Best of 2023: There are worse ‘philes to be
This year from Sam and Josiah.
Goodbye Year of Our Lord 2023. Hello Year of Our Lord 2024. What do these things mean? I don’t really know. It’s more of a Sam thing, and he leaves these intros empty more often than not, so I’m stuck trying to write in both of our voices at once while still, after all these years, not really understanding what makes the Sam Voice tick. It’s: good.
Another thing I realized is that our relationship to each other is changing. We are currently making plans to do something (just for fun, as friends, not related to content or anything), but I’ve noticed that we are still talking with our playfully combative banter as we make plans. Since it’s not for a pod, it means we’re just straight up flirting in private. It’s: disgusting.
We each made a playlist of 50 songs we liked this year. Give ‘em a listen and decide once and for all who is the better person.
Sam: This year was all about one thing for me: bloops. But if it was about two things, it was also about: bleeps. I have written extensively in this newsletter about how enamoured I am by what the children of the internet are doing under the banner of “cybergrind,” and this list reflects my newfound identity as the oldest, squarest dude who can’t wait for the new ZOMBIESHARK!. There are a few tracks that I would have included here if they were available on streaming: Josiah’s favourite new mclusky and anything from the Street Gloves EP. But mostly, this was my year: melodramatic mid-tempo indie and all the bleeps fit to print. And blink-182 because honestly, “Turpentine” is a good-ass song. Album of the year Games of Power no question, EP of the year God Smiles Upon The Callous Daoboys. Josiah I hope you find something to love here.
Jos: This year was also about bloops and bleeps for me, but in a much more turtlenecked and tiny glasses fashion than Sam. He’s listening to the bands sharing “if your guitarist looks like this you’re gonna die in that pit” memes, and I’m listening to the guys from whose Resident Advisor artist profile pics those photos are taken. Wait, even without Apple Music I can preview the tracks, just like when I listened to RealAudio snippets of The Moon & Antarctica on the Epic Records site before it came out. This Bejalvin song is so funny, it sounds like Ronnie Radke if he was trying way harder. I know some of these songs from the newsletter, which is the world’s most important newsletter. Ghösh is awesome. I’ve seen this Zach Bryan guy around, what’s his deal? Is he Morgan Wallen for people who performatively hate Morgan Wallen? This Samiam snippet sounds like Snow Patrol. “Hollywood Baby” probably is a pretty definitive 2023 song even though I don’t want to admit it. MSPAINT is dogshit, I’m not clicking it. I hate to admit it but I think I like the Mark songs on One More Time… the most.
Jos: I love that Sam made his playlist art with a crappy AI generator. Mine is a selfie I took in front of some surprise fireworks we saw while hanging out in Woodstock, NY for my birthday (probably the best day of the year, with many runners up), and a lot of my favourite music is kinda rich-guy Catskills gentrifier mid music that even has fireworks in it (see: the Wilco song that I can’t stop listening to). There’s a lot of wanker stuff in there too, though. If the pod encouraged my very worst behaviour, the newsletter encourages my slightly less worst behaviour of trying to reconnect with my inner wanker. I’m definitely not rocking taste much deeper than the average music writer, and for that I am mournful, but I genuinely did have a very nice time reconnecting with an old me by listening to ambient music, guitar noodles, annoying IDM and almost every Lil B song released this year (I definitely sat through a couple hundred of them). Some of these songs are ones that came on from the algo while I was doing something else, others are bands I got to see at the 2 or 3 shows I went to, others still are “One Time” by Bonk! Bonk!, a song I loved so much and still do. It’s been a weird one, and I’ve been feeling pretty up and down about all the changes (and horrifying realness of real life), but I actually did lean on listening to music pretty hard this year. I even got some new computer speakers and can feel myself becoming an audiophile. There are worse ‘philes to be! Music is my life.
Sam: I was preemptively amused thinking about how my playlist was likely to balance Josiah’s, but actually tucking in (via my free Spotify account, Josiah if you’re becoming a true ‘phile you have to join the Apple Music Dolby Atmos Revolution) it’s really funny to see how the difference we so often played up on the pod are actually very real, soul-deep differences. Some of my non-playlisted favourites from the year did come from Josiah’s side of the newsletter, and they’re popping for me again here - Ruth Radelet, forever ☆, “Affirmations” by Hannah Diamond, Wishy. But the funniest divergence in our interests is the ambient stuff, which Josiah has objectively good taste in and which I listen to via playlists with names like Blossom and Atmospheres. I think it would be cool to have opinions about this music beyond “it’s nice the morning” but it’s been over a year of attempting to make this change and it’s just not taking. Wow this Rainy Miller stuff is sick as hell. This MXPX song is better than any of the songs on the blink album. Okay now Spotify is playing an ad, which is annoying, but is’s for starting your own podcast, which is funny. I can’t believe this platform is how most people listen to music.
Thank you everyone for listening to us and reading us in 2023! We are going to do more stuff in 2024, and really make it the Year of Our Lord.
Free every Friday.