100 Songs, 2014
Halfway through this decade, I suspect that I am less wise, less curious, and less kind than I was when it started. I have certainly listened to much, much less music over the past year than I have at any time that I can remember. (Those two sentences aren’t logically related, but they are emotionally.) One reason was that listening to music made me feel things, and I didn’t want to feel things, so I listened to comedy podcasts instead, and skated along on a placid surface of polite interest bubbling over occasionally into stifled amusement. A second reason was that listening to music meant making decisions about what I would listen to, and that was too hard, so I just let my podcast feed play. Other reasons were more boring and technical: certain ways in which I had become accustomed to hearing music were no longer available due to various equipment failures and financial setbacks; and a reawakened interest in and passion for the history and aesthetics of comics left me with less time or attention to spare for things that weren’t that. I think I obscurely resented music for being more interesting and palatable to the vast majority of my online interlocutors than the comics I was finding myself fascinated by; which led to resenting them for continuing to talk about music when I hadn’t kept up, and dropping out even more and falling further and further behind.
All of which is to explain why I gave myself a month to actually listen to a bit of the music released in 2014, and see if I could find a hundred songs that I liked and wanted to listen to over and over. My primary method of music discovery has been looking up artists in Spotify and seeing if they’ve released anything recently and then checking the related artists and doing the same thing, which is why there’s a bunch of stuff on here I’ve not seen one other person acknowledge exists, let alone has value. (Various insecurities around my taste and cultural awareness gives that greater weight in my mind than it probably should; those insecurities are yet another reason I largely avoided music all year.) I’ve missed most of the cultural conversation around new or developing artists, I’ve very little grasp of what was enthused over even in the small pool of music-crit circles in which I run; and being without a radio (I always used to listen in my car, which I no longer have) meant that my pop-music radar was only feebly receptive, reliant on conversational echoes and glancing references in feeds I was only barely glancing at myself.
Enough excuses. Here’s a list.