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Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Nicsperiment's Nine Best Albums (I've Heard) of 2005

2005 was another strange year in music. I got to hear most of what I wanted to hear this year, but not all. These nine albums are chosen from what I heard. Considering 9 billion albums were released this year, these nine albums may not even come in the top million, but of the hundred or so albums I've heard this year, these are my top nine. Keeping to nine was extrememly tough this year, though. Making this list made me sweat.
If you have stumbled upon this and don't know who I am, I am a guy who is absorbed in the world of music. I listen to it a lot, I read about it a lot, and I think about it a lot. I am also a musician (who doesn't favor any particular instrument) and I have DJ'd for several years. So, while this list is just my opinion and nothing more, I am pretty well-informed.
I have included whether each album contains a parental advisory or not so you can find the version you so desire, if you are interested. Well, here is the list. I hope you enjoy it:

9. Project 86-...And the Rest Will Follow--Project 86 has finally been given (near) complete freedom to make the record they want to make, and without baggage. The thing is, vocalist, Andrew Schwab, can't seem to do this. If their last album, the rage-punk-experimental masterpiece, Song To Burn Your Bridges By(last year's #5), was a manifesto against the corporate music machine that stabbed Project in the back, this album is a manifesto both for and against the popular notion of Project 86. The opening line, "We once drew some lines in black/and now it's about time we took them back" is an immediate reference to the title of Project's second album, Drawing Black Lines. The song speaks of taking back something that was stolen and cutting off dead weight. In other words, Project is now back on track with fan favorite, DBL. ATRWF is heavy in DBL references, as if Schwab is haunted with that album's Gold-selling success. How does ATRWF do? Project drops the concept album thing, and adds, well, everything else. They still do the fist through the windshield, slam someone's face into the wall jam, but they have amped up the number of introspective ballads. This isn't "Project 86, Staind Edition", though. Project still keeps that dark, experimental edge they have always had that keeps them head and shoulders above their peers. They still have Schwab's unique, introspective lyrics and vocal delivery. This album is not as cohesive as the past three, but it is loaded with great songs. Project continues to push the envelope of what is possible in "Heavy" music, and music in general.
Parental Advisory: No
Website:http://project86.com/main.php


8. The Mars Volta-Frances the Mute--TMVs first album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, gave many people headaches. They sounded like Rush/At the Drive-In/Frank Zappa/and sounds of the Amazon Rainforest. However, that album had ten great songs, masterfully played, and reminiscent of another world. FTM is similar--it does take you to another world. It is dissimilar in that it is 80 minutes long, and only consists of five songs, one of which is 35 minutes long. There are songs buried in here, but they are trapped between walls of obnoxious, overindulgent noise. The thing is, when the songs burst out, they are incredible Latin-tinged grooves with crazy spinning guitar, ridiculously well-played drums, and Bjork-like vocals, sung by a man. This is really an album that requires patience and the right mood. If one can stand it, one is basically thrown into an apocalyptic (let's say right before an Asteroid hits) carnival-city, given GHB, and thrown into a street alley as the parade floats go by. Does that sound appealing? Well, sometimes some of the colors swirl together and look really cool, and sometimes the music coming from up on the balconies sounds like the greatest thing you've ever heard in your life. But then your head hurts again, and you can smell the garbage you're laying on top of. So, why is this on the list? Well, the music intermittently coming from the balconies is very, very good. Here's hoping the next album isn't so overindulgent, though.
Parental Advisory: No
Website: http://themarsvolta.com/

7. Gorrilaz-Demon Days--Gorrilaz' hit single "Feel Good Inc." was as close to song of the summer as anything released this year. Featuring melonchaly vocals, lilting guitar, a phat beat, and a special rap-bonanza by De La Soul, "Feel Good Inc." had booties shaking all over America, enough to make this album platinum. However, a million people were surprised to find an album comprised not of party anthems, but a melancholy electro-organic reflection of life in post 9/11 America. There are no tracks on this album even close to high-key in comparison to Feel Good Inc. Sure, there are four more tracks featuring some sort of rapping, but these songs focus on feelings of loss. Subtle electronics naturally weave around actual instrumentation in creative ways--every song holds some time of a surprise. Thankfully, the album also ends on a high note, the repeated lines of "Turn yourself around to the sun", belted beautifully by the London Community Gospel Choir in an appearance that feels completely natural and earned--not intrusive. This is a slow burn, an album that defies expectations, beautifully captures the feelings that come with missing the good days, hating the demon ones, and looking forward to betters ones. Good stuff.
Parental Advisory: I don't think so.
Website: http://www.gorillaz.com/flash.html

