While she’s been in Nashville for some 20 years now, a songwriter of real talent for dozens of stars who also happens to have two superb albums of her own, Brandy Clark is from a small town in Washington state, Morton: population in 2017 of 1,159. No, that number is not missing another digit: one thousand, one hundred and fifty nine. It’s exactly the kind of place – with all the contradictions and myths and pleasures and horrors of the tiny, tidy places away from the cities -
The best songs of the year were all over the shop as numbers 11-20 showed, and numbers 1 to 10 are no different. Brandy Clark tops the list with something sharp and punchy (and closes the list with something sad but potent, if you remember) which sounds nothing like the pulse-and-sooth of Underworld or the Indo-Australian hip hop melange of L-Fresh The Lion. Clark is not the only country act on the list but at this end of the table she’s sharing space with the liquid R&B of D
The best songs of the year? Quite possibly. The songs I played the most, sang the most, enjoyed the most this year? Definitely. Many of them come from collections which will appear on the list of the best/favourite albums of the year. Not surprisingly. All of them exist independently though. Cracking power plays, strong final statements, quite beautiful and sad moments, slinky sensuous grooves and not one sign of Fergie, Meghan Trainor or Shannon Bloody Noll. Instead there’s
First, but not last, end of year thing from this pen/keyboard. A summation of a year dominated by people who won't be making music again but not ruled by it because it was also a year driven by people who made music socially and politically relevant again,
Also a top 10 that somehow doesn't include Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree. Still not sure how that happened. Can I have a Top 11 please?
(I'll be writing about the top 10, or 11, or 20, elsewhere soon.) BLACK DAYS, BLACK STAR