Welcome back to The Appetizer for a new year of great tracks and discoveries together! Allow me to introduce myself a little more formally for our newer readers. I’m Richard, and I’ve been writing for the show since the spring of 2015. In my last year of university in Abilene, I was introduced to D Grant Smith by a mutual friend, and I’ve been writing album reviews and editorials for the program ever since.
On New Year’s Eve, I put up a Spotify playlist containing 24 hours of music – you can read more about it here. My intention was to kick off a new series of playlists available to you to hear for free (or subscribe to download) via Spotify. Going into 2017, I want to continue the trend with at least one new playlist every month. Perhaps they’ll be more frequent, but I want to give you at least this many.
With that in mind, here’s my first offering for you – 50 Songs to Stay Gold: Highlights from my 2016 Listening. The title track, “Stay Gold,” is by artist First Aid Kit, heard elsewhere on the playlist. In this piece, the lyrics mourn our inability to sustain high ideals and live well. It is impossible, seemingly, for anything to “stay gold,” but the artist wishes “for once” that this were not the case. What we experience is a shade of regret that is somehow hopeful, an optimism grounded in a mixture of idealism and resignation – a kind of wishful exhaustion. The remainder of the tracks go in tangents off of this base idea. They all connect with each other in the way they hold the past and future at a distance while regarding the present with criticism or questions. At upwards of 50 tracks, the listener will be able to reflect on the past year and the upcoming one we are entering for over three hours of fresh music.
I believe that a well-made playlist is a craft similar to editing films. An editor will inevitably have to choose which lines, scenes, and shots will make the final cut. We at the Appetizer are busy trying to do the same for your listening material, giving you our selection for what music we’d like to introduce you to. On our platforms, you can hear a range of selections that are ultimately handpicked by D Grant Smith himself. The idea with my playlists is a bit different. I pick a great deal of artists that I “discover” on my own, whether on the radio, albums, or in person. From there, I expand outwards by the artist’s other songs and albums. Or I pick lyrically similar pieces, thematic counterparts that represent the same kinds of stories and feelings. And other times, I’ll use Spotify’s algorithms to find other tracks that fall under similar generic guidelines. In the end, these elements combine to allow me to provide scores of songs at a time to share.
In the coming months, you’ll get more than just suggestions for what to put in your ears. I’ll be back on the blog with interviews, reviews, and discussions of the individual tracks I’ve posted over time. You’ll hear some of my top picks, and I’ll be sharing more of the regular content.