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Monday, January 16, 2006

Kanye and the Arcade Fire

1. Kanye West -- The College Dropout
I've said pretty much everything I have to say about this album on either PopMatters or Stylus, having blurbed it too many times during 2004. Everything I said then still stands, and it boils down to "this record is awesome."

2. Arcade Fire -- Funeral
This one's a personal classic and still gets me every time, especially the opener, "Tunnels" (although I could do without the numbered neighborhood titles). It's not just an emotional burst unlike anything else from 2004 -- which it is -- but it's a very carefully-written and -executed burst. I'm willing to be labeled a lemming-like indie-boy or whatever for loving this one, but that's fine (and at least a quarter of that label, if not more, is true).


Countdown finished, and the big lesson is that I must not spend very much time listening to music I actually like (even if I spend very little listening to music I dislike). Maybe I need to be less concerned with keeping up with every act I might want to listen to, write on, or have interviewed, and more time just rocking for myself. Yeah, but I probably won't.

The other, less useful lesson is that my opinions stayed relatively the same after a year, not that that's a long time. I expected more change in my thinking, but almost nothing occured near the top, and the stuff at the bottom had more to do with number of listens than with anything else.

I'm also glad to see that a proportionate number of fine lyricists made it. As I've changed to spend less time with any one particular record, I feel like I'm being more drawn to exciting music and unusual formal structures, whereas I used to go more for lyric-writing. Now I don't even know the words to lots of songs I like. Some of that change is growth, is de-emphasizing one area of music that I had previously put too much import on, but some of it is just change, and I'm glad to see I'm still getting to some of what is a ... more basic? ... love for me. Coincidentally (at least consciously), I'm listening to Smog's A River Ain't Too Much to Love in the car today. I don't think it would have cracked my top 20 had I paid more attention last year, but I'm curious to see how I'll feel about it after I know the words better (and of course that self-reflexive curiosity will probably affect how much I learn the lyrics as well as how I respond to them).

3 Comments:

Blogger blackmail is my life said...

I can think of few more records appropriately forgotten than River. At this point, Drag City is just doing favors for their back catalogue hustlers (although I really like Pearls & Brass' new album, The Indian Tower.

As far as last year went, it's just a blur. There were more good albums than many critics admit, which I didn't believe because I've kept telling myself that 2005 was so good (it wasn't.) I feel like as time drags on what's novel becomes more important than those trustworthy artists one expects to release mindblowing album after album. It's a little scary, actually.

7:58 PM  
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