It was a pretty typical year in the Dillow iTunes Library this year—meaning, we bought some old favorites the minute they released something new, someone bought an eye-rolling purchase in the dark of night (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, NEIL DIAMOND), we tried some new bands out just to see, and filled in a couple of holes. Music remains the best entertainment value for the money here.
Pictured from left to right:
The Stray Birds The Stray Birds
Ben Folds So There
Soundtrack from Annie
Chris Stapleton Traveller
Chris Cornell Higher Truth
Eilen Jewell Queen of the Minor Key
Kate Tempest Everybody Down
Rush Grace Under Pressure
George Ezra Wanted on Voyage
Wolf Alice My Love Is Cool
Elliott Smith & Jessica Lea Mayfield Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith
Neil Diamond All-Time Greatest Hits
Foo Fighters Saint Cecilia
Sarah Jarosz Build Me Up From Bones
Sarah Jarosz Live At the Troubadour
The Both The Both
Harry Connick Jr. That Would Be Me
Mandolin Orange Such Jubilee
Mumford & Sons Wilder Mind
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Lauryn Hill Unplugged 2.0
Slim Langhorne & the Law The Spirit Moves
The New Basement Tapes Lost on the River
Taylor Swift Fearless
Imani Winds Imani Winds
Hackensaw Boys The Old Sound of Music Vol. 1
Judah & the Lion Kids These Days
+ Our hole-filling-in this year included Rush's Grace under Pressure, that Unplugged Lauryn Hill album that we didn't own for some reason (!?)(Also, how are you, Lauryn?), and the Taylor Swift album Bridget had a couple songs from but not the whole album. I'm hoping that this means she might one day be an album-buyer and buck the trend of her generation.
+ I was slow to love the new Mumford & Sons, and I might never love it as much as the other two but I like it very much now.
+ I'm afraid Langhorne Slim might live in the same category as The Lemonheads for me: I love It's a Shame About Ray so very much that it is a perfect album and I never felt like I needed another. It's a weird thing, because other bands I love I want all the albums forever and ever. And maybe I should give The Spirit Moves a few more chances... but for now I think The Way We Move was so perfect I didn't really need another one. Verdict is still out.
+ Imani Winds came to Maddie's beloved Fame Jr. High last year to perform; they're really, really good.
+ I think the music world was so excited to have Chris Cornell release an album that they've already played the first single on the radio so much I'm sick of it. Which is too bad, because it's a good song.
+ No crying Foo Fighters HBO show this year but an EP to tide people over. I will never not be shocked by how little I liked Nirvana and how much I like Foo Fighters.
+ Want to get Matt talking at a party? Ask him about Mandolin Orange. Or Sarah Jarosz, or Eilen Jewell. Or Aimee Mann, who is half of The Both. I like Mandolin Orange, Sarah Jarosz, and Eilen Jewell OK—but we go 'round and 'round about the merits of AImee Mann. I have learned to tolerate her.
+ Before the wonderful Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton performance at the Country Music Awards this year I heard an interview with Chris Stapleton while I was painting the horror show bedrooms in this house and immediately became a fan. His Traveller album is really good, even if you aren't really a country music person.
+ Annie: most definitely not 1982 but still A-OK.
+ Kate Tempest: a risk that may not have fully panned out. I like her and there is a song on this album that is spectacular but I discovered too late that it's a story album, and I don't love story albums. It's just OK, and maybe my only brush with trendy cutting edge in 2015.
+ Our early year iTunes gift cards were spent on some EPs and some "you might like this" style purchases: The Stray Birds, Judah & the Lion, Hackensaw Boys, The New Basement Tapes. Good purchases, all.
+ The new Ben Folds is great, and definitely a departure. For one, I'm pretty sure it can be played in the daytime. Also, it debuts his first composition for full orchestra and I like it.
+ Wolf Alice continues to creep in as something we like. No fanfare. Just pleasantly there.
+ I DID NOT BUY NEIL DIAMOND'S GREATEST HITS.
+ We both decided that maybe Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield singing Elliott Smith songs was just a little too sad. Oh how we miss Elliott Smith.
+ Harry Connick, Jr. is perhaps the most-old-standby of old standbys for me. I finally purchased Eleven (which will make the 2016 collage) after years of only borrowing it or listening to it elsewhere, and I think that means I now officially have every single album Harry Connick, Jr. has ever released.
+ Biggest pleasant surprise: George Ezra. The joke around here is that Budapest is my favorite song (it's not, but I did Shazam it like three times when it first came out) but the whole album is really exceptional. It's definitely in the top 3 of the year for me.
+ The biggest overall surprise and my best album of the year goes to Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. The big song from the album is of course the hook, but the whole thing is unique and awesome. Did anyone happen to catch them singing the National Anthem before a Monday Night Football game recently? Best rendition for a nationally televised performance I think I've ever seen: quick, soulful, no funny business.
We added singles here and there, too—some free ones from iTunes like always, but no 2015 library would be complete without Turn Down For What, a couple of Meghan Trainor hits, and of course, Uptown Funk. Actually, we're a little late on Turn Down For What since we should have really added it in 2013, but better late than never. Ha.
How about you? Any really great new or old albums to recommend?