As I embark upon next year… new music… more space must be made on my pod, I started to think about what music really stirred my dandruff. And which made my juices bountiful. This year was a topsy turvy one for my tastes. Some cds I was wholeheartedly disappointed with and some were unexpected surprises. I have to say it was a rollercoaster. I managed to fill a 120 gig AND a 160 gig ipod and I still yearn for more. It’s quite frustrating to have to delete some artists. You kind of feel like you are cheating on them with others. But it has to be done. Playlists were made way too much this year. And I have a schitzophrenic way of listening to music. I must listen now now now and if I don’t have it, I must get it. So needless to say to go back and make a list of standouts is really really hard for me. REALLY. HARD. Sometimes I go by beats, sometimes I go by musicians and vocal ability, sometimes I go by melody. But if you stick in my head for more than a day, you’re pretty much made it in my pod for an infinite amount of time. Rock has never been more cheesy this year. R&B yo-yo-ish with vocal gymnastics being used instead of singing. Country shouldn’t have been called country but more so pop rock, and rap was just meh with the exception of a few which you pretty much KNOW. Shouldn’t be a shocker. But here is my list of Everything Music for 2010:
And these are in no particular order…except for #1. So when I backtrack they are listed numerically but really they aren’t for any particular reason. I just wanted a top 30.
Keri Hilson – No Boys Allowed. What a sneaky chickie this one is, making her way on my best of at the end of the year. But I commend you Keri for displaying positivity in your music. A lot of women don’t. And no I don’t hate you because you are beautiful. I commend you. You all should support her. She’s the perfect package – she sings, AND writes her lyrics. Imagine that. I know, it’s hard in the world of ghost writers and all. Her beats are on point too. Get it. She has the club songs, the hip hop beats, and the radio friendly tracks. Key songs: Pretty Girl Rock, Lose Control/Let Me Down, Hustler, and Won’t Be Long
The Black Keys – Brothers. These guys can do no wrong. With their scratchy chord progressions, to Dan’s falsetto mixed with the drums, you think they come from the south and they don’t. Ohio is their claim to fame. But their music has been consistently good for years now. Brothers is the icing on an already well orchestrated band. I don’t think there is a bad song on this cd. “Everylasting Light. Next Girl. Tighten Up. Black Mud, Howlin’ for You is a standout as well as Too Afraid to Love You, a slow mover with organ music that could easily pass for a creepy song in a vampire movie that doesn’t have Kristen Stewart in it. Trust me, these guys are the real thing and they are music to my ears. Key songs: The whole damn album.
Toby Mac – Tonight. Christian Music has always been weird for me. I have trouble listening to people sing about a God that I question. BUT this guy. Toby Mac. His album Tonight, is a very uplifting gem. God isn’t mentioned just so you know. But he is a ray of sunshine in a world of music that is just bad. He’s not about spreading the word like many Christian artists. He’s just about spreading positivity, trying to help out people who kinda sorta down in the dumps, ie ME. So anyone who can try to spread a little joy without it being over the top is fine with me. And while I’m at it. This is a party record. You can play most of it at a party and you don’t even KNOW what he’s really getting at because the beats are so loud. I leave listening to his album with a smile on my face. And I’m sure that is what he wants. Key songs: Tonight (loudest rock/dance song ever), Captured, Changed Forever
Caribou-Swim. This is a dance record. Very much a departure from the previous Caribou record. I used to not be able to make heads or tails of this band. You have to be, or I have to be in a certain mood when listening to this band. But nonetheless this album has such an overwhelming feel of atmospheric sonic landscapes that you just have to sit back and listen and dissect. Every song is intriguing, taking you on a trip through an imaginary world of sound and rhythm. It’s really just a cool record. From the opener which could easily be in a Guy Ritchie movie, to Leave House, which could easily be in a Volkswagon commercial then ending in Jameila, which is…just..amazingly good. Take my word for it. Even though I always cringe when I purchase an album with 9 songs (Why not ten guys really? How hard is it to add another song?), this one was pretty much a well received album from start to finish. Key Songs: Jamelia, Odessa (PS..check out Caribou’s remix album. JUST as good.)
