Year-end lists are a difficult topic. The thing is, they are very personal and they very much depend on each person. Let’s make some stuff clear: I mostly listen to hipster music and I don’t exactly listen to as many music as other music writers do. I mean, I consider that I listen to a lot of “obscure” bands and I proud myself in my wide and ever-changing music library. But, I still read, let’s say, Pitchfork’s or NME’s yearly lists and I realize that I don’t know about half of the bands they mention. WHATEVER, DOUCHEBAGS. I listen to stuff that I like, not stuff that I’m fed. And this is the result of a year of constant, but apparently not enough music listening. It is not objective, it’s an entirely subjective list, because yes. That’s why it says “favorite albums” in the title, not “best albums”. I was gonna do a write up on each one of these, but I realized around number 8 that no one will read them and I don’t have that much time or stuff to say about this albums. I like them and that’s it. I don’t need no reasons.
Enter my list:
25. Heaven Is Whenever – The Hold Steady
24. Astrocoast – Surfer Blood
23. My Best Friend Is You – Kate Nash
22. Infinite Arms – Band of Horses
21. Contra – Vampire Weekend
20. The Wild Hunt – The Tallest Man On Earth
19. All Delighted People (EP) – Sufjan Stevens
18. Transference – Spoon
17. Beat The Devil’s Tattoo – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
16. Stuck On Nothing – Free Energy
15. The Drums – The Drums
14. Big Echo – the morning benders
13. Together – The New Pornographers
12. How I Got Over – The Roots
11.Broken Dreams Club (EP) – Girls
10. Total Life Forever – Foals
9. Teen Dream – Beach House
8. Brothers – The Black Keys
Brothers is a rock solid album, there’s no second spared in it. In this release, for the first time (I think), the boys brought on more instruments, but managed to make it without getting rid of their bluesy two-man band vibe. A great record, and I have not stopped coming back to it since it came out.
7. False Priest – of Montreal
Here’s a controversial choice. of Montreal is a thing of the past for most people, but honestly, I think False Priest is close to being their best release. I think it’s funny, catchy, lovable and charming. For once, the music isn’t the only cheery thing about Kevin Barnes’ music, as the lyrics also take place in the positive vibe of the album. I don’t care that they aren’t writing about drugs and addiction anymore, this new of Montreal is fun!
6. High Violet – The National
I highly anticipated this album, and it didn’t disappoint me. It might be The National’s saddest and darkest album, but it’s also a beautiful piece of art.
5. Age of Adz – Sufjan Stevens
Mr. Soofy returned with this album after (sort of) a 5 year hiatus, and it is very much hit or miss for most people. Personally, I love it, just like anything Sufjan does. In this album he took a more electronic vibe and his complicated arrangements got maximized and shot up to the sky. Despite its abstractness, it is very easy to get into it and it’s very relatable. It might be Sufjan’s most personal album. And “Impossible Soul” is probably the song of the year.
4. The Monitor – Titus Andronicus
One solid contender for the best of the year, and it was my favorite for the most part of the year. It was hard deciding its position, but the truth is their live performances are a buzz kill and the album does not age as well as I thought it would. Still, this album is very close to my heart. Teenage angst and mediocrity at its best.
3. This Is Happening – LCD Soundsystem
Here’s a band that definitely won’t be coming back, and this album was the perfect closer for their awesome carrer and trilogy of albums. Like them or not, they did create a new semi-genre and gave rise to dozens of new bands that would follow what they did. They took danceable music and mixed it with real lyrics, that talked about daily stuff with a clever air to it. I personally think they couldn’t have ended on a higher note, their live performances are the shit and I totally agree with the whole “let’s kill it before it’s dead” train of thought. Maybe The Office should take a page out of James Murphy’s book of life (I would totally read that if it was a real book).
2. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
It’s been at the top of most year-end lists, and even though there’s a lot of controversy around whether it should or shouldn’t be the best album of the year (as always). It truly is a piece of art and everything the media has made it to be. Kanye is a douchebag. He’s quite an eccentric character, and I find that very ballsy and cool. This is his masterpiece. Technically, everything he does after this should be mediocre compared to this, but we’ll have to see that.
1. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
The Monitor was my favorite record for a while, but it came out early in the year and boy, did awesome stuff come out after it. I heard The Suburbs heavily while I was temporarily living in another city, and it really stuck to that experience. Everything about this album was great. It was different from their previous album, but not that much of a surprising leap. The songs are structured differently but they achieve the same emotional tension that has become so characteristic in their work. It is the climax of a great band, and it was a beautiful evolution to presence. I saw them live back in October, in what could possibly be one of my best nights (even though everything around the concert was pretty boring, and I got really, really sick after the concert). I have never felt such a connection with a band as with Arcade, and I thank them for making awesome music.
The Social Network – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Inception (Music From The Motion Picture) – Hans Zimmer
Volume Two – She & Him
Everything In Between – No Age
Sea of Cowards – The Dead Weather
Sit Down, Man – Das Racist
Amador – Adanowsky
Treats – Sleigh Bells
Albums I wish I had heard:
Plastic Beach – Gorillaz
The Adventures of Bobby Ray – B.o.B.
The Orchard – Ra Ra Riot
Surfing The Void – The Klaxons
Wake Up! – John Legend & The Roots
New Amerykah, Pt 2: Return of the Anhk – Erykah Badu
The Lady Killer – Cee Lo Green
Throughout the holidays I have gotten a lot of listening time with a few albums that I hadn’t had time for before. Especially, The Archandroid by Janelle Monáe and Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons, but also including Lisbon by The Walkmen, Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter, In This Light And On This Evening by the Editors, Odd Blood by Yeasayer, Man On The Moon II by Kid Cudi and The Winter of Mixed Drinks by Frightened Rabbit. I’m sure some of those would have made the list if I had listened to them previously.