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Sunday, December 8, 2013
Purple State of Craig
Because the conversation continues….
With bit torrent sites limiting music collections only to the size of a hard drive, I would suggest that there remains no greater complement to a musician than buying their album. As an ‘old school’ music aficionado, I’ll take it a step further. While my favorite downloads of 2010 were Sufjan Stevens’ enchanted E.P. “All Delighted People” and Titus Andronicus’ Civil War salvo “The Monitor,” the real measure of fandom involves getting in a car and going on a search. So what compact discs do you go to a store and buy? These are the records that attracted both my attention and money in 2010 (ranked according to how often they spun in my car stereo).
Ridiculously ambitious statement from our favorite musical lightning rod. Started with an array of amazing leaks and downloads. Hinted at with a scintillating apology/rebuttal to Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards. Launched with the most visionary music video of 2010. Kanye’s “Twisted Fantasy” arrived so late in the year that it will likely be the most listened to and discussed album of 2011.
A requiem from Mark Linkous (a.k.a. Sparklehorse) who checked out on this life far too early. This was his final project, a dark experiment featuring cameos from Julian Casablancas, Black Francis, the Flaming Lips, and another great loss, Vic Chestnut. It was accompanied by David Lynch’s always haunting photographs. Southern Gothic at its spooky best.
How can two people make so much glorious, fuzz toned, noise? An inspiration to garage bands everywhere. What other white boys would dare to channel the Muscle Shoals Sound? Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney rawk.
Proof that contentment can provide plenty of creative spark. What used to be songs about the struggles to get pregnant have become peaens to parenthood. Joyful lullabies designed for all ages by Deb Talan and Steve Tannen.
Extending their ongoing homage to Bruce Springsteen for a third, thrilling time. So few artists even dare to care about blue collar workers and the former American Dream. I’ll take the next best facsimile in a year in which the Boss fails to release a new record.
Dour, depressive, and downright irresistible. Nobody makes misery sound so melodic. The National summon the spirits of the dear, departed Joy Division. Turn down the lights, grab a bottle of whiskey, and get real, real gone.
In our era of gnawing poverty and doubt, John Legend summons the spirit of the Civil Rights era with a collection of soul chestnuts curated by ?uestlove of the Roots. Shout outs to Curtis Mayfield, Teddy Pendergrast, and Marvin Gaye. Play it loud!
Growing as an artist with more electronics than ever. More side step than step forward. But perhaps an important transitional record. Stevens’ summons the apocalyptic visions of Royal Robertson into his own cautionary tale.
Nick Cave and and the Bad Seeds deliver an improvisational nightmare. Letting the ID run wild in the studio, they conjure up some scary blues. Again. Need a Worm Tamer to sooth your Heathen Child? Count on the Bad Seeds.
Not quite up to the rapturous levels of Part One (My favorite album of 2008). But every rare Badu vibe deserves a serious listen. Don’t be fooled by her Window Seat video stunt. This is laid back neo soul of the highest order.
TOMORROW: The Top Ten of 2010
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