Tuesday, December 08, 2009

List pain



As the picture above shows, the Albums Of The Year jury are having some problems. While there were lots of good releases this year, none stands out as a truly individual and inarguable piece of art that I also enjoyed listening to, over and over again. It is a parade of 4/5 scorers. If I can't divine a winner by Friday, when Shelley is due to type in her opinions, the top slot will be ceremonially given to Susan Boyle's debut release.

The actor Stephen Blobby has suggested a system whereby the release date of Deerhunter's "Microcastle/Weird Era Cont'd" is moved forward 65 days (by computer hacking?). Silly old Blobby! Yes I heard it too late to get it on the 2008 list but rules are rules!

34 comments:

Big Hound said...

Is this because you haven't listened to First Love by Emmy The Great?

The other obvious choice of this year's recorded output is probably XX but although it's unquestionably excellent I haven't had it around for long enough to know if it has true classic status.

I guess the trouble with end-of-year charts for me is that I often take a year or more to find how much I like an album. I recall a good nine or ten months between buying The Decline Of British Sea Power and realising that it is the greatest music ever commited to any recording medium.

John A said...

Yes, I fully concur! I love listmaking but it can often take months to really come around to something.

Everyone raves about The XX and they have clearly got some songs in hand but I found them a bit too cool for school - again, it might take months to work out their thing.

I really enjoy Emmy The Great but the release of her album passed me by, I will get it for certain.

I would dispute your British Sea Power claim, after all, Ringo Starr's "Scouse The Mouse" is still available.

Roman said...

I'm apologize in advance, but I have to play the cranky guy for a moment. Lately, there have been a lot of decade-long "best of" retrospectives floating around, and they've only served to remind me that when it comes to music, the first six years or so of the '00s were great, while the last few years have left something to be desired. I guess I'm not surprised that you haven't settled on a top album for 2009 (though I am cranky).

But I don't despair, because these things tend to be cyclical. We're merely in an interglacial period between the last Golden Age of Music and the next. And even in the off years, there's good stuff to be had. For instance - 1989 was overall a barren year for popular music, but also saw the release of two of my all time favorites - Tom Petty's "Full Moon Fever" and Pixies' "Doolittle."

John A said...

Yes there is always a cycle going on. I found the Christmas NME issue from 1999 and it presents arguably the most barren musical landscape imaginable, a year in which Campag Velocet were presented as the future of music. As I say in my post, there were lots of good records this year but not so many great ones.

HOWEVER, I found a record that I accidentally left off my list that might just keep SuBo from defaulting at number one.

1989 was better than you think: Three Feet High And Rising, Disintegration, 13 Songs by Fugazi, Hats by the Blue Nile, Technique by New Order, Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys!

John A said...

And, of course, "Straight Outta Compton" by NWA, who can forget that soulful song-cycle of wistful regret?

Big Hound said...

Ah yes, "Straight Outta Compton" - never has there been such a whimsical expression of the desire to leave the eponymous small village near Godalming. If only they had not been in such a hurry to leave they might have been around for the tumultuous celebrations when Griff Rhys Jones nearly awarded a gallery in the village the right to some basic repairs.

sleek said...

You DO realize John Mayer just put an album out, right?

....just sayin'...

John A said...

John Fahey? Wait no, Maire Brennan out of Clannad? Sorry Sleek, you lost me. I don't believe in him, there is no such thing as John Mayer.

Big Hound said...

Perhaps he means John, the Mayor of Nantwich? Or John Major.

I don't recall either of them having released an album any time recently.

I've just listened to the Mumford & Sons album, which people go on about a lot. It's full of folky goodness, a bit the kind of thing that might have happened if Fleet Foxes had heard of The Pogues and the guy has a really good voice but he should have got someone else to write his lyrics for him because they're letting the whole thing down. It's not even that they're terrible, they're just kind of alright. Perhaps I'll warm to it, but that's another contender for good albums from this year that turned out a little more wan than I hoped.

I think when the A&R guy signed them he thought he was signing the Dry The River who walk a similar avenue but play with such incandescence that it leaves after-images on your brain.

sneakums said...

I suppose Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space is also disqualified due to some bizarre quirk of your arcane rules. The first track is different; surely that makes it new enough!

comanfullard said...

Rules are rules ... but it does raise a question.

What are the top 10 previously unlisted albums since the listings began way back in the Bobbins days?

This will give you something else to do during January.

John A said...

Sneakums: I think this is on the list for 1997? That's the year I bought it, in its original "pill packet"!

Big Hound: I am sure John Major is the artist in question, perhaps reading extracts from Wisden.

Comanfullard: where space allows, I go back and put the albums into the appropriate year's list. I'm not sure if this is naughty or not.

Burbank80 said...

