In this contentious time of year-end best-of lists and dubious reflections on the year that was, it’s hard not to fall victim to instant nostalgia. Even though I didn’t contribute to any 2010 lists this year, I’m not immune to that dissipated and debauched condition of looking longingly at something that has hardly passed into the rearview mirror.
As I look back at a year of making out, I can’t help but feel really proud of our city and our state. Though the Mile High Makeout doesn’t even come close to capturing everything that’s going on in local music, it’s an interesting lens through which to view a fertile, self-sustaining and generous community. This isn’t a best-of column or even really a year-in-review retrospective. What follows in an impressionistic look back at 2010 through the narrow aperture of this column.
In 2010, I wrote 51 editions of the Mile High Makeout, not counting this one. Of those, nearly 40% provide evidence of the strength of Colorado’s music community. Whether you’re talking about Douglas County Public Library’s support of local music, a local kid putting on his own music festival, Denver bands paying tribute to one another or a local label compiling the works of Colorado electronic musicians, you have to admit that something is going on here. Not only is there an absurd amount of talent here in our fair state, but that talent isn’t simply preoccupied with promoting itself. Everywhere you look, Colorado musicians and music lovers are working together to make the community a strong one that doesn’t require external validation to know its own value.
While the plurality of makeouts this year focused on people, events and projects that create our community, more than 20% of them looked at something completely different. I wrote 11 separate Mile High Makeout columns in 2010 that examined the intersection between the local music community and a greater good. I found local musicians using their art to support the Crested Butte Arts Center, building a school in Africa, the homeless (twice!), the fight against teen suicide, and more. Time and time again, Colorado musicians proved their art could truly make the world a better place in ways Diana Ross couldn’t have imagined.
And while looking back at all the goodness that happened in and around the Colorado music community in 2010 warms my heart nearly as much as this hefty shiraz, it’s nothing compared to what I’m anticipating for 2011. I’m already hearing whispers of fantastic things afoot — both musically and socially — from some of Denver’s most talented hip-hop, indie rock and metal acts, as well as from some organizations and institutions that are dedicated to seeing Colorado music and all that it supports blossom and grow in 2011.
There’s no doubt that 2010 was a pretty darned good year to be a musician or a music lover in Colorado, and there’s no reason to believe that 2011 won’t be even better.
Eryc Eyl is a veteran music journalist, critic and Colorado native who has been neck-deep in local music for many years. Check out Steal This Track every Monday for local music you can HEAR, and the Mile High Makeout every Friday. Against his mother’s advice, Eryc has also been known to tweet. You can also follow Steal This Track on Twitter. Sorry, Mom.