Beach House – Teen Dream. No, not to be confused with Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” but Beach House. This band makes me so relaxed. Every song eveeeery song is just a mind fuck but a good mind fuck. My favorite song has got to be “Norway.” It’s just so beautiful. The whole ablum is a beautiful mind trip of peace and tranquility. I don’t think I have ever been so in love with an album before. I can’t believe there is great music by this band, and so many many people haven’t even heard of them. It’s a travesty. Yet auto tuned nitwits can hit the top of the charts. It baffles me. THIS is the band that should be nominated numerous times at various award shows. Teen Dream is a clean sounding record. There are no gimmicks. Just swooping strings, pianos, organs, and beautiful vocals. In my book…an A. Key songs: Norway, Lover of Mine, Walk in the Park, Real Love
Superchunk – Majestry Shredding This album is definitely a return to crunchy guitar rock form. They took a long break after the last album. And I can understand why. They wanted to get this down pact. And they did. I particularly enjoy listening to “Digging for Something,” “My Gap Feels Weird,” and “Winter Games.” Three killer tunes with loud chompable rock that can be blasted from the car to the stereo. It’s a great trip from beginning to end. I find the song “Hot Tubes” humorous simply for the “Ohhhh. Yeaaaah” that is kind of on the emo tip in the way it’s sung. But overall it is a good solid comeback from a band we all missed. Key Songs: …oh just pick one and listen for yourself:-)
Memomena – Mines Let me say first off this is a weird band. It’s just bizarre. The beats are like annoying ticks that stay in your head even when you are doing something as simple as taking out the trash. I find myself humming a tune or two. It’s a cosmic mess, with dance beats and interesting little quirks that you don’t listen upon the first listen but moreso like the 10th. You hear something new and intriguing each time. With the song “Sleeping Beauty”, you hear a guitar riff over a very bizarre swirly sound effects. The drumbeat is minimal at first, but 3:45 into the song there is a resounding clash effect. It’s just bizarre but I can’t stop listening to it. “Dirty Cartoons” makes it’s living by just an acoustic guitar and the lead vocalist singing with ever the hint of a piano and a heavy bass beat and drum beat. Very simple yet definitely heavy. The contrast of music in the songs is overwhelming, but worth a listen. Key Songs : Dirty Cartoons, Queen Black Acid, Five Little Rooms, and Sleeping Beauty
Vampire Weekend – Contra. I feel like this album got slept on this year. Everyone went so bitchcakes over the first one, and it was good. I’m not saying it wasn’t. This album finds more of the same. I put it on the list because it’s a simple album. It’s not over the top. It’s not laced with auto tune and sampling. It’s simple. Despite the fact I hear “Holiday” in not one but TWO commercials, it is a decent and solid album. And that’s all I have to say about it. It’s just good. Is it fantastic? No, but if you want an album to relax to and just chill out, then this one is a fine selection. Key Songs: All of them
LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening Aaah yes. James never lets us down. It’s a solid release. After a hiatus, James and the gang return in a BIG way. The opening track, “Make Yourself Clean” is just his voice with a series of tapping and little drumming. It’s cute. It’s welcoming. There’s even a chant. THEN. A little over halfway through the beat completely changes, noise comes to the surface and it makes you want to stand up and take notice. The first single, “Drunk Girls” could easily be a throwback to the 80s with a synth beat and cowbell. And c’mon, who doesn’t love a cowbell? “I Can Change” is the LCD Soundsystem we know and love. It’s a dance song that is semi upbeat with the high hat playing an important role in getting my foot to tap. It’s a winner. So is this cd. Nice job guys. Key Songs: “Drunk Girls,” “One Touch,” and “I Can Change”
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – I Learned the Hard Way. It seems like Sharon came from out of nowhere when in actuality Sharon has been rocking around for many a year. But she herself is an event to been seen and not just heard. This album gives you just a taste of the goodness in music that I LOVE. Her voice reflects joy, rock, the struggling, and the love of human emotion. Sharon has the kind of voice that can lift you up when you’re down and then make you pay for dinner later lol and you’re willing because she is just. That. Powerful. The title track is filled with regret and pain but triumphant in the end. The Dap Kings stand on their own for sure. This could be a two cd set..one with instrumentals and one with her vocals. “She Ain’t a Child No More” is a song about a young girl who has been forced to see things and experience things that no kid should have to see. Without A Heart, despite the title, is an upbeat song about no matter what you have, if you don’t have a heart, you have nothing. This woman. With that band. Can do no wrong. It’s like a revival you don’t want to leave. Key songs: Title Track, Give It Back, Money
Trombone Shorty – Backatown Jazz has never been a great thing for me. It takes a lot for me to sit down and listen to a jazz album. But this one has completely changed my mind. This is truly a gem of an album. It sucks you in from jump with the song “Hurricane Season.” It is a fast paced uplifting horn treat. There is no way no one can not dance to this. It sounds like it could easily be heard in a movie somewhere during a chase sing. “Something Beautiful” is a song with Lenny Kravitz, one of a few collaborations but this song is just what it is called.. something beautiful. From the lyrics, to the melodies, everything. Just beautiful. “Backatown” is heavy on the organ and percussion, but that is a good thing. I swear this man is the real deal. “Neph” focuses on his skills alone and he doesn’t disappoint. Another toe tapper. Trust me when I say, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t listen to a ton of jazz–GET THIS ALBUM. NOW. The WHOLE. ALBUM.
