christmas mix: something to hope for


I’ve been making what I call a Christmas mix — that is, not holiday songs but a mix made at the holidays — since 1997; first they were tapes, then for a few years CDs, and finally, in the digital age, many years of downloadable zip files and now the last four years have been Spotify playlists; this year is no exception. These are songs — frequently but not necessarily released in 2019 — that meant something to me this year, for various reasons, and they are for you.

This year was hard for a lot of us, but it was also really wonderful in many, many ways. Alaska, Seattle. Many botanical gardens. Adventures with shep. and Trav. Excellent protest records. Hot dogs in three new states! I am trying to stay hopeful, friends. Be more kind.

  1. Josh Ritter – The Torch Committee: and we will keep you safe and warm / that’s what the torch committee is for
  2. Craig Finn – Something To Hope For: you’ve been hurt so much that you’re bored / i’m going to give you something to hope for
  3. Eliza Spear – There Has To Be More: screaming out that there has to be more here
  4. American Aquarium – The World Is On Fire: we just can’t give in, we just can’t give up / we must go boldly into the darkness / and be the light
  5. Hayes Carll – Times Like These: in times like these i wish someone was on my side / instead of bringing it together we’re just widening the great divide
  6. Dave Hause – OMG: we said, “here we go again,” but doesn’t it seem like it’s gotten worse?
  7. Wintersleep – Amerika: if the worst is true / is it just a waste of time?
  8. The National – You Had Your Soul With You: i’m stronger than the bars of this cage
  9. Andrew Bryant – Bittersweet: ain’t it like the cosmos / to play every card in the deck
  10. Phoebe Hunt – Marching On: you’ve been ruling for so long / it’s clear you don’t know right from wrong
  11. Maggie Rogers – Alaska: and i walked off an old me / oh me, oh my i thought it was a dream / so it seemed
  12. The Wild Reeds – Don’t Pretend: but don’t pretend that the world has / never been good to you / don’t suspend all your plans / when you know you should follow through
  13. Better Oblivion Community Center – Dominos: and if you’re not feeling ready / there’s always tomorrow
  14. The Dead Tongues – The Broken Side of People Everywhere: there’s no big mistakes / it’s just life’s that way
  15. Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster – The Dirt, The Bells and I: there’s a change and it’s coming soon / like water into wine / just as may gives way to june  / in that ancient gold design
  16. Caitlin Canty – Motel: you can tell them i’m doing ok doing real well
  17. Jenny Lewis – Heads Gonna Roll: and you think you’re going to heaven / and that i am going to hell / and that i’m gonna keep on dancing / ’til i hear that ringing bell
  18. Carsie Blanton – Bed: every time i turn on the news, it’s a kick to the head / why don’t you wake me up when the president’s dead
  19. Angie McMahon – Pasta: i’ve been lost for a while / and now i’m feeling tired
  20. May Erlewine – Never One Thing: i am hope, i am defeat / i am broken, i am complete / i am the grace, i am the fall
  21. Micah Schnabel – Remain Silent: when did being a decent human being become politcal