6. System of a Down-Mezmorize/Hypnotize--This double album, released six months apart by these Armenian-American masters of the bizarre, is a monster. System has always been hard to peg--heavy, fast, insane, yet pop--undeniably pop, with harmonies between co-vocalists Serj Tankian (keyboard) and Darren Malakian (guitarist) that bring to mind Queen's classic "Bohemian Rhapsody". This time around, usual front man Tankian steps to the side to allow Malakian the spotlight, and for the most part, he shines. SOAD's songs here go through mind-bending time-changes and pop harmonies as before, but continuously add more musical elements and traditional Armenian sounds. SOAD picks up a momentum on Mezmorize's "BYOB" that seems unstoppable and don't falter until Hypnotize's ninth track "Viscinity of Obscenity." But, boy, do they falter, and the blame lies specifically on the lyrics. After pulling off twenty-plus tracks of A-Grade blending of political/cultural commentary and the bizzare, SOAD veers into three songs worth of some of the most bizarrely annoying schmaltz ever recorded. The plus side?--I'm talking about three songs out of twenty-three. Barring tracks (9-11(coincidence?)) of Hypnotize, SOAD come close to creating a modern masterpiece, a comment on current society that is musically exciting and unpredictable. We can only hope that the best is yet to come.
Parental Advisory: Yes
Website: http://www.systemofadown.com/


5. Sigur Ros-Takk--In the past three years Icelandic band Sigur Ros have grown in popularity but refused to compromise their sound. After viewing a tracklisting consisting of only two songs past the eight-minute mark, I was personally worried they would be dropping their signature alien landscapes and beautiful, unidentifiable noise, which often culminates in the most lovely Divine-like aspirations of song produced in modern times, in favor of something more savory to the tastes of the American public. What a fool I was. Sigur Ros drop none of the things that have endeared and imprinted themselves upon listeners around the world. Sigur Ros still manage to pull off the sound of icy dew-drops slowly running down the back of God, while at the same time chopping off most of the excess that sometimes pushed them into over-indulgence. Sigur Ros also ups the joy quotient by a million. The first half of the album bubbles with near unbearable, beautiful joy. It is only in the third quarter that they make slight missteps, taking track seven, Milano, into the eleven-minute range, when it should have ended at five, and track nine, Andvari, into seven, when only four are necessary. But, I'm complaining about eight minutes out of 65, and my, how the other 57 are beautiful. This is the kind of music that will change your life.
Parental Advisory: No
Website: http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/

4. The Deftones-B-Sides and Rarities--The Deftones are not a band. After third album, White Pony, they ceased to exist as one, and simply became a mood, a feeling, an idea. Starting as a thrashing aggro-band, by album three Deftones had become an entity seperate from the world of music, creating a dark, creepy, beautiful, musical landscape matched and duplicated by no one. Then, they released their forth album, Self-Titled, and ruined everything. Okay, not necessarily ruined, but came back to earth, became human again. The soundscapeds were dialed back, and the rage dialed up to appease the small crowd of fans who complained that the critically acclaimed (and now landmark) White Pony was not "heavy" enough. Two years after Self-Titled, Deftones have yet to provide a follow-up album, instead giving us this fourteen-track collection of covers and unreleased songs, but... With this collection, Deftones provide all the evidence necessary to show why they have one of the most rabid, obsessed fan bases in the world. The Deftones are the absolute masters of atmospheric rock. Kicking off the album with Jawbox and Cocteau twins covers, the 'Tones then dive into a cover of their own dark masterpiece "Change", somehow creating a new version that is at once darker, more seductive, and mind-altering than the original. After masterfully covering songs by Skynyrd(!) and Helmet, they dive into the centerpiece of the album: a cover of Sade's "No Ordinary Love." What follows is five minutes and fourty-three seconds of absolute aural bliss on the highest, mind-bending scale. Get lost in this song and then suddenly look at a mirror to see what kind of expression you are making. Chances are, it will not be a face that can be shown on network television. For the remainder of the album, the 'Tones continue what they do best, creating a dark, post-apocalyptic ocean of violent unseen currents you don't ever want to leave. This is the dark, beautiful highway of rock, a world I can best compare to Portishead, not in style or sound, but in the way it takes over your very being.
Parental Advisory: Yes
Website: http://www.deftones.com/5_2/index.html

