. This is not all of it, as the full video is paywalled on this guy’s site and I suspect this formatted-for-Tiktok version is probably going to get yanked off of YouTube eventually. But you need this song and this nightmare in your lives.

(For those of you who know no Spanish: “How much does that shirt cost?” “This shirt costs five dollars” and “It’s a bargain. What a bargain!”)

On exhaustion and bad parenting

I have done some grading tonight, but not much, and I regret to inform you that you cannot make me do any more. Nor can you make me get any lesson planning done; this week is going to be by the seat of my pants, more or less, and it’s going to be fine anyway because this shit is muscle memory by now. This weekend was kind of nuts; my father-in-law’s memorial service was Saturday morning in Plainwell, Michigan, which means I got up earlier on Saturday than I typically get up during the week and spent the drive up hurriedly composing the eulogy I was supposed to deliver in my head, sans paper, because for some fucking stupid reason I hadn’t written it yet.

Don’t leave eulogies to the last minute, people. I pulled it off and everything went fine because I am exceptionally talented, but … don’t do that.

Oh, and the … hole? Is it still a grave if you’re just using a box with an urn and some Beefeater Gin in it and not a casket? Well, whatever it was, the Goddamned thing was too small, and everyone got to take turns digging the hole wider and deeper with what I think were technically stolen shovels before the service started. My wife briefly considered putting the box in sideways, an idea that was quickly vetoed out of existence, and we all just sucked it up and got to digging, my father-in-law’s amused laughter echoing from inside his box.

Afterwards the whole extended family went out for Mexican, because really, what else are you going to do? Sure.

And because emotional whiplash is how we do things nowadays, we had tickets to see Barenaked Ladies Saturday night. By “we” I mean all three of us; it was slated to be the boy’s first concert, and I think he was pretty excited about it. Which meant we were all a bit surprised to be leading a sobbing child out of the theater barely four songs into BNL’s set, meaning that we really only got to hear the (shitty) opening band’s set, and we didn’t get to hear the one BNL song that the boy has memorized and really wanted to hear, as I’m sure it was the last song of the night.

Parenting advice! Concerts are fucking loud. This particular concert was perhaps too loud. And, like, I mean that as a reasonably veteran concertgoer; it was too loud for me, and I’ve seen shows in that venue before. That said, though, like, BNL doesn’t need to be blowing my Goddamned eardrums out. This isn’t a hard rock band or some shit like that, and even the shitty opening band was too fucking loud, and they were going for some sort of pop/bluegrass nonsense or something like that, so they definitely didn’t need to be super loud.

Anyway, we were unprepared. We should have brought headphones and/or earplugs, or at least warned him thoroughly, and we did none of those things. I’m not mad at him and this is one hundred percent our fault as the adults in the scenario. He doesn’t necessarily Have Sensory Issues in the way people generally mean that, but we should have been able to see this coming and we didn’t. The worst thing is that he was clearly upset about ruining the concert for us, and it’s hard to convince an upset eleven-year-old that you’re not mad at him and you’re not disappointed in him when he’s absolutely certain that both of those things are true.

So … yeah. I’ve mostly laid around like a lump today. I have started the new Stephen King book; it is terrible, and I am currently deciding if I’m going to drop it or hate-read it. It is about a seventeen-year-old who is somehow actually however old Stephen King is, and said fake teenager uses slang that no teenager, including King when he was a teenager, has ever used, except it’s not about that somehow. We’re supposed to believe that this ancient old man who refers to earning money as “folding green” is just a regular teenager and pay attention to the rest of the story, where he’s inexplicably befriending an old man, except the old man is actually an old man and not an old man masquerading as a teenager.

Anyway, it’s bad and I’m tired and I’m a shitty dad and somehow I have to go to work again tomorrow and I kind of want a redo on the last couple of days.