Macklemore & Ryan Lewis | The Heist: Because Seattle. Because of all the times I went on runs through the forest at random places on tour listening to his EPs last year. Because Thrift Shop’s beat kills. Hard. Because how do you go platinum as an independent rapper? Because of laughing with Ben. Because he is not a rap version of Weird Al. Because Weird Al sucks. Because I always try to show Jonathan rap albums that I’m excited about and he always acts like he cares. Because of the art nights at Bailey’s. Because it’s not Kendrick Lamar. Because Alex said it makes music feel wrong. Because Seattle (my city’s filthy).
Because: “Apps this good, who’s got time to make friends?”; “I observed Escher. I loved Basquiat. I watched Keith Harring, you see I studied art. The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint - the greats were great because they paint a lot.”
Propaganda | Excellent: Because of quality art. Because of creativity, not thievery. Because of poetry that isn’t so fluffy you can’t attach to it. Because of a call to be present, not to disappear.
Because: “You ever been scared that you have no idea what you’re talking about? Yeah, me too.”; “Like you never took your worldview to its furthest conclusions… If human behavior is just what protoplasm does at this temperature, then there is no need for humanitarian effort, because these atrocities weren’t wrong, it’s just the universe weeding out bad genes - them’s fingernails on chalkboard words.”
Beautiful Eulogy | Satellite Kite: Because Portland. Because Pacific Northwest. Because Humble Beast. Because of theologically sound hip-hop. Because of convicting hip-hop. Because excellent rap groups are rare. Because the Spirit moves through this record.
Because: “Anchor of my soul, You sustain”; “We see the greatest expression of God’s love extended in that moment when those who were once enemies instead became God’s friends.”
P.O.S. | We Don’t Even Live Here: Because I hated it at first. Because of driving through mountains listening to it, loud. Because it bumped on the entire Seasons Tour. Because I don’t actually know what he is talking about at all. Because Bon Iver. Because his name is Stefon. Because Stefon is mad. Because Stefon has, hands down, some of the best album packaging ever.
Because: “At ten a pack I may as well resort to robbery while rappers try to act like their labels advance them money still”; “I’m not like y’all, I’m into weird shit. I’m in the back getting weird with my weird friends.”
Lana Del Rey | Born To Die + Paradise:Because Ride. Because of the ten-hour YouTube loop. Because of Brannon.
Because: “I hear the birds on the summer breeze. I drive fast. I am alone at midnight.”
Grizzly Bear | Shields: Because Jonathan is a child with a big smile. Because Spades.
Because: “I dreamed the long day just wandering free.”
Stick To Your Guns | Diamond: Because heavy. Because they were my favorite band on Fight The Silence even though I probably wasn’t their favorite person. Because my heart breaks for them. Because pain is real, and they know it. Because I pray for Jesse every day.
Because: “Get back or get out”; “From here on out I will live deliberately. I can’t sit back to watch the whole world die.”
Glowhouse | The Shadows Left Me Alive: Because “Eyes Like Mine”. Because of working out on the Memories Tour till I threw up while Alex did squats in work boots. Because of up-close, pixelated pictures. Because of cockroaches. Because of middle-school pool parties. Because of the million times I listened to this. Because Brandi doesn’t like that part with the flute. Because of showing it to friends who didn’t believe it was Alex because it is so good. Because it makes me awe at Jesus’ grace.
Because: “Lay me down or I will run from it”; “The shame is sinking in, and I can’t fake it anymore.”
King’s Kaleidoscope | Joy Has Dawned: Because I hated Christmas music less after I heard this.
Because: “Should nothing of our efforts stand, no legacy survive, unless the Lord does build the house, in vain its builders strive.”
The Chariot | One Wing: Because Charlie Chaplin.
Because: “I sew my body to yours so as I can see all the lovers in the front row and all the ghosts in the back seat.”