Imaginary Brazilian Revolution

Brazil is a state of carefree serenity. Brazil is attained by forsaking sanity.

Return . . . I will . . . to old . . . Brazil.

Friday, February 24, 2006

My Music for 2005

After repeated recommendations, I have yet to check out Destroyer, (sorry Tom,) so Sufjan's Illinois is probably my pick for '05. While not every song on the album takes me to the higher plane I seek when listening to music, a few of them take me higher than *any* music has taken me in a long time. "Chicago" just might be the greatest song ever composed. "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." is an almost perfect example of what songwriting should be. "They are Night Zombies!" gracefully creates a hypnotic lull, enchanting me into an unspeakable world. Many of the songs on Illinois feel like a journey to a new continent never explored in music before. Almost perfect. As far as I can tell, the only 5 star album to be released in 2005.
(Note-- In Blender Magazine, Illinois ranked as the 37th best album of last year, unfortunately being beat out by the A-Team of the craft of songwriting, such as Shakira (ranked 19th) Mariah Carey (ranked 12th) and, of course, Coldplay. (8th) Way to go Blender!

4.5 Stars
Broken Social Scene- Broken Social Scene
Bright Eyes- I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
The Mountain Goats- The Sunset Tree (almost 5)
Stars- Set Yourself on Fire
My Morning Jacket- Z
Bloc Party- Silent Alarm
Metric- Live It Out

4 Stars
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
The Go! Team- Thunder! Lightning! Strike!
The New Pornographers- Twin Cinema
Beck- Guero
Wilco- Kicking Television
Feist- Let It Die
Sigur Ros- Takk

3.5. Stars
The White Stripes- Get Behind Me Satan
Fiona Apple- Extraordinary Machine
The Decemberists- Picaresque

3 Stars
Gorillaz- Demon Days

2 Stars
Wolf Parade- Apologies to the Queen Mary
Devendra Banhart- Cripple Crow


At 2/25/2006 6:08 AM, Blogger Tom said...

I didn't know Blender sucked so bad. And I thought Rolling Stone was dumb. Smart publications had Illinois way up there. It was the best reviewed album of 2005 by the publications that Metacritic tracks and it was number 1 or 2 on twelve different best ten lists.

You should listen to The Great Destroyer. I understand the phenomenon of ignoring friends' reccomendations. I think there are two or three albums that you have strongly reccomended that I've yet to check out. Rilo Kiley, for instance. Part of the reason is that I have limited time and I must prioritize. So if I get excited about something I read about, I have to decide between that and Rilo Kiley or the Magnetic Fields. Another part of the reason, I think, is that I feel this need to do my own independent exploration and discovery, otherwise I'll just feel like a Tyler clone. I have to convince myself that I'm a discerning, independent minded connoisseur, whether that's true or not.

It is striking how our lists parallel each other. We don't disagree much on the albums that are on both of our lists (the biggest discrepancy being Wolf Parade). It's not like we've talked much about these albums and how we would rank them relative to other albums, but we're within half a star most of the time. Interesting.

I suspect your dogging of Wolf Parade is their lack of originality? If they are a bit of a Modest Mouse copy cat band, it didn't bother me because I haven't listened to much Modest Mouse. I liked Wolf Parade's energy, their sound, and their songs. Maybe I'll post a defense of Wolf Parade.

At 2/25/2006 7:41 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Mind you, that's not to say that I don't take reccomendations to heart. I love to hear about what you're listening to and I like to get reccomendations. It's just that it sometimes takes me a little while to get to some of them because I'm doing my own exploring. A lot of the music that I really enjoy I found either directly or indirectly from stuff you've recommended. Your turning me on to Wilco alone has led to me finding a lot of great stuff. I might never have found or been open to a lot of the great music like Okkervil River, Magnolia Electric Co., and Bright Eyes if I hadn't first gotten into Wilco.

At 2/25/2006 7:13 PM, Blogger Tyler said...

Seems like a lot of the critics were really raving over the M.I.A. album Arular this year, right? After a few listens to it, I wasn't personally impressed. It was okay. Just okay. I didn't give it a rating because I don't feel like only two complete listens, interrupted listens even, were fruitful enough sessions to critically dissect her album.
The reason I mention this album is that Blender gave it the best album of the year, which I am not qualfied to agree or disagree with. The second best album was Extraordinary Machine, apparently, a ranking with which I strongly disagree. They gave I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning #3, which I could possibly agree with. So at least they did give credit where credit was due, but in both your list and mine, Illinois surpassed both of these other albums. We should start a magazine. We'll call it Brazil.
Also, check out Magnetic Fields before you check out Rilo Kiley. Although Jenny Lewis' (RK)solo album just came out, and they cover a Traveling Wilbury's song: Ben Gibbard from Death Cab singing George Harrison's part, and Conor Oberst doing an embarrassing turn as a Bob Dylan impersonator.
You were perfectly right about my Wolf Parade diatribe. It's like Modest Mouse had a baby and it grew up to be a new Modest Mouse. Pretty annoying really.

At 2/26/2006 11:59 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Yeah, a lot of people loved M.I.A. What I heard of it didn't interest me. Not my kind of music, really. But I feel the same way as you--I can't pass judgment on the quality of the work or whether the hype was justified. I feel the same way about Kanye West. I imagine that there are good reasons to admire their work, but that doesn't mean I'm going to like it.

I do get suspicious, though, that critics often hype music because of extra-musical factors.

At 2/26/2006 12:00 PM, Blogger Tom said...

They also seem to dismiss some music because of extra-musical factors.


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