• Best of 2010

    Dez 30 2010, 6h48

    Music geeks really enjoy the end of the year. It's a time when they can make cute little best-of lists, and I am no exception. Even though I felt that 2010 was a lame year for music, nobody seemed to try really hard. It probably sounds like I say this all the time, but as I did a little research I found the last four years to have been far more dynamic and exciting than 2010 turned out to be. Every time I thought of an album that I really enjoyed I was dismayed to discover that it had been recorded a year or two earlier. There was some good music this year, but I find that I'm way off base with what most critics decided to be the cream o' the crop.

    My biggest problem with the music of 2010 is that everyone treats it as though something amazing happened. The Industry plopped out a few mediocre concept albums, and instead of dealing with them honestly we, as a herd of music buying goofballs, painted them gold and quickly set about ranting and raving as if a new musical dawn had broken. The truth is, for the most part, everyone who released an album stuck to their same formula. Although there is nothing wrong with that, I feel that I should try my best to sprinkle in my opinions on a few of the biggest misconceptions I feel are being forced down our throats.

    Kanye West: Is not the next Brian Wilson, please stop saying that. You're hurting my feelings

    Arcade Fire: I really want to tear into these guys, but I'm really just bummed that my poem cycles about the suburbs never got me a record deal.

    Weezer: You guys could be making a ton of money if you patent your Pavement-amnesia ray.

    Asia: Wow, a new album, my god. Did anyone buy it? Was there like a tour or something? My grandfather didn't mention anything about it... Are you guys going for like an indie sound?

    Cee Lo Green: I would call Danger Mouse to see if he can help you with that potty mouth.

    Peter Gabriel: I accidentally sent you some James Bond fan fiction, they were the original copies so if you could send them back I would appreciate it.

    Country music: The best living country musician overshadowed his own album by getting busted with pot, the second best artist voices a cartoon squid, everyone else put a cowboy hat and an overtly southern accent on soft rock. I was gonna take country music out back and put it down, but Hank Williams came back from the dead and told me "No Jimmy, country is my genre... let me pull the trigger."

    Captain Beefheart: If you can read facebook notes beyond the grave just know that I'm so sorry nobody seems to care that you died. You represented everything that was challenging, experimental, and passionate about music. If there is any sort of justice governing our universe then you are among those who deserve and appreciate a truly talented outsider.

    John Lennon: Remember when you wrote "Imagine" and you said that you wanted to extol capitalist values, and have something for overprivileged college kids to post as their status updates? Well rest easy ya bespectacled limey!

    There's probably more of these, and if you're still reading than you truly are a special person! Enough of my musical humbuggery, it's time for my top ten albums of 2010. As my glum assessment would probably lead you to believe these albums are solid, but with a few exceptions even they left something to desire. There are a lot of other albums I would recommend before some of these albums, but if anybody is interested in some music nerd bonding I would be delighted to provide anyone inquiring with a copy of any of these albums.

    10. Wild Nothing- Gemini

    This is likely the closest I'll come to overlapping with other best-of lists. Wild Nothing have a wonderful 80s synth thing going on, and lines like "I need someone somewhere" are so melancholy that they curve around into being delightful. If you want to bum yourself out (in a good way) look no further from 2010!

    9. School of Seven Bells- Disconnect from Desire

    Pardon me while I shake off these strange 80s vibes. School of Seven Bells is like if the Cocteau Twins had not peaked before all genres blurred into electronica... that sounds like an insult, but this album is really good. Lyric lovers should also have fun trying to wrap their heads around the strange concepts these twin sirens keep cooing out (and a much easier time than those uppity Cocteau fans).

    8. Ratatat- Lp4

    We're steppin into instrumental territory... FLEE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. Too late, this duo of guitar and keyboard wizards are probably best known for the viral mash-ups that totally defeat the point by adding words. They meander between sad and quirky always seeming to find an excellent rhythm and an even better tone.

    7. David Byrne/Fatboy Slim- Here Lies Love

    The strangest concept album I think I've ever heard, at first it sounds do simple: A disco/electronica song cycle about Imelda Marcos and Estrella Cumpas featuring every female vocalist ever... seriously, think of a living female singer and odds are they have a song on this album. I'm still trying to answer the thousands of questions I have about this album. Why the pairing of Byrne and Fatboy Slim? Why a concept album about a woman who hasn't been relevant in almost thrity years? Why use an equally irrelevant genre? Why all the female vocalist? Where can I buy the expanded album with the extra DVD? What do the numbers in my head mean? Do they correspond to bible verses? How am I supposed to believe that Oswald acted alone? What if we faked the moon landing? What if Elvis is still alive? Why did Asia make a new album? How do I make the voices stop?

    6. Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse- Dark Night of the Soul

    This is a bitter sad album that is made all the more bitter by the fact that Mark Linkous is no longer alive to make amazing music. Danger Mouse can probably trace his ancestry back to King Midas because he can't help but turn all he touches into gold! This album has a bevy of popular guest stars, but they are not essential to what makes this album a chilling masterpiece, it's pretty sad to have to come to terms with the fact that I'll never hear another new Sparklehorse song, but it makes this album all the more bittersweet.

    5. T-Model Ford- The Ladies Man

    It is a testament to the massive amounts of abuse the human body can survive that not only is T-Model still alive but he can make music with all the passion and stripped down anger of his debut. A man with more fingers than teeth, and a staunch pride in his illiteracy, to listen to this music is to hear the true essence of the blues. Real blues is not about someone being sad, it's a deep primal reaction that comes from generations of hostile neglect. When you hear a man like T-Model sing you also hear his profound sadness at every missed opportunity, the door slam of every woman who ever walked out on him, and the moan of every artist who ever had their genre hijacked by spoiled young kids who made more money by adding sugar to the formula than the originators ever did by being authentic. He also cusses a lot, and that is hilarious!

    4. Brian Eno- Small Craft on a Milk Sea

    The master of ambient is back! This album is a beautiful little trip through all things lucid. I'm hesitant to suggest the ambient work of Eno, due to the main feedback being "It put me right to sleep!" People who sleep to music aren't bad people, but they certainly have missed the point. Eno may not be demanding your attention but he sure is rewarding it with his sublime compositions.

    3. TOKiMONSTA- Midnight Menu

    An instrumental/electronic gem I think that for once in my life I have stumbled onto an artist that is actually going to be somewhat famous. If you've ever wondered why more women can't handle a MIDI controller (and let's not kid ourselves, you never ever have.), then look no freakin' further! I think that if she dumps her incredibly stupid, caps dominated name, she'll be poised to take over the world of what I am now dubbing e-music. Highly recommended for fans of Flying Lotus. Speaking of...

    2. Flying Lotus- Cosmogramma

    Flying Lotus is way too popular for a guy who is related to Alice Coltrane. I'm not quite sure how to explain his relative success, but surely it has something to do with his fascinating samples. and nothing to do with his love of experimentation. Flying Lotus is what Jazz evolved into, not the smooth garbage that released awful Christmas music this year. It's music that promises a groove, but delivers it in a way you never expected. Highly recommended for people who aren't freakin robots maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.

    1. Shad- TSOL

    The album I am the most excited about this year. TSOL is a masterpiece in every possible sense of the word. Shad is a religious Canadian rapper who does not curse and properly enunciates every single word he raps, and despite all of that he turns out great album after great album. This music is truly uplifting, and accessible for every single person who says they love music. There is nothing that could possible offend anyone and enough talent to satisfy the snobbiest of overweight loners. I seriously recommend this album to anyone and everyone, the only reason you wouldn't like Shad was if you were a racist.

    Thanks so much for reading and here's to a new year- Jimmy