I may as well post this today since it is done. I’ve officially relistened to everything I got this year and ranked it. I’m going to do two new things this year. First off, I need to explain a little about how my taste in music (and art in general) has changed drastically. I’ll start with a quote from Franz Kafka
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe to the frozen sea inside us.
I’ve sort of lost interest in things that don’t really affect me. I still get and listen to lots of technically amazing musicians who are doing great original things. If this were last year Andrew Bird would probably be in the top 5 because there is no denying that he wrote some of the most complicated and original music this year. He is a phenomenal violin player and shows this off as well. But his songs sort of lack any real meaning.
Let’s face it. I’m a very moody person. I like to have music that hits a huge range of emotions, so that I can find something to sympathize with me no matter my mood.
So without furthur ado, the top 10:
1. The Antlers – Hospice
2. Imogen Heap – Ellipse
3. Land of Talk – Fun and Laughter
4. Loney, Dear – Dear John
5. Doves – Kingdom of Rust
6. The Swell Season – Strict Joy
7. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
8. Regina Spektor – Far
9. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
10. The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
The honorable mentions:
Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orcha
Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
M. Ward – Hold Time
Sunn O))) – Monoliths & Dimensions
Now the ordering here was made with some consideration, but it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Everything above I thought was all around great. Essentially no bad songs. All original creative things. All technically great things with a good deal of emotional content.
The middle ground stuff:
Andrew Bird, Neko Case, Dan Deacon, Tortoise, Dodos, Animal Collective, F**k Buttons, Duncan Sheik, Other Lives
These had really good aspects and had some aspects I didn’t really like. All worth getting in my opinion, but not as well rounded as the top list. For instance, I think the songs on Neko Case or Animal Collective are the best of those groups when they are good. But when they are bad, they are some of the worst either have put out. This dichotomy could not be overlooked. Actually having to skip songs on an album is a major turn-off for me.
The subpar group is as follows:
Bon Iver, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Field, Mount Eerie
These were not worth getting in my opinion, but not totally completely horrible. I enjoy some songs and aspects, but not enough to make the “middle ground” list.
The bottom three I’ll go back to ranking:
Bad: Volcano Choir – Unmap
Worse: Holopaw – Oh Glory, Oh Wilderness
Worst: Heartless Bastards – The Mountain
Other than The Antlers, everything on the top 10 I expected to be there. They’ve all impressed me in the past. So mostly my surprises are in the realm of disappointments. I’ve already said this, but for the most part I was severely disappointed this year. The other surprise was sort of Loney, Dear. I only got this because he was touring with Andrew Bird. After a few listens I thought I had gotten everything to get to it. To my surprise 8 months later, I was still not bored of it.
My biggest disappointment has to be Bon Iver. He was number 1 last year and was very close to bottom three this year. Another big disappointment was Holopaw. This was bottom three. The first time I heard this group was at a party, and it was on in the background. Music people and non-music people alike were so drawn to its greatness that there were constant comments and asking who it was. I’ve never seen anything like that occur since.
I’ll leave this post here. I didn’t rank a top 10 list for individual songs, but I probably should have. If anyone would like me to elaborate more on specific placements, just comment, I’d be happy to. Also, if there are things you thought were great but I missed, I’d love to hear about it.