Next ritual: My personal playlist for 2023. A few thoughts about these songs and these playlists in general. I only just recognized I didn’t provide these playlists in every year I made one. Weird, since they take up considerable time and provide a lot of joy. It’s always fun to make a trip down musical memory lane. So I should probably subsequently make blogposts about the ones since 20101…
2023 was quite different music-wise, compared to 2022. While I really struggled last year to fill the ranks of my top 15 to 20, I had to dismiss many songs this year to the follow-up playlist with one song getting the boot only last week. But now with no further ado, let’s get to the music. One hour and eleven minutes are on the menu, grab your headphones and crank the volume to eleven – here we go.
1. Skindred – Gimme that boom
Within seconds everybody should be awake and moving now. Simply smashing, this one. I like Skindred in general and have always loved the combination of reggae/dancehall/dub with punk/hardrock/metal.
„I don’t care what you got, just gimme that Boom“
2. The Baboon Show – Revolution Avenue
The Baboon Show deliver year after year. While ‚Revolution Avenue‚ may not be that stellar of a song like ‚Same old story‘2, but its solid rockabilly fundament provides lots of fun.
„We could’ve been hanging out, but no no you’ve got some nerve
You should have figured out by now that you would get what you deserve“
3. Heilung – Anoana
Whatever. Heilung are simply fascinating. While their live shows must be truly awesome, I found ‚Tenet‘ already very impressive – gimme that staccato rhythm singing every time – ‚Anoana‚ takes it to another level. The story of the lyrics is also an interesting one and I highly recommend watching their „behind the music“-video here.
„Athilr rikithir ai landawariar ano ana fahd tiade elifi an it“
4. Old Blind Dogs – Johnny O’Braidislee
Scottish folk will always have its place in my heart and on my speakers. In this traditional both the accent of the singer together with the masterful instrumentation immediately caught my attention. I just love how they add instruments and the flute is a banger.
„Oh and he hae fired on the seven foresters an‘ he’s killed them a‘ but ane“
5. Skálmöld – Ýdalir
Yay, my favorite viking metal friends have made a new album and it’s a good one from beginning to end. I could have chosen any song from this collection and finally decided on the title song of the album, but give the whole thing a listen – they once more prove their oustanding class. And Jón Geir Jóhannsson is such an exceptional drummer.
„Fjallgarður sviðinn, um fjörð liggur sót, fallið hvert strá, sérhver þúfa og grjót.“
6. Darkher – Where the devil waits
Jayn (Darkher) Wissenberg and her band appeared on my radar in the context of musicians like Chelsea Wolfe (see #14) or Agnes Obel and this song captivated my interest immediately. Whatever the genre, Doom Metal, Goth Rock or what have you, this is very relevant to me. I can listen to that stuff for days on end.
„Where the Devil waits to capture all of me“
7. Fischer-Z – Battalions of strangers
Now. I can write about Fischer-Z and John Watts for pages and pages. From my early fascination with ‚Going deaf for a living‚ back in 1980, the concert in Wiesbaden, when I met the band and had them write their autographs on my trousers3. And so on.
‚Battalions of strangers‚ had been my favorite song of the band since ‚Red skies over paradise‚ and I am happy, that it’s one of John’s, too. And this solo live recording is soooo good.
„No one wants to lead the way. Be the first death of the day.“
8. Rantanplan – Plädoyer für die Elbmündung
Without any other highlights, I will always love a band, who integrate a word like ‚plädoyer‘ in a song. Just as Peter Fox did with ‚Backwarenverkäuferin‘.
But apart from clever wording this fast paced tune is for the ages. I really like me a good ska song. Kudos to Rantanplan for a masterpiece.
„Vertiefen wir lieber unser Wissen als die Flüsse, nasse Füße hassen wir.“
9. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Death Wish
Jason has become a regular in these playlists, not out of habit, but because the songwriting skills of the man are simply outstanding. It started with ‚Live Oak‘ a few years back and there have been several songs until today. In 2023 I was torn between this one and ‚Save the world‘ and still am.
