Three Songs and the Truth About List Season

The end of the year is fast approaching, list season is here and we are already hearing some new songs from albums ready to be released in early 2023. Read on for some new songs and thoughts from this week in my music listening…

Three Songs

Lana Del Rey – Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd

After releasing two albums in 2021 Lana Del Rey could have spent this year having some well-deserved time off but instead she’s been back in the studio recording her ninth album. The title track was released this week and it’s a classic return to form, after the disappointment of ‘Blue Banisters’ (a scattershot collection that verged on contract filler). On this new song she takes us underground into the forgotten beauty of a lost Californian tunnel, musing on the tragedy of time and sounding as devastatingly perfect as ever.

SZA – Nobody Gets Me

Another interesting end of year release is the new album by RnB star SZA. ‘SOS’ includes guest spots from Phoebe Bridgers and contributions from Lizzo, but the song which stands out is the acoustic ballad ‘Nobody Gets Me’. The song opens with what sounds like a sample of Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’ and unfolds into a love song which lets her voice and vulnerability shine.

S.G. Goodman – If You Were Someone I Loved

I’ve been writing daily this month in an attempt to make up for the fact that I’ve been slow with reviewing new albums and blogging this year. One record I have spent time with this week has been ‘Teeth Marks’ by S.G. Goodman and the song ‘If You Were Someone I Loved’ hit me hard. Sometimes list season is a blessing that allows you to go back and find the gems you’ve lost in the fog.

Hear these songs and others on my weekly playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3KcF7CibquRNgmfuP88Sf1?si=oeZ-nOs5TQGpqaz9rZZ8xQ

& The Truth About List Season 2022

It’s the time of year when every outlet is publishing their end of year album lists. If you’re a stats geek like myself you may be keeping a close eye on the overall tallies, thinking about what the average consensus might mean for the future of music.

Truth is these lists now look like they’re becoming nothing but click bait. Beyoncé is topping these polls with an average album that has very little to say, with music that looks backward rather than innovates. Even if you enjoyed the album, most would agree it is a disappointment when compared to ‘Lemonade’.

Previous critic favourites like Mitski, Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, Arctic Monkeys and The 1975 all appear on these lists but much lower down than in previous years. It’s clear these records are not their best and they appear on these lists just to appease their legions of fans.

Back in the days of old printed media you got a sense that such lists could make or break careers. Nowadays they become just a way to make money for the publication themselves. Too many of the big websites seem to want to appeal to all musical tastes and fans to the point where every list looks the same.

Something is seriously wrong when even a site like The Quietus, who pride themselves on covering challenging and experimental music, put the Beyoncé album on their list!

Individual lists may be too narrow, but in the face of such predictability and poptimism they are needed more than ever (just don’t ask me for mine yet!).

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