Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012: Album(s) of the Year

As i write this intro, it's hard to not feel a sense of continuation.  I've always been an "album" guy, but this year feels different.  Maybe it's a sign of aging or the fact that I've spent most of the year trying to make the perfect mix-CD.  Whatever the case may be, it's clear that i listen to music differently, i experience music differently, i even discover music differently (r.i.p megaupload).  So clearly, I have a new perspective on music. and i know i know, nobody likes it when someone enforces their musical taste onto others.  But who else is going to make this list?  What does an (adjective) 26 years old listen to?  I don't know, but this is my life.  This is my list.  These are my favorite albums of the year.


25. Allo Darlin' - Europe
What a breeze.  Never heard of them, but i liked the album cover and it actually fits.  It's simple, it won't shift people's taste, but it's enough to win people over.  There's really pop songs, and of course there are the slow sentimental songs.  I've always said that "pop" is my core, but these aren't "fun" pop, it's more like "pop" for the lost late-20 year olds.
Favorite Songs: Neil Armstrong, Tellulah, The Letter

24. Woods - Bend Beyond
For some reason, I thought woods were a generic indie rock band that keeps making records every year. and yes, this bands has quite a long line of albums released, this is my very first listen to them and i really like it.  It gets me.  It sounds a bit low-key like maybe they are a band that already hit their 60s influence peak, but this is the leftovers, but i'm only saying that because every song here sounds good on its own.  I'm not saying it's "single" potential, but overall, this album is a good listen, nonstop. or maybe i'm a sucker for acoustic guitars. oh o whoa o.
Favorite Songs: Cali in a Cup, It Ain't Easy, Wind was the Wine

23. The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past
What a complete record.  At the start of the year, this was one of the highest rated albums on metacritc at a score of 93.  Even thought the reviews weren't by mainstream publications, i gave it a shot and it's one of those records that pulls you in the heart.  So many lines make me want to sing-a-long to them.  It's so standard, yet i'm finding each song on its own while understanding that they all need each other to sound good.
Favorite Songs: The Obituaries, Sun Hotel, Nice Things

22. Freelance Whales - Diluvia
potential?  wait, that's not a good reason.  But that's the thing, they sound done before, like a band from 2008, or a band just starting out.  I'm not sure how to explain, but they sound young and they have that sound quality from the bands i used to listen to.  But i like this album because it's easy on me, but i keep seeing potential.  I wish they could pop out more, i wish they could get more emotional, i wish they could scream or something.  But the way i hear it, it's an album of a band that shows promise.  And i'm not basing this on potential, i'm just saying that's what i feel.  It's a great easy listen for 2012.
Favorite Songs: Land Features, Follow Through, Red Star

21. Kishi Bashi - 151a
My classroom music fix, this guy.  He reminds me a bit of Sufjan and Sigur Ros.  Great music, great melodies, and light voice to go with it. And i haven't seen it, but apparently his song is part of windows 8 promotions.  nice!
Favorite Songs: Intro/Pathos, Pathos, Manchester, Bright Whites

20. Tame Impala - Lonerism
Wait, this is so psychedelic.  I know, at first it sound like a mess, but it's really psychedelic. Maybe it's mood music, but it's really good.  As long as i tell myself to not look for a verse/chorus formula  it's fun to put this on and let it pulse in the back of your mind.
Favorite Songs: Apocalypse Dreams, Mind Mischief, Feels Like We Only Go Backward

19. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
oh shit!  talk about left field.  I'm always curious about music kept locked away.  I've read that these songs were performed live for quite some time, but i never heard of them, so for me, this was entirely new.  and i no longer call myself a fan of the so-called "post-rock" genre, but geez, even i have no acknowledge how amazing this shit is.  fucken "Mladic," what a track.
Favorite Songs: Mladic, We Drift Like Worried Fire

18. Chairlift - Something
dude, she doesn't shave her armpits?  i'm kidding, but this was a major surprise for me.  I first discovered them because of their song, "Bruise," but i couldn't find much value in the rest of their catalog.  And I honestly thought "I Belong in Your Arms" was a standard indie pop track, but the singer sings so light and it makes me smile.  and of course, the melodies.
Favorite Songs: Wrong Opinion, I Belong in Your Arms, Frigid Spring

17. Grizzly Bear - Shields
I feel like i'm going to use this phase a lot, but this is one of those albums that don't push the melodies in your face.  There's no "Two Weeks" here, but they still have the smokey vibe to them.  I still have to go with "Veckatimest," but "Shield" is great on its own.  It's warm and adventurist.  and because it isn't in your face, I always feel rewarded with each listen.
Favorite Songs: Yet Again, A Simple Answer, Half Gate

16. The Shins - Port of Morrow
It's probably the "safest" album i got this year, but i enjoy the heck out of it.  I honestly thought they reached their peak, but here they are making "indie rock" music and it never feels like they are reaching new heights, but after i got into "Simple Song," the rest of the album came to me.  I'm not sure how old these guys are, but it feels very "Dad Rock" and that makes me adore it.
Favorite Songs: Simple Song, No Way Down, 40 Mark Strasse

15. Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man
<3.  oh Natasha.  I was worried when i saw her standing nude for her album cover.  nothing wrong with sending the message of being naked, but i thought this would turn out to be more of a "image" album than content, but this album works for me.  "Daniel" is still my favorite, but this album has a lot going for it.  I think everybody is in agreement with "Laura," but i love the strings on "Winter Field" and of course that hook on "Marilyn."
Favorite Songs: All Your Gold, Laura, Winter Fields

14. Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Yes Yes Yes.  It's a rock album.  I love the energy and I love the song structures.  Part of me wants to comment at how it's not "new" but at the same time, it's fun to listen to.  They kick me in the face.  let's bro-fist each other.  YeaH!!!
Favorite Songs: Fire's Highway, Evil's Sway, The House That Heaven Built

13. Grimes - Visions
what the fuck is this?  haha, this album shifted my entire taste in music.  She sings like a lolli and the music sounds like some repeated 80s jam....but it's fascinating.  It's an outlet.  It's a new feel.  She grooves into me.
Favorite Songs: Genesis, Oblivion, Symphonia IX (My Wait it U)

12. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes
thank god they didn't try to recapture "round and round" again.  That was the only song that was good, but this album.  oh my, maybe i'll go revisit their past stuff, but this album.  It's so varied.  There are clear "made for single selection" tracks and others that just play off on being an indie rock band.
Favorite Songs: Mature Themes, Only In My Dreams, Live it Up

11. Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
You know that slow song on the radio, "Adorn."  yeah, that's this guy.  Seriously man, who could have known that this guy would have released this killer album.  Ne-Yo was my only rnb man, but Miguel just killed me with his smoothness.  and I'm not talking a few songs or inside jokes.  It's an interesting listening experience.  All he does is sing, but whoever does the production makes him sound so smooth. So sexy smooth.
Favorite Songs: Adorn, Do You..., Where's The Fun in Forever

10. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
oh Julian.  Sorry, but i forever associate Fiona with her.  So truthfully, I find her music to be difficult to get into.   You can tell that she's a songwriter, but her voice isn't found on radio so it takes a while to get use to.  When i heard this album, I didn't think it was much different to Extraordinary Machine, but when i don't know what to listen to, i just pop in Idler Wheel in hopes it would grow on me.  and since it's on the list, it grew on me.  But i still have a hard time explaining it.  It's jumpy, it's antsy   She doesn't sound like anyone else and maybe the way some of the songs sound "off" creates this challenging attempt to understand.  sometimes the melodies are beautiful, and other times, they sound dark.
Favorite Songs: Every Single Night, Jonathan, Regret

09. Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE
the best song wasn't the single.  I remember seeing articles about him coming out as "bi" like it was a big deal, but i never cared about that.  and that sadly clouded my judgment on this album because i thought the music media was trying to push him as a revolutionary artist.  So I had to step away from this album and revisit it months later and you know something, what an album.  I heard "Thinking Bout You" when it first leaked, but it sounds too good here. The more i listen, the more i understand.  I love the music, as it doesn't stay confined.  I guess The Roots would be a close comparison. And he has no fears.
Favorite Songs: Thinking Bout You, Pyramids, Lost

08. Taylor Swift - Red
Are all of her songs about a breakup?  Who cares.  As long as she is able to tell a story.  And it's funny because on my first listen, i thought this album was a piece of crap.  Familiar tunes, familiar themes.  But why do i keep coming back to it?  Because she's the voice of a generation.  o please, what a bold statement.  But like i said in my Song list, she writes as a way to release whatever she is feeling.  Just because she's famous doesn't make it mean less.  It sucks for her to find love when in the spotlight.  And who knows, maybe she dates people for song ideas.  Maybe she has a darker side.  But as Swift grows up, i feel like she's part of my life.  Even if i can't relate fully, I understand what she is saying.  and by doing so, i feel like i'm understanding myself.
Favorite Songs: All Too Well, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, The Lucky One

07. First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
I didn't know these girls were a legit band.  I'm sure like most people, I first heard them cover Fleet Foxes and that was suppose to be it.  So with talks of "Emmylou" being a song of the year contender, it open my eyes that they are really really good at being..well, folksy.  and of course, cutesy.  I like the old timely feel to them and even if the lyrics are fictional (i dont know), they feel personal and it warms my heart.
Favorite Songs: Emmylou, This Old Routine, To a Poet

06. Driver Friendly - Bury A Dream
Clearly I've listen to this album, but how long will it last?  That's a personal issue.  but maybe that's why i heart this album so much.  It makes me feel young and dumb. It sounds like a standard pop punk album, yet I'm connecting to the sounds and the words and the feel.  It's ridiculously catchy and the parts that are most catchy contains a meaningful "line" to hold on to.  I don't know how they can top themselves, but i'm looking forward to it.  But i guess what makes this album sound so special is because it feels like they've given it their all.  "Messidona" was suppose to be the star, but it was only there to hook me in.  The way this album disguise itself as a regular album only to dig deeper into my skin.
Favorite Songs: Messidona, Harsh, Harsh, Harsh, You're A Legend, Sir

05. Jessie Ware - Devotion
I shouldn't bring up Adele, but i have to.  See, I loved Adele last year, but so did everyone else.  She was untouchable, nobody could "insult" her because that girl could sing.  but because of that, i grew to hate all British singers.  but thank you Jessie Ware for entering my life.  She has the accent, but she's a powerhouse in her own right.  and dare i say it, i think her voice is sexier.  I can hear a bit of 80s pop and she's able to get me to dance in my head.
Favorite Songs: Wildest Moments, Night Light, Taking in Water

04. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid M.A.A.D. City
aww, if only i had section.80 on my list last year to prove to people i'm not a phony.  I'm really happy for the positive reviews, and yeah, maybe that positive reinforcement helped push it higher on my list.  but i can't deny at how complete these songs are.  the production is top-notch and every song is good.  no joke.  I love his use of a Beach House sample and because i don't dive too deep in the hip hop world, i can't explain this, but something about his voice makes me want to listen.  Like, i feel like he has something important to say so i pay attention to the actually "words."  And i don't know if "catchy" is the right term, but literally each song has a memorable hook.
Favorite Songs: Backstreet Freestyle, Money Trees, Swimming Pools (Drank)

03. Beach House - Bloom
The progression between Devotion and Teen Dream was clear.  and i wondered, what else could they do?  and i was expecting them to give me the same comforting sound with a few misses, but wow, Bloom was a refinement of what they did on Teen Dream and then some.  Nearly every album this year, it took time to grow on me.  Bloom wasn't one of them.  I loved it on first listen.  Maybe because i was being safe, but back-to-back songs with their awe-escape sound.  yeah, it's hard to not get drifted away.  And of course, the vocals.  Victoria, your voice is so raspy, but i love it.  This band is mesmerizing.
Favorite Songs: Myth, The Hours, On The Sea

02. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellian
The harmonies.  It doesn't matter, male + female harmonies are my weakness.  I actually didn't think too much about this album on the first listen because it wasn't challenging enough.  It wasn't catchy enough, but once it hit me, this album stayed with me.  Yeah, i can see why this would put people off, they are weird, but those small burst of spontaneity make me laugh.  They aren't traditional singers, but on this album, I'm able to identify with the lyrics more than their past work.  and even thought my first impressions were because it wasn't challenging enough, in the end, my favorite songs are the ones they kept it simple.  "i need ya and you're always on my mind."
Favorite Songs: About to Die, Dance for You, Impregnable Question

01. Twin Shadow - Confess
It's an interesting feeling when an artist takes elements of the past and really makes it their own.  Wasn't the new wave revival 10 years ago?  anyhow, even thought the 80s were my least favorite decade in music, i do remember seeing those "best of the 80s" infomercial so the way this album seemingly unwraps before my ears in full force while i can hear the influence of Prince, The Cure, Morrissey and maybe Phil Collins, it hits me.  And because of my lifestyle, it helps with my cardio.  The way it flows, the way it dances.  and even when some of the lesser stand out tracks, the hooks really grab me.  I love the honesty.  I can mouth off every word he said when i run.  I might not believe every single word he sings, but i believe his intention are genuine.   And i suppose that's all i need, something true to themselves.  This is the present.
Favorite Songs: Five Seconds, Run My Heart, I Don't Care

Saturday, December 08, 2012

2012: Song(s) of the Year

6 years of doing this and this is the first time my Song list is more important than my Album list. It's so odd.  I've said it from the beginning that I just want to track my musical direction, but this is my first full year where I can totally say that fitness has overtaken my life. and last year, i've had this huge struggle with my musical taste because getting fitter and stronger made me reset my entire way of thinking. I won't get too personal, but in terms of my love for music, I'm no longer seeking to immerse myself in the music, I just want something to sing to. These are my favorite songs of 2012.

Honorable mention: PSY - Gangnam Style
fuck this song

50. Exitmusic - Passage
I didn't bother listening to the rest of the album, this opener makes me want to extend my hands. somebody's really depressed.
"just stop this conversation"

49. La Sera - I'm Alone
Very breezy. Very alone. Very blue in color.
"from the start"

48. Sharon Van Etten - Give Out
how does she stay so quiet? She totally wants to cry, but she holds it in. and i know it's a recording, but i'm sitting in my chair just listening to her sing this private moment. =/
"you're the reason why"

47. Solange - Losing You
oh, this is a break up song? Why do i tend to move my shoulders in and out. I feel good with all of its bubbly undertones. I wish i knew an adjective for groovy.
"am i losing you for good"

46. Kishi Bashi - Manchester
This guy's music sounds like it belongs in a children's television show. but there's something about the last minute of this song where everything just boils over with sound. I guess he really loves being in love.
"I read the signs, i haven't been this in love in a long time"

45. Flo Rida - Wild Ones (ft Sia)
Say what you want about Flo Rida, but Sia freaken killed it in this guest spot. How can anybody diss her?
"hey i heard you were a wild one"

44. Passion Pit - Take A Walk
I know the song is a bit deeper about the struggling economy, but i just like running to this song.
"i'm just too much a coward to admit when i'm in need"

43. The Lumineers - Ho Hey
"Ho Hey" is probably the universal "i can leave the radio station to this song," song of the year. Nothing ground breaking, but those interjection of "hey! Ho!" throughout the song makes you want to bounce along to the melodies.
"i belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart"

42. fun. - Carry On
I miss the format. But it's neat to see Nate receiving success. He's doing what he wants.
"if you're lost and alone, or you're sinking like a stone, carry on"

42. Maroon 5 - Payphone
Why is Wiz Khalifa here! fuck that shit. Although it does seem like it came out of a top 40's factory, it's so catchy. And catchy songs have a place for me.
"yeah, i"

41. Usher - Scream
I know the popular "indie-guy" answer would be "Climax," but honestly, "Scream" is such a good cardio song, i rather listen to that then to have usher usher'd me.
"so magnetic, magnetic"

39. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
the song of the summer! I can't believe this song was a hit. but when a song like this reaches global proportions, it's easier to accept it. And you know something, it's pretty catchy.
"i miss you so, so bad."

