Closing Of 2019

APopLife - From Old To New (apoplife.nl)

APopLife – From Old To New

Introduction

2019 was a relatively stable year in music with some truly exceptional beauty, in concert as well as on record.

Deaths

2019 had its fair share of musician deaths as well. The ones that stood out for me were Pegi Young (singer and ex-wife to Neil Young), James Ingram, Mark Hollis (Talk Talk), Keith Flint (The Prodigy), Hal Blaine, Dick Dale, Scott Walker, Ranking Roger (The Beat), Nipsey Hussle, Dr. John, Philippe Zdar (Cassius), João Gilberto, Art Neville (The Neville Brothers), Eddie Money, Ric Ocasek (The Cars), Ginger Baker, George Chambers (The Chambers Brothers), Goo Hara, Marie Fredriksson (Roxette) and Jules Deelder (Dutch jazz lover and poet).

Highlights

This year had plenty of highlights:

LCD Soundsystem - Electric Lady Sessions (pitchfork.com)

  • On February 8th LCD Soundsystem released the Electric Lady Sessions;
  • On February 10th The Revolution paid a fitting tribute to Prince together with the Dutch audience;
  • On March 1st Solange released her beautiful When I Get Home;
  • On March 29th Billie Eilish released her stunning debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?;
  • On June 7th the surprisingly good compilation Originals was released by the Prince Estate;
  • On June 14th Bruce Springsteen released Western Stars;
  • On June 17th I witnessed the first of two goodbye shows by The Fatal Flowers, who were on a reunion tour throughout The Netherlands in the month of June;
  • On July 12th Blood Orange played a great set at the Dutch North Sea Jazz Festival;
  • On July 14th Robert Glasper did the same at the same festival;
  • On October 4th the latest album by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds was released: Ghosteen;
  • On October 17th New Order played an impressive show in Amsterdam;
  • On November 1st Underworld released their album DRIFT – Sample Series 1;
  • On November 8th FKA Twigs released her long awaited album MAGDALENE;
  • On November 23rd Underworld played a magnificent show in Amsterdam;
  • On November 29th the superb re-release of 1999 was unleashed: Prince – 1999 Super Deluxe Edition;
  • On December 3rd FKA Twigs stunned her audience by giving a truly once in a lifetime concert.

Streaming

This year I made the transition. I have a paid streaming subscription to Spotify and listen (and review) albums I don’t physically own. Both the latest LCD Soundsystem and Solange albums are not available in the CD format. And as I don’t want to start with vinyl again, streaming is the only viable option. The start of a different way of consuming music.

But the really important stuff I want to have, I will keep on buying in some physical form. Everything by Prince will be bought in the future, as long as it is released in a physical format.

Jubilees

There was a lot to celebrate/commemorate this year. A Selection:

The Who - Tommy (thewho.com)

  • 60 years old:
    Dave Brubeck – Time Out, Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue, Charlie Mingus – Mingus Ah Um
  • 55 years old:
    Dave Grusin – Kaleidoscope
  • 50 years old:
    The Band – The Band, The Beatles – Abbey Road, Johnny Cash – At San Quentin, Crosby, Stills & Nash – Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Doors – The Soft Parade, Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left, The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed, Sly & The Family Stone – Stand!, The Stooges – The Stooges, Who – Tommy
  • 45 years old:
    Stanley Clarke – Stanley Clarke, Miles Davis – Big Fun, Miles Davis – Get Up With It, Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets, Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Kraftwerk – Autobahn, Ohio Players – Skin Tight, Ohio Players – Fire, Shuggie Otis – Inspiration information, Parliament – Up For The Down Stroke, Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel, Queen – Queen II, Queen – Sheer Heart Attack, Roxy Music – Country Life, Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Sly & The Family Stone – Small Talk, Neil Young – On The Beach, Frank Zappa – Apostrophe (‘), Frank Zappa – Roxy & Elsewhere

The Clash - London Calling (oor.nl)

