listening to Your Favorite Songs 2023, part 10 aka FINALE

listening to Your Favorite Songs 2023, part 10 aka FINALE

(Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8, Part 9)

Oh my goodness, this series is at last coming to an end. I listened to 6 hours and 30 minutes of music, and wrote almost 14,000 words about it. Through this exercise of interacting + listening + writing, I got to know quite a few songs, many of which I'd never heard before, including at least a few that skyrocketed to favorites-of-the-year status. ("The Trench Coat Museum" hit me so hard that I just bought tix to see Yard Act in May.) This was a blast, I will almost assuredly repeat it next year.

The "Special Announcement :)" I hinted at in my last tweet is that I would like to open I Enjoy Music up for outside submissions. That's right, we are going collective mode. I purposefully gave this blog a generalized name rather than my name, because I was eventually hoping there would be more than one "I" Enjoying Music on this thing.

What I am looking for: writing about music that you care very deeply about, from any time period, no artist too big or too small; writing in your own weird and groovy voice; writing that is personal in any particular way; writing that you are willing to allow to be edited by moi to reach basic spelling and grammar correctness; writing from people from all walks of life and all music/writing experience (it is okay if you have never written for a blog before in your life!); writing in unconventional formats; writing about not just music itself, but music labor, music technology, music commerce, music community.

What I am not looking for: album or song reviews, straight-up news, track or video premieres (not yet anyway), rehashed press releases, or giving music a score or ranking.

What I would most like to publish: any kind of writing that celebrates musical connections and musical interactions, writing that proves music doesn't exist in a vacuum, but is rather created by people, and experienced by people, and no one experiences it exactly the same way. ["Sweet Disposition" by The Temper Trap starts playing for some reason]

I will pay for these guest posts by the way! I basically set aside a couple thousand bucks of my own money for the year to pay people; apparently in the startup world, this is known as "bootstrapping," ho ho ho. I'm also going to open up a shop with one teeny tiny little piece of merch to start, and boot up a Ko-Fi for tips, and that $ will go to contributors as well. The going rate for now will be $50/post, but if you have something super sick that you want to write longer on, I'm open to some fee wiggle room. I know it's not 'market rate' but hopefully it's better than nothing, and I promise to maintain as much transparency as possible throughout this blog payment experiment especially if I figure out some other interesting way to make any money from it.

If you've read this far and any of this interests you, please email with the subject line I WANT TO BLOG. I'm still piecing together some kind of submissions guidelines (actually, I have a halfway-finished google doc open right now called "I Enjoy Music Business Plan") but just reach out with a short note about yourself, + any initial ideas you might have, and we'll start talking and figure out things as we go! Okay, now here are the last 10 songs from this listening experiment:

boygenius - "Not Strong Enough" (from @TenDeadDogs and @mcrandley)

The trappings of boygenius's popularity explosion threatened to overshadow the tunes themselves in 2023. They swiped the Beatles' logo for their SNL performance's drum head, and the mania they inspired was parallel, with swoonings at their live shows occurring so frequently they show up as regular interruptions on the band's Setlist.FM page. That kind of steep rise always freaks me out, just because the line between exposure and overexposure is razor thin these days, but I simply can't argue with the biggest song off The Record: four minutes of catchy, harmony-laden, sing-along pop rock that is worthy of the Sheryl Crow lyric it bites from. Phoebe Bridgers loves to sing about being high and anxious in a CVS, and now she has a CVS banger of her very own.

Faye Webster - "But Not Kiss" (from @kittenry)

Lots of delicious tension building on this one — from the random yeah! yeah! blasts to the winding guitars to the quietly sustained vocals, everything about "But Not Kiss" embodies that specific feeling of teetering on the precipice of rapture or rupture. "I want to see you in my dreams but then forget" Webster sings, teasing out her crush torturously. It's like the music itself hovers in the distance between two faces who are maybe or maybe not gonna smooch. I love it.

Young Fathers - "Tell Somebody" (from @ArndtYouDylan)

I had a psychedelic reaction to this song ahahaha. Or maybe synesthetic? I don't know why but this song sounds like a ball of blazing white light? It sounds like the Tristar Entertainment intro, where the winged horse gallops in? I need to wear sunglasses while listening to this song? Extra ecstatic, ecstatically extra.

Spanish Love Songs - "Haunted" (from @ShieldofPallas)

If you don't know me, you should know my favorite two things are dancing and crying, and my favorite two things for a song to be are fast and sad. "Haunted" checks off all the boxes there. I can envision weeping to this song while doing the Breakfast Club detention dance. This song also gives me an opportunity to say how much I love songs that, while not "acoustic," have a strummed acoustic guitar underneath that spurs the energy onward, like someone pumping their fist at a hockey game, or nudging their horse to go a little faster. Is there a word for this kind of acoustic guitaring?