3. My Morning Jacket-Z--Of the nine albums on this list, Z is certainly the hardest to talk about. What is it? I still can't figure it out. It's not that the lyrics are obscure or arcane-in many ways they make perfect sense. It's defining the music I can't do. What is it? I will now turn one of those phrases I usually hate: Imagine Mid-60s Who shaved off their rougher edges, moved to Hawai, bought 21st century synths, added lots of reverb to the vocals, a little drum machine, and then took a really warm, refreshing bath. That's pretty much all I can think of. This is a consistent, genre-defining, beautiful rock record.
Parental Advisory: No
Website: http://www.mymorningjacket.com/

2. Blindside-The Great Depression--Blindside is the Rodney Dangerfield of rock music. They don't get no respect outside of small circles (but circles still large and dedicated enough to launch this album into the Billboard top #200). Many of those fans were immediately surprised and offset by the music coming off this disc. Blindside had never released two albums that sounded remotely similar until 2004s About of Burning Fire, which sounded like a less focused (and not as good) version of 2002s "Silence". Many mainstream critics hailed "Silence" as a modern rock masterpiece, and it was, combining classic rock, modern rock, hardcore, and intelligent lyrics to create a sound far beyond "Nu-Metal". For album five, TGD, Blindside found themselves in a conundrum: Where to go next? Instead of trying to please everyone, Blindside simply opted to make the absolute best record they were capable of. Replacing chop-shows and fan-pleasing antics with great songs, TGD follows the theme of depression in modern society. Vocalist/lyricist, Christian Linskog, fresh from an African relief trip, is a man possessed. Over the course of the album, Lindskog explores the dichotomy between troubles in Africa and American Middle-Class depression. He vocalizes in his trademark sing/scream fashion. Unlike "screamo" bands, Lindskog doesn't "scream the verse and sing the chorus". He does whatever is necessary, whenever it is necessary. His band backs him with a combination of modern/classic rock sounds with elements of hardrock/tango/electronica/modern pop/the kitchen sink. Everything on the album works. The concept and sound flow solidly from each track to the next. Blindside even bests hardrock masters, System of A Down, this year. Blindside's album isn't quite as ambitious as SOADs, but it is cohesive and flawless, even to the end, where SOAD falters. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, works. When the electronics kick in, they serve the songs--the songs don't serve them. Even Lindskog's infrequent bad grammar comes off as endearing, where SOADs comes off as cloying. Don't get me wrong--SOAD's work this year is brilliant--there's a reason I gave it the six-spot. But this year, the best hardrock album was made by Blindside.
Parental Advisory: No
Website: http://www.blindside-silence.com/

