Welcome to a full musical autopsy of a malignant nightmare year. As treacherous as the sociopolitical landscape was in 2017, and despite the significant losses faced in the music world, the music remains as vital and vibrant as ever with a run of releases that provided a soundtrack, an escape, a catharsis. And goddamn, have we needed it this year.
The irony is cruel that one of the most celebrated and exalted records of the year follows the namesake of impression, the final taste in our mouths. I refer, of course, to Villains by Queens of The Stone Age. The haunted house dance party got a little too real, someone got hurt, and a period of self-assessment is undoubtedly underway for the guy who fronts one of the baddest bands in the history of rock. For a publication which so feverishly celebrated the album’s arrival, not mentioning the violent coda on an otherwise triumphant musical calendar would be disingenuous if not disgraceful.
With a little luck, and a lot of accountability and reflection, 2018 may provide more promising interpersonal horizons. But the music? We’re not worried about that a goddamn bit. The music will always be there.
Even the singles have been strong in 2017, and the AQ Best of 2017 playlist is evidence.
Pulling back the lens, out from music, out of our own heads and into the world in which we live, the snapshot of America I’ve woken up to this morning is a thorny, gnarled one, and yet it’s hopeful. And for once, just once in this entire goddamned year I don’t feel a sense of sociopolitical despair.
We’re not bound to music coverage alone, any more than you’re bound to one kind of food. Culture is infected by all participants, and the sterilized & safe are evident, offensively false in proverbial cellophane. We’ve always been here to start conversations – it’s in our name, after all.
It’s a rare morning of victory for those who have resisted supplication to a malignantly compromised, pedophile-endorsing sewer fire of a President and his henchmen & women, a grotesque and enraging legion whose moral and civic compasses are thick with the venereal grime of an unnaturally orange gollum troll.
We are finally awakening as Americans. I’m hesitant to believe that Roy Moore’s loss is the turning of the corrosive tsunami that has swept through D.C., or that we as a nation are ready to pull out of our tribalistic fervor and substitution of true cultural depth for device addictions & dopamine-blast obsessions with social media, compromised by hostile foreign manipulators.
Nevertheless, it is a beginning. I raise an early-morning caffeine toast to the possibilities of longshot victories for sirens of change & growth like Doug Jones. May the disinfecting strength of Mueller’s investigation and prosecution of the largest and most treasonously heinous criminal operation in the history of the United States government be the defining kinetic characterization of 2018.
What follows really is up to us.