Wednesday - "Bath County" (from @jamdraper)

Now I know things are getting wild because how did "Haunted" and "Bath County," two unrelated songs that happened to come up consecutively in my list of Twitter replies, both have references to people dying in parking lots? Spanish Love Songs' is a McDonald's parking lot, and Wednesday's is a Planet Fitness parking lot. Kind of cosmic. Parkinglotcore. Parkcore. Parkour. Love the God-connection between "I can walk on water / I can raise the dead" and the magical reanimating properties of Narcan. This is where I get to use my music blog to tell you to carry Narcan, in honor of my friend Alan. If you have questions about Narcan and using it or training to use it, hit me up, I am in no way shape or form kidding! :)

Liquid Mike - "BLC" (from @pblest)

If you are not up on the epic rise of Liquid Mike, this Stereogum interview will catch you up. "BLC" is the mega-catchy opener of Liquid Mike's mega-catchy power pop album S/T. BLC stands for Big League Chew, whose quickly fading flavor is the central metaphor of the song. "BLC" is one minute and 28 seconds long, which might be the perfect song length. Jeff Yerger, who wrote the Stereogum article, described Liquid Mike's sound as "Mark Hoppus if he grew up on Guided By Voices instead of NOFX." I would describe Liquid Mike's sound as "what if the fictional band the Wonders (fka the Oneders) from the movie That Thing You Do! got together in 2001 instead of 1964, and instead of one great song, they wrote a bunch?"

Tinashe - "Talk to Me Nice" (from @SimplyTheBetz1)

Ms. Tinashe is unconditionally, hilariously noncommittal on this indecisively sexy, minimal R&B number. "You got options, I got options / Want you, but don't need you / Tease you, but I please you," she sings to an equally evasive partner, whom she requests to "talk to [her] nice" regardless. We love clear communication here at I Enjoy Music. The more I play this one, the more I find to enjoy about it, like the gloomy synth chimes of the refrain, or the simple but perfect way Tinashe rhymes "days" with "daze."

Still Depths - "Top 5 Reasons I'm The Shit" (from @byrcuk1)

A big, noisy, galumphing self-aggrandizement anthem with fitful bursts of horns and a gleeful, snarky vocal performance by Justin Perdomo. "I care more about my hair than your feelings / Spat on a bald man's head from my penthouse / The impact killed him," Perdomo sneers over the clanging guitars. I love mess. And this is where I get to use my music blog to celebrate music journalism on the 'Net — shout out to SAD MAG and Kenna Clifford for this interview with Still Depths, which gave me some helpful background on the Calgary-based band. Online music writing is good.

The Armed - "Sport of Form" (from @hallucinatedowl)

I already had a baseline familiarity with The Armed thanks to my Twitter friend @nasaonacid, who briefed me on the band's lore. They're an anonymous hardcore collective in Detroit who like to fool various music journalists by having decoy members, offering outlandish quotes, and doing other publicity pranks. VICE reported on them five years ago and said one of their tricks involved "releasing unplayable vinyl albums made entirely out of leaves." Revolver reported on them three years ago and the piece opened with a Zoom call, on which a bodybuilding synth player in the band (at least for the duration of the article) named Clark Huge received a shirtless massage. All of that is rather zany, but the music itself sounds pretty serious. "Sport of Form" uses dynamic shifts to great effect, sliding from spare moments to overwhelming crashes of noise, all the while pondering the opposite of the mortifying ordeal of being known: the mortifying ordeal of being unknown.

DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ - "Honey" (from @adabsurdeum)

Last song wow!!! I think Matthew Perpetua was the one who told me about DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ, and I put the Destiny album on for the first time during a sunset gridlocked ride out to LAX before dumping our car in an economy lot. Now I grew up on late 1990s and early '00s pop, which was often produced by Swedish people, and had an addictive ineffable shimmer to it. I then spent my adolescence obsessed with mashups, gleefully clocking random snippets of classic rock, freaking out over how well they blended with Lil Wayne. "Honey" has the iPod-on-shuffle fragmentation of mashups, and the SHEEN of everything that came out of Cheiron Studios. Listening to it feels like listening to a garbled radio station of fantasy-pop, or like waking up from a dream in which you heard a great song but lost the words and tune somewhere between states of consciousness. A stunning innovation, we are still blessed with plenty of new exciting musical developments to chew on.

Aaaaand that's it!!! RIP 2023 but we're different. Thanks for hanging in! Tell a friend if you like I Enjoy Music!