There has never been a better time for a music fan to be alive. Even if 2018 was the worst year ever for new music, you could still listen to, and preferably buy (not stream), more good music than ever. But it wasn’t the worst year ever. It was right up there with the best.
I am in the process of compiling some new lists, purely for my own pleasure, although I will of course share them with you, my loyal reader. Choosing the best song, the best album will be tricky indeed.
I have a fair idea of where the top ten will come from, although the order could change, quite possibly on a daily basis. Courtney Barnett’s Tell Me How You Really Feel is a gorgeous run through great tunes with Nirvana style guitars and the stand out single Charity is definitely in my top three tunes. But then, there’s Louis Cole’s jazzy Time album, featuring Thundercat and a lush bunch of tunes. And Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, MGMT, Beak, Christine and the Queens, Jon Hopkins, Thom Yorke, Gaz Coombes, Father John Misty, Lump, Laura Veirs and David Crosby. I love them all.
My love of new music was not always thus. It is said that you have decided by your mid twenties the type of music you will always listen to and you will rarely embrace anything new. I had made my mind up what I liked by age 18. It took a long time to realise what I had been missing out on.
The sheer amount of great new music blows my mind. I have a wish list of more new music a mile long and the search for the perfect tune just goes on and on. In 2018, I have gotten very close to finding it.
The hip hop artist Loyle Carner’s song Ottolenghi, which features the outrageously talented Jordan Rakei, is quite magnificent in every single way. Musically and lyrically, it’s a beautiful song. Carner’s vocal performance is sublime. Watch it with the video on You Tube. It will blow your mind, too.
So much new music, but plenty of old music I am just discovering. Just a week or so ago, I bought up the entire Teenage Fan Club library. What the hell went wrong there? How on earth had this amazing band pass me by? No more. I can listen to their music all across Christmas if I want to. And I want to.
All I can say is the old music is still valid and it is still great. If you love the commercial stations with their safe, largely unchallenging golden oldie playlist, then good for you. Listen to what you love to listen to. However, there is a hell of a lot of music you might not have heard and some of it you might like. And if you find new music and you like it, it is a wonderful feeling. Take a punt with new music, listen to BBC 6 Music and listen to something you probably don’t know. Your musical life might be something you first heard 40 or 50 years ago, but you might also like Loyle Carner or Courtney Barnett or Lump. You won’t know until you try.