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Sounds I Loved: 2015

It is the end of 2015 and I feel like giving a wrap up of my favorite audio I heard this year. I'm going to break this up into three sections.  My favorite albums of the year, and favorite singles of the year. Why the latter? There’s a few albums I’ve not gotten to yet, and there was one genuine single this year--with no album in sight that I know of--that really wedged itself in my head. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Albums Of The Year 2015

My friends, after a great deal of thought, meditation, and soul searching I have a rather important announcement to make. I have a tie for Album of the Year. These two records rose to the top for me, and I simply couldn’t sleep well at night with the idea of one of them being relegated to the number two spot--on a list that isn’t even really numbered. My top albums of the year are: “No Cities To Love” by Sleater-Kinney & “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit” by Courtney Barnett.
If you didn’t check out “Sometimes I Sit and Think and …

Mr. Thompson, Thanksgiving, and Her

I was standing in the fresh market, and I was having a panic attack. I’ve cooked Thanksgiving meals before. I’ve been in supermarkets the day of Thanksgiving with no trouble at all. This was different. I was getting ready to cook Thanksgiving dinner for a woman I found myself attracted to. We had gone out a few times, and each time was even lovelier than the last. Despite my angst and bitter disposition at the universe for the way that romance has treated me, the fact of the matter is, as Morrisey said, “I am human and I need to be loved.”

Grocery shopping is one of the ways I relax, I know that’s weird, but that’s me. The rational part of my brain began to counter my panic centers as soon as the attack started. “Dude, you’re in a grocery store! You love this! Bread! Food! Cheese! Cookies! Those really nice organic cleaning products! Chill, brah.” Logically I knew I had this. I’ve cooked entire holiday meals by myself before. But the part of my brain that fuels the anxiety and panic j…

Ryan Adams' 1989

Let’s take a short walk before we get into the meat of the matter. I’m opinionated when it comes to music. I’m very opinionated. But that doesn’t mean those opinions don’t sometimes change. 30 year old Andy is not as passionate or vitriolic about people liking certain bands as early 20s and High School Andy was. I still have my very strong opinions though. I lothe whatever the hell country music has morphed into, and I generally find myself bored to tears by what passes as top 40 pop music these days.
Now, I used to not care for Taylor Swift, this is true. However, seeing her embrace her pop side, combined with the fact she seems like a decent person--I kinda like the girl. I don’t think myself as a fan, but I don’t groan or grumble anymore when her name is mentioned. It’s the same way I don’t care for Lady Gaga’s pop music, but as a person I like her. When she teams up with Tony Bennett, I think it’s golden. I also like that the combination of that duo helps to introduce The Great Am…

The Results of my Exploratory Committee

I'm a simple man, with a simple life. I coach high school football for a living, I wake up at the same time each day, and I eat breakfast at the McDonald's down the street from my house. It was a shock to me though on a recent Thursday. I was sitting in my regular booth, in the middle of my fourth McMuffin of the day. Some of the boys came around and joined me in the booth. They're always welcome to. I have an open door policy, I'm there for any player who needs me. I like giving my homespun Texas wisdom to these boys who are still trying to figure out the world.
“Coach, the fellas and I, well, we've been talking.” My lead player hesitated for a moment, I could tell that what he wanted to say was important, I offered my encouragement “Go on, son.” He looked at the other players, then back at me, “Coach, we've been thinking you ought to run for president.” I set my McMuffin down, took a sip of my coffee, then rubbed my chin. I sat in silent contemplation ov…

It's A'Me, Andy!

The evening was tense, and the air was heated. She looked at me, I looked at her. Sweat was heavy on my brow as I made my move. Slow and calculated, I took my time. R-A-T, I set the three letter tiles down on the Scrabble board right next to the bottom S in her SMARTS she had just played. Yes, RATS was the best I could do. She chuckled as she noted my amazing score of six on the score pad. I was loosing, she has a score of 239, and I had a score of now 86. “How is it you write, yet you’re so terrible at Scrabble?” she asked.

“It’s one of the great mysteries of our time, a full segment will be devoted to the topic on ’60 Minutes’ sometime shortly.” I told her. It still baffles me, and anyone who has ever played Scrabble with me. Scrabble, Boggle, and any type of word search game I’m not great at. Yet give me a word association game, like that old beat up “$25,000 Pyramid” home game I still drag to parties, and I’m golden. “Pardon me, I’m going to run to the bathroom.” She excused hersel…

Dinner Becomes Awkward

Having dinner with your friends should be an enjoyable experience. It shouldn't be a night of good food and smart conversation that is ruined by awkward comments. I met my friends for dinner on a Friday at seven. The restaurant was full, but not overwhelmingly so. As our waiter came over and took our drink orders, all was fine, we were making idle chatter while going over the menu. When the waiter returned I wasn't sure what I wanted, so I asked for a recommendation. “For you I'd suggest something from the lighter menu” they said, as they moved on to taking the order of the person to my right.
A silence passed among us after the waiter left, we were looking at each other, then I spoke “Was that a dig at my weight?” As we thought about it, we came to the conclusion that it was. Odd, but we were super happy about the food coming, so we carried on with our rousing chatter. When the waiter came back to re-fill our drinks, they once again did another awkward attempt at com…

Dear Apple, Love Andy

Two weeks ago, Apple launched their new streaming service, Apple Music. Apple Music is built on the backbone of Beats Music—the streaming service that the popular headphone company launched last Winter--which Apple bought last year--and also was a service I was a subscriber of. So upon the day that Apple Music rolled out, I gladly rolled my account on over and began a three month trial of Apple Music. There's things about Apple Music that I really like, and there's things about Apple Music that I really hate. There's also things about streaming music in general that makes me feel weird, but we'll talk about that later on. First, let's talk about what I like.
Because Apple Music is built off of Beats Music, the core of the service is very familiar to me. Curators, Apple Music Editors, and Activity sections, all of which contain playlists that have been curated by their music editors—actual, human music nerds making playlists for people. By in large, these playl…

Unfollow/Unfriend

Due to recent events, you may have found yourself having to do some thinning out of your friends list on Facebook. You either unfollowed someone, or you outright unfriended them. Facebook, mercifully, doesn't tell someone that you've unfriended/unfollowed them. It leaves it for them on their own time to discover the cruel fate that you have bestowed upon them. Sometimes, however, I think it might not be a bad idea for Facebook to allow you to fill out a form letter to tell the other person why you felt a need to un them.
Much like a customer satisfaction survey, all you would do is click whichever button applies to that particular case, and it would inform the other party your reasons. Think of it as a way of helping them to be more aware of the world around them. It would simply tell them that they had been unned, and not reveal which one of their former devotees did the uning. Allow me to show how this form letter would look from vantage point of the person doing the unfr…

100 Songs, Part One

“Walk On By” by Dionne Warwick: Burt Bacharach and Hal David are two of the giants of American songwriting. They have a place right up there with the best of the best of American writers. I'd go as far as to say they're the Gershwins of the rock and roll era. “Walk On By” is quintessential Bacharach and David, everything that makes them so lauded can be found in this song. The arrangement, the sound of the record, it's all here. 
“My World Fell Down” By Sagittarius: If someone played this for you with no context, you'd think it was a “Good Vibrations” era Beach Boys outtake. There's good reason why you'd think that, Sagittarius wasn't an actual band, it was a studio group put together by producer Gary Usher (who co-wrote a few songs with Brian Wilson, including “In My Room). The group was backed by The Wrecking Crew, and featured Terry Melcher, actual Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, and a lead vocal performed by—wait for it—Glenn Campbell (who was actually in The …