38. Katy Perry - Part of Me
boo hoo, she had her heart broken, and i can't say this song relates to me, but i do feel a bit of female empowerment in this song, the same way kelly clarkson or p!nk does it for me. so in a way, hearing this track makes me hold my head higher and throw my phone away.
"that was then and this is now. now look at me"

37. Mumford & Sons - Whispers in the Dark
I'm not a fan of them, but this song is fun to listen to. It's not "the cave," but it's a nice song to push forward to. And the banjo at the end makes me laugh.
"while we are youngggggggggg"

36. Jessie Ware - Taking in Water
what a ballad. It slowly consumes you. I had this mental note of what my favorite 3-4 songs from this album were, but i started to hear "taking in water" in my head randomly. and it kept lingering. The way her voice sync with the music really tugs at my heart.
"if you want to escape you don't need to"

35. Hammock - Frailty (For The Dearly Departed)
Instrumental music (that isn't from a music score) was a big phase in my life, so finding a song now takes me back a few years. I miss the feeling of having the world stand still. This song does it for me. The title is so appropriated. It makes me reflect, cherish, and plan ahead. It's never ideal to think about the end, but this song makes me confront that idea."
[no lyrics]

34. Haim - Go Slow
reminds me so much of the 80s. it has that smokey feel to it and these girls know how to harmonies very well.
"well was it something that i said"

33. Elite Gymnastics - Andreja 4-Ever
I think of ice, frost, and winter. It's an electronic song, but i imagine if they used normal insutrments, nobody would give a fuck. but the mood it creates is so breezy and that harmonica part makes me melt everything i hear it.
"when i was young, they told me girls were born to hurt, and that men were put on Earth so we can hurt them"

32. First Aid Kit - To a Poet
ahhhhh, i love these girls. I'm suppose to be out of my "folk" phase of '08, but these girls don't half ass a song and call it sentimental. My favorite is "To A Poet" because the melody always surprises me. or maybe it's because of their accent.
"i ask where are you now just when i needed you"

31. One Direction - One Thing
the best boy band since backstreet boys? It's pretty awesome. The fusion of pop and rap pretty much killed the genre. as well as the shitty music, but after a long break from it all, these boys came and know their place. I want the hooks. I want superficial love. I want cheesy lyrics girls can quote. "One Thing" delivers.
"get up get up get out of my mind."

30. Dirty Projectors - Unto Caesar
This song makes me laugh because of the background chatter, but it has the harmonies that made me love this band.
"when should we invest in the harmonies?"

29. Allo Darlin' - The Letter
It's pop for the mid 20s folk. I like their entire album, but if i had to choose one song, "the letter" is it because the way it ends just seemed very confessional and i love songs that long for someone else.
"and if i told you i was never cool and all i wanted was just to have you"

28. Taylor Swift - The Lucky One
This track sounds like a throwaway, but that irregular drumbeat, the playful swings and effortless delivery makes me come back to it. it's not too deep, but it makes you wonder who really is "the lucky one." is she hinting something?
"i think you got it right"

27. Japandroids - Evil's Sway
this song helps me run.
"oh yeah! oh right!"

26. Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child
do you feel that momentum? i know i've heard a song like this before, same type of singer, same message in the lyrics and of course the same highs and lows. but the energy man.
"there was a time..."

25. Balmorhea - Masollan
This band is still going strong. There are one of the few that seems to keep staying engaging with each album. Is it a good song or am i just trying to have something constant in my life?
[no lyrics]

24. Tame Impala - Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
those opening notes. wow. the rest of the song took a while to grow on me, but once it did, it's hard to escape that Beatles vibe. This is a terrible reason for liking a song, but i keep coming back to it because i don't know why i keep coming back!
"backwards baby"

23. Woods - It Ain't Easy
Easy on the ears. easy lyrics to hold on to. It's just a guy and his guitar, but it sounds very rich.
"it ain't hard to say it ain't easy"

22. Frank Ocean - Pyramids
what the hell is John Mayer doing here! but in all seriousness, clearly this is the centerpiece of Channel Orange, but i don't see anything that game changing about the lyrics. It's on my list because i love that electro drop during the first 4 minutes of the song. Such a good buzz.

21. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Mladic
total badass song. I never heard of it so hearing it for the first time was amazing. i pretty much said "holy fuck" at the many crescendos.
[no lyrics]

20. Grizzly Bear - A Simple Answer
What a playful song, then they just switch it up during the last 2 minutes. At first i didn't like it, but i'm getting more rewards with repeated listens. It's my favorite because i still enjoy hearing the first 4 as it blends into the last 2's colorless world.
"oh goodness, mercy mine"

19. Animal Collective - Applesauce
It's Animal Collective being Animal Collective. They are one of my top 5 favorite bands.  The melodies come after repeated listens.
"honey can roll"

18. Twin Shadow - Five Seconds
another song i run to? kind of. He sings in that joy division style, but when it happens, his (slightly louder tone) sounds reliving.
"i don't believe in you, you don't believe in me"