Both from Jason’s new album ‚Weathervanes‘, which inspired me to buy a cat-themed weathervane for #CabinInTheWoods
„Who’s gonna save you, who’s left to pray to? What’s the difference in a breakdown and a breakthrough?“
10. Kensington – No me
Welcome to my song of the year. Kensington from Utrecht in the Netherlands were recommended to me by Katrin in August and have dominated my playlists since. In 2023 I did not listen to any other band as much as Kensington.
‚No me‚ is such a wild ride, ever changing and getting rougher and tougher all the time. Without even the slightest doubt my song #1 for 2023.
„Then I’m all alone again and it seems as though it’s never been so sweet“
11. Pascow – Monde
Aaaaand we have arrived at my personal ALBUM OF THE YEAR. Pascow are a punk band from Germany and this year I couldn’t get enough of their new album ‚7‘. It wasn’t a easy choice which song to put on this here playlist as the whole album is on similarly high level with each individual song being a highlight. Great lyrics, highly aggressive guitars, ilike.
„Von den Mieten getrieben wie böse Stiefgeschwister, die Verdrängung der Vielfalt hat mehr als hundert Gesichter.
Und das Arbeiterviertel wird schon blühen, wenn die letzten Arbeiter fortgehen.“
12. Tom Morello : The Nightwatchman – Gone like rain
This is not really a new song, in fact the album ‚The fabled city‚ is 12 years old, but it didn’t catch my attention before. ‚Lazarus on down‚ was in my spotify discover weekly one day and from there it was only several hours of listening until I was once more burdened with the task of deciding which song to put on this here playlist. And while ‚Lazarus on down‚ remained a hot contender (with Serj Tankian *sigh), I like ‚Gone like rain‚ a little bit more.
„He hears the devil coming, footsteps on the path – so he chews off his own leg to get out of the trap“
13. Peter Fox, Adriano Celentano – Toskana Fanboys
There are not many musicians, who can translate emotions into song like Peter Fox can. His way with words is outstanding, the sounds, beats and rhythm of his songs will get me moving every time.
11 years after his first appearance in this playlist4 here is Peter Fox again.
„Die Nacht bringt die Kühle, Neonlicht, Plastikstühle, Adriano singt von Liebe und wir canceln unsere Flüge“
14. Converge, Chelsea Wolfe – Crimson Stone
As already mentioned above, I am a sucker for drama and darkness in songs and luckily there are many artists who will cater to my desires there. Chiefly among the wonderful women in that category is Chelsea Wolfe. This collaboration with Converge captures such a lot of emotions and made it from spotify’s discover weekly to this playlist within minutes.
„Tracing us – Embracing us – Where a flower grows“
15. Adam Angst – Die Lösung für deine Probleme
Adam Angst are back! One of the best live bands I ever encountered have a new album. Packed full with political messages (very much in line with my convictions), this one deals with the fake belief that right wing parties can offer a solution to individual problems but will only cause grief and destruction.
I might risk a concert next year as Adam Angst deliver every time.
„Wenn das alles wenigstens logisch wär, wärst du nur ein Arschloch, nicht viel mehr. Doch merkst du denn nicht?
Das, was man dir verspricht, hat mit folgendem gar nix zu tun: einer Lösung für deine Probleme.
Dir doch egal.“
16. Shane MacGowan and the Popes, Sinead O’Connor – Haunted
Hail the glorious dead. We lost both of these wonderful people this year and while Sinéad’s passing went silently and calm, Shane left in a blaze of glory and admiration. This song here is testimony to their individual brilliance.
Rest in peace.
„I wanna be haunted by the ghost of your precious love“
17. Young Rebel Set – If I was
Unfortunately I seem to have a very rare and incredibly useless talent: Ever so often I discover some new band or singer/songwriter, only to learn they disbanded recently or – even worse – died some time ago. This year Kensington (singer left the band end of last year) and now Young Rebel Set (singer died in 2019) prove this point…
And what a brilliant and charismatic artist Matthew Chipcase was.
Again, this is far from a new song, yet it was the latest addition to this year’s playlist only late in November.
„And if I was a writer, I would write the book on you, I’d tell ‚em all the stories of the things we used to do“
So much for 2023, I look forward to next year’s music and the stories, memories and heartache it will bring. CU then end of next year here.