Sunday, January 01, 2023

This Year: An Introduction

I've wanted to write more about music for a long time, and haven't done it. Lurking in my drafts is a series to be called "Lyrical Essays," posts springboarding from interesting song lyrics, and I won't say that I'll never do that, but I haven't yet.

For 2023, I had the idea of picking one song for each year of my life, posting a version of it - everything is somewhere these days, so I think it will work - and writing, at least a bit, about why that song is important to me. To make it overly complicated, I'm also only using any artist once, which is I think traditional for a series.

That's This Year, which will post every Monday on this blog, starting tomorrow.

Now, I'm turning fifty-four this year, so it will not be quite one song per year. I've made my list - I had to make sure, first, that it would work, and I could come up with a coherent sequence - and I have several asterisks. Twice I'm picking two songs for the same year and skipping an adjoining year, just because I couldn't decide (1982 and 2011) and two years were left off (1971 and 2015), mostly because I couldn't decide on anything important enough for those years, and I realized I was at exactly fifty-two without them.

So each Monday there will be a post about one song, from the year after the week before, starting with the year I was born. Come back tomorrow for the biggest cliché in the whole series: in my defense, I was very young when that song came out.

The series title comes from the Mountain Goats song, which I guess is a bit of lagniappe for the series - it's not one of the main list. You may have heard this song in 2020, when it had a resurgence for fairly obvious reasons; I think Stephen Colbert was the initial vector. It's very specific to the singer's (John Darnielle) life at a moment in his teens, and also utterly general - we all have years like this, and sometimes all years feel like this. And we can all say, "I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me." I hope you do; I hope it doesn't.

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