The Drums – The Drums This band is definitely an 80s throwback to synths and just dancey pop rock. Most notably the song “Me and the Moon.” “I Want to go Surfing” is also a 60s throwback. It’s just nice good music to pass the time to listen to. It’s fun. And music is missing fun. They sound like a culmination of Duran Duran, English Beat, and Tears for Fears. They make simple songs and like to rock out. Where exactly are the minuses here? None really. It makes me want to grab a tambourine and join with them. “We Tried” is a song revealing the attempts on making a disasterous relationship work over a curling guitar lick. “The Future” is quite a double take song because the lead singer sounds like a dead ringer for Morrissey. Basically. A win win. Key Songs: Whole Album
Crystal Castles – II. This is just a continuation of the first album, also called Crystal Castles. They didn’t really consider it an album so this one arrives as a complete piece. Well they don’t disappoint. Don’t be distracted by the first track, Fainting Spells. It’s a song with no shortage of screeching yells. I know, I was annoyed by it too. But the song rescues itself by the hip hop beat. It was quite a relief to the ears at least. This album is a lot like the first, complete with a cover of a Sigur Rios song, “Years of Silence.” This was a pleasant surprise with Jonsai’s voice. It is a dance track, no dobut, but with Jonsai’s melodic voice, it adds to the greatness. It’s a crazy album with dizzying sounds, heavy bass, screeches, quirks, and twists and turns. But I loved every minute of it. Key Songs: Years of Silence, Baptism, Suffocation
Eminem – Recovery Well this certainly is a comeback. His last album, Relapse, was just a mess. It lacked focus and was more of the same. If I had to hear ONE MORE song about his mom I was going to scream myself. With Recovery he gets it right. It truly was a recovery. Sober and clean, he returned with a mind focus on reclaiming what made him a household name from jump. Not Afraid was his I’m back calling card. His album is a perfect culmination of street smarts with smart pop, utilizing Rihana and Pink in “Love the Way you Lie,” and “Won’t Back Down.” It’s a great pop rap album and something that was truly missed from him. He even pays tribute to his best friend and comrade Proof who was unfortunately gunned down “You’re Never Over.” He was wearing his heart on his sleeve and the fans ate it up. Em, welcome back. Key Songs: Seduction, Cold Wind Blows, Not Afraid, Cinderella Man, and Talking to Myself
Sade – Soldier of Love. Oh. My. Gurd. Sade is the only person…the only person who can go away for more than half a decade and come back and sell out the wazoo. Her voice is angelic. And this album is no real departure. She sticks with what she knows. Minimalistic music and let the voice do the job of luring the listener in. Her voice is just sweet and quiet and silky and smooth. It’s been missed over the years. Her first single, the title track, was really a departure with the amount of percussion that is used but it worked so well with how her voice delivers. The producers don’t try and over do it with her style. Less is more. Again, a real gem for those who want to know how REAL singers do it. She brought it and then some. It was a very nice comeback. Key Songs: The Whole Damn Album
Well, that’s the first 15… still want the last 15? Stay tooned. More to come.