January 13, 2010

The Year in Tweets: Music

Since none of you (approximately) are on Twitter, here are my 140-character reviews of all the music I listened to this year.

Lily Allen: Songbird grows up, gets poppier, sells out? The sass remains the same, so no. Topics: Boys, surreal life, Dubya.

Neko Case: Personified tornadoes, animals, heartbreak. Torch songs as enveloping as burnt electric blankets. Favorite for 2009's No. 1.

U2: Typically massive, but newly, bravely intimate. They sound like bands that sound like U2. Bono still makes Jesus weep.

Decemberists: Huzzah! Old-timey folk-rock by lit geeks for lit geeks. Best concept disc since Mechanical Animals. Murder ballads slay.

Adele: Another white Brit chick appropriates soul. Sweeter than Wino, better than Duffy.

Ray LaMontagne: Gritty yet smooth, warm & inviting, the sound of the last of ur favorite cup of coffee. Plus, u can actually hear the wood.

Fleet Foxes: Backwoods beards sing songs of beauty. Perfect background for computer-based job.

Taylor Swift: Sugary sweet & adorable, sure. But also insightful beyond her years. I'll proselytize for her to all u country haters.

Vampire Weekend: Sounds like stuff that white ppl like: sweaters, libraries, boarding school singalongs. Neither as good nor as bad as…

…you’ve read.

Baseball Project: Anyone heard this? Indie all-stars dream of Mays, curse T. Williams & thank Curt Flood. Humming fastballs. Catchy. Jangly.

Ditty Bops: 3 albums in, they're cute as ever. 2 pretty voices, prettier songs, a barnful of pretty old-timey instruments. Sweetness.

Eminem: Dope beats, dope rhymes, but somewhat disappointing. I'm almost as sick of Shady as he is.

Ben Folds acappella: Strictly for diehards & acappella enablers. Do I love it? Duh.

Green Day: Same ambition & pop/punk hooks. American Idiot II pretty much. Rawk!

Tori Amos: Crystalline, magical, sounds like the 90s. A record w/ grooves (but few standout songs). The muse is back, if she ever left.

Pearl Jam: Legendary up to & including No Code. Snooze-inducing afterwards. What happened to the riffs? To the reverb on Eddie's vox?

Thriller: As amazing as ever. R.I.P.

Regina Spektor: Cute, quirky - but not too much. She's too good for marginalization, at least for guys (me!) in luv w/ chick pianists.

Kings of Leon: Kings of classic-sounding rock. Not yet classic, but on the road to same. Arena ambitions - what's wrong w/ that?

Wilco: Good, but great? Consistently consistent.

Early Neko Case albums: They keep getting older, but her amazing voice stays the same. A lil bit country-er, but u know what? That's fine.

Mos Def: Call it a comeback. Bob your head in bangin' contemplation.

Q-Tip: Call it a comeback. Hearkens back to late-Tribe spirit.

Meth & Red: Blah-ckout 2. Is misogyny still funny?

Abbey Road: Still my favorite album, artistic creation, human achievement ever.

Per every music mag ever, (old artist's new album) is their best since (old artist's last good album).

Having said that, Blueprint 3 is clearly Jay-Z's best since The Black Album.

Bjork live album: Makes me wish I was rich enough to see her. Makes me wish I lived in Iceland. Makes me wish she still wrote pop tunes.

Marilyn Manson albums: He keeps making em, I keep buying em. Songs sound relevant (scary, good), even if he's not.

And by "buying em," of course, I mean, "checking em out of the library and burning em."

Brandi Carlile: As raw & heartfelt as always, but... melodies aren't as head-sticking yet.

Miranda Lambert: Country spitfire cleans up nicely, remains authentic, gun-toting, crazy. Country for ppl for who don't think they like it.

A Fine Frenzy: Too adult-contempo for most of my friends, but perfectly poppy for me. Chick, piano, melody, etc.

Monsters of Folk: Pro: Monsters of harmony. Con: Monsters of writing better tunes on their own than in a supergroup.

Swell Season: Real-life loss of chemistry hurts. After few listens, songs start to grow. Sadly, not as majestic as Once.

Nellie McKay sings Doris Day: New chanteuse sings old one's tunes. Funny, jazzy, loungey, smooth. Hopefully more new Nellie tunes soon.

Florence + the Machine: Big-voiced Brit makes epic pop. Lungs indeed. Debut of the year. (Again, I'm the target audience tho.)

Muse: Pretentious. Over the top. But kinda awesome.

Weezer: Far from Pinkerton, but pure pop pleasure.

John Mayer: Some would call his blues/pop bland, but this guy calls it bloody good. Guy's got chops & songcraft skillz.

Norah Jones: Lil bit funky & not just for her. New songs swing where old ones smoldered.

Paramore: Pop songs packaged as teenage angst? I am totally cool w/ this.

Jill Sobule: No less quirky in her old age. No less melodic or deserving of audience. Rustic sound is new for her. Tunes are fun as usual.

St Vincent, The Bird & The Bee, Bat for Lashes: The kind of CDs I always buy & love. Songs that burrow in2 my brain. Written by women 4 me?