  • 40 years old:
    Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead, The Clash – London Calling, Costello, Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Armed Forces, Crass – The Feeding Of The 5000 – Second Sitting, Crass – Stations Of The Crass, Earth, Wind & Fire – I Am, Fischer-Z – Word Salad, Fleetwood Mac – Tusk, Fred Wesley And The Horny Horns – Say Blow By Blow Backwards, Funkadelic – Uncle Jam Wants You, Gang Of Four – Entertainment!, The Gladiators – Naturality, The Gladiators – Sweet So Till, Michael Jackson – Off The Wall, Japan – Quiet Life, Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures, Madness – One Step Beyond…, Maze – Inspiration, Pink Floyd – The Wall, Police – Regatta De Blanc, Prince – Prince, Queen – Live Killers, The Ramones – It’s Alive, The Sex Pistols – The Great Rock ‘N Roll Swindle, The Slits – Cut, The Specials – The Specials, Stiff Little Fingers – Inflammable Material, Donna Summer – Bad Girls, Talking Heads – Fear Of Music, Yellow Magic Orchestra – Solid State Survivor, Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps, Frank Zappa – Sheik yerbouti, Frank Zappa – Joe’s Garage Act I, II & III
  • 35 years old:
    Apollonia 6 – Appolonia 6, Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?, The Blue Nile – A Walk Across The Rooftops, Nick Cave – From Her To Eternity, Claw Boys Claw – Shocking Shades Of, Lloyd Cole And The Commotions – Rattlesnakes, Holger Czukay – Der Osten Ist Rot, Dalis Car – The Waking Hour, Thomas Dolby – The Flat Earth, E, Sheila – In The Glamourous Life, Echo & The Bunnymen – Ocean Rain, The Gun Club – The Las Vegas Story, King Crimson – Three Of A Perfect Pair, Prince & The Revolution – Purple Rain, The Replacements – Let It Be, Sade – Diamond Life, Simple Minds – Sparkle In The Rain, The Smiths – The Smiths, The Smiths – Hatful Of Hollow, Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA, Sylvian, David – Brilliant Trees, Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense, Time Zone – World Destruction, Tröckener Kecks – In De Krochten Van De Geest, U2 – The Unforgettable Fire, Van Halen – 1984, The Waterboys – A Pagan Place, Bobby Womack – The Poet II

Prince - Come (discogs.com)

  • 30 years old:
    Aerosmith – Pump, Sezen Aksu – Söylüyor, Neneh Cherry – Raw Like Sushi, George Clinton – The Cinderella Theory, De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising, Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814, Lenny Kravitz – Let Love Rule, Madonna – Like A Prayer, Maria McKee – Maria McKee, The Pixies – Doolittle, Prince – Batman, Ryuichi Sakamoto – Beauty, Mavis Staples – Time Waits For No One, The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
  • 25 years old:
    Jeff Buckley – Grace, Bootsy Collins – Blasters Of The Universe, G. Love And Special Sauce – G. Love And Special Sauce, Nas – Illmatic, Nirvana – Unplugged In New York, Pavement – Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, Prince – Come, Prince – The Black Album, The Prodigy – Music For The Jilted Generation, Public Enemy – Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age, Soundgarden – Superunknown, TLC – CrazySexyCool, Ween – Chocolate And Cheese
  • 20 years old:
    Basement Jaxx – Remedy, Beck – Midnite Vultures, Blackstreet – Finally, Mary J. Blige – Mary, Foxy Brown – Chyna doll, Dr Dre – 2001, Missy Elliott – Da Real World, Graham Central Station – GCS 2000, Macy Gray – On How Life Is, Fela Kuti – The Best Best Of Fela Kuti – The Black President, Moby – Play, Prince – The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale, Prince – Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, The Roots – Things Fall Apart, South Park – Mr. Hankey’s Christmas classics, Angie Stone – Black Diamond, TLC – Fanmail, Underworld – Beaucoup Fish

Arcade Fire - Funeral (musictech.net)

  • 15 years old:
    Arcade Fire – Funeral, Nick Cave – Abbatoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus, Van Hunt – Van Hunt, N.E.R.D. – Fly or die, Plant Life – The Return Of Jack Splash, Prince – C-Note, Prince – Musicology, Prince – The Chocolate Invasion, Prince – The Slaughterhouse, Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans, TV On The Radio – Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, Kanye West – The College Dropout
  • 10 years old:
    Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion, Antony And The Johnsons – The Crying Light, The Arctic Monkeys – Humbug, Clues – Clues, Dâm-Funk – Toeachizown, The Editors – In This Light And On This Evening, Felix Da Housecat – He Was King, Jesse Johnson – Verbal Penetration, Prince – Lotusflow3r, Prince – MPLSound, Watson, Patrick – Wooden Arms
  • 5 years old:
    Caribou – Our love, Andre Cymone – The stone, D’Angelo – Black Messiah, FKA Twigs – LP1, Foxygen – … And Star Power, Nutini, Paolo – Caustic Love, Prince – Art Official Age, Prince – Plectrumelectrum, Spoon – They Want My Soul, Williams, Pharrell – G I R L

Blog

This past years was my third full year of my blog. I am content: 62 stories and 5 reviews have been published.

Average number of articles

The past year I posted one article every 5.4 days on average. In 2018 it was one article every 6.1 days. In the Closing of 2018 article I wrote that the number of articles would go down, because of the amount of time I spend on my blog. This statement has turned out to be false. However, I do expect the number to go down in the upcoming year. Both my professional and private life demand more attention.

Average number of readers

The average number of readers is more or less the same as it was in 2018, which is surprising, as the lapse in numbers that occurred in October 2017 hasn’t been corrected. I now know that the spectacular drop in numbers is caused by a different algorithm. I left it the way it is, for now.

