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.
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
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