Toward the end of his 2013 Gift Guide my friend Jason Kottke mentions that by far the thing that has provided him the most joy in 2013 is a music application called Rdio. Jason can get away with saying that because he does not exploit his children for millions and millions of dollars on his mommyblog. If I were to say that I’d be accused of not loving my children enough because if I did then THEY would have brought me the most joy. Listen, I love my kids. They regularly bathe in the one hundred dollar bills I’ve earned by sacrificing their childhood.
Let’s just say that in terms of material items, Rdio is the best thing that has happened to me in the last few years. I have listened to and discovered more music in the last two years than in the whole ten years before that. It has made me feel like a little kid again, sitting there with my boom box, my finger perched over the record button to make sure I hit it the moment a good song came on the radio. Which reminds me, Leta and I had this conversation yesterday:
“Mom, did you have Barbies when you were a kid?”
“Of course. I had tons and tons of Barbies. My sister and I—”
“You mean the old fashioned kind?”
“Excuse me, the what?”
“You know, the really old ones like when they first came out.”
“Leta, I played with Barbies in the Eighties.”
“Right, that’s what I mean.”
“Barbies have been around since the Fifties.”
“But the Eighties were a long time ago.”
“NO. PANGAEA WAS A LONG TIME AGO.”
New albums are released on Tuesdays, and it’s become a ritual of mine to go through all that new music and set aside tracks that catch my attention. Up until Rdio I was one of those people who bought and listened to entire albums until I had grown tired of them. Only then would I go looking for something else to listen to. My listening behavior is totally different now: there are only three albums that I listened to this year from start to finish more than once. Instead I’m listening to playlists I’ve made with all sorts of songs by different artists, and the result is this wide and varied soundtrack to my year. I couldn’t love it more.
Here are my favorite tracks from 2013. Half of this list could have been made up with songs off of Arcade Fire’s newest album, but I decided not to do that to you. I’m saving that love letter/essay for another time.
(Please feel free to leave a link to some of the music you’ve discovered. I’m always looking for suggestions.)