Changes/New in 2019

A number of (huge) changes have been made this past year:

APopLife - SSL (apoplife.nl)

  • A different provider. At the start of this year I moved to Hoasted, a new provider that promised golden mountaintops (and delivered on that promise). It does come at a cost, but my blog has been offline for just 11 minutes over the course of the entire year. When I was still with my previous provider the blog was offline for 15 minutes every week, with times going up to 3 to 4 hours;
  • SSL security. At the same time I moved providers I replaced the http protocol with the secure/encrypted https protocol. For my blog and its visitors a huge step forward;
  • Newsletters moved to Mailchimp, which relieved me of a huge administration and has proved to be even more reliable than I had hoped. I don’t like that I don’t have 100% control over the content and layout of my newsletters anymore, but that pales when compared to the many advantages;
  • With a technical refresh, also a new look. The header (see the first picture of this article) has been renewed and looks a lot fresher. I worked on it for hours with my son Timur. Thank you Timur!
    The coloring, fonts and menus had a facelift as well;
  • Even A Pop Life has to abide the GDPR legislation, so A Pop Life too has its privacy statement;
  • Also new this year: the A Pop Life Panel, that made heads turn with the best Prince live bootlegs. It was an immediate hit, almost 6,000 views! I hope to continue this next year.

The year 2019 has made A Pop Life looking fresh, safe and faster than ever. A great year!

Social media, Spotify, videos

Spotify

  • Google+ disappeared and, with that, so did A Pop Life‘s presence. In the meantime A Pop Life found a new home on the social media platform MeWe;
  • A Pop Life can also be followed on Spotify. The play list contains songs that refer to almost every article ever published on this blog;
  • This year also saw the start of posting videos as a trailer to stories, in part because of the remark made by several people that music and/or video lacked from the articles.

Comments

The comments I receive from various parts of the world are usually very positive and very much appreciated. However, at times I do consider removing the option, due to the (automated) cursing, cussing and threatening. But then I receive nice, loving and moving comments that (luckily) convince me it really is worth it. So, my sincere thanks to all of you who make the effort of actually commenting. Please know it is really highly appreciated and welcomed!

Favorites

My personal favorite stories this past year are:

Bauhaus Live 1979 (medium.com)

Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead

Crass - Soundcheck (todestrieb.co.uk)

Crass – The Feeding Of The 5000

Prince - Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame - While My Guitar Gently Weeps (thecurrent.org)

Prince at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: the guitar solo

Pixies (slicingupeyeballs.com)

Pixies and the story behind the classic Doolittle

The Waterboys - The Big Music - Poster (waterboys.co.nf)

The Waterboys introduce ‘the big music’ on A Pagan Place

Prince - Batdance video still (thecurrent.org)

Get the funk up! Prince and Batman: crown time is over?

The Fatal Flowers 1986 (willem-twee.nl)

The Fatal Flowers were back, for a short while. The story of the best band coming from Holland!

Prince 1993 (from the book The Sacrifice Of Victor) (Paisley Park Enterprises 1994)

Prince releases the fine album Come (and nobody seems to care)

Genesis in 1974 at Headley Grange (pinterest.com)

In 1974 Genesis releases the masterful The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

The Clash - 1979 (creativereview.co.uk)

The Clash and London Calling, the story of a triumph

One of the nicest stores to be working on was the result of a list, compiled by 5 (Dutch) Prince connoisseurs:

Prince - 25 Best Live Bootlegs - Header (apoplife.nl)

Prince – The 25 best live bootlegs!

Most popular stories

The 10 most read stories published in the past year (per 12/28/2019):

Number of showings
Article Dutch English Total
Prince releases the fine album Come (and nobody seems to care) 655 7356 8011
New photo’s Prince & The Revolution Live 1986 802 6938 7740
Prince – The 25 best live bootlegs! 662 5302 5964
The birth of the best song of all time: When Doves Cry 452 3509 3961
Prince offers direction and instructions on Originals 465 1640 2105
5 years ago I witnessed Prince live for the very last time, in Antwerp 423 1555 1978
Prince at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: the guitar solo 398 1308 1706
Prince – The Chocolate Invasion & The Slaughterhouse: ‘File under P’? 389 1231 1620
Prince – The Lotusflow3r three album set 311 1071 1382
Get the funk up! Prince and Batman: crown time is over? 375 980 1355

 

Conclusion

2019 was a decent music year. Many good records and maybe one or two that will still be remembered in the years to come. Once again no Sign O’ The Times of Voodoo, genius, albums this year. Luckily I got to see a number of impressive concerts.

The top 5 albums and top 5 concerts below (not ordered by rating).

Solange - When I Get Home (twitter.com)

Top 5 albums

  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
  • Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • FKA Twigs – MAGDALENE
  • Solange – When I Get Home
  • Underworld – DRIFT – Sample Series 1

Top 5 concerts

FKA Twigs 03-12-2019 concertkaartje (apoplife.nl)

  • The Fatal Flowers, 06/27, Amsterdam
  • Robert Glasper, 07/14, Rotterdam
  • New Order, 10/17, Amsterdam
  • Underworld, 11/23, Amsterdam
  • FKA Twigs, 12/03, Amsterdam

In closing

What did you think of 2019? A great year in music or just average? Let me know, leave a comment!