1. Coldplay-X & Y--Last year, I gave best album to The Cardigans' Long Gone Before Daylight. The response--shock, dismay, WTFs?, and joy. I know I am upping the WTF quotient even more this year. I'll be the first to admit, I am not a fan of Coldplay. Chris Martin and co. seem like the nicest people alive, but I have always found their music to be disappointingly boring. I want to like it, but I can't. Their songs always have a spark of brilliance, overcome by a huge shadow of repitive lack of ambition. This year, all that changed. I bought this album on a complete whim. It was on sale, and the single, "Speed of Sound", was beginning to grow on me. On first listen, I wanted my money back. Then, I listened to it again. The first thing that stood out to me were the synths: they're reminiscent of the stuff used by Marvin Gaye and Issac Hayes in the late 60s/early 70s, along with some of Brian Eno's stuff from the 80s. They've got a subtle urban grittiness to them, running beneath a beautiful, cavernous, cathedral-like wall of sound. Then, I noticed the guitars:instead of routinely playing the same part in a wash/rinse/repeat cycle, they change things up throughout the song. They many times come in unexpected, but always sound lovely. Then, I noticed the drums and bass:they aren't doing anything remarkable, but they are remarkably pleasant. Finally, I noticed Martin himself. His voice sounds like a good massage. His lyrics are broad--this is a turn off at first. Then I realize it--this album is brilliant. Coldplay have endeavered to create the most accessible, yet enjoyable album of all time. I think they may have done it. This is music your mother can listen to and enjoy, and your father, your sister, your brother, your boss, the guy down the street with a mohawk, your girlfriend, your dog, and the most important person--you. This doesn't mean the album is unambitious--I think in this case, the striving for accessibility has paid of in dividends. This album is universal in its appeal, but everyone will not like it. The New York times gave it a 2 out of 10. However, many publications gave it a 10, and I agree. This album is perfect. That's right, I said perfect. There are 13 beautiful pop songs here that any human being can identify with. I don't think this is as good as the stuff U2 put out in the mid-80s. U2 hit a political and historical nerve with their music that no one has hit since. But this is not that kind of music. U2's Unforgettable Fire has caused me to cry dozens of times. During my Katrina Aid-Work, just thinking of the opening chords of "Bad" sent me hiding, as I had enormous sobbing fits. I don't know if any song off of X & Y will ever make me cry, but it makes me happy, and it makes me feel like a member of the human race--not a subculture, not a particular color or gender--I mean it makes me feel like a member of a six-billion plus family. I don't know if Coldplay are ever going to interest me with any other piece of music they make, but I think if they break up today, they've still done something remarkable--
They've made my favorite album of the year.
Parental Advisory: No
Website: http://www.coldplay.com/index.php


But wait, there's more. Here are some brief comments on other noticeable releases:

Dredg-Catch Without Arms--Dredg creates some beautiful songs here, but they also falter. Their previous album was a unique work of art. The obtuse nature of the lyrics matched the theme of the album. Here, they attempt to turn their senseless lyrics into pop hooks, and it just doesn't work. That's okay, though, as for the most part, the music, including Gavin Haye's vocals, is still beautiful.

Iron and Wine/Calexico-In the Reins--I wish I didn't like this "trendy" EP, but I do. Seven songs of Southern ghosts mingling with the ghosts of the American West. It's beautiful.

Issac Hayes-Ultimate Issac Hayes--Issac Hayes is the man. His arrangements are unforgettable classics. This guy invented sounds that are commonly aped, even today. For any fan of classic R&B, you probably have all of this guy's stuff already, but if not, this 2-disc best of contains more than 30 tracks, including some of his ten-minute opuses, uncut. Sweet.

Demon Hunter-The Triptych--Demon Hunter stick to a proven metal formula. Three hard songs, ballad, repeat. But my oh my, how they can work in this formula. A new guitarist adds some sweet solos, and a new drummer adds a different, more driving rythym. If you like REALLY heavy pop-music, you can't do much better.

Stellastarr-Harmonies for the Haunted--This is a good band, capable of greatness. Imagine the New York sound of today with less repetitive high-hat, Robert Smith like vocals, U2-like guitar, and sweet female back-ups. Good, solid stuff, better than their debut.

The Cardigans-Super Extra Gravity--After putting out my favorite album of 04, The Cards put out an album I just "like". They did the lounge-tinged alubm, the dark, dancepop-tinged album, and the country-tinged album. This isn't really anything tinged, which isn't bad. The songs are all good, and this is probably one of the best pop records of the year. I just hope they strive for more on their next album.
Stuff I should have put on last year's list:

These Arms are Snakes-Oxeneers, or...--Crazy, technical hard rock, screaming madness, but somehow, and don't ask me how, high-brow.

TV on the Radio-Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes--Neo-crooning-electro-soul. Hard to define, but easy to love.

Silver Mountain Revelries-Pretty Little Lighting Paw-Atmospheric--Drone/chant rock from GYBE! members. Beautiful march past the city, the forest, and the graveyard to the river.

Greenday-American Idiot--I have always loathed this band, and the attitude of their music. Then, they make an album that reflects on the very culture they helped create. One of last years' best--could be important in the future

The Arcade Fire-Funeral--What to say that hasn't already been said. There's a reason everyone is loving this, and I can't tell you why. Listen to Laika-you either fall in love or get sick.