17. The Gaslight Anthem - Biloxi Parish
It was suppose to be "Handwritten" because it seemed that song was made for me, but i think i was trying too hard to find a song that represented my year. but Biloxi Parish was the song i kept skipping forward to and i'm not sure what the song is about, but i can't get those lines of "who else can say that about you baby" out of my head because it made me remember all those times i thought i was doing everything right, yet i was pushed aside.  If i wasn't your favorite, who else could it be?  who else can tell a story about you?  who else can say the things that i say?  and that line just stuck with me.  because seriously, nobody in your circle can.
"who else can say that about you"

16. Seo In Guk & Eunji - All For You
I actually got teary eyed the first time i heard this song. so cute. this song made me believe in love. plus, the girl can smile.
"nan neoegeman ije yaksokhalge" [now i will promise only to you]

15. Sufjan Stevens - Christmas Unicorn
You don't understand. Sufjan can do whatever he wants. but oh my god, the joy division integration was done brilliantly. I totally didn't expect a christmas album box set this year, but it's crazy to think that he never stopped making music during the gaps of his albums. I assume this was recorded in 2010, but it's new to most of the world. This track is 12 minutes long, but the progression til the end is amazing.
"it's all right i love you"

14. Japandroids - Fire's Highway
holy shit let's go fuck shit up! what a bro song man. I'm not kidding. all i want to do is bang shit together and scream oh oh oh ohhhhhhh. and even the bridge helps build climax to something we already know what would sound like. YEAH. fist pump!
"one night to have and to hold"

13. Chairlift - I Belong In Yours Arms
honestly, it's just fun.
"i belong in your arms"

12. Beach House - The Hours
Beach House held my soty spot in 2010 and here they are again.  Seriously, her voice is so dreamy.  i love the melody of this track as well as the lyrics.
"it's deeper than you and me"

11. Mass Effect 3 - Leaving Earth/An End, Once And For All
When I grew out of playing video games, the last game i played that i truly loved was Star Wars's KOTOR. and mass effect was on my radar because it was made by bioware. so i bought both games when it was on sale on steam and it was amazing. so the anticipation for mass effect 3 was so high. These two songs are basically the same theme, but they stand out because they represent my goodbyes to the world of mass effect as well as my goodbyes to the game and characters. A big part of my life just ended.  I can always replay it, but it's not the same. You only experience something the first time once.
[no lyrics]

10. Driver Friendly - You're A Legend, Sir [note: the album version isn't on youtube :/]
My inspirational song. Last year, i had two gym buddies, but after some changes, I was solo. and that gave me more time to listen to music and driver friendly was one of those bands. this song in particular use words like "crawl" and "carry" and had phases like "won't let" and "above this." Is this an example of me searching for something to sing to? maybe. But for me, this song is about being you're own legend. Everybody has haters. Weather they exist on the outside or only in your mind, you still got oxygen in your chest.
"don't, don't ever look down"

09. Bat For Lashes - Laura
Could she do it? I wouldn't mind seeing other people list this as their soty. It almost became mine, but it's hard to listen to it over and over when i'm trying to run. Of course people will say that it's so raw and vulnerable, but it's also a reminder of what friends go through when they know they can't help. Who is Laura? that's not important. The way Natasha sings it is heartbreaking and hauntingly beautiful.
"you're more than a superstar"

08. Jessie Ware - Wildest Moments
It's funny how i turned my back on Adele simply because she was no longer my secret weapon. Yet, Jessie Ware sort of reminds me of her, probably because they have that British accent. But it's hard to not get floored during that last set of chorus when the song seems to be at its loudest. I said this about her other song, but when the music and vocals are in sync, it doesn't matter if it's predicable, when it hits you, it hits you.
"we could be the greatest, we could be the greatest"

07. Sistar - Loving U
I'm not concern about the translation, but i'm betting it's a song about love. And the song is full of hooks. I like it because it full of happy times. and yeah, the girls are cute. But that's the thing, i don't need to know anything about this group or the song. It's a burst of UUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.

06. Dirty Projectors - Impregnable Question
Not too weird. drum claps. steady piano chords. harmonies. oh yes, the harmonies.  The way the female comes and goes to accompany the male vocals, what the hell man.  Why does it sound so good?  And as simple as it may be, this song stands out because it literally made me miss someone.  not anyone in particular  but it made me miss someone.
"but i need you and you're always on my mind"

05. Grimes - Genesis
I honestly don't know what she's singing about, but she makes me want to dance like no one is watching. I can sort of group her with a certain genre, but she really does sound like she's her own category.
"i am the one in love"

04. The Shins - Simple Song
I kind of gave up on this band. Nothing could beat Chutes Too Narrow, and the funny thing is, on Chutes, my favorite songs happen to be the quieter, acoustic sets. So I actually dismissed Simple Song at first, but it wasn't until i watched the music video where it started to click. This song does sound simple, but it's done so well. Once the song gets past the first "bang," the guitars really drive the riff's home.
"love's such a delicate thing that we do"

03. Driver Friendly - Harsh, Harsh, Harsh
I forever associate alt-pop/punk with the so-so class of '04. I mean, i enjoyed it too, but that's because i was friends with them. So part of the reason i'm so connected to this song is because it reminds me of who i was, but it's not an nostalgic thing, this is one of those songs i belt out at the gym. it gives me anger, passion, and motivation to keep going. and because of the memories, this song is important because it fits right in to my current self. It starts soft and gets louder and louder and i love the callback to an earlier track on the album, "Ghost." I felt that everything came together perfectly and it's the best sounding track from the album as well as the one that unleashes the most aggressive out of me.
"let our anthem scar the skies"

