Radio Days — Then and Now: January 1, 2023

During my undergraduate years, I spent just about every New Year’s Eve on the air at student-run radio station WWSP-90FM. It was my idea to commit the programming that day to counting down the station’s Top 90 albums of the year according to airplay, so it seemed only fair that I take the shift that crossed the midnight threshold from one calendar to another. In truth, I had no problem missing out on excited clock watching and champagne cork pops. Those times capping off the year-end countdown stood were some of my favorite spins the in the air.

Because I have a tremendous amount of affection for that sort of retrospective programming, when my pal Wayne Edwards asked me to sub for him on the January 1st edition of Then and Now, his long-running Sunday night show on WWSP, I knew playing a bunch of my favorite songs from 2022 was a must. However, I also decided that a strict best-of-the-year playlist wasn’t entirely in keeping with the show’s founding premise of mixing the new with the old. So I would pair every songs I player with another earlier song that had some sort of connection, be it a similar sound, somewhat connected lyrics, or, on a couple of occasion, the same artist. Foolhardy fellow that I am, I set a rule that every older track had to come from a year that also ended in the number two.

One last note to acknowledge that I goofed up right off the bat. Structuring the playlist with pairings came about when I alit on the idea of opening by going straight from Wet Leg’s “Wet Dream,” which ends with the duo singing, “Let’s begin” as the music drops out, to XTC’s “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead,” which starts with Andy Partridge intoning, “Let’s begin.” Then I played the wrong Wet Leg song. Desperately in love with that silly little symmetry, I went ahead and double-dosed Wet Leg to still make it happen. I guess if any album was going to mined twice, it might as well be the one I picked as best of the year.

For posterity’s sake, and my own record-keeping, this is my playlist from Then and Now on January 1, 2023, complete with annotations to identify the years in which the “then” songs were released:

Wet Leg, “Angelica”
Wet Leg, “Wet Dream”
XTC, “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” (from 1992)
Alvvays, “Easy on Your Own”
Lush, “For Love” (from 1992)
Sylvan Esso, “Moving”
Passion Pit, “I’ll Be Alright” (from 2012)
Amanda Shires, “Here He Comes”
Fleetwood Mac, “That’s Alright” (from 1982)
Horsegirl, “Beautiful Song”
The Darling Buds, “One Thing Leads to Another” (from 1992)
Sudan Archives, “Selfish Soul”
Neneh Cherry, “I Ain’t Gone Under Yet” (from 1992)
Mitski, “The Only Heartbreaker”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “You Got Lucky” (from 1982)

Porridge Radio, “Back to the Radio”
PJ Harvey, “Dress” (from 1992)
Beabadoobee, “Talk”
Rilo Kiley, “The Execution of All Things” (from 2002)
Robyn Hitchcock, “The Man Who Loves the Rain”
Robyn Hitchcock, “The Rain” (from 1992)
The Linda Lindas, “Racist Sexist Boy”
L7, “Monster” (from 1992)
Adia Victoria, “Ain’t Killed Me Yet”
Arthur Lee, “Everybody’s Got to Live” (from 1972)
Aldous Harding, “Fever”
Regina Spektor, “Consequence of Sounds” (from 2002)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Wolf”
Grimes, “Genesis” (from 2012)
Courtney Barnett, “Words and Guitars”
Sleater-Kinney, “Hollywood Ending” (from 2002)

Soccer Mommy, “Bones”
Juliana Hatfield, “Get Off Your Knees” (from 1992)
The Beths, “Expert in a Dying Field”
Paul Kelly, “Taught By Experts” (from 1992)
Sasami, “Call Me Home”
Aimee Mann, “Pavlov’s Bell” (from 2002)
Sunflower Bean, “I Don’t Have Control Sometimes”
Saint Etienne, “Popular” (from 2012)
Plains, “Problem with It”
Lucinda Williams, “Six Blocks Away” (from 1992)
Nilüfer Yanya, “Midnight Sun”
Missing Persons, “Destination Unknown” (from 1982)
The Black Keys, “Wild Child”
The Black Keys “I’ll Be Your Man” (from 2002)
Russian Circles, “Conduit”
Faith No More, “Smaller and Smaller” (from 1992)

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Radio Days” tag.

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