Hello friends. I believe Weekly Download is five years old. As has been the case three years running, a summer of discontent lead to a scheme about this very post being my big goodbye and finally turning loose of this pretentious thing.
I told a few of you and was met with moderately vehement “don’ts”. I told a few others and was met with the incredulity that only comes from years of scanning through my bullshit.
So it’s been five years. How else to commemorate than to give to the 10 albums and the 16 best songs of the WD era (2009-2014)(N.B. Which also, as luck would have it, coincides with the first five years of the second decade of the new millennium). Then I’ll give you a weepy and tell you how much I appreciate you reading.
Notes on the list: No more quasi-music critic bullshit. I’m giving you my 10 favorite albums and 16 favorite songs. But anyway, you know where they’re coming from, and I’ve made most you listen to at least some of them. The rankings in this list are literally in the order I thought of them. And man, do I know I’ve fucked this list up. But the first draft of my tastes seemed the most honest. Agree?
10. Place holder for 2014 albums I so far dearly love and will only regret they’re not here as I reflect on this list in 20 years: Horse Thief: Fear in Bliss; John Fullbright: Songs; Spoon: They Want My Soul; Sturgill Simpson: Metamodern sounds in County Music (N.B. In case anyone wanted a preview of 2014’s top ten…)
9. Fuck 9th place. Three way tie between: Undun by the Roots (N.B. In my opinion their Magnum Opus); The Monitor by Titus Andronicus (N.B. Absolutely the most genius punk album I have ever heard); and Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City by Kendrick Lamar (N.B. Without a doubt, the single most unforgivable overlook in The. History. Of. WD. So good and so under my radar when it dropped that I want to punch myself in the face every time I listen to it for not offering it up to you.)
8. Transferrance by Spoon – I’d say this is the album that made me fall in love with Spoon. And now that I’m a legit Spoon fan boy, it is prolly their darkest album. Transferrence is the night time, the all night party, the dread, and They Want My Soul was the bright but caustic morning of repurposed regrets. Here’s to the night time.
7. Boys and Girls by Alabama Shakes – There is no band/album in WD’s history that I take anything approaching the discovery/introduction pride than I’ve done giving you Alabama Shakes. It got played pretty much top to bottom from a juke box in a bar I was in this week. Damn it’s still good and still makes me excited about this bands’ future. But man their present is wonderful.
6. The Lion’s Roar by First Aid Kit – Nothing I’ve listened to in the last 5 years can soothe me like this does. Buff out rough edges. Calm a frazzled mind. Triage for my soul. I put the needle to this so many times in 2012, that somehow above all the other stunning music in that overstuffed year, The Lion’s Roar won. Weird.
5. Celebration Rock by Japandroids – You’re having one of those eye-roll at WD moments (N.B. That every single one of you have), and I don’t give a shit. This album gives me rock-n-roll goose bumps every time I hear it. That alone puts it on this list.
4. Blunderbuss by Jack White – I think I’ve made it clear how much I love surly Jack Gillis III and his resting bitch-face. He’s maybe a little over-exposed now in the Fall of 2014, but in the Spring of 2012, it felt like I hadn’t heard him since the face-melting opening bars of You Don’t Know What Love Is, and I had missed him. Blunderbuss scratched every conceivable itch, and cemented his place on the Mt. Rushmore of post millennium rock.
3. The Suburbs by Arcade Fire – There is a permanence to this album that I sensed after the first several times I listened to it. It’s an album that in this fragmented global musical zeitgeist came the closest to reminding me there are still such things as The Biggest Band in the World (N.B. a title long abdicated by U2 and in turn demapped (N.B. ups to DFW on that verb) by this summer’s conniving iTunes stunt which when I consider came from the band who gave us Achtung Baby kinda makes me ill.) Their was void in the Important Rock world and Arcade Fire filled it in a spectacular way. I do this list a year ago (N.B. Hell, maybe a month ago) and the Suburbs is number 1. And I still know it’s more important that 1 and 2, but as stated above, I’m being honest with you.
2. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West – This fucking guy. You’re allowed to hate him. Fuck. I do sometimes. But it’s like hating the sunlight. And this album is the sun in the solar system of hip hop.
1. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend – Part of me wants to call Vampire Weekend the little band that could. But that seems…I don’t know…condecending. 11 (or 12) on this list would prolly be Contra their second album. But this is Vampire Weekend perfected. And they are smart, insightful, witty, talented, and important in ways I only wish I was. Listening to this reminds me of that, but it doesn’t bring me down. It invigorates me. And that’s something.
See you next week.