02. Twin Shadow - I Don't Care
I thought for sure this was going to be my soty. It reminds me a bit of One
Republic's Apologies which is funny because i know girls love that shit. but maybe that familiarity gave that extra attention so when it goes for that final push during the 2nd half of the song, it's some powerful shit. And i'm not sure if i completely get it. But it reminds me of what i want and what i desire.
"before the night is through i'll say three words. i'll probably mean the first two and regret the third"

01. Taylor Swift - All Too Well
Way to go Taylor. my goodness. Every year, it's the same principle. It doesn't matter how "diverse" or "indie" my year end list looks, if my list was one song long, what song do i want crown as my champion? And with each passing year, there becomes less of a competition at the top. Songs come and go and the ones on top are the ones i simply kept around. But what makes "All Too Well" my song, the song, my favorite song of the year is simply because it's not mine at all. This is Taylor telling her story the way it is and it blows my mind how she's able to paint that imagery for me. Sure it's another "Back To December" or "Dear John," but at 5 and a half minutes, she makes every second count. I love the reoccurring scarf. It makes me wonder what else she has to say. I've read interviews where she said that this was the most difficult song to write and it's understandably as to why. Somebody fucked up and hurt her bad and affected her for a long time. and I'm not a songwriter, but like a lot of people, I think a lot. And sometimes i feel like it'll be easier if people could just read my thoughts because sometimes, i fear i come off looking weak or a complainer. "All Too Well" is not a story told for others, it's just her's. She's not playing the victim, she's thinking it out, haunted by the details... remembering it all too well.
"and you call me up again just to break me like a promise, so casually cruel in the name of being honest"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Taylor Swift - All Too Well

From Album: Red
When you know it, you know it. This song.
Rating: 10/10

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten

From Album: Handwritten

...from heart to limb to pen...

Rating: 10/10

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Neon Hitch - Fuck U Betta

I liked her role in that gym class heroes song so she's on my radar, then i heard this song on the radio recently and kind of had a head shaking moment. another Britney song? still, it makes me laugh (in a good way) with the major use of auto-tune and the chorus annoys me legitimately. But oddly enough, i want to know what else she can offer. hopefully a song that can pound my face.

Rating: 2/10

Sunday, January 22, 2012

David Guetta - Turn Me On (ft. Nicki Minaj )

From Album: Nothing but the Beat

heard this on the radio, felt like a big "generic" rihanna ripoff, but when i found out it was david guetta and nicki minaj, what the fuck? so disappointed. this is not the nicki minaj people love. let her loose.

Rating: 2/10

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lana Del Rey - Off to The Races

From Album: Born to Die

damn, what a badass song. is that really her or is she playing a character? who knows, but this song really captivated me on first listen.

rating: 9/10

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011: Album(s) of the Year

What happened to your new year's resolution?

Honorable Mention 
The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording
what the hell, it's fun to sing along. i know i know, how mature Chris, this is so vulgar, but i'm a big fan of mixing tradition with "WTF"ness. the songs here are standard Broadway musical music, but none of the characters know the songs they are singing is ridiculous. it's not quite a parody. so the showmanship is so fascinating to me. plus, the story is pretty funny.
Favorite Songs: Hello, Hasa Diga Eebowai, Joseph Smith American Moses

25. Diego Garcia - Laura
Do you feel that Spanish flavor? i guess it's great that i never heard of his band because i would have had some sort of expectation. this album is just meant for lonely people and i just found it to be really pretty at times. nothing more, nothing less. the length of it is pretty short, so i never get to bored.
Favorite Songs: Inside My Heart, You Were Never There, Roses and Wine

24. Fucked Up - David Comes To Life
Why does this album have to be so long?
Favorite Songs: Queen of Hearts, Turn The Season, Serve Me Right

23. Laura Stevenson & the Cans
what the heck, why is she so adorable? she puts a smile on my face, that should be enough of a reason.
Favorite Songs: Master of Art, The Healthy One, I See Dark

22. Tycho - Dive
I don't know why i gave this album a listen. the reviews weren't that great and instrumental music is past my phase, but still, i was sort of sucked into this world. i'm a fan of melodies more than anything and this album is strickly free floating melodies. and it's fun to get lost in this world. Most instrumental music gets grouped with incidental music, but i tried to study with this album and it's hard. i tend to imagine i'm somewhere else.
Favorite Songs: House, Dive

21. Tune-Yards - W H O K I L L
Weird as fuck.
Favorite Songs: My Country, Powa, Bizness


20. Okkervil River - I Am Very Far
One of my favorite bands. This record seems overlooked and i admit, i was letdown too. with Black Sheep Boy and The Stage Names, those were loose concept album, but this album is just the band trying to piss everybody off with how forward they can go. I love how they can rock and be lovely on the next track, but this album sort of sits in the middle for me. nothing would be on my "favorite" list nor anything would make my "least favorite." But because i'm bias, i like every song here. but i admit, it's not close to the greatness of the Black Sheep Boy.
Favorite Songs: Piratess, Mermaid, Your Past Life As A Blast

19. Miranda Lambert - Four The Record
what a surprise. I like Taylor Swift because she's young and relatable, but Miranda Lambert just looks and feels like your commerilized country singers. Since i was a fan of blake shelton on The voice, i gave this album a listen soley because she was his wife. and yeah, there's a lot to love here. nothing that would shift music taste, but song after song, it's very expected, but i liked it. it hits all those sweet country spots.
Favorite Songs: Fine Tune, Dear Diamond, Over You

