Alright, since everyone else and their mother, their mother’s mother, their mother’s mother’s third cousins dog walker and you have come out with your end of the year lists, I figure its time I toss mine into the ring.
The order listed pretty much varies based upon the day, the weather and my mood so use your imagination. Really, I’ll list my number 1 and all others have the ability to slide around… This is the way my brain works. I apologize…
1. Radiohead – In Rainbows
Forget the hype of how they released the album and LISTEN to it. Its amazing how many people have overlooked what a stellar album this is. I had just come home from Atlanta late at night from seeing Kings of Leon (show of the year… by far…) and happened to check my email and there was my download code for In Rainbows. I haven’t felt like a little kid at Christmas in a long, long time, but there it was. That ever elusive as you get older feeling.
So I did what any responsible adult would do… I immediately downloaded it to my ipod, laid in bed and listened to the entire album without stopping. I guess it depends on your definition of responsibility really…
I haven’t felt that way about music in a long, long time. Laying there with my eyes closed, just soaking everything in, my ears still slightly ringing from KoL. I had heard a few of these songs when I was fortunat enough to snag a a ticket to see Radiohead at the Greek in LA last year so I knew a little of what to expect. I was not disappointed. Thom swoons and croons over gorgeous layers of his brilliant cohorts and, I realize, this is why music is so incredibly powerful.
Films and visual mediums generally impact you in different ways. Music has a way of going to your core, to bring up memories and feelings and emotions that no other artform can. This album efortlessly lulls me into those places.
2. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
3. Kings of Leon – Because of the Times
4. The National – Boxer
5. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
6. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
7. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
8. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
9. The Shins – Wincing The Night Away
10. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
11. Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha
12. Interpol – Our Love to Admire
13. The Frames – The Cost
14. Panda Bear – Person Pitch
15. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
16. Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog
17. Beirut – The Flying Club Cup
18. Feist – The Reminder
19. Menomena – Friend or Foe
20. Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger
(Note: Ryan would probably be much higher up the list had he not decided to yell out “guitar solo” on Halloweenhead… shame on you Ryan, shame…)
Honorable mentions that shall not receive an album cover but probably would/should/maybe be on here but then this what was supposed to be brief post will rapidly become pretentious:
The Good, The Bad & The Queen – The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Lovedrug – Everything Starts Where It Ends
Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals
Peter Bjorn & John – Writers Block
Okkervil River – The Stage Names
The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse
Caribou – Andorra
Efterklang – Parades
The one album I really, really, really want right now that I’m pretty certain would be on this list:
Johnny Greenwood – There Will Be Blood Soundtrack
So there it is. I may add more thoughts to the albums on the list if I find the time. I’ll probably put a film list out but there are several that I haven’t seen which I’m assuming will probably make the list.
It was a great year for music in my opinion. The industry in and of itself is a different story. Working in the entertainment business puts an entirely different spin on things. The rise of the indie community that now seems to be more mainstream than the mainstream, the seeming ineptitude of major labels, the struggles of bands to make a living and not be deemed “sell outs”.
I have friends that are in bands out there that are humping it and trying to stay true to their art while also not starve. Its a fine line for these folks and their treading it the best way they know how. In there era where music is perceived to be “free”, its hard for me to grasp how we’ve fallen, as a culture, to this place of give me more, cater to me, and if you don’t, screw you.
Art for the beauty and sanctity of art seems to be either dead or dying. There is no mystery left. Bands can get ridiculed by the masses for not doing that one song or that one thing they did iat their Chicago gig that we saw on youtube and not at our show in (insert city here).
I don’t know what the future looks like. Its either incredibly scary or incredibly exciting. Probably a bit of both. At the core, we, the consumers/audience, have to drop this you should just be lucky I’m gracing you with my presence or ear attitude. Lets try and appreciate the beauty of the art form for its creators and what they’re trying to convey. Not what our perception and expectations of what, in our heads, it SHOULD be.