As you are aware, Rocky and I (Landon) have this little love affair going on, which consists of notifying one another of any music that enters our lives that has potential to be of great importance. I dare say that music for us is a lens through which we see the world.
I feel confident in the above assertion, for the songs playlist that Rocky sent me was modestly titled: “2013 Live-or-Die Playlist: The 10 songs from this year I couldn’t do without.” Couldn’t do without? How’s that work? Do you just curl up in a ball and cry until the song is played? I mean, man – get a grip.
But what if that music actually IS “Live or Die”? What do these 10 songs say about our brother, Rocky? What is the world like if these are the tunes needed to sustain it? Let’s find out, shall we?
Hit play on the playlist below as you read on.
“Mother” by Said the Whale – Sometimes we’re all a little bit bad, but we want to be good. Just don’t tell our mothers ’til we’ve figured it out. Sassy indie rock, begging you to love it. And you do.
“Hey Rose” by Houndsmouth – Coming to terms with the things we want ain’t easy, but we gotta reassure the folks we leave behind that we ain’t leaving for good. Honky tonk. Honky. Tonk.
“Running Around” by Rilo Kiley – The people we leave in our wake as we go get the things we want know we’re full of crap. New-wave throwback, full of vim and vigor.
“Oil Slick” by Frightened Rabbit – Unless we’re committed to changing, whatever we give to the ones we think we love is going to hurt more than it helps. Brutally honest, gut churning Scottish Rock.
“You Can’t Save ‘Em All” by Big Harp – As a fool returns to his folly, so a dog returns to its vomit. But you don’t have to be there when they do. Lou Reed and Rufus Wainwright had a love child, and they are so proud of their honor roll student.
“Born at 5” by Bombadil – At some point, you just grow up and get your shit together. More authentic than The Lumineers. Is that possible?
“Recover” by Chvrches – Once you get your shit together, you can start imparting the lessons you learn to the world. Call it tough love. Call it boundaries. Or call it the simplicity on the other side of complexity. Electro-pop at its finest.
“Man” by Neko Case – One of the lessons you get to impart upon discovering the simple maturity of life is that loving another is the measure of who you are. Gritty, dirty, and full of punch.
“Blackout Days” by Phantogram – Regardless of how mature you become, the ghosts will come. Just shove them away. They don’t own you anymore. Dido decided to imitate Sinead O’Connor.
“Most People” by Dawes – These truths are the same for all of us. A perfect folk-rock song.
Okay, I concede. That’s “Live or Die” stuff, indeed.
Now, while it’s easy to be a bit cheeky about a list of songs, a person’s love of an album is another matter altogether. More than just a collection of songs, an album is a world that one is invited to live in for a while. It is an immersive experience; a complete work.
Here are Rocky’s favorites of the year:
Heartthrob by Teagan and Sarah – If you need a thick, dense sound that transports you to 1990, this is the album you want. T&S come through again, but this isn’t the punk you’ve come to expect. There’s a maturity here that will take your breath away.
The Bones of What You Believe by Chvrches – You met Chvrches in Rocky’s song list, but the whole album is just as good. This is decidedly not my genre, but it still feels so good to listen to. A Chvrches show is one I’d pay money to attend.
From the Hills Below the City by Houndsmouth – This album makes me uncomfortable. It’s dirty and unrefined. I conjure images of the Patrick Swayze epic Roadhouse as I listen through my speakers. Beer bottles are flying, and I am loving every damn minute of it.
Pedestrian Verse by Frightened Rabbit – I love these guys so much. Their previous offerings have been some of my faves of the last few years. But the raw anger of this collection is almost more than the average bear can take. However, their track “Holy” should be required listening for any Christian boy or girl who thinks the Faith still matters. You’ll cry yourself to sleep on your huge pillow.
Stories Don’t End by Dawes – If I would have been in the same physical space as Rocky when I listened to this album, I would have kissed him for introducing me to the most refreshing music of my year. Perfect folk-rock. Not much more to say, in my opinion.
And now, I yield the remainder of my time back to the gentlemen from Claremont.