18. Dawes - Nothing is Wrong
My Morning Jacket-lite
Favorite Songs: Time Spent in Los Angeles, My Way Back Home, A Little Bit of Everything

17. Beyonce - 4
"Best Thing I Never Had" was very easy on my ears, but everything else was typical beyonce..but since i had nothing to listen to, i ended up just letting the whole album play and over time, her melodies started to creep up on and and you know what, Beyonce is actually an amazing vocalist.
Favorite Songs: 1+1, Best Thing I Never Had, Countdown

16. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
O how i thought she was a weirdo back in 2007. i warmed up to her in 2009, but on her 2011 album, i finally got her. maybe because i'm familiar or maybe she tone down, but the way she sings is so interesting. by the 3rd track, i just trusted her that the rest of the album would be great and she didn't let me down.
Favorite Songs: Cruel, Strange Mercy, Neutered Fruit


15. Moving Mountains - Waves
It makes me happy that these guys are able to continue as a band. This is their first album on a label and it does feel less abstract, but it fits well with my current taste because my attention span isn't as exploratory as it once was. there are some weak spots on the album, but as a whole, it makes waves.
Favorite Songs: My Life Is Like a Chase Dream (And I'm Still Having Chase Dreams), Tired Tiger, The Cascade

14. Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne
Prince William aint do it right if you ask me.
Favorite Songs: No Church in The Wild, Niggas in Paris, New Day

13. Lady Gaga - Born This Way
My original new year's resolution was to not listen to any 2011 albums until November just to see if my mind would explode during listmas, but the hype for Born this Way was so high. Did it live up to expectations? in some ways yes, but there's a few misses. "bad kids" ruin the entire album for me. but it's still a fine pop album.
Favorite Songs: Marry The Night, Heavy Metal Lover, The Edge of Glory

12. Meg & Dia - Cocoon
It's funny how i didn't like this at first because the pop felt tone down, but when i found out that Dia would be on The Voice, i kept coming back to this album trying to figure out what the band was trying to accomplish. It wasn't that they lacked that pop edge, it just what happens when a band is left alone. a big reason i kept coming back to it is because i recognized that the album is far from perfect. sometimes i wish the songs would punch more. It's that imperfection that makes me want to come back.
Favorite Songs: Love Is, Breakdown, Separate

11. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
This album grow on me.  i didn't hate it the first time, it just that, when it comes with bands with that folky sound, it's hard to impress me on the second album.  i really liked their melodies and harmonies on the first album so with Helplessness Blues, i guess it's not as perfect.   but because of that, i find myself finding more things i've actually liked the more i gave it a listen.  it's Fleet Foxes doing what they do best.
Favorite Songs: Montezuma, Helplessness Blues, The Shrine


10. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
I gave up on this band after their 2003 album so when i heard this album was going to be 2 disc, i honestly didn't care. But then i heard "Midnight City" which i thought was zappy and then i heard "Intro" which made me want to run. Does this album have to be 1 hour and 13 minutes long? probably not, but damn, this guy really pushed himself to the limits here.
Favorite Songs: Intro, Midnight City, Raconte-Moi Une Histoire

9. Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
So this guy is pretty boring. He sings the same way the whole time. I don't really connect to his lyrics either, but sometimes i enjoy music to not be so engaging, but just something that makes me feel less alone. of course, i'm glad he isn't singing about himself or failed relationship, but i feel that he can sing whatever he wants and i'll enjoy the mood and melodies because i'll just let it enter my mind. Even thought the vocals are what draws me in, the music just creeps up and gives it that extra pulse.
Favorite Songs: Baby's Breath, Riding For The Feeling, One Fine Morning

8. Destroyer - Kaputt
More SAXophone. I tried his solo stuff outside of The New Pornographers and none of them really felt solid enough, but on this album, he changed his entire sound to be more smooth and jazzy. Am i a fan of Jazz? not quite, but i feel so deep and lost in his music. sometimes the melodies are buried and sometimes the melodies are in the forefront. I guess the titled-track is the centerpiece, but it's really hard for me to pick an absolute favorite because i really feel like the tracks work together.
Favorite Songs: Chinatown, Suicide Demo For Kara Walker, Kaputt

7. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
I guess she's like my Joanna Newsom this year since her voice does take time to warm up on. She sounds like a adorable kid, but she doesn't sing about teenage bullshit. she's good at singing about love and pain. i can't really think of anyone else who sounds like her musically.
Favorite Songs: Unrequited Love, Get Some, Sadness is a Blessing

6. Givers - In Light
If i'm being honest, this album has to be this high because it's not really an album that pushes forward, but it contains all the elements from indie pop that i love. boy/girl dual singing, epic songs, and tons of Dirty Projector influence. except i have no idea if that's there's intention. all i know is that this band is having a blast with this album and i realized that I've been lazy this year with discovering new music, but this album knows how to entertain me. side note, "up Up up" is a horrible song.
Favorite Songs: Meantime, Noche Nada, Ceiling of Plankton


