My usual semi annual report on my favorite music of the year slipped by over the summer due to some preoccupying events. So here is my review of the year’s music to date.
1. Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost : Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
2. Stereophonics – Graffiti On The Train : The title track is one of the best songs I’ve encountered this year, but most of the tracks are nearly as good. Strong alt-rock and some pop. Catchy tunes and lyrics.
2. Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks : Not as mellow as the “How To Destroy Angels” album, but far calmer than what normally comes from NIN. It reminds me a lot of the more mellow and reflective moments from “Pretty Hate Machine”, and, as such, is just fine with me.
3. Nick Cave – Push The Sky Away : The old master continues to put out deep and moving stuff. Melancholy, but engaging.
4. Bastille – Bad Blood : Great melodies and lyrics, but what really shines is the acoustic versions on the Delux album.
5. The Strypes – Snapshot : Who says you can’t teach a new dog old tricks. This is hard hitting rock, most appreciated in live performances. (Lots on YouTube) And they’re all under 20. Great covers and a few new gems.
6. El Khatib – Head In The Dirt : This artist comes out of nowhere (at least for me) to produce an original, good rockin’ album.
7. Jamie Cullum – Momentum : This is a bit MOR, but I really found the music happy, lively, upbeat and a great mixture of different styles. Great arrangements and singing. Bruno Mars in 20 years.
8. Man Man – On Oni Pond : A really eclectic mixture of music, original and catchy.
9. Lana DelRay – Born To Die : One part Marlena Deitrich, one part Marianne Faithful, and a generous dash of Madonna.
10. David Bowie – The Next Day – Even though it seems a bit contrived and rough in some places, anything that Bowie does has a quality about it that is hard to beat.
There are lots of honorable mentions. It has been a good year for music, -especially the latter half.
Steve Mason (Monkey Minds); Tom O’Dell; Fuck Buttons; Manic Street Preachers; Example; Eels; The Stanfields; The Foals; John Grant; She and Him; The Editors; Grant Hart; Moby; Mother Mother … … …
Well, those are my picks. You may or may not agree.