The last time we chatted, the year's best albums was the talk at the watering hole. At this rodeo let's lasso up some of the year's best musical moments.
Still Got It:
- David Bowie, The Next Day.
I'll make no bones about my love for David Bowie. He's the best that's ever been. Better than Iggy, better than Lou, better than the Pixies, better than Pavement. The original fame monster and shape shifter is nearing the end of his career and for the first time he's looking backwards. Of course he's doing it with an album called The Next Day with a cover that tips its cap to Heroes. It features his best work in the last 20 years.
- Flaming Lips, The Terror.
It wasn't the Lips album anyone asked for, and it's probably nothing that anybody really needed, but let it never be said that the gents from Oklahoma weren't fearless freaks. From playing a headlining show at SXSW with tunes that nobody ever done heard of to...well, let's never speak of the horribly unfortunate Badu Business (it's really, really bad and disgusting and it completely knocked them down a couple of notches in my book)...the Lips proved they are still America's premier psychedelic rock band. If you missed their live show this year you really missed a full out assault on your senses. If you missed their latest album you missed one of the best and most intense listens of the year--a dark show of force and bleakness that couldn't possibly be a bigger break from their recent fuzzy work. Name me another band at this level willing to challenge their audience by blowing up their show and sound to such an extent.
- Superchunk,I Hate Music
Aside from having the world's funniest dude (Jon Wurster) as their drummer, Superchunk is...well, just think about what you were doing in 1989. Now imagine that it was good. Now imagine that you are still doing it as well as you did it way back when. They're the best.
- Wire, Change Becomes Us
How are they still doing this? Seriously. How does a band that released perfect forward-thinking albums in 1977 and 1978 still hanging around with great music in 2013? I have no idea. Whatever they are doing, they're doing it extraordinarily well. Please continue.
Songs and songs and songs and songs
The Preatures, Is This How You Feel?
I've never heard another Preatures song. I have no idea what they're about or where they're going. This is, however, an impossibly good tune:
Kanye West, Black Skinhead/Blood on the Leaves/New Slaves
The 3 biggies on what many people consider to be the biggest album of the year. I don't buy into the whole Yeezus schtick or that Kanye is some sort of high-wire performance art modern masterpiece in motion, but pop-production-wise, it doesn't get much better than these 3 songs and, taken together, they're worth the price of admission on the album as a whole. We need to get Kanye and Gaga together.
-Phosphorscent, Song for Zula
OK, so I'm kind of partial to a band that has put out an album of Willie Nelson cover songs. I'm also a big fan of this group but even I didn't think they had this sort of song in them: a floating timeless piece of absolute wonder. It's my favorite tune of the year.
- Daft Punk, Get Lucky
Impossibly catchy. The earworm of the year.
- Savages, Husband/She Will
Music that punches you in the f'ing face.
Things that found me in 2013, Melodic Hip-Hop Edition:
Chance the Rapper
Things I don't get but are probably good:
Surprise of the year:
Vampire Weekend is more than a regional Peter Gabriel tribute band. America needs a truly great rock band. Vampire weekend threw their hat in that ring with Modern Vampires of the City, a nearly perfect album with 2 undoubtedly great songs.
Perfect pop songs are museum pieces. Perfect albums are novels. Perfect albums with perfect pop songs are unicorn dust--Werner and Errol under-a-rainbow type stuff. I have no good explanation as to why this album wasn't some sort of earth conquering earworm juggernaut. Was it because people view the lesbian twin thing as a gimmick? Was it that they're supposed to be a weird Canadian coffee house act? I don't get it. This was THE pop record of the year and Closer (the single) >>>> Blurred Lines or Get Lucky. These two are f'ing rock stars of the highest order and this album is a pop music masterpiece from top to bottom.
Congratulations to Tegan and Sara on their victory.
What were your favorite musical moments of the year?
(Up next: The year in movies featuring Robert Redford and ecstatic truth documentaries.)