PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

I'd Like to Thank...

From Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant

I'm thankful for my wonderful girlfriend, the Boston Celtics taking home the NBA championship, and Wu-Tang, Nas, People Under the Stairs...

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It's probably because it's the only holiday hosted at my house, which means there’s no travel involved, and there's always somewhere to escape to when the conversation turns uncomfortably to politics (I'm not gonna lie: I can't wait for that discussion this year). Best of all, it means that I get to enjoy the absurd amount of leftovers in our fridge for as long as I'm home -- including my father's turkey salad, my grandmother's stuffing, and my mother's latest experiment (I’m hoping for something quinoa-related). And cranberry sauce! I love cranberry sauce. Not the homemade kind with whole berries -- I’m talking about the jellied mass that arrives on your plate with can indentations still in its sides. So good.

But as much as I love Thanksgiving, I usually drop the ball when it comes to the "important" part of the holiday: actually giving thanks. In the years when my mother has decided that we should go around the table and express our gratitude for something, I usually end up stuttering something bland like "being home with my family". Not to say that isn't true, but come on. That leaves a whole lot left unsaid. And so, knowing full well that I'll probably miss my opportunity to lay it all on the line again this year, I'm going to put down in writing the things I've been most grateful for this year. And since you don't care about stuff like my wonderful girlfriend and the Boston Celtics taking home the NBA championship, I'll just include the music-related items. Without further ado, I'm thankful for...

Wu-Tang. Honestly, I've never been a huge fan, but this has been a banner year for the crew in my eyes, and I'm not even talking about Eight Diagrams. From RZA's Digi Snacks (which I continue to love even if no one else seems to) to Method Man crowd-walking at Rock the Bells, these guys really upped their game in '08. Plus, without Wu-Tang, we wouldn't have this.

Nas. Speaking of Rock the Bells, this guy who really stole that show. His masterful five-song performance at Rock the Bells not only made my nine-hour day worthwhile, but it also made me re-examine the MC's entire catalog. This was a very good thing.

People Under the Stairs. Even if the duo's latest album, Fun DMC, has yet to really grow on me, I have to give it up to Double K and Thes One for sticking to the game plan, which, as far as I can tell, is simple: Have fun and don't care what anyone else thinks. It may not make them incredibly wealthy or famous, but it will make all my BBQs much, much funkier.

Numero Group. Without this shoebox-digging Chicago label, I would never have experienced such rarities as Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal, the previously unreleased Brotherman soundtrack, and the many-layered greatness of Mr. Syl Johnson. I can only imagine what new treasures are in store for next year. (And thanks to my friend Dave, not only for introducing me to the label, but for lacking the willpower to stop buying all its releases -- and subsequently giving them to me.)

Late Night Tales. I know, most of these nocturnal mixes from artists like Fatboy Slim and Air came out well before '08, but I really just got into them this past year. I especially love the one by Norway's Lindstrom, which has made my recent return to the gym a whole lot easier. Anyone who can make me enjoy Carly Simon and Dusty Springfield deserves a shout-out.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. You may be thinking, what does the funniest show on TV have to do with music? If you are, that means you somehow haven't witnessed the gang's a capella versions of Extreme's "More Than Words" or Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday". And, of course, there's the infamous "Nightman".

Jay Pritzker Pavilion. I won't say this enormous metallic spider/spaceship, part of Chicago's Millennium Park, is the best outdoor venue in the country (it's tough to be when the stage is sunk so low as to be invisible to most of the audience), but I had yet another memorable summer of concerts here, including Orchestra Baobab and Death Cab for Cutie.

Wilco's sewing skills. I may not love the direction that Chicago's favorite group has headed over the past couple of albums, but they've never let me down live. Especially when they're clad in rhinestone suits at Lollapalooza. I didn't think anything could follow Sharon Jones' energetic performance at the adjacent stage, but this came close.

Nick Cave and Jonathan Richman. For refusing to act their ages, in very different ways.

Greed, pride, boredom...whatever inspired X to get the original lineup back together and tour again. I didn't think I'd ever get to hear classics like "Los Angeles" and "The Unheard Music" live.

Mixtape Mixtape. Who needs Pandora or podcasts when there's this awesome site full of uploaded mixes from around the world? Whenever my iPod's getting stale, I inject some new life with a few clicks. Currently, I’m on a soul-funk kick, gobbling up mixes like "Back at the Chicken Shack" and "Walking to Work".

And finally...anyone who's given me a mix or burned me a CD in the past year, or just made me listen to the radio once in awhile. You've helped me get out of my self-created musical ruts, and in the process enabled me to discover/rediscover many songs that would've otherwise passed me by, like Remy Ma's "Conceited", Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands", and Lil' Wayne's "Mrs. Officer", whose siren-mimicking chorus was -- for a week at least -- as appealing to me as the sound of cranberry sauce sliding out of a can. I can't ask for much more than that.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."


50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.


Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.


The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.


Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.


Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.


MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.