2010 in Review: Music – Guest Blog
From Management: One of our loyaler readers noticed I didn’t have a “Best Of” article for Music, because I’m lame and possess a very lame sense of music. Funny how that works. He wanted to fill that gap for Chad and me, and thus, today’s column was born.
Anyway, he asked to remain anonymous because he’s some big city fancy boy lawyer, and you’re probably saying, “but Matt if he’s such a high-falutin’ lawyer, why’s he got time to just sit around and yell at me for being a virgin?” Well, he’s a lost person, kids. A damned soul we’ll never be able to save. What we’re saying is, if you figure out who it is, and it’s not hard, don’t announce it in comments by his request.
Oh, and he’s super-obsessed with you, Dear Reader, having sex. Frankly it’s kind of weird.
I begged Matt to allow me to share this posting with you. Don’t let the fact that I had to beg fool you, I pretty much sit above you in all ranks of social status, looks, career achievements, emotional and sexual fulfillment and the number of consecutive lengths of a pool I can swim underwater. Because this is Matt’s castle, he’s running the show for you kids that need to see pretty pictures and colors.
Having grown fond of Matt’s postings, I noticed something of a gap in coverage here on Nonstopkarate. Namely, music.
It’s sort of understandable – I don’t expect you geeks to know much more about music than the fact Cheap Trick wrote the song on That 70’s Show, and, of course, that you can recite all the words to “Fett’s Vette” backwards in your sleep.
In the spirit of the New Year, and Matt’s own lists, I’d like to submit my personal 2010 best in music. At the very least, hopefully you’ll download a track so when a real-live woman might glance at your i-pod on the train/bus/line at Carl’s Jr., she might think you actually have been laid in the last twelve months.
***Some Preemptive Warnings***
- I really wish there was more rock and roll on here. I generally prefer rock to hip hop. It just so happens that this year hip hop was doing more than the rock scene was able to do. To much lo-fi, boring shit. Sorry, Beach House, Deerhunter, Girls, Waaves, etc.. You just aren’t doing it for me.
- Also, I want to put Joanna Newsome on here, but just haven’t listened to the album enough for it to be genuine.
- Finally, I’m not putting Arcade Fire on the list. “The Suburbs” record is good, but nowhere near as iconic as “Neon Bible”, and further behind still than “Funeral”. If Nonstop does have a music nerd readership, write a letter.
Go buy these. Amazon MP3 people, not i-tunes. Fucking Sheep.
Without further prologue:
Titus Andronicus – The Monitor. If you like straight-up, Dropkick Murphy’s-styled punk, this is a good album. It also has more emotional and intellectual levels than you might think. I’m sure you geeks will love it. Titus Andronicus Forever!
Cee-Lo Green – Ladykiller. Don’t let the fact that Gwyneth sang the edited version of “Fuck You” on GLEE fool you. Don’t let the fact that you’re sick of the radio playing the edited version of “Fuck You” fool you. This album is crazy good. Cee-Lo is an amazing singer who isn’t a safe, mom-friendly crooner like the Grobans, Legends and Bubles. He also covers a Band of Horses song. If I bought this album two months ago and was able to listen to it more than a few times, it would definitely be in the top 10.
# 10. (Tie) Spoon – Transference and Vampire Weekend – Contra. Spoon’s transference is a sleepy little rock album. It has a foggy groove you should get familiar with while wearing sunglasses in the dark. Listen to “Who Makes Your Money” and fight the urge to start calling women “Baby.” Because I wanted a round number, I had to share this spot with Vampire Weekend. If you are a hater because these kids wear boat shoes, fuck supermodels and went to Ivy League schools, you need to get over yourself. Yes, I want to fight every member in this group. Yes, I even think I could win (which is largely why I used to hate them so much). Still, Contra is fun, and when it’s snowy in Chicago, “Horchata” makes it feel like summer’s just around the corner.
# 9. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening. It’s LCD Soundsystem. They soundtrack your life, or should, if you are between the ages of 25 – 30 right now, had a relatively stable suburban upbringing and try way too hard to be cool. LCD Soundsystem makes you cool. James Murphy knows your struggle. How in the world the track “Pow Pow” has not been used by ESPN to soundtrack Gasol highlights from the Lakers’ championship run yet continues to flabbergast me. (Yes, that comment was about sports, nerds. If you want to be a success, stop being angry at athletes for picking on you in school).
# 8. The National – High Violet. This is one of the few true “rock bands” that made the list. This isn’t a dance hybrid or a bunch of teenagers with ironic neon clothes. These guys are brooding adults with drinking and marital problems who like guitar and looking cool in front of a fog machine. “Bloodbuzz Ohio” – who the fuck knows what it means, but it sounds moving and edgy. Get into it, then listen to “Afraid of Everyone” as loud as you possibly can. There is something about the chorus of “I don’t have the drugs to sort it out”, slowing building from a quiet admission to a rebel yell, that will get the heart pumping and your dick hard.
# 7. Janelle Monae – The Archandroid. I wish I could rank this higher. I don’t know if it is because it came out early in the year, or because I’m so disappointed she didn’t blow up the way she should have. I blame white people. Granted, you’ll find her doing guest spots on award shoes and commercials – but I thought she’d have become a household name by now. She has to be one of the most talented performers on the planet. The hypothetical love child of Andre-3000 and James Brown, she has style, swagger, incredible pipes and is 100% unique. Who else decides that her debut album will be a concept release with a Fritz Lang aesthetic, drawing from a previous EP that nobody has heard of, and framed around her being an android from the future that loves to dance and has the hots for her “maker”? On “Neon Gumbo”, she sings backwards. BACKWARDS! The album touches soul (“Faster”/ “Tightrope”), indie dance (“Make the Bus”), acid rock (“Mushrooms & Roses”), R&B (“Metropolis” / “Oh Maker”), hip hop with a touch of Madonna (“Dance or Die”) and even has a torch song (“BaBopByeYa”). You get it? Do you see how little you are doing with your life? Is another remake of another superhero movie starring the same guy who is in 5 other superhero movies really what you’re spending your time and brain power on? Look at and listen to what this woman has created!
