thoughts, things, etc. from andrew snow

december music

the year in review

just kidding. maybe i'm too old to put the sort of energy i once had into making some sort of 'end of the year' list of good albums that were released. a part of me wonders if the point and purpose of such a thing is even still as significant as it once was, in a post-spotify world. algorithms do alot of heavy lifting when it comes to pointing users in the right direction1.

i myself thought i would be better off sticking to 'manually' consuming new music with the tried-and-true combination of word-of-mouth recommendations, combing metacritic et al, buying and downloading records, and giving them a whirl.

but once you give in to the algorithm, it's hard to keep up with that sort of process - not actually hard, but in terms of willpower it's just easier to let the tunes come to you.


what i think i might do instead this year is getting a year-end wrap-up done for the website - with a twist. instead of limiting the selections to music that was released in 2020, i'd like to instead come up with a list of music i've listened to in 2020, regardless of when an album actually came out. looking back across a decade of "best-of" lists provides for alot of hindsight - hyped albums might be all but forgotten now, and albums that weren't received well on release might have aged incredibly well.

the impetus here is something i've touched on before2, which is my realizing that at some point around 2008 i sort of drew myself a line. a line designating everything before as being awesome, as being a 'golden era' for music. conversely it meant albums that came out after this date never really caught my ear - even if a band i loved released new music, some weird instinctual reaction was to pre-emptively dismiss it as somehow not being capable of outshining prior work.

the result is that for a decade i've found myself playing catch-up when it comes to good music. i've discovered that cursive did in fact release great music after "the ugly organ". i've discovered that not only has emo/pop-punk not died... but some of the best examples of these genres have (in my opinion) been released in the past few years.

a central issue i still have to contend with is the role that albums even continue to play, in a world where artists are not necessarily chained to any particular physical medium with which to share anything they record. it begs a question - should i even worry about focusing on albums? the example coming to mind immediately is my obsession with a single from - of all places - the soundtrack for spider-man: into the spider-verse: "sunflower" by - of all people - post malone, with a feature from swae lee. it's fuckin good and i don't even care to hear dissenting opinion on this.

the verdict

i doubt i'll actually follow this up with an actual list because of all the questions above as far as what i'd include in said list. but i've been trying to get better about my Website Content Discipline. to me this means following through on a post instead of leaving it to ferment in a drafts folder with all of the other drafts that i forget about the second i hit a stopping point or got bored.

in asking that you stay tuned i am essentially asking that you have faith in my own capacity for self-improvement, and i hope i won't let you down!

  1. obviously i am not speaking here about algorithms in general. in general they've basically ruined the entire fuckin' planet, but the one bright spot among the destruction has been the way spotify has allowed folks to discover alot of great music.  

  2. maybe i'll hunt down the actual post and link it here!