At the end of 2016 I wrote of the year's losses, primarily of those in music and culture. I spoke of Bowie, Cohen, Wilder; and I also spoke of the election and the items of rebellion that it produced. A year later I'd like to make another note of such product. I would like to finish 2017 by commending the brilliant music released — and try to perceive events such as Charlottesville not in an ignorant or optimistic light, but instead recognize that which people can join in unity.
It is redundant and in that — unoriginal. Turn on the TV or check a cellphone and it is likely that someone is talking about that which bonds is stronger than what separates. We've heard it before. All the same, I believe a labeled cliché can be nullified when it is definitive good and absolute truth in that which is proposed. It is wordy, I know (before she's even read this, I can sense my girlfriend's cringing at my "flowery" writing tendencies). Accept my apology, please. Rejoice in the message instead.
I know too little of death to detail the weight felt by those in Las Vegas. I have never lost a loved one because a white nationalist killed her with a car. A concert bombed in Manchester. Floods. Suicides. There is no kind of justification to counter said sentiments. There is no "but" or "however." Many people died this year to causes that I personally find to be detestable, or to really piss off some of you — actions most deplorable.
"So where is this message of unity?" one might wonder. It is this. It is recognition. When things can be so badly backward and humanity so deeply dysfunctional, it is incredibly important to recognize and to remember. Those we lost will live on because there is always something better than the present. History shows that positive change can occur. Powerful movements come from both ordinary people and driven cultural figures. That pot stirs, that motion energizes in times like now. The weight of independence, the kind of freedom born in punk, increases kinetically. Do not stand still.
Here are my 10 favorite records of 2017.
Big Brave, Ardor
Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spun
Cloakroom, Time Well
Full of Hell, Trumpeting Ecstasy
Julien Baker, Turn Out the Lights
King Woman, Created In the Image of Suffering
Low Estate, Covert Cult of Death
Pissed Jeans, Why Love Now
Primus, The Desaturating Seven
Protomartyr, Relatives In Descent