listening to Your Favorite Songs 2023, Part 2

listening to Your Favorite Songs 2023, Part 2

We are so back with part 2 of ME listening to YOUR absolute favorite songs of 2023. (Here was part 1.) Let's get to it...

Carly Rae Jepsen - "Come Over" (from @rigagolden)

An interesting curse for Carly Rae Jepsen, to put out b-sides that hit more solidly than the main LP. I actually had a megarealization while listening to this song with total focus. "A sweet disco-lite jammer from Carly Rae," I thought, "too bad this now sounds like just another stab at Doja Cat "Say So"-style social media supremacy." And then my blood ran cold and I realized Dr. Luke totally ripped off the Carly Rae Jepsen soft disco sound for some of his hits! You know that dude was listening to E•MO•TION like the rest of us. Anyway now I'm mad. But I love Carly Rae Jepsen.

The Last Dinner Party - "Nothing Matters" (from @floyddobler)

I had not previously heard of The Last Dinner Party. I did a little research. They are British. They played their first gig in 2021. Their debut album comes out next February, and this is their debut single. I really like this song! Apparently they opened for Florence + The Machine this year, and that's definitely the vibe I am getting from them - 'baroque pop' with swooning femme vocals. "Nothing Matters" sketches out some complicated sexual calculus ("And you can hold me like he held her / And I will fuck you like nothing matters"). The lyric "Love tender in your Chevrolet" gave me pause because...wait a they have Chevys in England?? I did a little more research. Which then landed me in the "CarTalkUK" subreddit ("the definitive subreddit for UK petrolheads"), where I learned that Chevrolet left the UK market several years ago. So this scenario has now been heightened ...a desperate clinch in a discontinued vehicle...

Superdestroyer - "SadAsFuck.Crying.Wav" (from @ghstmnthrd)

A plaintive plea for a late night long-distance phone call fix, in the form of a blasted guitar freakout underneath frazzled synths. When I was in college and found myself absolutely miserable about one thing or another, the over-the-counter analgesic I would reach for was Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: short musical bursts of personalized pain that always made me feel a little better. Superdestroyer feels like an electro-emo version of that kind of song length / song feeling approach. Sometimes it just helps to hear someone else Feeling Bad. It's weird how that works.

Snõõper - "Pod" (from @turbidity_filer)

Snõõper was a great discovery this year, and I really enjoyed their album Super Snõõper. Speaking of college, several years ago my college ex texted me about a new wave of music he was liking, called "Devo-core" because its nervous energy and inherent egg punk dorkiness matched that of the Akron legends. I would highly recommend staying friendly with exes, so that you can keep the musical recommendations flowing. Anyway, Snõõper gets looped into Devo-core which is fair enough — "Pod"'s lyrics about virtual reality and "society's infection" feels in line with the theme of devolution. I like its wonky, lo-fi, almost out-of-tune-ness.

LaRussell & Sada Baby - "Pergola Freestyle (Live)" (from @detroitplair)

Well this is just fucking cool. I had popped this on via Apple Music but it really is best experienced through the video: two dudes (Vallejo California's LaRussell and Detroit's Sada Baby) drawing off each others' energy in a casual but hype setting ("Pergola Freestyle" refers to their being underneath an actual pergola, which I think is maybe in LaRussell's own backyard??) and rapping over a simple bass line and some live violin played by Michael Prince. You can see the audience participating and doing call-and-response stuff, the mid-song microphone handoff that's like passing a relay's just magical. I love LaRussell coming in hot — "Bitch, I'm in that mode" — and I love the Lil Wayne "Lollipop" remix nod from Sada Baby...I love it all. This is a great pick.

Julie Byrne - "Lightning Comes Up From the Ground" (from @violet_by_hole)

"Death to the old ways / But who am I without them?" Okay Julie sheesh mcgeesh!!! The music is lush and gorgeous, and there's something very interesting about the latent violence of the lyrics (blood, screaming, improbable weather events) and how it aligns with the solemnity and longing of Byrne's delivery — like the singer's loneliness is a foregone conclusion, a prophecy fulfilled: "There's no use to describe the sorrow of that time / I knew even then, it was always meant to be the past / It was I who walked it back and dragged it into the future." I will be chewing on this for some time.

Tripsun feat. Stu Daly - "Apathy" (from @SheffdeParty)

A chunky riff-y slice of melodic emo from London band Tripsun, with an assist from Stu Daly of Irish band Chewie. It rips. The absolute best thing I did this year was interview a bunch of UK musicians for The Alternative, such as song recommender Callum from Sheffield's Chef de Party, because now I keep getting great recs for bands who would have rarely made it 'across the pond' and down the pipeline of U.S. media. Anyway I love the refreshing plainspoken politics of this song, which dismisses an unnamed party whose liberal enlightenment is all lip service: "Show all your friends you're woke / Your fragility's a joke."

Militarie Gun - "Do It Faster" (from @GeorgeTaylorG)

I feel like within the genre of hardcore, it's important to have some kind of signature element to lean on and return to, almost like a leitmotif in classical music. With Militarie Gun, it's gotta be the vocal delivery of Ian Shelton, which is gritty and gruff and melodic, with a delightful emphasis on the O vowels. "As I sit and wait for yOUU." "Why I got to be your stOOge." And of course....."OOH-OOH." I'm locked in and seated for any and all OOH-OOHs.

"Open Water" - Fust (from @gr8whitebison)

This really grew on me. It went from "pleasant country rock" to "OH YEAH BABE" somewhere around verse three. The guitars just get bigger and bigger and warmer and warmer throughout. It's going on the long car trip driving playlist and you can't stop me from putting it there.

“This Ain’t It” - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (from @Ghitelman)

Despite enjoying Jason Isbell's Twitter presence, I've never listened to his tunes. The progression of the narrative is so clever. A man sees a young woman "in a wedding gown in a Texas town with a near beer." Who is he? Whomst is she? Turns out he's known her for her "whole damn life," and he's not about to let her ruin her life with some "libertine with a black card," so he hits her with a This ain't it, chief. Well he doesn't say chief, but whatever. Now that some of my friends have babies, I love thinking about how someday I'll natter on and on to them about how I knew them since they were the size of a can o' beans. I carried you AROUND, bitch. And there was nothing you could do about it. Wait a second, is the singer of this song the potential runaway bride's dad?? "I ain't always been around / I build you up and let you down." Father trying to make up for lost time? Family friend who might be overstepping? Dudn't matter. Neat song.

Thanks for reading. Tune in soon — tomorrow???? — for the next batch of songs. And if you like I Enjoy Music? Tell a friend about it.