# 6. Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz. My indie-snob roots are showing, aren’t they? Yes, Sufjan belongs on this list. The album is mesmerizing. It begins with something that sounds like a Sufjan you may be (strike that, your cooler, hot sister may be) accustomed to, folksy and calm. It then gradually evolves into something that you would hear blaring from every headphone, car stereo and legitimate speaker throughout the globe, hijacked by a digital demi-god returned from a millennium-long slumber to be worshipped by naked Genius Bar technicians and children running around in green fields with strings of balloons. If you want that half-moustache to look like you’re poetic and quirky, instead of lacking the testosterone need a real shave, check out the title track (it’s pronounced like “odds”), “Too Much” and, for something genuinely touching, “Vesuvius”.
# 5. Sleigh Bells – Treats. This album sounds like a metal band got swallowed by an NES and spit back out through a filter of Timbaland beats. I don’t know what more to say about it. This is also an album that sounds pretty similar from track-to-track, but with something this new and fun, that’s not a bad thing. Just listen to the whole record. For some reason, I really like “A/B Machines”, even though I don’t know what the hook means.
# 4. Kanye – My Dark Twisted Something or Another. No major surprise here. You know everyone’s telling you this is great. It is. It might even deserve to be the # 1, but I feel bad for everyone else who had to release an album against Kanye hype. If you don’t believe me, listen to “Blame Game” all the way through, and then when you’re cracking your shit up and in a better mood, soak in the intro and melt into “Who Will Survive in America.”
# 3. Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Food: The Son of Chico Dusty. Because you never leave the Internet, I’ll assume, at least, that you’ve heard of Girl Talk. A highlight of “All Day” is the interlude on the 4th track where Big Boi’s “Shutterbug” gets the slow-down treatment over Portishead (your hot, oldest sister, the one that just had a kid, can help you with who Portishead is). On the real album, “Shutterbug” being the first hit-ish single, is worth attention as well (“I’m double fistin’ and you empty, you can grab a cup”). It’ll help you understand what it’s like to be invited to a party. *Extra points go to Big Boi for being a large part of the success of # 7Janelle Monea’s “Tightrope” (one of the best singles of 2010).
Because this is number three, you get three more reasons why you need to buy this album.
(1) Big Boi, aka Chico Dusty, aka Daddy Fax Sax, has got some beats that you need to take seriously – see, e.g., the chunky, hollow chime sounds of the “Ain’t no DJ” intro (holler to the new white guy from Alabama, Yelawolf, on this track).
(2) Unlike (!SPOILER!) Rick Ross, Big Boi is fast and his rhymes sometimes border on alien.
Daddy Fat Sacks back on the scene
Money shot to a Three movies
But everything’s straight like 9:15
It’s back to the time machine, I believe
Back to the rhymin, back to the stick
Back to the hi-hat, tsk tsk kick
(3) If you can’t get laid when “Tangerine” is playing, you’ve got real problems.
# 2. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor. These guys cover the Talking Heads and get away with it (your hot mom will know who the Talking Heads are). That should be all I have to say. This record came out early in the year, and like Big Boi, has ended up low or off of a lot of lists that it otherwise would have been on if the record came out in November. The album is prime for listening while walking around barefoot. “Sun Hands” is a perfect one-track example of what you’ll get for the whole album. Crisp guitar acrobatics, tight choral harmonies, slow build to a tribal orgy of splashing cymbals and shouting to the gods. If only they didn’t look like such wiener kids. You might identify, so I’m sure you’ll love them.
# 1. Rick Ross – Teflon Don. Big Meech is number 1. You hear that Kanye? Single handedly responsible for forcing me to fill my fridge with Rose’, Ross knows beats and has a cadence that kills. Ross has created the perfect blend of coke dealer, Jesus-praising family man and serious p.i.m.p.. The music puts a strut in your step, but doesn’t make you feel too guilty about glorifying the game. You know why? Because Ross, although is flow is slow and he clearly hates the stair master, is not lazy. In the opening to “Free Mason” (my favorite track), he spits historical and walks you through JFK imagery three ways (convertibles, violence and private jets).
my top back like JFK
they wanna push my top back like JFK
So, So I JFK,
join forces with the kings and we ate all day
right now I could rewrite history
I stopped writing so fuck it
I’ll do it mentally
The record has some great “also featuring’s”. Jay-Z on “Free Mason” is “amazing”, and Cee-Lo sings with some series duende on “Tears of Joy” (that is, “Tatoo’d Tears of Joy”).
Now, If you were to hear just one of the singles (“MC Hammer” or “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)”) you’d think Ricky Ross is a one trick pony. Granted, the songs do sound a lot alike, but what you don’t realize is that Teflon Don is actually an album that works when you listen to it from front to back. The two tracks come one-after-the-other and create a sort of supertrack which has a natural setting given the ebb and flow of the album as a whole.
If you listen to one record from last year, make it this one. Then grow a pair, put your face in a pile of blow and go to a strip club.
I now have to return to my sexy life, working with artists and people who sell guns, and then take my beautiful wife out to a dinner that costs as much as your X-Box did when it first came out. See ya next time.
Posted on January 11, 2011, in Music, Pop Culture and tagged best ofs, big boi, janelle monae, kanye west, LCD soundsystem, music, rick ross, sleigh bells, sufjan stevens, the attorney STRIKES, the national. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.