In the past few days, Uncut, Mojo, and Paste have released their Album of the Year lists, and AllMusic is dropping theirs throughout the week. Some quick analysis shows that it's pretty obvious what the #1 record of the year is going to be for a lot of publications...
I could list several dozen songs that would be greatly lessened, if not unthinkable, without their saxophonic embellishment; so could you. In the interest of time and clarity, let's take three and call it a day.
PopMatters talks with music critic Simon Reynolds about his new book Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past, as well as the modern state of pop futurism, the changing nature of music criticism, and the post-punk historian's favorite '80s alt-rock bands.
Paul McCartney's effortless musical mastery (with no suffering artist gimmick) robs him of the serious consideration he deserves. But like literature and film's greatest auteurs, he will eventually undergo the Hitchcock / Shakespeare transformation from popular entertainer to century-defining artist.
In between stays at mental institutions for schizophrenia, Powell left behind a remarkable legacy. Sadly, he hasn’t received the same widespread admiration that his close friend Thelonious Monk secured. But to true fans of the jazz genre, Powell is revered.
Would Steven Wilson really want to roll the dice and insert himself back in a time when the prospects were a hell of a lot less salubrious for unorthodox and unsigned bands? Today, there are illimitable sources of opinion, and taste making is as democratic as it’s ever been, in part because of the abundance of voices and agency.
The author is expected to not only justify the album’s existence, but to justify the need to write about it in the first place. Is it any wonder then that such an intensely personal (and often defensive) writing tends to veer towards positivism?
Throughout 'The Suburbs', Arcade Fire seems completely ill-equipped to understand both where it came from and, more pressingly, where it is now. That kind of tunnel vision is what leads the band to articulate such an uncritical urban bias.
Even though William Basinski’s 'The Disintegration Loops' was unintentionally produced in the fall of 2001, its composition -- the way that it captures the process of decay -- makes it, perhaps, the most significant representation of the political and cultural tensions of post-9/11 America.
As I channel my inner Fox Mulder, I should be clear that I don’t see any conspiracies here. However, I do read the When-Drew-Met-Canning narrative sketched by so many of us in the blogosphere, whether intentionally or not, as a controlling cover-up that restricts attention to the boundless spontaneity that is, in many ways, the most compelling feature of Broken Social Scene’s music and legacy.
They are simply the albums that shaped my musical landscape, for which I know every lyric of every song backward and forward, that I would take with me to that mythical desert island we music lovers always talk about