Okay, so “everyone makes a random bracket week” was sort of last week, but imma be late though? That was bad, I don’t know… umm, anyways, as most of you know I’m a huge Kanye fan so when I saw this bracket of Kanye songs, I thought it was a pretty fantastic idea. But I wasn’t a fan of the execution. There were some key tracks missing and the regions were lopsided, so rather than complain I made my own bracket.
I’ve had this blog for two years now which means it’s time for one of my favourite annual posts and that is my arbitrary list of favourite songs over the past year.
This year was a terrible year for music. I expected a holy trifecta of Kanye, Kendrick and Frank Ocean. I got nothing. Nothing! And what came instead was mostly middling music. I don’t think there was a record that came out this year I liked front to back. To be honest that’s a rarity to begin with which is why I tend to this list instead of my favourite albums, because I usually don’t have that many, especially this year.
With that being said, I hate most of the year end lists I read because they are wrong. All of them. This is the only right one. For me at least, but it is wrong to you and anyone else, and that’s why year end lists discussing the “best” music of the year is dumb. It’s subjective. This is a stupid list you shouldn’t care about it. But they’re fun to do and they’re fun to discuss.
With that disclaimer out of the way, here are my favourite songs of 2014.
May 13, 2014
From the get go, you could tell that Turn Blue was going to be a different album than anything done before by the Akron, Ohio duo.
Whether that get-go was from their first single, the synth-induced and infectious Fever, or whether it was album opener Weight of Love, it was very unlike anything the Black Keys have done before.
With their last album El Camino, a garage rockabilly foot stomper from start to finish, the Black Keys rose to become one of the biggest mainstream rock bands in the world. Mainstream is a funny word considering not only their roots, but also their classic rock approach which has become a dying breed on new rock radio.
If you go on Facebook right now, it’s probably flooded with these lists. Normally I hate chain and spam bullshit, especially the entire Neknomination business. But this is music. This is different to me because music is an important part of my life, and I’m sure most people will agree.
I love music a lot. I like hearing new music– even if it’s weird and I hate it. But there’s something special about those albums that just stick with you through time, even if it’s just a brief period of your life (shoutout to Sam’s Simple Plan phase… wait that’s still going, true). These albums remind you of moments in your life that become ingrained in your emotional memory.
A lot of people are rule followers which I didn’t want to do, hence this blog post. This is the original part of the chain spam thing:
“List 12 albums that have stayed with you over the years in some way. Don’t take too long on this list – just a few minutes. These don’t have to be great records, or critical darlings, just ones that mean something to you personally”
1. 12 is a dumb number. I made it 20.
2. These albums are supposed to mean something to me and y’all want me to take “a few minutes?”
Anyways, a lot of people just plopped a random set of albums in no particular order, but what’s the fun in that? If there’s one thing I enjoy on par with music, it’s probably organized lists. Also to compensate for my obvious bias for one particular artist… I tried my best to do one album per artist. Other wise this list might have been very different. So anyways, here’s my list with short blurbs and stuff. You may also notice that most of these are from after 2003 and that’s because I don’t really like/fetishize old music because I don’t give a shit.
February 25, 2014
Oxymoron begins in a way that you probably wouldn’t expect: with ScHoolboy Q’s eight-year-old daughter Joy saying “Hello… Hello? Fuck rap, my daddy a gangster” just before a little piano beat. Likely not understanding the weight of the words she’s speaking, little Joy delivers the perfect intro to Q’s paradoxical relationships with his own daughter.
Her innocence leading into the album’s opening track, the hard hitting “Gangsta” is the contrast that Oxymoron provokes through listening. It’s an album with two intertwined sides and Q in the middle trying to find the balance.
Kanye West is a god. End of review.
Were you expecting an unbiased recollection of the cavalcade of events that transpired during the Toronto stop of the Yeezus Tour? Well, you came to the wrong place. Just kidding, I’ll try my best out here.
Joining me is special guest, William Reid, who studies Radio and Television Arts with a minor in Ratchet Culture. He was also at the December 23rd show, the last stop of the Yeezus Tour. I figured that it would be interesting to get the perspective from two people in two different places in the arena. Continue reading yeezus tour review (feat. will aka dj ill will)
I’ve apparently had this blog for a year now because I’m doing my first ever sequel post, the second annual “best songs of the year as decided by me.” Last year’s list was child’s play. Ten songs? C’mon. This year I’ve upped that to 25, and frankly it wasn’t enough because I had to exclude six Kanye West songs. A real shame I know.
