Six weeks in Europe is good for a lot of things — wearing people out on your Instagram, taste-testing different types of public transit, eating sandwiches until you hate bread.
For me, it was also an opportunity to catch up. For the first time this year, I felt that wave come on: the feeling of being out of touch with the zeitgeist. I was becoming an old man, ready to stand up for artists I knew without trying new ones. I missed my Sunday mornings of coffee and headphones.
So, I caught up overseas. Now, as I put together this mix, all these songs take me back to somewhere on the trip. I wore out Lorde in Switzerland, kept Calvin Harris on repeat in Berlin. It's worn out to talk about vacation, I know, but it was an experience beyond just being there — I got to be surprised by the music I'd missed.
There were many surprises for me in 2017. Like everyone else, I fell for Melodrama, with Lorde syphoning the good side of Jack Antonoff and adding just enough lyrical heart to create perfect pop. The War on Drugs' A Deeper Understanding was true to the heart of the band — long, sprawling guitar journeys — even as they joined a major label. The return of Slowdive rewrote the book on bands returning after two decades — there was no camp or flailing for the past, they actually brought shoegaze back. SZA somehow made R&B feel fresh, eschewing a long parade of Weeknd wannabes. Perfume Genius took, like, every single sound and made No Shape a beautiful cacophony.
Then, the singles spread all over. Tourist's effortless, dreamy remix of Christine and the Queens made me want to learn French (which would've been handy, considering the above). Arcade Fire led us on with "Everything Now", a firecracker 80s call back that allowed you to press stop just two songs into the album. "All I Can Think About Is You" gave us the best Jonny Buckland guitar line since A Rush of Blood to the Head.
There was more, of course. Here's two hours of my favourites from the year.
Julien Baker - Turn Out the Lights
Lorde - The Louvre
Blue Hawaii - Pregame / Versus Game
Young Galaxy - Stay for Real
The xx - Say Something Loving
Perfume Genius - Slip Away
Arcade Fire - Everything Now
Christine and the Queens - Saint Claude (Tourist Remix)
Lana Del Rey - Love (Recycle Culture Wall of Sound Remix)
Japanese Breakfast - Boyish
Slowdive - Slowmo
Coldplay - All I Can Think About Is You
London Grammar - Rooting For You
Fever Ray - To The Moon and Back
Drake - Blem
SZA - Doves in the Wind (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Kendrick Lamar - LOVE. (feat. Zacari)
Calvin Harris - Heatstroke (feat. Young Thug, Pharrell & Ariana Grande)
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - Continental Breakfast
Waxahatchee - Never Been Wrong
makthaverskan - Vienna
Fleet Foxes - If You Need To, Keep Time on Me
Hiatus - Delam (feat. Dad)
Sampha - (No One Knows Me) Like My Piano
Julie Bryne - Natural Blue
Sufjan Stevens - Drawn to the Blood (Fingerpicking Remix)
Perfume Genius - Alan
The War on Drugs - Pain
If you want this playlist on Spotify, click here.