Another year wraps up, and so it seems right to have some looks ahead to 2019 and some looks back on 2018. There are a couple late album releases this year by Ultra Suede and Porter Ray that very good, and there are a number of albums set to release in early 2019 as well. New singles from Bob Mould, Broken Bells, Andrew Bird, Haelos, Grimes, Pedro the Lion, Amanda Palmer, and The Raconteurs give us a lot to look forward to early on. I also included in this edition a number of songs from artists who passed away this year. Some were tragic losses of young artists, and others were the passing of legends with long and storied careers. There are a lot of influential artists that we lost this year, but I’ve decided to include a few here.
Otis Rush was among the premier innovators and creators of Westside Chicago Blues. Since 1956, Rush was known for his blistering guitar work and super-intense vocals, and was always accompanied by tighter than tight band. Otis Rush final tour was cut-short in 2003 by a debilitating stroke, and was never able to return to the stage. He passed away in September at the age of 83.
The Buzzcocks were among the most influential first wave punk rockers, and they have all the hallmarks of what we now think of as signature early punk sound: Sharp melodies, driving guitars, and biting lyrics. Pete Shelley’s lyrics were some of the smartest and best of the era. Shelley passed away earlier this month of a heart attack at age 63.
The loss of Delores O’Riordan was an early shock of 2018. It was a bitter loss. The Cranberries were in the midst of making a new album at the time. Delores was 46, when she died in January of accidental drowning.
On May 9th, social media accounts of members of Frightened Rabbit began to alert people that lead singer, Scott Hutchison, was missing, and there was concern that he was in a fragile state at the time. He was an artist whose lyrics had always dealt with pain and depression, and artist whose words had helped strengthen those with similar struggles. Of the artists included here, his career was at its most vibrant. I’ve often included Frightened Rabbit here on this blog, and it was extremely sad to learn of Scott’s death at only 36 yrs old.
It seems only right to begin and end the playlist this time with Aretha Franklin. Undoubtedly the most well-known artist to pass this year, and arguably the greatest voice in the history of recorded music. Her passing brought into focus that she was among the most influential artists of all-time.