So here is my top ten this year...it was an AMAZING year...both musically and personally.
1. The Avett Brothers, I and Love and You—This record grabbed me from the start. It is one of those times in your life where you think to yourself…does these guys get exactly where I am? This is a solid record from start to finish. CLEARLY my favorite record of the year…hands down. And I didn’t even know this band existed at the end of the year last year. UNREAL. Key Lyric, “grab your bags and grab your coat…tell the ones who need to know, we are headed north.”
2. Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix—Another very solid record…and if you would have asked me in August my record of the year…this would have been it. Phoenix have some of the most solid songwriting I have heard in years…and the songs just make you want to dance but at the same time listen so intently to the lyrics because you just don’t know what they are going to drop on you. Key Lyric, “Darling I’m down and lonely, When with the fortunate only, I’ve been looking for something else”
3. Harlem Shakes, Technicolor Health—What a fun record…seriously, these guys totally changed how I reel about pop music this year. Another dance your pants off while rocking out record (very similar in my mind to the Phoenix record) but pay attention, these guys drop some serious shit lyrically on you when you are least expecting it. Key Lyric, “I’m sick of holding on to nothing, when I just want to hold your hand.”
4. Jay Z, The Blueprint 3—I don’t even know what to say about Jay….he came through with this record. He delivered a solid strike and at age 40…seriously…we should all take note that Jay is the king of hip hop. Period. No one does it better. Key Lyric, “without a wrinkle in today, cause there’s no tomorrow, just some picture perfect day to last a whole lifetime, and it never ends cause all we have to do is hit rewind.”
5. Cymbals Eat Guitars, Why Are There Mountains—This record came way out of left field for me…like the Titus Andronicus record from last year. A great debut from a band with such potential. When I listen to this record, I can’t figure out if it is too hard of a listen for folks or too easy. Sometimes I just don’t get it….and then I do. Amazing. Key Lyric, “I've never loved you more than when you said I'm so scared”
6. Telekinesis, Telekinesis—How can you NOT love this record. An amazing debut that is the music Death Cab should be making right now. I really love the feel the structure and the context of this record. It is such an easy listen and you can’t not tap your toes as you listen. Key Lyric, “Woke up in another lifetime, it’s a shame it’s just not right now, dreaming of the coast of Carolina, dreaming all the ways that will make you smile now.”
7. Bon Iver, Blood Bank EP--Alright I know I need to do some explaining here. First off on principal alone, I would reem anyone who put an EP on their best records of the year list. Especially one with only 4 tracks on it and one of those songs is a strange digitally modified version of Justin Vernon. BUT, in my defense (keep reading DP), I did not hear For Emma, Forever Ago until after the year was over last year. And it should have been a top 3 record from last year. So this shows up on my list NOT only because the EP is amazing...but also because I totally missed out on him last year. So here it is...purists go ahead and rip me apart. Key Lyric, "The secret that we know, that we don't know how to tell, I'm in love with your honor, I'm in love with your cheeks."
8. Monsters of Folk, Monsters of Folk--First and foremost…this record could have been WAY BETTER! My expectations were WAY too high. So for a while I wouldn’t listen to this record. I mean you put Jim James, Conor Oberst, M. Ward, and Mike Mogis together and I am expecting the fucking world to change. But unfortunately it didn’t with this record. But if you can step back from the expectation (You should always have NO EXPECTATIONS!) and just listen…this is a wonderfully crafted record that we will all look back on someday and say…damn that is a good record. Key Lyric, “I needed you like you needed me . . .”
9. Old Canes, Feral Harmonic—Another record that totally took me by surprise! I just found this band because of the Saddle Creek connection and once I heard the record and saw the amazing limited edition packaging…these guys had me at hello. Sorry for the really overrated movie quote. Key Lyric, “There’s no you and there’s no me, everything is change, everything is working toward one end.”
10. TIE: Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, Outer South--Conor deserves number 10. He really does. There are just really some lackluster tracks on this record...specifically the ones he didn't write or sing. Conor lets the boys from the Mystic Valley Band write and sing some songs on this record and we all suffer. If you take out those songs and listen to just the Conor tracks, it's as good as his self-titled debut from last year. Key Lyric, "It makes everyone believe that there is nothing impossible when I'm with and you're with me.
10. TIE: Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon, End of the Day—I just wanted to be able to say to the DP that I have two hip hop records on my list. Kid Cudi can be a bit stoner at times…but for a hip hop artist he is shaping the game right now. He is like a young Andre 3000 but can rap like Jay or Kanye. Key Lyric, “I've got some issues that nobody can see, and all of these emotions are pouring outta me, I bring them to the light for you”