Biggest Dissapoinments of 2005:

The Mars Volta-Frances the Mute--I know it's on my top-nine, but, guys, would you please make an album with real songs on it next time?

MXPX-Panic--After the high standards Relient-K and Greenday set in punk-pop last year, this stuff just ain't cuttin it, guys. This music seems to come from some saccharine tour bus where people just do "rad" things, and then, for some reason, think other people want to hear about it in song. They promise in track one to "Shine the light in the darkest places" but they never ever do. What happened to the days when MXPX's music could be indentified with, even in a hokey way?



Wow, I feel like a tool. All nine of my favorites debuted in the top 200. But they ARE my favorites, and I've listened to a LOT of music this year, as always. I hope you enjoyed reading, or at least glossing over this.
So what do you think? Is this the dumbest list you've ever seen, or what? Disagree with it? Agree with it? Have any questions? Want to make your own list? If so (or maybe if you just want to humor me), please comment. I will not post for several days to allow this post priority, but I will read and respond to all comments ASAP, which basically means as soon as I post this and neurotically refresh the page.
Happy New Year! I hope you all have a great one! I won't quite be spending it alone, but I will be at home and happy.
Goodnight!

15 comments:

Jon said...

A very well compiled list Nic. I enjoyed our New Year's celebration, it was very nice.

Jon

Nicholas said...

Thanks, man. Very nice, it was.

Jordan said...

Hey Nic,
I liked some of your list. I have to say I was a bit suprised. I haven't really heard everything though on it, so I can't really judge. I did go to My Morning Jacket's web page and really like what I heard there.

As far as my tastes go, I can't really remember all the cds I heard that came out this year. I've got a few. First, I'll just say what I was listening to this past year, not exactly many new iterms:

The Clash. one of my favorite bands. The best punk band from back then I do believe. Good mixture of rockabilly and reggae and all kinds of other stuff in their later years. Don't care much for the debut.

The 101ers. Also a Clash relation. Lead singers first band. Real groove rock. Quit it when he heard about punk. Cool band though. Fun to listen to.

I was alsp digging Bob Marely for most of the remainder of this year. Corey got me into him and I finally broke down and checked out about every CD of his from the library. I'm hooked now and have explored other Reggae artists as well, like Third World. "Jah Rastafari" is probably the most moving song I've heard in a while.

Stumbled upon an interesting guy:
Matisyahu. Might have seen his video on MT2 or some crap. He is a Hisidic Jewish Rap/Reggae artist. Listening to his whole CD is a little much for me, but his single "King Without a Crown" from his live CD is slammin'.

Who else? A little Iggy Pop, a touch of Marvin Gaye, the velvet underground, Nico (whom I don't care for so much), and always Simon and Garfunkel.

Lately I have been buying or listening to much music. I have been listening to more worship music, usually with my brother, and reggae is nice worship and meditate to as well.

as far as albums of 2005 go here are my top 5:

5. Billy Corgan - TheFutureEmbrace
I've seen this Cd on some of the lists for worst albums of the year. I couldn't disagree more. and I couldn't agree more I need to stop reading reviews for Billy, because they make me sad and specualate him too much. I'm bias towards him, but even this album had to grow on me. The lyrics, the music, you really had to give them a chance, listen to the ablum a twice or so and realise it. In the end, he's brough out a wonderful sound, reminiscent of the eighties, but with an orignal twist. The lyrics appear to be banal at first look, but they are quite simple yet deep. It's a good listen, full of color, life, insecurity, paranoia, and hope.

Parental Advisory:
Nope, but some of the pictures of him in the booklet might scare you.

4. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
This was a new band to me this year. They are suprisingly good for what some might consider an "Indie Rock" band. They are so in a way, yet they really rise about the other new wave bands that have been taking over the music world. Their CD is fun and vibrant, and also very lucid. Not all the songs are winners, but out of an impressive 16 or 17 songs, more than hald are good, and more than a third are excellent.

Parental Advisory: Yes, actually, but I don't know what for really. They curse a little but nothing I thought that would make it get that warning sticker on the cover.

3. Matt Pond PA - Several Arrows Later
I was a bit skeptical when this first came out and Lafon and I listened to it. He was doing a theme on Autumn is seemed and I had always placed him with winter and spring. I was kind of looking for all the kinks to show in his songwriting and expecting some of the music to be recycled old stuff. But this band keeps getting better! We first saw/heard about them here at the Red Star, and ever since I've been a die hard fan. One of the greatest bands around, and this CD is near flawless. Very relaxing and atmospheric.

Parental Ad: Nu uh, though I think he curses some. I was disappointed in that a little, that his songwriting would go there, which means lack of creativity in some way to me. At least that its not what you'd expect in a Matt Pond song.

2. Always the Runner - An August Golf
My once seoncd favorite local band has now become one of my favorite bands anywhere. This locally produced CD notches up there with any big record company production. The sounds and recording are great, the moods incredible, the lyrics stark but meaningful and just enough, and the instrumentation, the drums being the highlight, pro-material, better than most high-flying bands on TV or making it big. Perfect album.

PA: nope, not enough lyrics really. Though you might want to tell your children, after listening, that they don't all have to rush out at once and become priests and saints from hearing such divine music.

1. M. Ward - Transistor Radio
I was looking forward to a new album by him for a while. Who is he? He's that ragged shadow walking back from the beach, with a flapping of the sole of his shoe, kicking a can, singing a musty song with his 4 AM voice. This man must be stuck in time somewhere, where I don't know. His music sounds old, like old strained blues and piano music from the 30's, yet sounds new and hip and clear and perfect as ever on this CD. He pieces his record together very well. All the songs kind of fade into each other, and it really feels like a radio show sometimes. Which I think he was going for. The songwriting skill he wields is incredible, and to blend all these things together, all these styles and stylized times, to make broken guitars sound sweet, and a rusty voice harmonize nicely, to even cover J.S. Bach's "A well tempered clavier" on guitar, it all takes talent and a very good man.

Parental Advisory - Nope, Matthew's a good man.

disappointments of 2005:
Lucid Soule's last CD (and them breaking up):
the CD had too many little effects and excess baggage. They should have let the music be itself. Instead, they messed up some very nice songs.

The Constantines new CD - Tournament of Hearts:
I need to listen to it again but I felt they really lost something since there last CD "Shine a Light" which was one of my favorites last year. They need to get back that edge they had, instead of sounding similar to just plain rock and roll, ballads, and neil young stuff. That's all cool, but come on - They're from Canada and use to be more Synth Punk!

I think that's it.

J

Jordan said...

I forgot to mention, and I've only heard two songs so far off his new CD, but Sufjan Stevens automatically gets something for his incredible ambition and open armed, disarming spiritual folk music. Come on! Feel the Illinois or just Illinois is his new CD of 22 songs, revolving around the state, its myths, and his personal life and beliefs I'm sure. What I've heard is incredible, and not saying this means much, but on about every top 100 or top 50 or top 30 albums of last year list I've seen, he was number one.

Check 'em out. You might like it.

Nicholas said...

J'Man:
Nice list! M. Ward is pretty interesting. If you liked that My Morning Jacket, I think you will be excited to hear that he has a guest appearance on track six, Into the Woods.
I have to say, after I finally got that Lucid Soule CD, I was a little disappointed as well, but for different reasons. My main gripe is that Lindsey's voice is way to far in the forefront, and Tulley's guitar is too far in the background...and Lindsey still doesn't make the lyrics very easy to understand.
Sufjan Stevens is pretty much the musical world darling right now, and I don't have anything against him...except I really don't like his voice very much, and I hate everyone.

John T. Meche III said...

Wow. Nice list Nick. I am going to try out the Deftones and the new Project86 album on your recommendation. You inspired me to make my own list in fact. Check me out over at johnmeche.com

Jordan said...

"Sufjan Stevens is pretty much the musical world darling right now, and I don't have anything against him...except I really don't like his voice very much, and I hate everyone."

haha! nice.

btw, I listened to his whole CD last night and really enjoyed it. About a fourth of the 22 songs were short little instrumental pieces leading into other big pieces, and some of his giant two part songs were a little exhausting, but other than that I think he's a good guy. His voice is a little too wispy at times but I grow use to it like most of my favorites. Don't know where I'd put him on the list. Maybe 2nd. I think corgan should be 4th now that I think it over.

