Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This week I have mostly been compiling: album of the year lists

The long road to the spod album of the year prize is long and pointless, I mean, who really cares what I listen to in my spare time, but very much like the TV show Neighbours, it unreasonably continues to exist. So lets not stand on ceremony. For your general disinterest please see my top 3 albums of 2010 below.
I'll start from third place and go upwards, you know, to build tension:

3. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

Abandoning his stupendously ambitious project to produce an album based on each state in America. (He only managed Michigan and Illinois in the end). Sufjan has eschewed his intricately orchestrated folk songs for a new direction which embraces glitchy, stuttering electronic bleeps and squelches. This is a brave move as his last album 'Come on Feel the Illinois' was undoubtedly a masterpiece, but although there is not a banjo in sight, the trademark Sufjan elements are all there, the richly melodic vocals, the sincere lyrics and the ambitiously arranged songs. Highlights include the 25 minute closing song 'Impossible soul', which features auto tuned Sufjan and a joyously cheesy synth pop breakdown. Enjoy

2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

On this album the fist pumping bombast of old seems to have taken a back seat to a more subtle and varied approach. This is an album that aging farts like myself  will find engrossing as it deals with the feelings of nostalgia, frustration and fear which inevitably crop up as you edge closer to middle age. Highlights include the rocking 'Ready to Start' and the ball bouncingly great 'Sprawl II' which takes the 80's flavour of the album and blows it up into a rollicking synth pop juggernaut.

Drum Roll.........and the winner is

1. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

This band came vomiting into my ears in 2010 unannounced and their sound is the sound of an angry, heavily inebriated man, staggering around a pub, smashing into tables, breaking glasses and venting his venomous spleen in a surprisingly eloquent manner at the futility and cruelty of the world at large, whilst being backed by a furiously rocking Pogues/E Street Band hybrid who are so pumped up they may spontaneously combust at any second.
The album loosely follows the US Civil war and features readings of speeches from Abraham Lincoln, but the main themes are boozing and general disenchantment.
The opening half of the album barges in with relentless tempo and furious riffs while bearded singer Patrick Stickles expresses his loathing for himself and everyone and everything else in a gruff angry bellow.
Half way through we take a breather and the songs begin to take on an epic quality, building slowly into crecendo's of trumpets, piano, roaring guitar and rabble rousing refrains.
Highlights include opener 'A More Perfect Union' and 15 minute closer 'The Battle of Hampton Roads' which actually features bag pipes but sounds nothing like Mull of Kintyre

If you have any issues with the above selections please don't hesitate to voice them.
Oh, and by the way, Justin Bieber just missed out at number 4.

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