And so the decade ends not with a burst of inspiration, but in a lack of musical notability and excitement. The music industry is at it’s lowest point focused solely on exploiting whatever’s left of the Pop machine which is now laughable to even those were weren’t in on it before. There are no new icons, no more legends, nothing to inspire the population to make their own greatness. That’s all been removed from the plan which has now climaxed in 2019. The plot just seems so tired now though and I can only assume so much is missing from the world that people are going inevitably to take note and take action.
Every generation is talking about it. Where’s the big push of new sound? Where are the rock bands? The boundary-pushers? The ones who continue to forge new territory are struggling to survive and make a living while the longest running # 1 song in history on the Billboard Charts is Old Town Road, surpassing the Beatles, Queen, U2, Prince, and every artist who’s ever released a single or sang a note. It’s a perfectly fitting message to the world – it’s time to wake up and realize what’s going on. Everything is out of whack out there. Debt, money, pop culture, social media, our education system, the government, politics, healthcare, our food, you name it. Music is no different and that’s become obvious now to so many searching for artists to start changing their lives again.
I have been working on my Best Of The Decade List and listening back to it sends me into contemplation about how we felt musically in 2010 to what we’re feeling now. The content bleeds out with intensity in the first half of the decade, but trickles downward as the years pass with less and less potency. As for 2019 itself, it was by far the most difficult year to find great music. Though the great music is still wonderful it only makes me long for the years when there was so much astounding content I could barely sleep from the excitement of it all. I created a career off of that excitement. It’s more of a shoulder shrug now when we share new music and I’m finding artists are struggling to make lasting music because the inspiration pool is so small. Those artists still making music out there are commendable as it feels like a barren apocalyptic post-war zone. I myself had to stop releasing music just to get my bearings and let it all burn for a while. I believe this is where the slope ends. I do. And 2020 forward will be the beginning of something really amazing. I can feel it.
On a positive note 2019 ends with one of the greatest musical masterpieces I have ever heard, that is Cellophane by FKA Twigs. The emotion in her performance is nothing short of transcendent. Her melody and lyrics move me every time I listen to the song and I am so grateful to finally have such emotional response to something of that magnitude. My tears have been longing for song to crawl inside. Other works on this list have made for sparkly standout listening experiences in a year otherwise riddled with tepid indifference. Several unknown indie acts came through with absolutely stellar tracks that barely register on the streaming count ticker. I do hope people discover and support new bands as that is my intention with putting focus tracks you may not have heard. The most notably fierce performance comes from Belgian’s Brutus whose front-woman is a blazing force to be reckoned with. Chelsea Wolfe and Wy’s multiple appearances on the list skew the majority over to the female side which is an important reflection of what’s happening in the world.
New Music Friday never offered less to all of us, but as usual I am happy to celebrate the rare and extraordinary standouts. Make no mistake every year I usually end up with nearly 300 songs that I can’t part with. This year I could barely make 50. There are diamonds here though, and some exciting tracks that still pushed my emotional buttons and had me humming along and dancing…just enough to get through the year and keep hope alive for whatever’s coming next. Enjoy!
9. WY | SOFTIE
11. BAYONNE | QA
19. BRUTUS | WAR
20. MELBY | VCR
24. BRUTUS | DJANGO
26. BUHU – BIG FALLS
28. OURS | KILL ME
30. WY | TIRED I
38. SAEYERS | CRUISE
43. WESTKUST | RUSH