Hello and welcome to 2023. It's almost the end of the first day of the year and I'm bringing you a new years post in three parts. First, last year I wrote a newsletter post about my hopes and goals and aspirations. I'd like to check in and see how I did. Next, I will make some goals for this year. And finally, I'd like to go through my most listened to songs of 2022 and talk a bit about them.
You might think three lists in one email is too many, but this is my blog and I'll do whatever I want.
- Be better at replying to texts: honestly? I don’t think I succeeded at this one. Sorry to my friends.
- Make more zines and get better at design: I made the same number of zines as last year, but I think I my design skills have improved! Half a win.
- Buy more books: Success. Reading all of them… well, there’s always this year.
- Stop putting Matchbox 20 on every playlist I make: I did this, but Everclear made an appearance on my Top 100 most listened to songs playlist. Lateral move, still a success.
- Mail more letters: I think I technically did this. More on that later in the year.
- Get over my fear of haircuts: Success, though I need to get one now.
- Do more collaborative projects: I’ve begun a new one! Big!
- Get into Jimmy Eat World: A massive fail that I dragged my friends into.
- Embrace the media: I did more commissioned work so I guess that’s a win. These last two are a reference to that End of a Year song, though.
- Try new things: Success. I got a new boyfriend and a roommate. They both rock.
Now for 2023. I feel like last year I did a lot of internal work, but this year I'd like to try doing more things. This is more of a list of things I'd really actively like to do. Maybe a bit ambitious, but the year is long!
- Learn a skill. Could be anything, but I'd like to get into maybe riso printing. Maybe I'll learn to make candles. Maybe I'll try to learn to develop film myself. Not sure!
- Read all the books and zines I buy. "All" is kind of lofty, but I can be bad about buying stuff and not reading it. Trying to combat that and actually finish this book about SST at least.
- Make some new friends. That's all.
- See my existing friends more. An extention of the last goal.
- Find cool physical media things to subscribe to. If you have any particular favorite magazines or zines that have subscriptions, I'd love to hear about it!
- Find an excuse to go up to New York and down to DC more (or at all). One of the real positives of Philadelphia is the proximity to other places. I don't take advantage of that as much as I feel I should.
- Go to Canada and/or the Pacific Northwest. This is different than the last one about travel because going to Canada and/or the PNW is not "easier" in Philly than in other places I've lived so it's not about "taking advantage" of my situation. Just places I've never been, at least as an adult, so it would be fun.
- Write this newsletter more. We will see.
- Buy some more cool t-shirts. Will I purchase a Dillinger Four t-shirt this year? Time will tell.
- Watch more movies. Stay tuned for my pivot to letterboxd. I love a film, I should watch more of them. Preferably in a cool theatre. If you know any of those in the Philadelphia area, please let me know.
I wanted to rundown a bunch of songs I listened to most this year just because I think that's a fun way to look back on the year. I get caught in ruts with songs often so any song with over 100 plays is often tied to a certain point in the year. Pure, unadulterated navel gazing.
"Carrie Ends The Call" by John K. Samson - 387
If I had to pick a favorite song, this might be it. It's the only song I've ever loved that rivals "Cath" by Death Cab For Cutie. It's the perfect John K. Samson song. Absolutely perfect, simple turns of phrase that he does better than anybody.
I listened to it endlessly and repetitively for the first few months of the year. It's a quiet place for me mentally.
"Cancel Man" by Self Defense Family - 261
I had the idea to rank every Self Defense EP earlier this year. I still intend to do that because I've sank a decent amount of time into the project, but I got stuck when I got to this song. I listened to it almost 200 times in October. It's a track that Patrick Kindlon doesn't sing and I am just enamored with it (so was David Anthony in 2014, I guess.)
It captures this wistful, sorrowful intersection of emotion that I think is beautiful. I think the phrasing of "documenting a night of nearly nothing" is perfect. So is "I'm pursuing all-consuming chance at trying something new."
"Wintering" by The 1975 - 237
There's always one 1975 song that I'll get stuck on. This one hits the same place for me as "So Far It's Alright" or "The Ballad of Me and My Brain" or "Menswear" and that's exactly what I want from them. Perfect Christmas song, too.
"The Dance at Delmonico's" by Shinobu - 182
This and "Same Bastards" are my favorite Shinobu songs. This one tells a perspective on the F. Scott Fitzgerald story "May Day" while "Same Bastards" tackles a perspective within the novel The Joke by Milan Kundera (or so Genius dot com says). I've read May Day and think it's good, but this song is better. I love the jangliness of Shinobu. I love the sort of squeaky vocals. I love the lo-fi, strained quality of the song.
More bands should be trying to do what Shinobu was doing.
"Deep Gulch" by Hard Girls - 178
I wrote a bunch about listening to Hard Girls earlier this year so I don't need to go into it, but I love it. "Deep Gulch" is my favorite song on a great album. I love the beginning. I love that it starts fast with vocals front and center. I love that it ends with extended instrumentals. That's what makes it endlessly repeatable. Great track.
"I'm Serious, I'm Sorry" by Jeff Rosenstock - 168
This is probably my favorite Jeff Rosenstock solo song. It feels melodramatic to listen to a lot, but I had kind of a melodramatic kind of year. Nobody does strained, emotional distress vocals like Jeff! I love it!
There is something so viscerally horrible about "Meghan held your body as you were sobbing at the party" the use of the word body like that is so harsh. Incredible song.
"Habits" by PUP - 158
Real buzzer-beater, this one. It's the last song I really got stuck on this last year. I think it has some of my favorite PUP lyrics. Something about the way Stefan Babcock delivers the line "And I thought I would love the spotlight, but it only mad me squint" really does it for me.
"Tunnel" by Frankie Cosmos - 152
The hold the Frankie Cosmos Haunted Items EP has on me is, frankly, unbelievable. I love the piano! I love the ultra-simplicity! I listened to "Eternal" from that collection a lot this year, too, but "Tunnel" is just perfect. A true master of simplicity when she wants to be.
This is my most scrobbled track of all time! What a song!
"Girls Like Status" by The Hold Steady - 152
On the absolute flip side, nothing masterfully simple about this one. You know, I don't even know that I love this song that much. I like it. I think it's fun and silly. I can't believe how much I listened to it! I think the Mountain Goats/D4 references toward the end are a bit corny even for Craig Finn, but I know that if they played it at their show all together this year I would probably cry or something.
Gonna make it through this year if it kills me, and it almost killed me.
"Sign of the Dune" by Hard Girls - 146
Earlier this year I considered getting a tattoo that says "step one of a plan" which is the first line of this song. The thought didn't get much further, but I think if I was to get a band tattoo at my big age of 25 after escaping it this long.. well, it would probably be a band Mike Huguenor has played guitar in. I'm a big enough person to admit that.
"Gotta Let It Go" by Joyce Manor - 140
Fave from the new album. Perfect JM song. Wrote about this album and kind of struggled to do so, hence this number of listens. Nothing more to say.
"Sock Hop" by All-Time Quarterback - 116
Like the last song, "Sock Hop" benefits from its brevity in my scrobbles. I love Ben Gibbard. This one was big for me in November as I was sort of in between musical fixations. I shuffled all the songs in my apple music and it came up and I thought to myself "what a great song!"
Nothing more to it, I suppose.
"Reconstuction Site" by The Weakerthans - 115
According to my Last FM data, this was biggest for me in January. I think, unfortunately, I end up listening to this one most because it's the first song on the album. I just put it on and sometimes I don't really want to listen to the rest of the album so I listen to it a few times, then move on. It is one of my favorite Weakerthans songs, though. I think the imagery is just so special and beautiful you simply cannot deny it. I think it's the song that made my roommate, colleague, friend, and confidant Eric have an interest in giving The Weakerthans another shot. A win for everybody!
"Plan" by Hard Girls - 111
All the songs on this list from A Thousand Surfaces say "plan" in the first line. Coincidence?!
Fantastic guitar on this one.
"Rollercoaster Ride" by Dazy - 101
Took me a second to really get into the Dazy album from this year, but now I think it's great! I think I've landed on preferring "Asking Price" to "Rollercoaster Ride" if pushed to name a favorite, but I think the album is great. Will have more to say later, hopefully, but for now.. Great track.
Okay that's all for me today! Happy New Year! I hope the first day was great and that your job observes New Years Day on the 2nd.
The first album I listened to in full this year was Lost In The Country by Trace Mountains on vinyl, one of my favorite albums of the last 5 years. The first thing I read this year was Cometbus Issue #52: Spirit of Saint Louis, my second favorite Cometbus issue I own. The first movie I watched was My Sister's Keeper. It was fine.
Hopefully you will see more from me this year! Bye!
Miranda Reinert is a music adjacent writer, zine maker, podcaster and law school drop out based in Philadelphia. Follow me on Twitter to see if I finally get to spend time in Canada: @mirandareinert. You may also just send me small bits of money at @miranda-reinert on venmo if you want. As always, thanks for reading!