Like 2020 in general, music this year has been both good and bad. It hasn’t been the best since both releases and events are at all-time lows. But there’s been some really good stuff from the little that has been released. Pending any surprise release this winter, these are my favorite albums so far this year:
- The Killers, Imploding the Mirage. From front to back, this is a really well written, produced, and performed batch of 10 brilliant songs. Favorite song: Dying Breed
- Weeknd, After Hours (Clean). Because I listen to music with my kids and already have enough explicit content in my life, I really like the clean version of Weeknd’s latest album. I think it might be his best yet, even though it’s a slight departure from his previous EDM like production. Favorite song: Scared to Live
- Tame Impala, The Slow Rush. Is an okay Tame Impala album better than the best of the rest? If you’re a musical genius like Kevin Parker, the answer is yes. While not as masterful as his previous albums, especially currents, it’s still a good listen with a handful of really strong songs. Favorite song: On Track
- The Academic, Acting My Age. I cheated on this because it’s really an EP instead of full-length album, but the included six songs are deliciously fun, catchy, and unabashedly youthful. Favorite Song: Anything Could Happen
- Haim, Women in Music Pt. III. This is Haim’s best album to date, in my opinion. Delightful, poppy, foot-tappingly good production. Favorite song: Another Try
HONORABLE MENTION: Mr. Mustache by yours truly. I think it’s the best album by an unsigned artist this year, and not far off from sounding, acting, and producing something you’d expect from a professional team of musicians and producers. Now streaming on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube Music, Amazon and more. Favorite song: Shrug. I hope you enjoy it.
Because I have a lot of extra free time in a partially paused world, I decided to re-listen to the entire Beatles catalog this weekend (well over 10 hours worth!) to determine my favorite albums.
Although I regularly feasted on The Fab Four in high school, college, and into my late twenties, I haven’t listened to their music much in the last decade. Not that I no longer like or respect it. Only that I probably overplayed it to the point of boredom.
After my weekend binge, however, I reconfirmed my belief that The Beatles are the greatest pop band ever—ahead of only Elvis and Michael Jackson in terms of the shear number of songs I enjoy. Either way, this is what I learned from my quarantine experiment: Continue reading…
Although I enjoyed all of the below from front to back without hitting skip, not all of them are great albums. So in order of most spins to fewest spins, most impressive to least impressive, and overall great to good, the top 10 albums of 2012 are as follows:
Music consumers in recent years have no doubt noticed the growing trend of “deluxe edition” albums. They often feature 1.5-2 times the number of tracks, cost more, and feature an alternate album cover.
Here’s what they really are, though: A smart business and marketing proposition. A way to profit off throw away b-side songs, selling them to the most rabid of fans.
Thing is, I don’t even by the deluxe edition of my favorite bands. In my eyes, if a track isn’t good enough to make the original 10-12 song album, it’s not worth my time, no matter who wrote it. In fact, of the few deluxe albums I own, I can’t think of a single memorable, must-have, 4-5 star track.
So keep the deluxe edition, bands. I’m good.
I can count the number of country albums I like in the order I discovered them on one hand: Patsy Cline’s greatest, Garth Brooks Ropin’ the Wind, Hank Williams’ greatest, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, and Jimmy Buffett’s greatest (if you can call that country).
Truth be told, I think the genre may be the second most cliche and boring kind of music ever, after industrial, of course (with exception to Pretty Hate Machine and Downward Spiral).
But I digress. I now have a new favorite country album: Brad Paisley’s This is Country Music. Whether you like country or not, know this: Brad Paisley is a phenomenal musician, songwriter, Telecaster guitarist, and one of the best lyricists in modern music. Of any genre. Seriously, he could give Brandon Flowers a run for his poetic memory. He’s that good.
So if you ain’t scurred to try new things, click on the above link. Not only will it make you want to buy a 10-gallon hat and a pair of wranglers, I’m pretty sure one of the following eight highlight tracks will speak to you when listened to in their entirety: This is country music, A man don’t have to die, Camouflage, One of those lives, Toothbrush, Love her like she’s leaving, New Favorite memory, and Don’t drink the water.
For reals, this album is stacked. It’s in my running as album of the year. No lie.
Flamingo, the debut solo album of Killers frontman Brandon Flowers. Better yet, it’s only $5 on Amazon. Runner up: Junior by RÃ¶yksopp. Although released last year, it’s leagues better than the duos’ follow-up release last month.
See also: 5+ bands I’m digging right now
Remember how embarrassed Elaine from Seinfeld was when she discovered her home made Christmas card — photographed by Kramer — partially exposed her right nipple? That was only sent to a few dozen people. Now imagine if gajillions of people saw your wedding tackle, in full view mind you, on the cover of Nirvana’s seminal 1991 album, Nevermind.