20. DIRECT HIT! – ‘Perfect Black’
19. SNAIL MAIL – ‘Heat Wave’
18. THE LONGSHOT – ‘The Last Time’
17. DESSA – ‘5 out of 6’
16. SOCCER MOMMY – ‘Cool’
15. THE INTERRUPTERS – ‘She’s Kerosene’
14. ASH – ‘Annabel’
13. SMOKING POPES – ‘Amanda My Love’
12. EMINEM – ‘The Ringer’
11. THE PILLOWS – ‘Thank You, My Twilight’
10. LONGSHOT – ‘Just Dance’
9. CHROMEO – ‘Must’ve Been’
8. RUN THE JEWELS – ‘Let’s Go (The Royal We)’
7. PROF – ‘Andre the Giant’
6. JOYCE MANOR – ‘Think I’m Still in Love with You’
5. FOUR FISTS – ‘Dork Court’
4. MITSKI – ‘Nobody’
3. FOXING – ‘Slapstick’
2. SUPERCHUNK – ‘What a Time to Be Alive’
1. CULTURE ABUSE – ‘Dip’
A few notes about the Top 5:
‘Dork Court’ is my favorite Hip Hop track of 2018. It’s whimsical, winkingly boastful and jam-packed with quotable punchlines and banging production. Doomtree Collective stuff in a nutshell. Never miss P.O.S when he comes to your town.
‘Nobody’ is a mere snapshot from the outstanding mosaic that is Be The Cowboy. Perhaps the most accessible track on the latest offering from an endlessly talented musician. Mitski’s gonna be huge, right?
‘Slapstick’ was the track that floored me the most immediately upon listening. Foxing went for it this year; swung for the fences and connected. Like Mitski, 2019 is going to be bonkers for this band.
‘What a Time to Be Alive,’ for better or worse, feels like the most important track of the year. It sounds like it should be our National Anthem. If I’m lucky enough to be in a position to think back upon 2018 (and not foraging for gasoline in an irradiated wasteland), I will think of ‘What a Time to Be Alive.’ It’s a Big Song, and Superchunk will never do us wrong.
Which brings me to ‘Dip.’
‘Dip’ is a Small Song. Or at least that’s how it sounded the first few times I heard it. It’s kinda monotonous, cyclical, repetitive. I knew I liked it, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. But with each lyric I absorbed, it started to resonate more and more emotionally.
‘What a Time to Be Alive’ is the collective representation of how we all are coping right now; an angry, raised fist screaming into a megaphone at the enemy. ‘Dip’ is more like a series of late-night text messages, checking in on a loved one to make sure they’re holding up. The message in ‘Alive’ is “Things are bad.” The message in ‘Dip’ is “Things are bad; are you okay?“:
This is my sorry, I’ve been all over the place
I know that you haven’t had much time to yourself
And I know you’re busy
But when you wake up, could you please call me?
I wish you’d take care of yourself first
Before you worry about the others
And when it feels like it’s piling over
Will you remember you got my number?
This is my sorry, it’s been a long year
And I’ve been trying to take it easy
It never slows down, it just keeps going
You gotta get back, I gotta listen
When Culture Abuse singer Dave Kelling croons “it’s been a long year,” I don’t just think about the exhaustion of 2018 and the criminal enterprise of goddamn evil dumbshit morons inside the White House. I think about losing my paternal grandfather this year. I think about my wife and the old friend she lost to suicide this year. I think about my sister and the life of her soulmate that was violently cut short this year. In each instance, the sentiment among the living was similar: “I should have called. I should have stopped by. I should have checked on you. It’s been a long year. I’m sorry.”
Indeed, it’s been a long year. But I’m okay. And I hope you are, too.
But hey, we’re not leaving on a sad note. Check out the ‘Dip’ video above, then check this out:
This is a live performance from the Bay Dream release show earlier this year. It’s one of the most joyous, sloppy and cathartic clips I think I’ve ever seen. I love how it becomes an anthemic song when performed live. I love how celebratory everyone is. The fact that Kelling is a touring musician and punk rock frontman with cerebral palsy is a kick-ass triumph in its own separate right. The whole thing is just super touching and awesome to me, and it makes me like this song (and the entirety of Bay Dream) all the more.
Thanks for hanging out; take care and have a good weekend.