Saturday, December 28, 2013

Year In Music, 2013: Top 3's

Random, pointless, straight off the top of my head lists. It's like a Christmas miracle, only objectively better.

Top 3 Albums I Loved Last Year But Didn't Really Care About This Year

3. Ramona Falls - Prophet

This one did have sort of a shelf life. It's still a good listen, but I found myself skipping chunks of it whenever I'd put it on this year.

2. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

I'm sort of surprised that I didn't listen to this more often this year. I'll have to rectify that next year.

1. Sigur Ros - Valtari

I'm still a fan, but there was other Sigur Ros to listen to this year...and good as Valtari was, Kveikur was another thing entirely.

Top 3 Albums I Missed Out on Last Year

3. Sufjan Stevens - Silver & Gold

Christmas music isn't usually my thing, but Sufjan makes a different sort of Christmas music, while still seeming familiar. Linds got me this for Christmas this year, so I haven't had a lot of time to absorb it, but I'm confident it will remain a holiday classic for years to come.

2. Sky Ferreira - Ghost EP

Ghost has five songs in four fairly divergent styles - three of them work pretty damned well. From the "I listened to a lot of Shirley Manson as a kid" of "Red Lips" to "I really like the 80's" of the stellar "Everything is Embarrassing", the EP hits a lot of right notes. I didn't really give Sky's new album much of a chance - maybe it'll make this list next year.

1. Tame Impala - Lonerism

This would've been top 10 last year if I hadn't mistaken Tame Impala for a completely different band and avoided the CD until the very end of last year. It ended up making DK's list pretty high up, which prompted me to have a look at it, and I was blown away from the first listen.

Top 3 Songs I Stopped Listening To After Burning Myself Out on Them Last Year

3. fun. - We Are Young (3rd most listens last year, 4 plays this year - mostly because the radio wasn't forcing it on me constantly)

2. The Shins - Simple Song (15th most listens last year, 3 plays this year)

1. MUTEMATH - Pyrtania (26th most listens last year, 1 play this year)

Top 3 Listening Experiences This Year

3. Sitting in my comfy chair, listening to Slow Focus

Most of my favorite listening moments happen in my chair, cat nestled on my lap, listening to some new music as I slowly lose consciousness. This year was no exception, but if I had to pick one awesome chair listening album, it was Slow Focus by the Fuck Buttons.

(yes, this is a repeat from last year... I really dig listening to music in the chair)

2. Cancelling the Room

I received a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones from my wonderful wife for Christmas this year. I had my phone handy, and so, for the test run, I played "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire. I clicked the noise-cancelling on, and the noise and din of the room faded into the bliss of those opening guitar chords and "oh oh ohs".

1. Racing a Train

Just a few weeks ago I was listening to Mikal Cronin on the way home and "Piano Mantra" came on. I came to a railroad crossing, but there was a train, so I made a turn to see if I could get in front of it. It was snowing pretty heavily, and it turned out that I wasn't able to drive on the back road quite as fast as I thought I was going to be able to, but when I looked to the left, I was keeping pace with the train, and little bits of light broke through from the street lights we were passing, with the snow making it seem like the rest of the world was silent. It was entrancing.

I wasn't able to keep up, but the train was shorter than I'd anticipated, and as the song came to its conclusion the train faded off into the distance, until all I could see was its rear light blinking red against the falling snow.

Top 3 Albums I Was Excited About last Year

3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito

I was "excited to see what it sounded like". Eh. It was nothing special. Also, the cover art was some of the worst ever. 'Sacrilege' was okay, but not nearly good enough to save the whole mess.

2. Arcade Fire - Reflektor

How are they going to top a beloved classic, an underrated masterpiece, and a Grammy "Album of the Year" winner? The answer is probably that they won't, but it'll be fascinating to watch them try.

Yeah, that. More on this later in the week.

1. Atoms For Peace - Amok

I certainly wasn't expecting "The Eraser", part 2. A lot of people whose opinions I respect a great deal loved this album, but it was only fitfully interesting to me.

Top 3 Albums I'm Excited For Next Year

3. Ghostface and DOOM - Swift and Changeable

I always dig new DOOM material, and Ghostface and DOOM's previous collaborations have yielded enjoyable results.

2. A new Frank Ocean album

I don't know that Channel Orange would be on a revised top 20 list for last year - it's still really scattershot at times. I'll bet his next one is even better.

1. A new Hold Steady album

Always cause for celebration.

1 comment:

  1. So what is Amok like?
    Is "Eraser 2" what it sounds like or not?
    Is that praise or damnation?

    I'm most interested in new albums from Lydia Loveless, Emot, and We Are the Willows. I thought Emot and WATW were going to have these albums out in the expired year.