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Favorite Album: Once again I bought so few albums that this category should be retired for lack of candidates but it provides another opportunity to shout out the Hamilton soundtrack, which remains to me a jaw-dropping piece of work. How did Lin Manuel Miranda do this? For my best of below I chose “You’ll Be Back” which is not very representative but nothing else seemed to fit in with the rest of my picks.

Favorite Fast Song: Fill in the Blank, Car Set Headrest. Great vocal, great guitars, great lyrics. Drunk Drivers/Killers Whales may actually be the better song but I give the nod to this one for the lines, “You have no right to be depressed/You haven’t tried hard enough to like it.” I sequenced this after Leonard Cohen below and I can imagine the Act 3 Leonard Cohen saying something to himself…although not necessarily the Act 1 Leonard Cohen. Same holds true for me!

Favorite Slow Song: Needed, Robbie Fulks. I waxed eloquent about Humble and Kind as an advice-to-my-kid song but damned if a better one didn’t come along toward the end of the year. One of those songs that makes me feel like the writer is reading my mail. “May you steer past shallow freedoms,” there’s some advice we could all periodically stand to hear.

Song That Makes Me Inexplicably Happy Every Time I Hear It: Nobody Wins, Brian Fallon. It’s kind of a sad song, addressed to an ex-lover who’s probably not remotely interested in listening. But it seems to have a stoic acceptance of the passing of time that I am currently attempting to cultivate. Plus there’s something in the vocal so contradictorily unaccepting of the passage of time, so up to the challenge, so up to any challenge…file under early Bruce.

Disk 1:

  1. Leaving the Table, Leonard Cohen
  2. Fill in the Blank, Car Seat Headrest
  3. Shilpa Ray on Broadway, Shilpa Ray
  4. Fake I.D., Joyce Manor
  5. Shut Up Kiss Me, Angel Olsen
  6. Roller, Quilt
  7. Mono Pt. II, Trapper Schoepp
  8. Never Be It, Cotton Mather
  9. Easier Said, Sunflower Bean
  10. Impossible Hand, Stephen Steinbrink
  11. How Lucky Am I?, Lemon Twigs
  12. Jobs I Had Before I Got Rich & Famous, Walter Martin
  13. You’ll Be Back, Hamilton Original Broadway Cast
  14. A 1000 Times, Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam
  15. Talking Quietly of Anything With You, Free Cake for Every Creature

Disk 2:

  1. Humble and Kind, Tim McGraw
  2. Wreck You, Lori McKenna
  3. Nobody Wins, Brian Fallon
  4. Back, I Don’t Cares
  5. Longer, Lydia Loveless
  6. Anyhow, Tedeschi Trucks Band
  7. Changes, Charles Bradley
  8. All Around You, Sturgill Simpson
  9. Northern Highway, Martin Courtney
  10. You Say, Dori Freeman
  11. Porch Light, Aoife O’Donovan
  12. If I Ever Was a Child, Wilco
  13. Hands of Time, Margo Price
  14. Only a River, Bob Weir
  15. Needed, Robbie Fulks