Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Challenge

Now that I've popped my posting cherry, the writing will probably come a lot easier. Unless I get lazy, which is entirely likely give my past blogging trends. Anyway, I've decided to issue a challenge to my fellow contributors to the Orphanarium: a top 5 list of music from the year. Now, I know what you're thinking: "How could I possibly do that? FIVE? Come on!" And let me tell you...I understand. As I was originally thinking about this post, I couldn't conceive of making a list of fewer than 15 albums. I've narrowed it down to five (at least for this forum) based on a few criteria: albums that I don't think the rest of you would list, and albums that I just couldn't stop listening to. I'm not critic, and I am in no way asserting that the following albums are the best of 2008. They're just five albums I don't think the rest of the Orphanarium will list that I could listen to over and over again.

1. Saturdays = Youth, by M83 This album is great. GREAT. How can you go wrong with French electronica inspired by the work of John Hughes? The answer is "You can't." "Kim & Jessie" really does sound like the 80s, but not in that dear-god-I-want-to-kill-myself kind of way that I usually associate with music from that decade. "Coleurs," on the other hand, just makes me want to bob around in some sort of haze on the dance floor: partly because I'm White and pretty much incapable of anything else, and mostly because of the atmosphere.

2. Alopecia, by Why? One word I would use to describe this album: weird. Weird as in I'm not entirely sure how to categorize it. It has a vaguely hip hop feel, but then again it might be indie pop of some kind. Additionally, the lyrics are just off the wall. In "The Hollows," we hear Why? utilizing some sort of weird sprechgesang to tell us that "in Berlin [he] saw two men fuck in a dark corner of a basketball court, just the slight jingle of pocket change pulsing."

3. Made in the Dark, by Hot Chip This album is very dancey and, as I like to say, "blippy-bloopy." This album more than anything else really represents how much my musical tastes have shifted over the past 3 years or so. (I blame my friend Zac.) For a guy who used to listen to nothing but classical music, a band consisting almost entirely of guys on synthesizers (there is one guy who plays guitar) represents something of a major shift. As far as stand-out tracks go, I'd recommend "One Pure Thought" (which BTW has a great video), "Wrestlers," and "We're Looking for a Lot of Love" (if you're looking to slow it down a bit).

4. Heretic Pride, by the Mountain Goats I think this might be the album that is most likely to be found on someone else's list. But being first has its advantages, I suppose. I couldn't really tell you why, but I just love listening to this album. I will admit that I have no idea what the hell he's talking about sometimes, but when I do I find what he has to say very compelling. This is particularly important for me in the song "Heretic Pride," on account of I pretty much am a heretic. The joyful tone of the song contrasted with the horrific imagery of the lyrics is striking. Also, you have to love an album that includes a track about H.P. Lovecraft.

5. Hercules and Love Affair, by Hercules and Love Affair Holy crap this album makes me want to dance! It's like a slick, modern version of disco. With colalborations from that guy from Antony and the Johnsons. If you can remain seated through songs like "You Belong" and "Blind," then there's something wrong with you as a human being.

Whew. That's my list. And it was exhausting. I apologize if it seems fragmented or incoherent. I was constantly interrupted by customers. Stupid work...

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