Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top Ten Albums - Bottom Third

10.5 - The Messenger, Johnny Marr ~ I know this is the top ten, but I couldn't find a way to do just 10 albums.  This album is incredible and better my "honorable mentions", but it is missing the quality of lyrics needed to break through my list.  Of course if this album had this fabulous music and all the hooks and cleverness, we'd be dealing with the number one album of the last 25 years by the best band of my lifetime.   The best songs are when Johnny gets close, like on "The Crack Up".  The music and words spin effortlessly.  Every album Marr joins ends up being classic, and his first solo doesn't disappoint.

10 - Reflektor, Arcade Fire ~ Magic happens throughout this monster release.  From the starting disco beats of "Reflektor" to questions about the "Afterlife", You just don't want to stop listening.  However,  I'd prefer about 11-15 minutes less music as part of the album.  Those songs would have made great extras (and, I would have bought them).  They just get in the way of an otherwise brilliant set of songs.  At year's end, my favorite track is "Awful Sound".  Honestly though, I'll be listening to this album for the rest of my life, and I am sure my ranking will evolve.

9 (tie) - The Bones of What You Believe, Chvrches & Heartthrob, Tegan and Sara ~ With no disrespect given, these 2 albums were interchangeable when I wanted good electronica with female leads.  I actually had a playlist with the 2 on random so much , that I couldn't identify one from the other.  Chvrches bring back hooks from the 80s and sing about big concepts that seem important (just like they did in the 80s).  Tegan and Sara create perfect pop with catchy tunes and beats.  I suggest these albums for anyone who needs to clean the house and is inspired by sing along dance @ !

8 - AMOK, Atoms For Peace ~ Obviously, Thom Yorke is good at whatever he does (albeit with lots of click clacking).  The real joy of this album is the smooth groove from the underlying bass lines.  Opening with "Before Your Very Eyes" and the refrain to "look out the window", one is captured with a sense of pondering.  Regrets are explored in "Default", yet one keeps slowly dancing to the beats.  "Ingenue" continues drifting by with an interesting bass counterplay to the repetitive synth theme.  The speed picks up slightly as the songs move toward "Stuck Together Pieces", which is just to cool to even describe with words.  For an album with so many interesting parts, it ends up feeling like a simple collection of songs that weave together seamlessly. Turn it up, close your eyes and slide away!