My accumulated wisdom isn’t in full bloom yet (it may never be) so I’m afraid I don’t have a Thought Catalog-esque “Top 13 Truths Every 20 Something-Year-Old Should Know” type of list this year.
2013 has shamelessly been a growing year for me with many moments where I was left clutching at straws while at my wit’s end. But rounding the year up, many moments of light were present too. Being in my twenties, it can be said that every year preceding this one has been a huge learning year to some effect, but I can say that 2013 has been rougher and more concise with its full-on strikes.
I am sharing my year with a personal but slightly less private (yeah, bend your mind over that) list with my top 13 favourite tracks of 2013, with commentary in typical Shari fashion.
10. Border Line by King Krule: King Krule looks like a Weasley but spits while waxing lyrical. A true anomaly the world should welcome.
9. Für Hildegard von Bingen by Devendra Banhart: I had a head of really long, black curls once. They were imperfect, but they were mine. The process to grow it out was painstaking. In a way, it was representative of a body of growth, perhaps the only physical part of me I could take any pride in. My mane was my crown and it was something I could hide under during days where I felt like I could only afford to undercompensate. I used to soak my long hair with sunflower oil in the shower, you know. It really turned my hair to a richer shade of black so there’s a freebie tip for you. Hacking it off was a spontaneous decision. A dramatic, typical, mad decision. There was just this desperation to feel lighter. If not now then when? I thought. I didn’t cry when the hairdresser snipped it all off with his shiny, silver scissors. These days, I only ever cry during family reunion scenes on Masterchef Australia, it seems.
The idea of driving used to make me very nervous. So after the haircut, I was nervous about driving back home. I was also suddenly unsure if I was in possession of the right amount of confidence to carry out my spontaneous decision. I would reach out to touch my hair, only to feel the naked nape of my neck. There was no longer any hair that could be tied. “Shit hath hit the fan-eth, now this face will be in full view for the world to see”. Für Hildegard von Bingen was the first song I played after. Played it as soon as I got into the car and began driving off, in fact. I turned the volume dial to full and could not stop smiling. All fears vanished because there was such a laughing sense of wonderment in that moment. All was bright and carefree, much like Devendra himself.
8. Retrogade by James Blake: Ignore everybody else, we’re alone now.
There was this one occasion when I thought I had seen you amongst the crowd of students in that jank library. I tried to catch you, but you were moving about too quickly, like a shadow. I thought I caught that gaunt look and that stern profile. Your mouth always looks so stern when you are in deep concentration.
Have you ever realized that people look the loveliest when they read?
7. Open by Rhye: He thought he was going to hell for having loved. He was wrong.
6. Miasma Sky by Baths: Tall rock shelf, are you maybe here to help me hurt myself?
1. a highly unpleasant or unhealthy smell or vapor
I did not know the meaning of miasma prior to listening to this song so thank you very much for teaching me a word through a song as scenic as this one, even if it may or may not be about suicide.
5. This is the Last Time by The National: Remembering that feeling, way before the destruction and the inevitable chaos, of wanting to share another with the the rest of the world because he/she was so amazing in every sense of the word and every day felt like a celebration if it meant being able to validate your existence with another’s.
4. Home Recording by Mount Kimbie: I haven’t learnt as much as I have lent.
The sparsity of this song with the steady beat goes perfectly well on a rainy evening spent journaling at home. The blaring horns at the beginning are comical but the song takes a deft turn by accounting dormant youth in an insistent questioning manner that is still enviably eloquent. Still not sick of this one till today.
3. Colombia by Local Natives: Am I loving enough / Am I giving enough?
Hurts like a punch straight to the gut, but only in the most glorious way possible. Beautifully written in memory of Kelcey Ayer’s mother, who passed away recently.
2. Pulaski at Night by Andrew Bird: Come back to Chicago, city of light.
I saw Andrew Bird perform live once. It was during winter in Chicago and the show was held in a museum. I remember a few things: He did not make any eye contact throughout the show and he had his eyes closed most of the time. He was stick thin and he had a silver wedding band around his ring finger. He had a sock monkey perched on his speakers. He stopped the show midway when an old man was coughing, resuming only when he was assured that the old gentleman was alright. It felt like every man and woman in the audience fell in love with this perfect embodiment of a shy gentleman living and breathing in the 21st century. Pulaski at Night is a love letter to the unnamed many, and is yet another wonderful gift from the talented Mr. Bird. “I paint you a picture / But it never looks right / Cause I fill in the shadows / And block out the, I block out the light.”
1. Graceless by The National: God loves everybody, don’t remind me.
Unarguably my favorite album of the year, so effective in ridding skeletons of self-inadequacy.