I’ve tried to play the guitar. It never took. I was inspired by my buddy Paul, who used to play the cymbals in the grade school band. He played those cymbals with the flair of a dozen figure skating suns. Alas, with the exception of 70s funk/soul karaoke, I don’t have the gift of music. I do have the gift of judgment.
This was a pretty good year for music. A good year indeed. And I haven’t even heard close to everything. There’s this guy called Kanye West who put out some rap stuff that even the hipsters are getting half-chubbed about. Gonna have to swallow my contempt and check it out. Here’s what GW liked this yr…
(also good: The Black Keys – Brothers, Futurebirds – Hamptons Lullaby, The Roots & John Legend – Wake Up, Nico Stai – Dead Pony, Kathryn Calder, Are You My Mother, Caribou – Swim, Cloud Cult – Lightchasers, Delorean – Subiza, Best Comedy Album (nerd!) - Hannibal Burress, My Name Is Hannibal)
20. Citay – Dream Get Together: solid debut. amirite? you probably aren’t sure.
19. Merle Haggard – If I Could Only Fly: There’s something to be said for literal bare-bones country. Merle continues to say it well.
18. Gil Scott Heron – I’m New Here: Speaking of old timers, I repeatedly listen to this poetic trip for the entire month of February, though in fairness February is the shortest month. The more you know, kids. Not for everyone, but if you like the legendary GSH, you need to check it out.
17. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record: Pretty standard. Pretty Canadian. Pretty sure I want to see ‘Chase Scene’ live.
16. Dr. Dog – Shame Shame: Driving through west NC, heard this dude in studio on WYQS, an excellent public radio station. Good stuff. Sincerely, Shadow Person.
15. Jonsi – Go: If you open the door to this weirdo, he might get to you.
14. She & Him – Volume 2: Keep it simple. And as my old lady mockingly chimes in every time I play this album and Zooey D’s voice comes over the speakers, ’the touch, the feel…of cot-ton..” The point of that little anecdote is that she doesn’t like it as much as I do.
13. The Black Angels – Phosphene Dream: A little polished and right there for you.
12. Mavis Staples -You Are Not Alone: Still got it? Amen.
11. El Ten Eleven – (self titled): Groovy.
10. The National – High Violet: They really know how to start off albums. Not their best effort, but good nonetheless.
9. Titus Andronicus – The Monitor: This is the kind of pseudo-punk I hardly ever like. However, there are some rollickin’ tracks on this album.
8. Maximum Balloon – (self-titled): yep.
7. Rakim – The Seventh Seal: (Officially Released 12/09) but needed obligatory hip-hop album demonstrating author’s multicultural tastes. Also my favorite rap album in a long time.
6. The Walkmen – Lisbon: Harpoon Harbor’s favorite album of the year. I pretty much second what he says.
5. Fitz & the Tantrums – Pickin’ Up The Pieces: My current flavor of the month. Fun stuff. 2/5 at the Metro.
4. The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt/Sometimes the Blues Is Just A Passing Bird EP: Who said Swedes have no soul? No one I can think of. I just needed an opening statement. Take a listen. He cuts deep.
3. Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs – God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise: Always thought this guy was kind of a pretentious douchebag. He may still be, but now that he put out an enjoyable start-to-finish album that really stuck with me, I can deal with it. Not the most inventive, but certainly one of my favorites this year. Who’s the pretentious douchebag now, GW?
1. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs: I know. Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock.