• The Best and... Not Best of Tegan & Sara: Album by Album

    Giu 20 2013, 1:25

    Here are my favorite and least favorite songs of each Tegan & Sara studio album (starting with the first that I'm comfortably familiar with:

    If It Was You (2002)

    Favorite: "I Hear Noises"
    Least Favorite: "Terrible Storm"

    So Jealous (2004)

    Favorite: "Where Does The Good Go"
    Least Favorite: "We Didn't Do It"

    The Con (2007)

    Favorite: "Knife Going In"
    Least Favorite: "Are You Ten Years Ago"

    Sainthood (2009)

    Favorite: "On Directing"
    Least Favorite: "Night Watch"

    Heartthrob (2013)

    Favorite: "How Come You Don't Want Me"
    Least Favorite: "I Couldn't Be Your Friend"
  • Favorite Albums, Favorite Artists #2 (Tegan & Sara, Amy Winehouse, M.I.A.)

    Nov 4 2011, 16:55

    Three more of my favorite artists, and what I consider to be their best work. 

    The Con - Tegan and Sara

    Difficulty of choice: [2/5]

    Tegan and Sara have some kind of a secret formula for making songs that I like, because it's a virtual guarantee that I'm going to enjoy at least 90% of the material on any album they release. But, The Con stands above the others. It's catchy, dark, slightly weird, and has two or three of my favorite songs, ever. 

    Favorite Songs
    "Like O, Like H"
    "Knife Going In"
    "Back in Your Head"
    "Call it Off"

    Frank - Amy Winehouse

    Difficulty of choice: [4/5]

    Back to Black is nearly as good and has just as many amazing songs as Frank, but I find myself using the skip button a little more often with the former than the latter, which gives the jazzier Frank the edge. 

    Favorite Songs
    "You Sent Me Flying"
    "F*ck Me Pumps"
    "Take the Box"
    "Love Is Blind"
    "What Is It About Men?"

    MAYA - M.I.A.

    Difficulty of choice: [4/5]

    MAYA took longer to grow on me than M.I.A.'s other two albums, but once it hooks you, it hooks you hard. Her sound bounces all over the place, and that's an absolute compliment. Choosing between this and Kala is tough, but gun to my head, I'm going with MAYA.

    Favorite Songs
    "Tell Me Why"
    "It Iz What It Iz"
    "Born Free"
  • Favorite Albums, Favorite Artists #1 (Joanna Newsom, T.I., Regina Spektor)

    Nov 3 2011, 17:53

    This is the first entry in a (hopefully) ongoing list featuring my favorite albums by my favorite artists. I'll pick whomever I feel like from my Top 75 or so artists, select the album (or EP) of theirs that I like most, give a few (or maybe more than a few) reasons why, and list a couple of my favorite songs from that album. 

    Some discographies will be harder to narrow down to a favorite than others, but I actually look forward to that part of the decision (and I'll even rate the difficulty of choosing the best album for each artist). And artists with only one album won't necessarily be disqualified (hey, I might just feel like gushing about why they're so awesome), but I will try to avoid doing that since it, you know, kind of defeats the whole point of this. 

    Okay. Are you excited? Let's pretend you are. 

    Have One on Me - Joanna Newsom

    Difficulty of choice: [2/5]

    It's only fair that I begin this with the album that's consumed my life (and more importantly, my ears) for most of 2011. Layered, self-referential, and sonically gorgeous, Joanna crafts songs that only get better the more you listen to them (and somewhat restrains that wail of hers, as well). She tells a story that stretches from the first words of "Easy" to the last strands of "It Does Not Suffice", and it's a heartbreaker. Easily one of my favorite albums, ever.

    Favorite Songs
    "In California"
    "You and Me, Bess"
    "It Does Not Suffice"
    "Go Long"
    "On a Good Day"
    "Good Intentions Paving Company"
    "Baby Birch"
    "Ribbon Bows"
    Basically the entire album, it you haven't figured that out by now. Don't make me list them all, because I will.

    King - T.I.

    Difficulty of choice: [3/5]

    T.I. is at his best when he's being candidly honest about his life or he's contemptuously raging at his detractors and enemies, and King delivers on both fronts. It's his perfect mix of braggadocio, bangers, and introspection. King edges out Urban Legend, Trap Muzik and Paper Trail as the most consistent album so far from the King of the South.

    Favorite Songs
    "Live in the Sky"
    "What You Know"
    "You Know Who"

    Soviet Kitsch - Regina Spektor 

    Difficulty of choice: [4/5]

    I love all Regina's albums, but the spectacular trio of songs that end Soviet Kitsch seal the deal in my mind. If you ever wondered what kind of music a quirky, occasionally foul-mouthed Russian-American angel would make, Soviet Kitsch will answer your question. 

    Favorite Songs
    "Chemo Limo"
    "Ghost of Corporate Future"
  • Looking Ahead

    Gen 15 2009, 7:26

    I thought that I would write a short journal about some of the albums that I'm looking forward to in 2009. The anticipated release dates are all from Metacritic or Wikipedia.

    February 10th
    It's Not Me, It's You - Lily Allen
    I've been avoiding listening to the album preview because I want the experience to be completely fresh when I buy it. I'm pretty excited about this one.

    Everything Comes and Goes - Michelle Branch
    I loved pre-Wreckers Michelle, but will she still be as good? We'll see.

    February 24th
    Padded Room - Joe Budden
    Mixtapes are nice, but putting together a strong album is a different matter. Can Joe go 2 for 2?

    March 17th
    [Title TBA] - Kelly Clarkson
    I've only just started to warm up to My December a little, so I won't be too disappointed if she takes this one into more of a pure pop/rock direction.

    March 24th
    Hazards of Love - The Decemberists
    It's The Decemberists. Surely you're intelligent enough to not need more of an explanation than that.

    Unspecified Release Dates
    Relapse - Eminem
    Detox - Dr. Dre
    The Blueprint 3 -Jay-Z
    [Title TBA] - Amy Winehouse
    [Title TBA] - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    [Title TBA] - Meg & Dia
  • The New Last.fm! Get you some!

    Mag 30 2008, 19:06

    Anyone with $3 to spare should buy a month's subscription and mosey on over to the beta site so that they can test out the new and improved Last.fm! I'm already hopelessly in love with the instant chart updates (!!!!!instant!!!!!) and the new Library. The overall look may take a while to adjust to, but it is still in the beta stage. Our feedback will help to shape the site that we all love, so everyone get in there and make your comments known to the admins! Who knows what the final build will be! As an added bonus, all interested parties (yes, all zero of you) can check out my charts in their true and perfect form (the accidental listening data erasure is temporarily and magically undone!). And yes, the YYY's are still numero uno.
  • Rilo Kiley Top 11

    Feb 28 2008, 6:36

    It's been quite a while since I did my first Top 11 list, so I felt that it was time to write another one. This time I'm tackling Rilo Kiley, and while their songs weren't quite as hard to sort through and choose from as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were, I still feel like I'm having to leave several songs that I absolutely love on the cutting room floor. So, without further ado, I present my 11 all-time favorite Rilo Kiley songs.

    11. More Adventurous
    A great song from the very beginning. How can you resist that harmonica and Jenny's opening lyrics?

    And it's only doubts that we're counting
    On fingers broken long ago

    10. Accidntel Deth
    This one slowly grew on me, but now it's not odd for me to wake up with it playing in my head. The verse about Jenny's father and the deer is golden.

    9. Emotional (Until Crickets Guide You Back)
    My years of searching for new Rilo Kiley tunes between More Adventurous and the release of Under the Blacklight led me to a few gems, including this one. In my opinion, this song serves as sort of a bridge between the distinct sounds of those two albums.

    8. With Arms Outstretched
    This song seems virtually designed to be heard live, but unfortunately it wasn't one of the songs they performed in New Orleans. It's completely impossible to not sing along to this song, as you can hear on the album version :)

    7. The Good That Won't Come Out
    Another song with a fantastic beginning (I'm a huge fan of strong song intros). The fantastic beginning eventually swells into an equally fantastic ending. One of their deepest and most heartbreaking songs.

    6. Hail to Whatever You Found in the Sunlight That Surrounds You
    I love this song because it's so un-Rilo Kiley. It doesn't really remind me of any of their other music. Or anyone else's. Good stuff.

    5. A Better Son/Daughter
    I'm not so sure that this song is about bipolar disorder, sounds to me like it's about any normal person with issues, problems with the parents, lots of shitty days, and a hearty helping of good ol' anxiety. It actually end pretty uplifting song, IMHO. The last 2:58 are sublime.

    4. Silver Lining
    I love the song and I love the video. I always use Silver Lining to introduce new people to Rilo Kiley, because I genuinely cannot imagine someone not liking this song, no matter what their musical inclination is. The best track on Under the Blacklight by far.

    3. Don't Deconstruct
    The first Rilo Kiley song that I absolutely fell in love with. Is that a horn used throughout the song, or a trumpet? Either way, horn/trumpet = win. Colors seem darker in light? Yes, that is definitely not a good sign.

    2. Pictures of Success
    I clearly remember the very first time I heard this song. It was winter 2005, and I was walking back from class to my dorm room one morning with a magazine in one hand and coffee in the other. I stayed outside the dorm and listened to this song twice on my iPod before I could go inside :)

    These are times that can't be weathered and
    We have never been back there since then

    1. A Man/Me/Then Jim
    Three stories, one inevitable ending...the slow fade of love. My favorite Rilo Kiley song, ever.
  • !noitidE sdrawkcaB ehT !5 setirovaF tnerruC yM

    Gen 27 2008, 8:12

    Newly (or not so newly) discovered songs that I love so much, I simply have to share!

    Pop In, Pop Out - Plastiscines

    Please, please find this song and listen to it. After you have, the following statement will make perfect sense. This song is EXACTLY like being in an Austin Powers movie.

    Love Is a Losing Game - Amy Winehouse

    Oozes the raw emotion that so many modern songs lack. Maybe the best track on Back to Black.

    Big Brother - Kanye West

    My favorite Kanye songs are always his most personal and revealing ones. This one reminds me of Through the Wire in many ways, even though it's about a completely different subject.

    Skeleton Song - Kate Nash

    Another week, another favorite Kate Nash song. Oddly, I didn't like Skeleton Song at all the first few times I heard it.

    Dumb It Down - Lupe Fiasco

    A great song for all fans of intelligent rap. Which seems to be a rapidly shrinking group these days :(

    Havoc in Heaven- Jesca Hoop

    I have no idea what she's singing about, but it sounds awesome and therefore I support it 100%.

    Get Sick Soon - Hello Saferide

    Only a Swede could make a sweet song about hoping that her loved one gets the flu.

    First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes

    Playing this song for your girlfriend will raise the romance levels by at least 25% on Feb. 14.

    Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song) - Fiona Apple

    I've developed a bit of a crush on Fiona Apple in the last few weeks. Before, I thought that she was a sadder version of Regina Spektor, but she is quite different and pretty amazing in her own way.

    I Don't Sleep Well - Hello Saferide

    Another Hello Saferide song that gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from me. The way that Annika pronounces the word "drunk" is the most charming thing that I think I have ever heard.
  • Grammy Picks

    Gen 23 2008, 6:45

    The 50th Annual Grammy Awards are only a few weeks away, so I thought I would jot down a few predictions about the categories I actually care about to see how many (if any) I get right.

    Album of the Year

    Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace - Foo Fighters
    These Days - Vince Gill
    River: The Joni Letters - Herbie Hancock
    Graduation - Kanye West
    Back to Black - Amy Winehouse

    My Pick: Back to Black
    Glaring Omissions: Arular - M.I.A., Icky Thump - The White Stripes, Neon Bible - Arcade Fire

    Ummm...who is Herbie Hancock? At least I've HEARD of Vince Gill. Amy definitely gets the nod over Kanye and the Fighters (Echoes is decent, but how do they get nominated when M.I.A. didn't?), but I'll still be satisfied if Graduation wins.

    Song of the Year

    Before He Cheats - Carrie Underwood
    Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's
    Like a Star - Corinne Bailey Rae
    Rehab - Amy Winehouse
    Umbrella - Rihanna

    My Pick: Rehab

    I never thought that I'd see the day when the Plain White T's had a chance to win a Grammy. Kudos to them, but I'd be really surprised to see them climb that stage on Grammy night. Rehab may not be Amy's best single, but it's arguably become her signature song, and I give it an edge in a mostly three-way race with Carrie Underwood and Rihanna.

    Best New Artist

    Taylor Swift
    Amy Winehouse

    My Pick: Amy Winehouse (surprise!)
    Glaring Omission: Lily Allen

    Seriously, I'm not some Amy Winehouse Superfan, but she deserves to win this category, if no other. My thoughts on the other contenders? Feist is wonderful, and she'd definitely get my pick if Amy wasn't here. Paramore is cool too, but not enough to sway my (admittedly non-existent) vote. Taylor Swift has no shot, and I don't know who or what Ledisi is, nor do I care enough to look the information up. I'm very surprised to see that Lily Allen didn't get a nod this time, let's hope that Kate Nash gets some recognition at the 2009 Grammys.

    Best Alternative Music Album

    Alright, Still - Lily Allen
    Neon Bible - Arcade Fire
    Volta - Bjork
    Wincing the Night Away - The Shins
    Icky Thump - The White Stripes

    My Pick: Icky Thump

    This could be the strongest and most eclectic category this year. All of these albums would be fine choices, but I don't think The White Stripes have ever lost this category when they've been nominated.

    Best Rap Song

    Ayo Technology - 50 Cent Featuring Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
    Big Things Poppin' (Do It) - T.I.
    Can't Tell Me Nothing - Kanye West
    Crank That (Soulja Boy) - Soulja Boy
    Good Life - Kanye West Featuring T-Pain

    My Pick: Can't Tell Me Nothing

    Two nominations for Kanye! My choice is Can't Tell Me Nothing, it was one of my top songs of 2007. I'm surprised to see that Stronger didn't get nominated over Good Life.

    Best Rap Album

    Finding Forever - Common
    Kingdom Come - Jay-Z
    Hip-Hop is Dead - Nas
    T.I. vs. T.I.P. - T.I.
    Graduation - Kanye West

    My Pick: Graduation

    Another very strong category, I pretty much love all these albums. American Gangster would have gotten my vote over Graduation if it would have been released early enough to be nominated this year.
  • A Slight Change of Pace

    Gen 15 2008, 2:29

    I just saw a journal a moment ago in which someone listed at least one negative thing about his Top 20, and I happen to think this is a refreshing idea. It'll be nice to write something that's not gushing-fan-speak for a change, and a little constructive criticism is usually a good thing, no?

    1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

    Ummmm....damn, this is going to be tough. Well....let's skip this one.

    2. Jay-Z

    He has terrible judgment when it comes to signing other artists. He should let others judge talent, while he focus on doing what he does best. Oh, and please, no more duets with Beyoncé, ok? '03 Bonnie and Clyde was good, but every song that they have done since then has been an unmitigated disaster. Especially Hollywood. *shudder*

    3. Rilo Kiley

    If I ever hear another song like Dejalo from them, they will be deleted from my life. Not really...but please, just don't.

    4. Coldplay

    I thought X&Y was a great album, but nothing can surpass the genius that was Parachutes. I hope the sound of their next album falls closer to that of the beginning of their career, as opposed to more recent songs.

    5. Meg & Dia

    Stop touring all the damn time! Meg & Dia have literally been doing nothing but touring since I started to listening to them in '05. At the very earliest, it will be months before they can get into the studio to record new songs :(

    6. Lil' Wayne

    That faux Jamaican accent that he uses from time to time is a gimmick. A bad gimmick. He doesn't need it.

    7. Amy Winehouse

    Let's leave the blond tresses for the Playmates, ok? And come to the South and let us feed you some real food. I shouldn't be able to see your ribs AND your heart.

    8. The White Stripes

    I could either (A) freely admit that there is nothing even remotely uncomplimentary to be said about The White Stripes, or (B) sit here straining to think of something negative for 10 minutes and give myself a headache, before finally coming to the same conclusion. So...yeah, no complaints from me.

    9. Tegan and Sara

    Are You Ten Years Ago was a blight on an otherwise flawless album. Also, I completely respect the whole lesbian thing, but damn that is a waste of two little Canadian hotties.

    10. Regina Spektor

    If anyone says one negative thing about Regina, I will punch them with a brick. She's an angel.

