Talkin’ Music: Hidden Gems of 2013

I’ll admit it: as a music fan, I possess a generational bias. It’s not that I don’t enjoy music from an older generation or that I can’t do a killer Mick Jagger Rooster (I can!); it’s just that I normally refrain from offering my opinion on such matters. To me, nothing seems stranger than hearing a thirtysomething declare his or her love of – say – The Rolling Stones. When this happens, I always think: “You’re only 30 years old. Mick Jagger has crotch botchulism boils older than you!” (Thank you, Sarah Michelle Geller for hosting the SNL episode that gave me that wonderful phrase!)

So for the love of taunt flesh and tight denim, how was 2013 the year that I finally accepted the fact that I’m an Iggy & the Stooges fan? After years of fighting it, I finally gave in and admitted that all the necessary criteria was there: I’ve seen them live (the 2006 Big Day Out possessed a Detroit-tastic co-headliner of them and the White Stripes; a highlight of the evening was Jack’s cheeky rendition of I’m Bored), I have a favorite song that isn’t Lust for Life (it’s actually The Passenger), and now I find myself giving their new album heavy rotation, especially the song Job. For weeks, I’ve been gleefully repeating the chorus: “I got a job… I got a job… I got a job… AND IT DON’T PAY SHIT!” in my head. After such a weirdly distinguished career, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that a bunch of crazy gringos from the D have penned the perfect post-Recession anthem.

Here are my Big Three of other Hidden Gems of 2013:

Lebron: Local Girl by Neko Case. This song definitely wins the award for best opening line: “I pass the light that the young people make, how joyfully it’s wasted.” And I love how the backing chorus sounds like a group of your ex’s angry BFFs during a nasty public spat. Neko: “All of you lie about something.” Backing chorus: “You know you do, all of you, shame on you, all of you lie!”

D-Wade: Flying Over Water by Jason Isbell. This has to be the best song off the year’s best album. And here’s why: a great song has the ability to musically colonize an object in your memory so that you’re unable to interact with this object ever again without hearing the song in your head. (Think: the White Stripes and pancake batter, Tom Waits and a candy store, or Elliott Smith and a discarded Travel mag.) This song colonizes an airplane’s food and beverage cart, which is not an easy object to colonize!

Otherguy: Twin Hype Back by Run the Jewels featuring Prince Paul. And speaking of musically colonizing objects, after hearing this song, I’ll never again underestimate the sensual, seductive qualities of a”brand new deck of UNO cards!”

Iggy Pop

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