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The Music of 2017: Quarter 3

July
58. Inglorious Baxters – Pie Rack
Apple, cherry, lemon meringue
I wake, I bake, I do my thing
Sad to say I'll never take you back
So wave goodbye to my pie rack


Conceived, according to Last Man Standing canon, as an Epic Revenge Music Video in the style of Justin Timberlake, this delightful thing also kinda comes across as a cut song from Waitress The Musical: Unrated Edition. Please click the link and watch the video.

59. Inglorious Baxters - Love Arrow
I've seen the future in the tarot
It says you'll hit me with your love arrow


Listen to this magical, enchanting cross between country and a Disney song! I want to say it is cheekily naughtier than a Disney song would allow, but I dunno, they slip some pretty good stuff past the kiddos sometimes. What's dirty about an arrow, really? (also: please watch the video, again. FYI: it's still the 3 sisters, this is just one of the few shows in the 21st century to have the stones to actually recast a main character after season 1)

List extra: Petra Haden (and I guess Bill Frisell) - Yellow
Your skin and bones
Turn in to something beautiful

SO! I remember now, The O.C. – and this cover version – is where I first heard this song and fell in love with it, especially the lyrics. By the time I went online to download it, I took the Coldplay version that came up because I couldn't remember exactly what it sounded like and I assumed this what I had heard. It has taken 14 years for the truth to surface. It's so lovely sung by a woman! It sounds like the kind of music I was big on that year (2006), young amateur coffeehouse singers with free tracks on indie websites.

Other than that, I spent July listening exclusively to 3 of my old CDs: the original POTC soundtrack, Life for Rent, and The OC Mix 5.

August
CD Rec: Aoffie Scott, "Carry the Day," because of these reasons. I have played it about 50 times now, not counting the fact that it's still in the CD player of my car, almost exclusively. It's so great. The only one I ever skip is "The Growing Years," which is too slow for me. However, restricting myself to a top half below, because these are just so special.

60. Aoffie Scott - What You Do With What You've Got
What's the use of two strong legs if you only run away?

This is such good good commentary about how easy it is to make a difference by being a good person. I, of course, latched personally onto the above lyric, which I think will be a good thing to sing to myself, but my 2nd fave choice is those who run to evil and those who cannot run / tell me, which ones are the cripples and which ones touch the sun?

61. Aoffie Scott - All Along the Wild Atlantic Way
Sixty years in Nova Scotia
Waiting for the day
The day that we’re returning homeward
All along the wild Atlantic Way


Pardon me, I'm just gonna go cry a lot at this story about a widow reminiscing about her honeymoon in Ireland with her late husband. It's not even a sad song – it's actually really bright and happy, and aww look how cute in the video; if I recall correctly from the concert that's her actual fella – but also, context is a thing.

62. Aoffie Scott - We Know Where We Stand
Voiceless, though we're singing
Nameless, though knowing who we are


Funny, young people being political activists is way less annoying in the context of Irish politics and/or historical activism.

63. Aoffie Scott - Gypsy Warrior
She followed love over oceans
With all her brood in tow
To find a better life like nomads long ago


Fun and fast paced – one of the more dramatic songs on the album, with more instrumentation than most. I would love it even if I didn't automatically love any songs with “gypsy” in the title, a word I will never stop romanticizing.

64. Aoffie Scott - Deep Dark Water
James Taylor's on the radio
Singing all about Mexico


Written about her and her brother's visits to California when they were younger, this song is great because it actually kinda sounds like an American bluegrass number. Also suitable for road trip mixes.

65. Aoffie Scott - Fasaim
The day that you walked up the aisle
I thought you were lost to me
But we are all still the same
I gained a sister and now we're three


This is has become my favorite on the album for so many reasons: the sweetness of dedicating a song to a close sibling relationship, the gorgeous Irish chorus (I have no idea what it says and even less what it looks like written down, but I feel I can echo a fair copy of how she pronounces it), and the extended musical bridge that is some of the best darn Irish fiddle reeling I've ever heard.

66. Aoffie Scott - Wallflower Waltz
Nodding my head, tapping my toe
I hold down a spot on wallflower row


Because I really like this imagery. It's a slower song, but I always find myself nodding contentedly along with it. Bonus, there is a hidden instrumental track attached to the end that matches in tempo and style. I feel like I might recognize the melody as a traditional Irish song, but I have not yet cross-referenced my Celtic CDs.

67. Joseph Arthur - Honey and the Moon
If you weren't real, I would make you up

I basically let old interviews about The OC brainwash me into liking this, but also, whatever. It's a really pretty and vaguely sad ode to love. Or lost love. Or love that doesn't quite get the timing right. IDK, but it is so lovely that this is one of the very few male singer-songwriters who has matched the quality both musically and lyrically of your average female one.

68. Jem – Just A Ride
We make our plans ten times a day
And when they don't go our way
We break down


This song is such a perfect musical lovechild of Beck and Sheryl Crow that I am actively upset it was released in 2004 so I can't in good conscience put it on 90s mixes. IT IS SO NINETIES.

(Note: The above 2 are from the original O.C. soundtrack, which I would rec, because I listened to it a lot of times, except I think that was mostly me trying to love it as much as the fifth one, and I didn't. It's decent, but it also has too many overly long tracks, and too many where the memory of its use in the show was too prominent and intruded on my listening experience.)

