Friday, December 15, 2023

GL.23.03: Marisa Plaice


GL.23.05: Raffa Pantaleo
GL.23.06: Erik Kristjanson
GL.23.07: Lukas Brooks
GL.23.08: Jem Stirling
GL.23.09: Max Einstein


2023 was the year I accepted that, at least for now, becoming a mom has changed my relationship to music.

I know that if you don’t have kids, you think that won’t happen. Well I’m that annoying parent who is here to tell you: you’re wrong. 

For example, my son, Charlie, is obsessed with Nevermind. (Yes, I know it could be worse. He had a “Who Let the Dogs Out?” phase.) As a result, I have listened to Nevermind more this past year than I did in the entirety of the nineties. Plus a little Bleach, but he refuses to give In Utero a try. So here we are. Oh, and his favorite song? “Territorial Pissings.” He keeps asking us to remind him of the title. Sigh. 

But as I said - it could be worse. My husband started playing a Jock Jams-esque playlist during bath time, and Charlie has really taken to Gary Glitter. If you know anything about Gary Glitter, you’ll know that this is … awkward. (Why do they keep playing his music!?). 

That’s not to say he isn’t interested in some current stuff. He’s a big Taylor Swift fan (and so am I) but admittedly he’s probably the reason she was the number one artist on my Spotify Wrapped. The catch here is that he only wants to listen to two albums: Midnights and 1989. His favorite songs are “You’re On Your Own, Kid” and “This Love,” respectively (though those are my favorites, too, so perhaps I’m projecting a bit.) However, I blew his mind the other night when I told him there are T-Swift albums he’s never even heard, so perhaps we’ll make some progress in the new year. 

This is not to say that I didn’t listen to new releases that I’m interested in this year. I think Jess Williamson (the other half of Plains) had one of the best albums of 2023. “Stampede” will just break your heart. Caroline Polachek also had quite the year and I imagine she’ll end up on many year end lists. My personal favorite was “Sunset.” I still don’t know how I feel about the National album that came out this year, but I love love love “New Order T-Shirt.” Shoutout as well to “Once Upon a Poolside,” which features Sufjan Stevens. Speaking of Sufjan, he put out an album, too, and had a way worse year than he deserved. I really liked “A Running Start,” and I really hope he’s doing ok. And of course, there was 2023’s MVP, boygenius. An album that actually lived up to the hype, followed by a great 4 song EP. Obviously “Not Strong Enough” was the jam on the full-length, but I also really loved “Anti-Curse.” And “Voyager” was the jam on the EP. Look, it’s boygenius’ world, and we just live in it. Additional shout outs to Bully (loved “Changed Your Mind”), Indigo De Souza (“Losing”), and Mitski, of course (I really liked the first track, “Bug Like an Angel”). I also rediscovered some old favorites this year. Mazzy Star’s first album, for example - the opening track, “Halah,” is so fantastic. I also had a random urge to listen to The Avett Brothers one day. I loved them in the mid-aughts, but don’t listen to them much these days. “My Last Song to Jenny” is still real sad. 

Really though, I feel like the thing that’s changed the most from having kids (yes I’m still complaining about them) is my concert attendance. Hooooo boy, it’s really suffered. I did make it out to shows this year - boygenius, for example. Seeing them live reminded me that “Me and My Dog” is a perfect song. And ok, I’m not a total slacker - I literally flew to England to see Pulp (and saw Aaron and Ilana in Amsterdam!). They attract a slightly larger crowd in their homeland compared to America, and it was amazing. And they played “Like a Friend,” which, in my humble opinion, is their greatest song. I also saw The Walkmen, who were AMAZING, and I was delighted when they played “Four Provinces.” And lastly I saw the Death Cab/Postal Service anniversary tour, which I thought would make me feel old, but actually made me feel happy and nostalgic. I still have a huge soft spot for “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, and “Title and Registration” will forever be one of Death Cab’s best songs. 

In the end, what do all of these shows have in common? I felt like they reminded me of who I am. You can really lose yourself when you have kids. I promise I’m not complaining about them again - I love them more than anything in this world, and they are worth every sacrifice. But life changes so much when you have a kid, and it revolves around them, and all of a sudden you’re not sure what you still like, or what you have the energy to do, or how to even find the time. It is, in short, a huge adjustment. And I hate that I don’t make it out to as many concerts as I used to, or that I’m listening to a 30 year old album for the 10th time today. I almost didn’t do an end of the year list - it would be the first time in a very long time that I didn’t - because I felt like I hadn’t listened to enough new music, and I couldn’t structure the list like I had in the past. But then I figured I’d just do it differently. And different isn’t bad, it’s just … different. Whether you’re referring to becoming a parent, or your lack of concert attendance. I’m working on accepting all of that. Maybe in 2024. 

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