Tracklisted takes on two forms. It either presents a collection of songs under a selected theme, or allows a visiting artist to detail the influences relating to recent work. Click on the provided Spotify playlist and stream this week’s arrangements while you read a few words about the selections.
Houston-based alt-rocker Alex Riddle takes a unique approach to songwriting and composition, having a tendency to explore and experiment with some strange territories. For his Tracklisted, he chose some recent favorites as he gears up for a busy 2018. There’s a broad range of artists in his list, from Paramore to Sufjan Stevens.
Riddle’s latest single, “Hosting Ghosts,” can be heard below:
Maybe My Top 10 Songs of 2017
The Kickback — False Jeopardy (from “To The Bone”)
I’ve been a big Kickback fan since I saw them in Houston with Avi Buffalo. Go see them live. Conversion guaranteed after four songs. I’m very happy they made this acoustic version — may even have to watch the Netflix movie it’s taken from and hear it in context. The album version is too noisy; it works better as barely contained angst, in my opinion.
The National — The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
The first single off Sleep Well Beast, it signaled a major departure from The National playbook. I especially love the backing vocals to kick the song off, courtesy of Lisa Hannigan (and you should check out her under-the-radar-but-off-the-ch
Big Thief — Shark Smile
This song just sounds like headlights and 70 mph — a perfect driving song. It was between this and “Mythological Beauty,” but I have a soft spot for car songs. Line I wish I’d written: “And the money pile on the dashboard/fluttering.”
Fleet Foxes — Third of May / Odaigahara
“Third of May” finds the middle ground between the wintry nostalgia of the first album’s set of songs and the more self-conscious attempt at epic-sculpting in the second album. In two words: effortlessly epic.
Paramore — Hard Times
The people who dislike this song probably say things like, “There are too many people in the world already!” and keep a tarantula named Shelob for a pet. I’m not a longtime Paramore fan by any means, so I cannot speak to whether this stylistic departure is a massive betrayal of their fanbase or anything like that, but I will gladly assert that, evaluated entirely on its own merit, this song represents exactly what pop music ought to be.
Sufjan Stevens — Tonya Harding (Eb Major)
Sufjan, you nut! He released two versions at different tempos and…one half step apart. Both are great, but the slightly higher, somewhat faster version really does it.
Alvvays — Dreams Tonite
“Sunday Morning Coming Down” for the millennial generation. Not in terms of subject matter, mostly I mean that I think this sounds like the soundtrack to a hangover.
The War on Drugs — Pain
The War on Drugs bother me a bit. It just seems they resort to “soundscape” rather than “music” a little too often. And what’s with the title? Could you pick something more generic? That said…this song rocks.
Chris Stapleton — Tryin’ to Untangle my Mind
What a voice! The man does the Outlaw Country justice, indeed.
Kimbra — Everybody Knows
Man, I love this song. Speaking of great voices. This is hands down my favorite John Congleton production. It’s so focused and precise. You have to crank this one, however, to get the full effect.