September
69. MattyB & Chanel Loran – Run This Town
We got a banquet full of style, they got a table full of regulars

I'm going to go ahead and call this original due to the sheer number of lyric changes made to be appropriate for a literal child to sing. I found it on one of my regular forays to listen to the original before remembering how hard it is to find on free streaming services. However, YouTube suggested this adorable little Caucasian 11-year-old, and it was so charmingly toothless I was like, “Yeah, okay." But then I listened to the whole thing, and it's ABSOLUTELY DARLING AND WONDERFUL?? Like, "I have watched this entire hypnotizing video at least 20 times" wonderful. The girl is an amazing singer, too. Bonus, there is no Kanye West equivalent part. Just the best!

DOUBLE BONUS: he does a cover of “Stereo Hearts” with Skylar Stecker that is equally cute, and it's leading me down a bunch of other great videos, and basically this is my favorite YouTube cover artist* since Madilyn Bailey. Anyone else with the initials M.B. wanna come into my life?

(*apparently he is only 14-going-on-15 as we speak. I think we all need to watch him very carefully to ensure this does not turn into another Justin Bieber situation, because this kid is starting from an even more cherubic face and I have some Concern about the dangers of him being aware of his own charisma)

70. Ryan Adams – Wonderwall
Word is on the street that the fire in your heart is out

I don't know what voodoo magic Zoo worked to pull this off, but this is actually...super good as a slowed-down, melancholy acoustic cover? So good that I'm giving it its own number instead of being a list extra, even though the original is already in the archives from when I ~discovered~ it for myself in like 2009.

71. Bea Miller – Force of Nature
I tried to tie my heart down, board up all the windows

It took two months, but I finally wore out my rediscovered music and needed Spotify's recs to jump-start my heart before I went crazy trying to work without an enjoyable playlist to keep me sane. This one's already fading beneath shinier options, but I have to give it credit for being the first to perk me up, with its twangy acoustic guitar sounds.

72. Richard Shindell – You Stay Here
You stay here, and I'll go look for guns
I think I know where they've hidden some


I mean, it's probably technically set in actual war times, but I'm Revolution-minded right now, and damned if this couldn't be the theme song of Ben or any other father following the blackout.
(*edit: yep, turns out it's actually inspired by Sarajevo, so not even a historic war, and now I gotta go feel shame. Just not enough to delete my fandoming.)

73. Tracy Grammer - Hey Ho
The merchant kings of war and woe have turned their hands to labor

Not to be confused with the terrible Lumineers song Ho Hey, or the terrible guy who sings about how he's likely to cheat if he gets drunk Andy Grammer, this is a fantastically light and catchy song about a heavy subject, condemning overseas factories and the business of mixing war with capitalism to create a market for toy weapons.

74. Catie Curtis – People Look Around
If they can keep us fighting about marriage and God,
There'll be no one left to notice if the leaders do their jobs


Damn, that is an equally A+ political song about our country and how the goal should be to be a decent person and help others.

75. Antje Duvekot - Long Way
We bid our friends goodbye
We promised we would write them
And headed north up 95


At 6 minutes long, I can't sell this to you unless you take to it immediately like I did, within the first couplet. But if you love it, it's a beautifully long song about the romanticism of young people traveling around the country that name-checks several states and little anecdotes about them.

76. Cry Cry Cry - By Way of Sorrow*
But you'll reach your destiny
Meant to find you all these years

(*GET IT? IT'S SAD.)

But actually, this is a very lovely folk song (with a lovely fiddle interlude) promising good times follow bad. And oh hey, YouTube says the group includes Dar Williams and Richard Shindel, which I guess explains what made Spotify rec this, given that I had songs by both of them already on the list it was basing on the recs on.

77. Katell Keineg – One Hell of A Life
You can live your life in an endless wait
Or build it high on the present tense


I just really like the optimistic don't-be-sad-about-death tone to this one. I also kinda feel like it was written specifically to be played at funerals of people who want more upbeat music at their wake.

78. MattyB - Gone
You see the proof when we show up
Guarantee that they know us

Because I started writing this post and promptly bought into my own hype about him and decided I was ready to look at his current (is this original?) stuff. Definitely not deep, but pretty catchy. Better when not rapping.

79. Michael Tolcher - Sooner or Later
Someday you might listen to what people have to say
Now you learn the hard way


Just a really great, casual radio-sounding song of adult advice aimed at The Youths. I am still always unduly impressed when dudes get a Radio Hit sound just right.

80. Tristan Prettyman - I Was Gonna Marry You
Just so you know,
I never thought you'd let me go


This is exactly as gutwrenching as it sounds, but her voice is like Keri Noble and so enchanting and pretty that it somehow makes you a little less sad.

81. Alana Davis - 32 Flavors
Everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room

...another song I didn't realize was a cover. Oh well. I really do like Ani DiFranco, but I'm going to stick with the cover here because her huskier voice gives the confidence in the song more dramatic impact.

82. Roch Voisine - Tant Pis
Because I am stupid proud of myself for managing to identify the French song from one of the Jane/Gabriel fanvids by recognizing some lyrics. It is a bit too "classical"-sounding for my usual tastes, like the kind of music grandparents would love and that you see at estate sales -- the Michael Buble zone, one might call it. But it is certainly eminently listenable in context.

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