As I said last year, year end lists are stupid. Every publication makes one that I don’t agree with, so they’re all wrong in my opinion. Despite how stupid they are to read, they’re really fun to make and debate. Looking back on a year in music and arbitrarily deciding what songs or albums are better than others is incredibly vain, so it fits right up my body of work as a writer. I’m sure there will be no surprises as to who is number one on this list, but read it anyways. And then you can tell me how wrong I am after you’re done.
October 29, 2013
Is it possible to write a review about an Arcade Fire album and not sound pretentious? If you’re a writer from Pitchfork it sure seems impossible.
Of course that’s almost every Pitchfork review. About 10 per cent is about the music and what it sounds like, why it’s good or bad, etc. The other 90 per cent can veer into a number of topics from the history of the artist, their credibility, the album’s commentary on society as derived by the writer and what it means. Usually, it’s a bunch of nonsensical pandering to an elitist crowd of music snobs that rambles on aimlessly with little actual context to the music. It’s a writer saying “hi, I write for Pitchfork. I know some big words and I went to college.” Congratulations.
There’s something you should know about me, especially after reading most of these posts. I hate a lot of things. There are a lot of things that make my blood boil. One of those things is other people. Other people suck. If you don’t feel like this, you should probably go out more. Usually, I try to avoid being in large groups. Because people suck. But there are times when it’s unavoidable. And it seems like the worst in people is brought out in large crowds.
Now what I don’t hate is music. Especially seeing artists perform live. And that’s where my problems arise. I’m not rich. So I can’t afford a private show by the artist in my living room. It’s a sad reality for most of us. So I have to go see them in concert.
A concert is essentially combining something I love with something I hate. Usually what I love (the music) drowns out what I hate (everyone else), so I’ve yet to really have a negative concert experience. But there are still instances where my hatred for fellow man can’t be ignored. It seems as if all the biggest assholes in the world have conglomerated in to one room on a quest to ruin my one on one time with ______________ (musical act).
Usually it’s just one annoying thing, so my whole experience isn’t ruined and I just forget about it and enjoy the show. But this last concert was different.
I went to see Lorde at Danforth Music Hall thanks to a friend of mine providing a great early birthday present. She was flawless (read my review of her debut album here if you haven’t), but this isn’t about her. This is about everyone else there. It seems that every type of possible “concert asshole” was in attendance that night. Here’s a list of “concert assholes,” please don’t let this be you.
October 1, 2013
Ella Yelich O’Connor, or Lorde, is the new pop-star. The 16 year old songstress from New Zealand has been generating a significant amount of buzz after her now ubiquitous song, Royals, took the radio by storm. But she’s definitely not a one-hit wonder, not even close. She’s got talent most people wouldn’t believe came from a girl so young.
Her debut EP, The Love Club, released in March 2013, which originally featured Royals. The five song EP was good, with Bravado being a stand-out, but had a couple of songs that were not very listenable. She still needed some fine tuning.
The Love Club was evident of an artist still finding her sound, and that’s obviously the case considering it was her first EP. Usually it takes a long time for most artists to find their own sound. For great artists though, it usually comes rather quickly. Lorde took everything that was good about The Love Club and built on it to form something exceptionally diverse from anything else.
September 24, 2013
How long is this nigga really going to spend on the intro?
And I’m not talking about the album opener Tuscan Leather, a six minute intro that has Drake launching boasts and brags over a chopped and screwed Whitney Houston sample before the record really begins. It’s a statement. A song that Drake hopes the rest of his album can back up.
He says he can rap for an hour over this beat, and while the first four minutes is truly mesmerizing, you just hope he doesn’t as the song drags on for two minutes too long. But Tuscan Leather is Drake at his current best. Confidently spitting great bars (Like aye, B I got your CD, you get an E for effort) while constantly switching flows to keep things interesting.
It seems like the same song and dance every year. My first year at Ryerson we had Dragonette who has had probably one hit song ever. I didn’t go.
The next year was a massive upgrade I must admit, but probably only for a few people and especially not me, with Marianas Trench, Sean Kingston and Fefe Dobson. I didn’t go.
For some reason, despite the record stating otherwise, I was sort of optimistic about this year. Maybe, just maybe Ryerson would be able to field a relevant, decent, and somewhat popular artist to headline. Talented would be good too, but I wasn’t holding out.