    11. The Like

    See Meg & Dia. Being an artist means that you have to actually release new music from time to time, you know?

    12. Kanye West

    Not much negative stuff to say about this cat. Those window blinds/sunglasses looked a little silly.

    13. T.I.

    I thought that T.I. vs. T.I.P. was a clever idea...until I remembered that Cassidy had done the same exact thing a few years ago. And Eminem has dabbled in it as well. Furthermore, both of them did it better. All of T.I.P.'s stuff was great, but every song on the T.I. portion sounded the same (and boring).

    14. Nelly Furtado

    The new, glamorous and club-ready Nelly Furtado is great, but I can't be the only person who misses the original, folksy one. I'm not complaining that much, though. She's too talented to stick to only one genre of music.

    15. The Decemberists

    I'm drawing a blank, here. How about a negative thing about me? I don't listen to them nearly as much as I should.

    16. The Strokes

    They should have done a whole album with Regina Spektor, not just one song. This was a MAJOR mistake on their part. Also, if we have to wait years for another Strokes album (which seems very likely), it will make me positively distraught. Hahaha, positively distraught is an odd phrase, isn't it? What part of being distraught could be described as positive? Anyway.

    17. Joss Stone

    Her albums are always so inconsistent. Half of each one will be incredible, and the other half will be a forgettable bore. Let's hope that the next one will be strong from beginning to end.

    18. Clipse

    There's never been a better rap duo, or one that suffers from more frustrating delays between albums (which I admit, is hardly their fault). Anyone want to take a guess at how long it will be until the next album? I think another two years is foolishly optimistic.

    19. Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins

    I have a grand total of 15 unique Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins tracks. Add in all the live and acoustic versions, and I'm still looking at a meager 42 songs. That is simply unacceptable. I KNOW that they've written more songs, they're just too greedy and selfish to let us hear them. So very, very cold-hearted.

    20. M.I.A.

    M.I.A. is beautiful and unbelievably original. Which means that it's time for another negative about me, because she certainly doesn't bring many to mind. Hmmm...when my listening data was lost at the end of 2006, M.I.A. was in my Top 10 artists. A brief glace at my charts today reveals that she rests all the way down at number 20, despite the fact that she released an incredible new album last year. The shame, the shame.
  • My Current Favorites...4!

    Gen 10 2008, 6:25

    First one of 2008, so yahoo! Anyway, here are the songs that I'm currently obsessed with.

    Bridges and Balloons - Joanna Newsom

    A great opening song for a very good album, I can only imagine how amazing it would sound live.

    Mariella - Kate Nash

    A very charming song, in a Regina Spektor kind of way (which is the best way). I'm so glad that I decided to give Kate a chance, she's so much more than a Lily Allen knock-off.

    I Need You - Alicia Keys

    I really hope this one gets released as a single. As good as anything she's done, IMO.

    I Wish I Was Someone Better - Blood Red Shoes

    Their debut album is just as good as I hoped it would be. This is my favorite song from Box of Secrets, after my first few listens.

    Take the Box - Amy Winehouse

    Is it still necessary for me to explain why I love any Amy Winehouse song? This one sounds extremely painful, and that's saying something.

    See You Soon - Coldplay

    I've been wanting to listen to Coldplay again lately, and this song seems to be the one I've been playing the most.

    Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above - CSS

    Wine then bed then more then again
    Wine then bed then more then again

    How can you not love a song with lyrics THAT awesome? I'm gonna be loving CSS for a long time. And now I may actually listen to this Death from Above album that's been sitting on my computer for about a year now.

    You're a Loose Cannon McArthur...But You Get the Job Done - The Most Serene Republic

    I'm not completely sold on The Most Serene Republic, yet. They sound like a mix of Broken Social Scene, The Arcade Fire and Stars, but I'm not sure if I like them as much as those great bands. I am, however, sold on this particular song. Gotta love the way it begins.

    Wildcat! - Be Your Own Pet

    Short and sweet, just like I like 'em. I wish more of their songs were as fun as this one.

    The Con - Tegan and Sara

    After I saw the video, this jumped from being a 4 to a 5-star song. By the time I FINALLY get tired of The Con (the album), it will probably (and hopefully) be time for Tegan and Sara to release their next album :D