' ' Cinema Romantico: My 2022 Mixtape

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

My 2022 Mixtape

The emerging trend, I have noticed, is to share your Spotify Wrapped list at the end of the year as a way to convey your favorite music of the year, or at least the music to which you listened most frequently. And that’s why I’m not sure it’s the most accurate way to gauge your favorite music of this year. I mean, what would my Spotify Wrapped tell you? That I like Lady Gaga (this year I was really into her performance of “Artpop” with Elton John, which is shot through with the kind of sincerity she couldn’t evince on “Joanne” and is the only time in recorded history The Muppets have interfered rather than enhanced) and Bruce Springsteen (this year I was into his 1992 Meadowlands live recording with The Other Band because, man, I have really come to cherish The Other Band)? But then, I don’t have Spotify anyway. No, I’m more old school, which is to say I like to compile a year-end specific mixtape. Not a real, mixtape, of course, but a playlist on my iPhone and a hypothetical mixtape here on my blog, which, come to think of it, is about as old school as a cassette. (Click on the title to hear the song.)

My 2022 Mixtape 

Daytona Sand, Orville Peck. I don’t karaoke all that much and so I don’t really have my karaoke song, per se, not least because I can’t really sing. But I can sort of perform, in a manner of speaking, and what I love about this song is how Orville Peck performs it in a way befitting his mysterious masked persona. And while I know this song would never appear on any karaoke bar’s playlist, I wish it would, because I’d like to make this my karaoke song.

The Light Saw Me, Jason Boland & The Stragglers. Like if Fox Mulder fronted a honky-tonk band.

Chicamacomico, American Aquarium. The Best Bruce Springsteen Song of 2022. 

Born Tough, Nikki Lane. One of my recurring faves trades a little of the twang in her guitars for a little more crunch, a deal I heartily endorse. 


Talk Tough, Bat Fangs. Embedding this video and not the others because this is my favorite song of 2022 even though it was technically released in 2021. It speaks for itself, I’d like to think, but I admire how Betsy Wright drops in a guitar solo, there, right after the first verse and before the chorus, like Carl Lewis throwing out a 28'6" at the start of a long jump competition just because he could, just to show you what’s up.

Lost, Zola Jesus. The goth chanteuse of the north woods checks in with her state of the nation.

Alien Superstar, Beyoncé. Sometimes people refer to her mononymous majesty as a god or God herself. I don’t know about all that, but the two times the chorus comes in on this one, reader, I tell you straight up and with nary a hint of exaggeration, I see God.

False Dichotomy, Metric. My favorite cut off my favorite album of the year, the album Arcade Fire was trying to make its last two albums and couldn’t. Also, special citation for a 20-year band putting out perhaps its best record two decades into its run. That ain’t easy.

Tired of Taking It Out on You, Wilco. I’ll be honest, I’d given up thinking I’d ever love a Wilco album again. “A Ghost Is Born” all the way back in 2004 was the last one I loved (a somewhat controversial stance, I believe, among the Wilco aficionados). But this new record, even despite the tracks I didn’t love, I loved. I’m not sure it’s quite the return to country it was billed as being, but it occupies a middle ground between the country of their early years and the indie rock they eventually gravitated toward, which is maybe what I was waiting for all along. This song is the one I liked most, because while it doesn’t soar, in a manner of speaking, it still sounds like the current incarnation of Wilco in full flight.

Teach Me How to Stay, Stephen Bruton. Maybe because of Wilco, who I was listening to fervently back around the turn of the century, I found myself seeking out lots of circa 2000 singer-songwriter stuff. Old favorites, like Matthew Ryan, yes, but new finds too, like the late Stephen Bruton (who died in 2009), especially this tune from 2002 which it turns out I had been waiting lo these 20 years to hear, evocative of the infinite treasures floating in the sonic-time continuum. 

Tryin’ My Best, Los Angeles, Mandy Moore. Speaking of which, Mandy Moore put out a new album this year and that album led me back to the album she released in 2020 which I loved. And if back at the turn of the century Mandy Moore was just another teen pop idol, twenty years later, after considerable personal strife, she’s reemerged with a California soft rock sound that she wears well. She’s approaching middle age, and even though I try, to some degree, to stay plugged into the popular music scene, well, I have already arrived at middle age, and boy does her adult contemporary give me life. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

thank you for posting this!