Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Top 5 of 2008

So I'm going to post what would have been my entry to a music contest had I actually entered. I could blame the blackout last week for me missing the deadline, but really, I have no one or thing to blame but my own damn self. I'm still kicking myself for missing the cut off date, but hopefully you'll enjoy my musical ramblings.

Also, I would probably switch my #5, now that I've had some time to change my mind and say, screw Cancon! (and sorry Sari and Romy) I know the new Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion was technically released in 2009, but I feel like I need to mention this record because I've been glorifying it lately.

Otherwise #5 would be a toss-up between The Dodos' Visitor and Shugo Tokumaro's Exit.


When I found out about the contest, my immediate thought was to compare music to food. Both are integral to my life, and my choices for the top of 2008 this year are like well-prepared meals. The musicians take time and care to produce a fine album and they fill up my mind and leave me feeling incredibly satisfied after each listen. I know I'm only supposed to write something for the top album, but I felt like each one deserved a few sentences.

5) Ghost Bees - Tasseomancy is like a shot of schnapps after you've received a fright. The Halifax twins of Ghost Bees are spooky, little elfins making music that are like tales you tell around a fire. Everyone is huddled together wondering who is the next person to be collected by death. Their lyrics are fantastical tales and their voices are both creepy, sad and beautiful all at once.

4) El Guincho - Alegranza! is like a post-modern gazpacho made with crazy hot peppers and a manic chef on LSD. I love this album because it's like a uppity, ADD, Spanish Animal Collective.

3) Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago is a thick, warm, hearty stew slow-cooked over an open fire using wood you've chopped yourself. You can hear all the care that went into making this album, all the quiet reflection of the three months of isolation folk singer/songwriter Justin Vernon spent recording For Emma, Forever Ago. This album truly warms my soul.

2) Erykah Badu - New Amerykah, Part One: 4th World War. Ms. Badu may be a strict vegan, but New Amerykah is definitely the soul chicken dinner of albums this year. I love the beats, samples and melodies she uses. They fit well with her smooth, groovy voice. Whenever I listen to this album, I feel like I'm being fed a loving meal with a large family gathered around. We may fight, but I always know I can count on blood. (I'm a vegetarian, but I've always said that if there were a meat to turn me back to being an omnivore, it would be chicken!)

1) Chad Vangaalen - Soft Airplane is a musical sandwich, plain and simple. Like the humble sandwich, which easily fills up hungry tummies, Vangaalen's 2008 release is like a sandwich that fills up my musical hunger. His lyrics are the bread of a song, providing the structure, the very essence of a sandwich. The strength of his story-telling leaves me completely sated. The production of the songs, the melodies and instruments are like the filler of a sandwich. They can be simple like a peanut butter sandwich or a bologna sandwich, or they can be dressed up like a fancy roasted eggplant, hummus and avacado toasted sandwich. I want to say that "Willow Tree" alone is enough to make me let Soft Airplane take the top of the 2008 cake. He's the King Daddy of 200Great for me.

No comments: