I'm going to be blogging only very infrequently over the next 2 weeks, so I might as well indulge in a bit of list-making before I take a vacation. So here's some comments on music that grabbed my attention in the past year...
5 Pleasant Surprises
5. Mika - Life in Cartoon Motion
'Grace Kelly' is pure joy; the rest of the album is almost as fun, but it's also entirely vacuous. That's why it's a 'pleasant surprise' and not in the 'favorite/best' list.
4. Kelly Clarkson - My December
If 'Irvine' is any indication of what she's capable of, I could actually start buying Kelly Clarkson albums. This album makes this list on that one, Radiohead-ripping song alone.
3. Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad
Likewise, this album could have been 10 tracks, all 'Umbrella', and it would be here for that reason alone.
2. Spiral Beach - Ball
Teenagers have no business writing a song like 'Kind of Beast'. Or the rest of this album.
1. Bruce Springsteen - Magic
'Radio Nowhere' could've been written by The Boss in the 70s. Springsteen gets his teeth back.
9. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
To be fair, almost anything was going to be a disappointment.
8. Kevin Drew - Spirit If...
The 'Broken Social Scene Presents' title should have clued me in: it's a Broken Social Scene album, only not as good.
7. Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
The first song is catchy; the rest of the album is exhaustingly just more of the same, track after track.
6. Dragonette - Galore
There are three songs that I really love on this album; the rest belong on really bad pop radio.
5. Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War
How can an album whose title references both sex and war be filled with such dreadfully middling AOR MOR?
4. Editors - An End Has a Start
I was so bored that I cleared all but two songs off of my iTunes.
3. Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full
McCartney has released consistently good-to-great solo material for over a decade, now. I suppose the time was ripe for a snoozer.
2. Timbaland Presents: Shock Value
How is it that someone so good at doing material for other people's albums can put out such an awful album himself?
1. The New Pornographers - Challengers
I love the title-track, but didn't the New Pornographers used to be, like, a rock - or, at the very least, pop-rock - band? Nearly every song here is an aimless sort of mid-tempo indie-folk number. Which would be forgivable, I suppose, if it weren't so boring.
(It's far easier for me to describe my disdain than it is to explain why I like the music that I like, so I'll just include my favorite songs from each album.)
9. Radiohead - In Rainbows
8. Los Campesinos! - Sticking Fingers Into Sockets
'We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives', 'You! Me! Dancing!'
7. Caribou - Andorra
'After Hours', 'Sandy'
6. Black Kids - Wizard of Ahhhs
'I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You', 'Hurricane Jane'
5. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
'Keep the Car Running', 'Ocean of Noise'
4. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
'Resurrection Fern', 'Wolves'
3. Feist - The Reminder
'My Moon My Man', '1234'
2. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
'Suffer for Fashion', 'Gronlandic Edit', 'She's a Rejector'
1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
'North American Scum', 'All My Friends', 'Someone Great'