I still roll around with a magic marker
Some nights it just feels good to write your name
— Craig Finn
Let me explain. The moment I heard this song, inspiration hit me: it would make a great short story. The imagery is ripe for interpretation, lines like pretty girls burning holes in the cushions of the couch. Or a bouncer with a fish hook in his mouth. It’s a character driven song, one I had hoped to flesh out. I must have listened to “Magic Marker” a hundred times. Each time a new idea would spring to life. Is it a heist story? A commentary on addiction and loneliness? I settled on the idea of it being told from the perspective of a daughter searching for her estranged father, finding clues of his life in scribbled black ink. It’s still a work in progress.
That’s the power this song held over me. As I reflect on it now, if your brain snaps into action like mine did, then you have something truly special. But, it’s a very personal experience. You can’t ignore that kind of visceral response, which is why it’s the song of the year for me.
As 2019 rolled on, I started experiencing what I can only define as music consumption fatigue. I’ve been writing this blog for two years and consuming so much music (often 10-15 releases a month) that I lost emotional connection to the songs. That’s no way to listen. Your heart has to be in it. So, I took a break, then life happened.
I switched jobs for the first time in five years. The new gig has literally consumed my life, I often refer myself as having my head stuck in the sand. While it may not be the perfect metaphor, let’s just say my energy has been focused in a single direction. I’m pulling my head out now though for a few hours.
Due to the aforementioned fatigue and the new job, it’s been a challenge to be connected to the music in the same way this year. It’s been hard identifying the real winners on this list, so I went with my gut. Usually I agonize over curating and perhaps overthink it a little. It’s been refreshing reliving these songs and building the flow of the playlist. Happy listening friends.
Top 5 Records of the Year:
- American Love Call – Durand Jones & The Indications
- The Saint Of Lost Causes – Justin Townes Earle
- I Need a New War – Craig Finn
- In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights – The New Pornographers
- Oh My God – Kevin Morby
Concert of the year: Justin Townes Earle in NYC
Biggest Disappointment: Real Life – Cayucas
Where-the-hell-did-that-come-from?/most interesting record of the year: SOUND & FURY – Sturgill Simpson
Maybe in 5 years I will love it: Father of the Bride – Vampire Weekend