God What A Mess On The Ladder of Success

Of the music I’ve been listening to lately there’s been two stand out choices and both are kind of important when looking back at 2012 musically.

I’ve been getting back into the habit of listening to classical music lately. I tend to prefer the more intense stuff, the Russians like Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff but also a bit of Bach courtesy of my wife’s appreciation for it. This year we went to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Spanish Fiesta – a great way to remind us of our trips there this year, last and back in 2009. An amazing evening of music and a great bit of exposure to some Spanish guitar music of which this is on steady repeat on my iPod:

The part from the seven minute mark, building up to what – to me – is a euphoric moment at 08:14… absolute bliss.

The Replacements

The Replacements

This year – after continually reading their name in numerous bios and write-ups – I finally got around to checking out The Replacements. Holy crap balls. I feel like a complete tool for not having gotten into this band sooner or at least having been aware of them before now. Their influence is huge – I read somewhere that Nevermind was named for the track on Pleased to Meet Me – from Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls to Ryan Adams and Wilco with the likes of Kurt & Co and The Lemonheads in there too.

They came out of the early 80’s hardcore / punk scene but bought with them an undeniable sense of melody and Paul Westerberg’s ever-evolving songwriting skills. While they moved clear of the trash and poor production of their initial early years they never lost the sense of urgency and energy from it but welded it to ever-finer crafted songs.

I started out by ordering their Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was compilation and re-released Let It Be album and have rapidly added all their studio albums up to and including Pleased To Meet Me since May and – despite the recent fucker of a month we’ve been having – I never fail to find myself invigorated and charged by them.