22 of Wallace Wylie’s favourite songs of 2012 (most of which are actually from 2012) so far
By Wallace Wylie
2012. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been a shit year in terms of my personal life. As usual, I look to music to provide me with an escape. Escape is not enough, so I also need music to take the conflicting mass of human emotions and put them into some kind of artistic context. This allows me to see that there are other people out there not doing so well but who grit their teeth and get on with things even when they’re not sure why they’re doing it. As such, this list will deviate somewhat from the rules. Instead of 22 songs released in 2012, it will be 22 songs that have meant something to me emotionally, though over half will be from 2012 to make sure it isn’t all about older music. Let it begin:
Sharon Van Etten – Serpents
I’m cheating already. This actually surfaced late last year, but her latest album from which this is from came out in 2012 so it sneaks in. It’s rock music. I don’t normally listen to much rock music these days but something about it enthralled me. It builds but never explodes. It’s cathartic, yet there’s a (com)passionate restraint. Has somebody malignant ever tainted your life? Their malignancy enters your very being. “You hold the mirror up, to everybody else.” They will put all the blame on you. Now I’m just talking in riddles because you know nothing about my life. This song still cuts deep.
Lee Dorsey – Night People
It’s Lee Dorsey. It’s written by Allen Toussaint. “Night people, hangin’ out, lookin’ at each other. Waitin’ for somethin’ to happen.” This is one of your favourite songs; you just haven’t listened to it yet.
Julia Holter – Moni Mon Amie
A hymn to obsession. A celestial visitation. A song to the siren. Yeah, all that and a bag of chips.
Conrad Schnitzler – Auf Dem Schwarzen Canal
Soul Jazz Records deserve a medal for services to music. They’ve released so many jaw-dropping compilations it’s hard to keep up. I bought Deutsche Elektronische Musik two years ago on my first, and as yet only, trip to New York City. In a little Bleecker Street record store, I picked up this and a couple of Arthur Russell albums. I spent very little time in New York but I fell in love nonetheless. Some people hate New York City whereas some people, like me, feel some unknown energy rising from beneath every pavement; see the flickering ghosts of musicians long gone in the darkness of the subway. All this has little to do with the song by Conrad Schnitzler, but whenever I listen to it, I somehow connect it with New York, not Germany, and I feel sustenance from the mere memory of my trip. Life needs these little moments.