I'll have to check out that track. Sounds very interesting. M. Ward's my boiiiiiii!!!

J'man (I like that...for now that I'm black)

Anonymous said...

please consider "Illinoise" by Sufjan Stevens. Give it a chance and it will change your life. (he's what iron and wine wishes he could be with good lyrics and catchy hooks. master arranger too)

--you dont know me but i randomly found your journal. have a wonderful life!

Nicholas said...

Meche: I just commented on your blog. That was some sweet listing!

Jordan and Anonymous: I'm sure I'll dig into Illinoise someday, but I am an EXTREMELY contrite person (and Jordan knows me, so he knows this already, but I'm guessing anonymous doesn't). I am contrite to the point that if something gets this much praise, I will absolutely ignore it until the hype dies down. I'd rather listen to the album without having all the hype weighing down on it. That said, when the album came out, I almost bought it on a whim because I liked some of the stuff I heard from Seven Swans. But Illinoise got recalled because of a lawsuit involving the artwork copyright (they had to remove Superman from the cover). I then tried to listen to some tracks on the Internet to see if I thought I would like it--generally I will not buy a release by someone I am not yet a fan of unless I've heard at least three tracks from the album. Mofo isn't on MySpace or Rhapsody, so I didn't really get to listen to what I wanted to. I'll probly go back to this someday and call it the best record of the decade. But, I might just listen to it in passing and whine about how overrated it is.

Jordan said...

I tend to get caught up in the hype and usually let down, sometimes suprised or don't see through the hype and keep on with "this is the best thing ever!"

I do like Stevens and want to hear Seven Swans. I'm kind more excited about having that album than Illinois. It didn't change my life but it sure was nice listening too. I do have to say he is quite an arranger of music.

His lyrics were pretty good, depending how you look at them I guess. I appreciate his spirit most of all I guess and like his ideas. Not everything he says is spectacular or revelatory, but its nice and clever and true for the most part. Sometimes on the album I had to go look up exactly what he was talking about, because it was a secluded event in illinois or what not. I think that's kind of cool, an album as history, but it also kind of weighs it down a bit.

I like Iron and Wine and I don't care what! ...What?

Jordan said...

oh...I posted a top five on my blog, Nic.

Peace.

jess said...

Just two comments, quickly, while Neal has this open (he linked to your Narnia post on his blog, just to let you know):

1. (Yes, a list, for you!) Ah, nostalgia! Was it really about this time last year that Project 86 made me post my first random comment here?

2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for finally answering the question no one I know could answer off the top of their heads and that I've been too lazy to look up: Who the heck is that creating such amazing harmonies on the SOD album. I've been listening to some at work and their voices blend and work so well together that I was...amazed...and that happens so very little with me and music anymore.

3. Just because you like lists, I'm adding a third for no reason. *winks*

Nicholas said...

1. I know! It's crazy.
2. It's almost creepy. It's like their voices were born to be together. I've heard that many of SOAD's melodies and harmonies are taken from traditional Armenian songs (could just be a rumor, though). Also, I would watch out what SOAD songs you play at work. A few might get you in trouble :)
3. Thanks! It's unbelievable how much I like lists! I love them!

jess said...

2. No worries! I play some songs with questionable content but, heh, the radio station we listen to (now that I have to other coworkers who listen to what I do) is the one I mentioned before that says, "You can't rub and tug alllll day," as their tagline. We actually get by with quite a bit when it comes to music at work mainly, I think, because no one is really listening to what the words say. In fact, one of my coworkers said (when I said about a song that I hate, that I get it stuck in my head due to some content in it that disturbed me), "You actually listen to lyrics? What's wrong with you?"

Nicholas said...

For the most part, liberal work places rock! I hate jobs where everyone is uptight...unless other things are making up for that. My student job at LSU was great, but there were some things they were a little ridiculous about--for instance, they had a "meeting" with me for writing funny notes on my own personal calender. However, every other aspect of the job, including how nice those people were in most every other regard, made up for it. On the other hand, when jobplaces are too liberal, things can get aggravating.
I have derailed.