muzak, 2008

I’m feeling kinda ‘meh’ about the music that came out this year. Seems like for every album I really liked there was one that felt overhyped and underwhelming.

The new M83 record felt like Loveless 17 years later; The Week that Was’ self-titled album ike 70s prog-rock; Beach House like the Velvet Underground with even more barbituates and fewer melodies. And I couldn’t get past Santi White’s abrasively strident vocals, though I almost like “Lights Out.” Almost.

None of these records made me feel the way I did last year the first, second, third time that I heard “Atlas” by Battles. (In order: confused and a little flustered, still confused but intrigued, less confused and on the road to addiction.) None of them had the simultaneous singularity and familiarity of Panda Bear’s Person Pitch. Nothing knocked me off my ass and made me want to dance like a nerdy white girl the way Los Campesinos’ “Sticking Fingers into Sockets” EP did. Nothing hit the perfectly giddy mania of Of Montreal’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer (which, along with Person Pitch, was probably my favorite album).

And so, my favorites this year a bunch of pretty simple records that don’t reinvent the wheel, but do what they do really well. They remind me that a great song is great first and foremost because it has heart. Otherwise, it’s just kind of a musical exercise.

Favorite Albums
1. Bon Iver–For Emma, Forever Ago (limited release 2007; wide release 2008)
2. Frightened Rabbit–The Midnight Organ Fight
3. The Dodos–Visiter
4. Fleet Foxes–Fleet Foxes
5. TV on the Radio–Dear Science

Favorite Tracks
1. “White Winter Hymnal,” Fleet Foxes
2. “Flume,” Bon Iver
3. “Keep Yourself Warm,” Frightened Rabbit
4. “Sentimental Heart,” She and Him
5. “2 Atoms in a Molecule,” Noah and the Whale

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5 responses to “muzak, 2008

  1. I prefer “lump sum”, Bon Iver but that whole record is pretty tip-top. Noah and the Whale is another good one, Frightened Rabbit too. I am not the biggest fan of Fleet Foxes but I still can’t figure out why. Nothing is clicking for me, suppose. Although, “Ragged Wood” and “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” are quite nice.

    Music has been pretty slow for me too, I have retreated to some old standby’s to get through the day. But, 2009 is just ’round the corner bringing with it exciting new possibilities.

  2. Yeah, I like the whole Bon Iver record, too. For me, it was between “Flume” and “The Wolves, Act I and II”… “Wolves” is a better song, but I have a very distinct memory attached to “Flume” that elevates it for me. It’s a sad memory, but I guess a happy one wouldn’t work so well with that album.

    Have you listened to the Dodos record at all? If not, you might want to check it out. I think you would like it.

  3. And I’m glad you like the Frightened Rabbit album, too–I feel like it didn’t get nearly as many “end of year” mentions as it deserved to.

  4. I have no knowledge of the Dodos, yet. I will definitely check them out.

    That’s too bad about Frightened Rabbit. I am usually in the dark about public and critical opinions so I never know what’s doing well and what’s not. I must say though, that was a fantastic record. Ah, the best things around a usually underrated.

  5. Yeah–
    I think it wasn’t ‘editorial’ enough, being a pop-rock album about a broken heart. But just cause there are lots of pop-rock albums about broken hearts doesn’t mean they’re all good, dammit.

    I’m a music snob, and it even annoys me.

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