5. La Dispute - Wildlife
when i was distancing myself from radio friendly alternative rock, i got more comfortable with bands that use screams and one of those bands was La Dispute. but I'm 25 now, i feel like i mature and i'm not angry at anybody, but this album was ridiculous. It really blows my mind how the spoken style of singing feels like my own conscious. it doesn't matter what he said, i feel my own energy leaking through the song. the music complements the vocals so hard.
Favorite Songs: Safer in the Forest/Love Song for Poor Michigan, The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit, King Park

4. Adele - 21
She's unstoppable. I didn't give her a listen until March solely because she didn't seem that "new" back in 2008, but i gave it a casual listen and the first few listens, she's fits the commercialize British singers. but the more i listen, the more i realized that she's not just a typical singer who knows how to sing loud. As much as i love creative people, I have a weak spot for singers who believe in every word they song. Adele sings the hell out of this album and i can't say she made a personal connection with me, but as an record, it's the defining albums of 2011.
Favorite Songs: Turning Tables, Set Fire To The Rain, Someone Like You

3. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Their from San Fransisco, but that's not important. I love their song, "Lust For Life" but nothing really else. For some reason, i wanted this album to fail because i hate being wrong on music, but fuck, this album blew me away because they have a very smokey sound quality to them and the vocals is not very traditional. but still, they combine a lot of 60s/70s sound and sometimes they get cheesy like on "Saying I Love You" that makes me ask, "are they serious?" but i learned early on to trust them and it warms my heart.
Favorite Songs: Alex, Vomit, Jamie Marie

2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Never gave a shit about her mostly because she has so much releases in the past, it's hard to get started. but because i'm very "current," once the reviews came in, i had to see what the hype was about. And it's hard to describe her because i knew she was in her 40s, but she sounds very young. or maybe it's because her voice is very high pitch. but what i love is how uniform the songs seem to be. is this a concept album? no sure, but with England as its backdrop really made me feel like she's telling a story or has a message. thankfully the music is great and the hooks are memorable.
Favorite Songs: The Glorious Land, The Words That Maketh Murder, On Battleship Hill

1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Thank you Kanye. i wish i could say that i was a fan from his debut, but really, only 2-3 songs really grabbed me. Then after his guest spot on Kanye's album, i had more faith in him and his band. I wasn't sure if he could really push his sound forward because the beauty of the first album was how remote it sounded. and still, it's not a copy. what i love best about it is how it actually feels like a complete album. Sure, "Holocene" and "Calgary" are the highlights, but the songs in-between really help create the universe of Bon Iver.
Favorite Songs: Holocene, Calgary, Beth/Rest

Thursday, December 08, 2011

2011: Song(s) of the Year

Do you guys think my love for the gym and overdosing on confidence has altered my taste in music?
Honorable mention: Avicii - Levels
The Etta James sample is so sick.

25. Smith Westerns - All Die Young
slow burning garage rock
"love is lovely when you are young"

24. Pitbull - Give Me Everything (Feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer)
typical dance-club, but it clears my mind.
"I gotta locked up like lindsay lohan"

23. Lana Del Rey - Video Games
hi nancy sinatra.
"only worth living if somebody is loving you"

22. Wu Lyf - We Bros
i can't understand a word they say.
"put away your guns man and sing this song"

21. Yuck - Shook Down
a throwback to 90's alt.
"the time it takes for you is the time it takes for me"

20. Cut Copy - Blink And You'll Miss A Revolution
the chorus is infectious.
"baby baby, can't you see"

19. Los Campesinos! - By Your Hand
they won't ever top their first album.
"i'm not sure if it's love anymore"

18. Carissa's Wierd - Meredith & Iris
holy shit they reunion and made a new song.
"tell me everything i know has all been a lie?"

17. PJ Harvey - The Words That Maketh Murder
how does she still have it?
"what if i take my problem to the united nations?"

16. Cults - You Know What I Mean
they totally 60s it.
"tell me what's wrong with my brain"

15. Lykke Li - Sadness Is A Blessing
so that's where the title of the album came from.
"these scars of mine make wounded rhymes tonight'

14. Rihanna - We Found Love (Feat. Calvin Harris)
Rihanna needs her own radio station.
"yellow diamonds in the light"

13. Givers - Meantime
so many elements in this song.
"and all this time you lost you will learn again"

12. Seryn - We Will All Be Changed
great, more folk-rock.
"we can shape but can't control these possibilities to grow"

11. Laura Stevenson and the Cans - Master of Art
she's so adorable
"you should know that i am often difficult"

10. Drake - Take Care (Feat. Rihanna)
thanks jamie xx
"if you let me, here's what i'll do"

9. Jens Lekman - Waiting For Kirsten
kirsten dunst is not worth waiting for.
"in gothenburg we don't have vip lines"

8. Adele - Someone Like You
piano + voice
"yesterday was the time of our lives"

7. Nicki Minaj - Super Bass
literally pulled an 180 when i heard this song.
"can't you hear that boom, badoom, boom, boom, badoom, boom, bass"

6. M83 - Intro
my warm-up song for the threadmill.
"we became the stories we became the places"

5. The Decemberists - June Hymn
they still got it.
"i give my best to Springville Hill"

4. Girls - Vomit
where did the gospel lady come from?
"lookin' for you, baby, lookin' for love"

3. Panda Bear - Last Night At The Jetty
this song is mesmerizing.
"i know i know i know i know"

2. Bon Iver - Holocene
best vocal performance.
"and at once i knew i was not magnificent"

1. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
that opening line is exactly what i needed.
"i was raised up believing i was somehow unique"