Unrelated to this blog post, but can I just say that I am loving how Bad Machinery is developing.

It took a while to get going, but loving the whole Mad Terry thing.

Keep going John A!

Big Hound said...

Still thinking about those records. Did you hear the Bombay Bicycle Club one? One of my more reliable sources suggested that it "rocked."

K said...

Oooh, I like Robot Friend. I think I want one.

Also excited about the presence of Tretchnikoff's Green Girl in today's comic!

K said...

Oh, and the Bombay Bicycle Club is, as far as I know, a restaurant (in Edinburgh). They do albums these days?

Lately I've been mostly listening to earlyish TMBG and Sufjan Stevens. Opinion in this house is divided on the pronunciation of "Sufjan". Looking it up would clearly spoil the fun.

Word-ver: "folooter".

John A said...

Those are two big ones in my gaff, year in year out! The TMBG debut is one of my all time RAVES.

Sufjan= "soof-yan"

Owen said...

I suppose odds are that you haven't heard of them, but a Maine band called Brown Bird put out an album this past month that is currently my favorite thing in the world... http://www.peapodrecordings.com/brownbird.php

MattBlackLamb said...

Might I reccomend Imogen Heaps latest release entitled Ellipse, and Transatlantics The Whirlwind. Both are excellent and more deserving of the top slot in your christmas chart of 2009 than Susan Boyle...

Evan said...

Wavvves. (lol).

John A said...

Oh Wavvves! Yeah I started listening to that album but I had drunk a lot and taken a load of drugs and ended up just shouting at the computer and only getting halfway through it, after which it was very hard to get myself taken seriously.

John A said...

Please note that the above is a "satire" and that I hate drugs and only just barely like booze.

Mike said...

Your picture would suggest otherwise, Mr. A.

Now that I have kids, I've gotten back into TMBG in a big way, as they do probably the best kids music since someone decided that "E-I-E-I-O" was a perfectly acceptable lyric. Even as an adult listener, "Here Comes the 123s!" may be their best album since Flood. They just write such darn catchy songs, and yet with that hint of "everybody dies frustrated and sad" melancholy lurking under the surface.

Also, my black box word was "Warmu", who I believe is Envirocat's sidekick who teaches us about global warming.

Roman said...

I absolutely love TMBG - more now than I did in 1990. Back then, I was a confused ninth grader who didn't quite "get" them. I should have caved in to the peer pressure. The peer pressure of my friends who were fans of TMBG.

spasticfreakshow said...

greyhound soul is my all-time favorite musical ensemble and i doubt they've appeared on your radar - check them out: http://www.myspace.com/greyhoundsoul

i think i'd have to go with a nick drake collection for all-time favorite album, but i'll check out some of your 2009 picks, like emmy the great and xx...

john a, i received your package today and the thing that makes me mad is...every time i get a package full of wonder from you it makes me want to buy more things from you and my walls and house are so full that i'll need a bigger house - and this is your fault!

TimH said...

I feel obligated to point out CRITICAL continuity errors in today's BM...

...The fence changes color in panel 4.
Also, the graffiti disappears in panel 3.

FYI.

John A said...

TimH
O clever clogs
It's a different fence
Return to your POGS

Lauren and Jack are ambulatory in the alley!

K said...

Soof-yan, huh?

That means I WIN.

Suff-jan, forsooth.

freeboprich said...

Can I make myself instantly unpopular amongst the Indie crowd and recommend Melody Gardot's "My One and Only Thrill"?

Although many of my longstanding favourite artists (EELS, Gomez, Jenny Owen Youngs, etc) have been releasing new things - and mostly great with the exception of Gomez's mediocre effort - it took someone I hadn't even heard of to make me want to buy her album straight away when I'd only heard two of her songs.

Most fortunately, the album is thoroughly consistent, not to mention the wonderful silky smoothness of her voice.

Sod Subo, go Mega!

TimH said...

I find your statement hard to believe
perchance you are attempting to deceive?
for ambulatory or not
betwixt panel 3 and 4 there is very little trot
perhaps in your head you see it differently
but thusly it does not appear to me
if only it were a diff'rent angle you chose
we would not have to face off in prose
but know such things are all in jest
your cartoonings are still the best

Jam Master H

John A said...

Tim your rhymes are a treat at this most seasonal and holy time. Praise be to our Lord TimH (and Jesus).

tomasawyche said...

hello~nice to meet u..............................

Alex said...

Local boy Jon Gomm's new album is well worth a listen if you like, y'know... talent.

JAM said...

I read this on CNN the other day, and now I'm suspicious that the jury is have difficulty because of the presence of one Stephen Blobby, who may be angling somehow for a return to the glory days of 1993.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/12/18/facebook.cowell.christmas/index.html