Thursday, January 08, 2009

the list 2008

i've decided to jump back into the blogging universe.  once again, a year-end list is the topic, but i promise this is not the extent of my blogging interests (evidence aside). besides travelling and music lists, there's not much to speak of.  i haven't used this space for much "real" blogging, but have instead used myspace, which i don't like anyway.  so, i plan to copy/paste a few posts from that blog here and maybe elaborate with some more current thoughts regarding whatever i had to say at the time.   sounds fun to me!

so...onto the list. people have said that 2008 was a rough year for music.   i don't know what that means, but i will say that this year has found me listening to more albums that i wasn't super in love with.  and so, when it comes to plugging these albums into an at times rigorous top 10 list, we see some difficulties emerge, specifically when 10 worthy albums cannot be found.  at the risk of not conforming, though, i have relented and picked the 10 best albums i heard - in particular order.

10. M83 - Saturday = Youth


this one just baaaarely sneaks on the list because it truly does have some great moments.  most notable are: Kim & Jessie, Graveyard Girl and Too Late.  unfortunately, all the good times i had while listening to this one were almost destroyed in one fell bad-concert-experience swoop.  "don't go see m83 with high expectations" would be my advice to any and all fans of their music.   this was one of my favorite albums of the year at one point.  it's sad that the show could bring it down that much, but my fellow show attenders (jeremy and kim) agree: too much pre-programed music and not enough of the great guitar tones found all over the album.  good album, m83.  i wish i hadn't seen you try to play it.  oh, and "up!" is the year.   i'm still not sure i want it on this list.

listen here

9. TV on the Radio - Dear Science

this is a good album by a better band.  there, i am now a music writer.  it's not as awe-full as their previous album, which blew me away.  so, i guess they get to be on this list because i think they have a pretty good collection of songs here that i mostly enjoy.   there's no standout like "wolf like me" or "i was a lover", but these guys certainly caught my attention with the furious "dancing choose" among others.   their 2006 disc "return to cookie mountain" (ugh, that stupid title) is still their peak so far in my opinion.   we'll see where they go from here.  there's still lots to love.

listen here

8. Azeda Booth - In Flesh Tones

i just heard this album for the first time four or five days before this posting.  i think the cover is fairly indicative of the warm pop movements that are found here.  this is the kind of album that i can only get in to when i am actively listening, otherwise it tends to blend into the background of whatever else i happen to be doing (driving, list-writing, etc).  but when i have taken the time to sit down and hear it, and even though that time has been very little, i have found a gentle familiarity on standout tracks like "i ran", "big fists", and "well" that reminds me of all the reasons i invest time in music.  it's the subtle hooks, the changes of pace, the highs and the lows that really pull this album together.  they couldn't produce the same effect on their own that they do collectively here, and, to me, that is the art of album-craft.

listen here

7. Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

so this is what sigur rós has come to: butts.  first (well, second) it was an alien fetus.   SHOCKING!! then it was the "two sausages kissing" cover.   THEY ARE WEIRD!  then it was a nicer little boy stencil.  OH THAT'S PRETTY.   and now we get butts.  well, let's all be grateful that the album cover doesn't have much to do with the sound.   no farting here.  there is, however, a nice reinvention of the classic sigur rós formula that often included: slow build, high peak, long fall into nothingness, slow build, peak, end of song.  instead of 9-minute rises and falls, we get our sigur in bite-size form.   and they taste good that way.  you'll just have to hear it if you haven't.  i'd recommend "gobbledigook" and others.

6. Beck - Modern Guilt

thank god that beck hasn't given up on us yet.  if i were him, i would be so sick of people telling me how past my prime i was, that i'm not creative anymore, etc etc etc.  this album should shame them a little bit.  it feels like beck is finally comfortable with himself.  tracks like "modern guilt," "profanity prayers," "gamma ray," and others showcase beck's unflinching song-craft skillz.  i'm pretty content with this album.  maybe six is a bit too high, but i'll give him this vote on track record alone.

5-1 to come sometime soon...

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