Rock!! I'm going to start off the year-end list-making season with my honorable mentions. My Top 10 will follow in a couple of days. Happy Holidays everyone, I look forward to your lists. Let the nerdfest begin! (Or given the fact that we now blog all year, let the nerdfest continue!)
The reissue that blew my mind:
The Replacements- Let It Be
It was a real oversight on my part to have never really heard these guys before. Let It Be is a raunchy, angsty, hilarious ride that I wish I'd had the privilege of listening to when I was 10 years younger and felt exactly the way these songs sound.
The album that would've been on my Top 10 if it hadn't been my #1 last year:
Lupe Fiasco- The Cool
Last year this was my top album, and in retrospect it hasn't had the replay value I would have hoped. If I'd waited a year like all the big music publications to rank it (since it came out very late in the year in 2007) it might have dropped a few rungs. Still, I count myself a big Lupe fan, and hope this young MC doesn't carry through on his promise to only release 1 more album before retiring.
Better than I would've guessed, but not in my Top 10:
Guns n' Roses- Chinese Democracy
A mess of an album, though an occasionally glorious mess of an album. I genuinely liked large chunks of it, but it just didn't make it to the Top 10.
The album most likely to be seen by music historians as the touchstone album of our moment, which nonetheless didn't make my personal Top 10:
Girl Talk- Feed the Animals
I don't understand how this even exists given all the sampling involved, but a very talented artist has finally decided to say to hell with all the legal issues that have hamstrung the art of DJing for decades, and showcases a fascinating collage of sound the like of which hasn't been legal since the days of EPMD. In Stephen King's Top 10 list in Entertainment Weekly, he says that the album is "as dense and allusive as James Joyce's Ulysses, only you can dance to it." That's a difficult statement to begin trying to parse, (and I don't much want to try right now), but I will say that in a music-listening age when everybody wants to make their own mixtapes on their iPods, Girl Talk is an artist who takes mixing up disparate pop songs to its logical, dense, allusive, danceable conclusion. For me personally, I just didn't listen to Feed the Animals enough to warrant it cracking my Top 10, but Girl Talk is a fantastic DJ who is making music like nobody else right now, and he's worth checking out.
3 great songs from albums not on my Top Ten:
A fantastic song from a very uneven album:
Gnarls Barkley- Run
I liked GZA's album this year, but in the end it wasn't good enough for the Top 10. But this song kicks ass:
GZA- Life is a Movie
And the song of the year:
Beyonce- Single Ladies