Something I’ve accepted is that I will never, ever listen to everything when it comes out. I do what you probably do- look for posts like this, or get lazy and hit up Metacritic and see what floats to the top. For instance, I didn’t listen to Silence Yourself by Savages until TODAY. It came out in May to wide critical acclaim. I like it a lot, but I’m not even going to begin to act like I can write about it right now. I do have a few things I listened to this year that I really liked for longer than 8 hours. Fortunately, we have some monsters of musical consumption on this site who will give you some deep dives in the coming days. I feel like I didn’t discover enough this year and will endeavor to get weirder in 2014. With those caveats, here’s what I really liked this year.
Pixies – EP1– This was surprisingly good, and utterly unexpected.
Daft Punk- Random Access Memories– The first Daft Punk album I didn’t get bored with.
That one Lorde song– was pretty good. I thought Rick Ross was a contradictory choice on it, but hey, whatever.
Phoenix and Arcade Fire put out albums that I find impenetrable. I don’t know if it’s me, or them.
And now my top 4:
Mikal Cronin MCII– I dearly, dearly love this album. It sounds like nearly everything I liked growing up. It’s simple and melodic. I get really bored with “dude and a guitar” music (sorry, Kurt Vile) and I kind of get that feeling here. But, this is “guy and a guitar and electricity and a backing band”. Thank God.
So So Glos- Blowout– I tried to get fellow writer for the site Phil into the So So Glos. He said they sound like bad Rancid. He may be right, but he can go to hell. I love this album. When I have to do some coding or need to shut off my workplace from my ears, this is it. It’s fast, loud, dumb, and fun. If you for some reason pay attention to what I write I know you are probably sick of hearing about this band. Maybe I’d stop if you’d start listening. Ever think about that?
Vampire Weekend- Modern Vampires of the City– Well. This is unexpected. I actually hated Contra quite a bit. So I had negative expectations for this. I expected a Weezer-esque turn, full of songs fit for Olsen Twins movies (or whoever represents the modern shitty child stars that I don’t keep up with because I’m 38 years old). I expected so little. But then I heard “Step”. That song. What the fuck is playing in that song? A harpsichord? I don’t know. I’m not going to Google it and look smart here. I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my bones. I loved this band from the start, but recognized that their music was simple, jangly and vaguely Paul Simon. That was alright with me, but I understood the rightful criticism that they were a step above the Wiggles. Maybe I’m just boring and like the obvious things, but this album feels like a validation. This feels like the best album of the year. But it’s not.
Yeezus- Kanye West– I wrote this as one of my first posts when we relaunched. Before the endless, clueless interviews. Before that video of a song I love that we shall never speak of again. And after rereading it, I think I was harsher then than am I am now. Because the one thing you can say about Yeezus is that nothing sounds like it. I’m blasting it right now while the wife is out of the house. The windows are shaking to the bass of “I am a God”, which according to Spotify was written by Kanye West and God. And I love it. It’s at times ridiculous and stupid. But there is nothing else like it. In a year when all the major rappers put out an album that sounded exactly like you expected, this stands above them and all else to me. I sincerely wish he’d released Yeezus and then disappeared to hang out with his new kid and not done any press. I wish I didn’t know how he thinks the fashion industry is bringing him down, and how Nike won’t release his shoes. But I do. I understand, quite clearly, that Sway does not have the answers. I cringe, I wonder if I’m just helping build him up to be more than he is. Maybe I am. I ain’t got the answers, man.
Oddly, one of the last things Lou Reed wrote was a wonderful dissection of this album. He said it better than me.
Let’s get on with it. <BWAH BWAH BWAH BWAH BWAH>