Every year since 1989 we’ve sent our more musical friends a best of year CD or cassette featuring our favourite music released that year. Some of them have done the same. Some even put together two or three CDs (but they’ve all fallen by the wayside). Since 2001 I’ve kept it to one, 80 minute, single disc (though it was previously a 90, 100 or, once even a 110 minute cassette). The first eighteen of them are above. That means leaving loads of favourite out. I listen to a lot of new music and average around forty gigs a year, not counting the acts I see at the Green Man festival.
This year I would have liked to include songs by Lambchop, Big Thief and The National (who I’m seeing on Tuesday. There was one track I loved on each of their albums but all were over six minutes and that’s the upper cut-off limit – we’re already down to 19 songs this year due to the number of five minute plus tracks. I tried to get it up to twenty by including a short Beck track and a Leonard Cohen poem but the result felt too bitty. There was a time when I made a part two CD, just for the car. The opening track on the surprisingly good ‘Who’ album, ‘Music Will Fade’ could well have made the cut, but the album only came out on Friday, when I’d started burning discs. This year’s CD2 might also include Sleaford Mods, Wilco, Eels, Billie Eilish, Beck, Brittany Howard, Richard Dawson, Faye Webster, Julia Jacklin, Lloyd Cole, The Hold Steady, Sturgill Simpson, FKA Twigs, Solange, Bill Callahan, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Black Midi, Michael Chapman, Peter Bruntnell and Ezra Furman. For the 2019 CD’s sleevenotes, tune in for daily entries from Tuesday.