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Freaking finally. Ritual Union is probably in my list of top 5 growers. I thought I didn’t like it at all but then suddenly found myself playing it over and over. I’m not sure if it ‘s better than their s/t but it’s way better than Machine Dreams.
Either/Or has to be #1 for me. I think the other albums can fall where they may depending on how and when they were approached (they are all good), but I always felt Either/Or was his ultimate statement as an artist. There is a reason the next album was so extravagant. Elliott Smith was done with the introspective stripped down sound because he perfected it and was ready to explore more. His introspective stripped down sound was also his best work…people get into Elliott Smith because his music is so personal and nothing was as personal and accomplished as Either/Or.
It’s not just Spotify that is causing this…it’s the sheer volume of music that is pushed out today. Any Joe Shmoe can record an album in his room with the right equipment, so there is a lot more to sift through. While that means the top 40 crowd will more easily be lead to what the labels want them to enjoy, it also means that a music lover like myself and many who post here will dive into something with even more enthusiasm. Spotify gives me easy access to the overload of music, so if I don’t like something I didn’t just waste money or even my time downloading it. Just the time it took to listen to it. That also means when I find something I enjoy, I find that I enjoy it that much more because 1) I really had to search for that great album and 2) I got to sift through so much crappy music that I understand how hard it must be to make something enjoyable. So I may not be enjoying music the same way I did in high school, but I have evolved with the times and appreciate the new way to listen it.
Yeah, that statement is going to have to be about 2000 words longer to compete with the Moz.
Man, I kind of thought everyone was being sarcastic about Yeezus. Then it goes and makes #1 on the site’s list and #2 here. I guess everyone actually likes it? I still don’t see it. Run the Jewels was much better. Hell, I even enjoyed Trap Lord more.
Glad to see my pick made #5, though. A lot of my other favorites made it up there as well.
I’ve got a lot in this list to listen to, but I thought Cthonic’s new album Bu Tik was really damn good…their best since Seediq Bale. Not sure how much love these guys really get in the metal community, but I really love em.
This is a reunion I would pay good money to see. Foxtrot, Selling England By the Pound, and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway were on heavy rotation during my prog phase and still get regular plays to this day. I’ll even give Peter Gabriel a pass on the costumes.
Yeah, I was gonna say…did everyone forget about the new BoC album? I’m glad it was going to get an honorable mention, but I definitely feel it was top 50 material. If The Field made it, I think BoC definitely made it.
Album: My Bloody Valentine – mbv
Even if it wasn’t good, I would have probably put that just out of loyalty to the band and the fact that it’s been over 20 years…but thankfully it was really damn good.
Song: Foals – My Number
I put Alpine – Hands, but completely forgot about that Foals song.
Video – Alpine – Hands
Best New Act: Oliver Wilde
The best interviews on Colbert happen when the interviewee doesn’t know what he’s about and think he’s serious. It makes for some great underhanded criticism. Like the Rick Santorum interview the other night…it was a mistake for him to show up but damn it was great to see him squirm a bit. It gets awkward in a slightly painful way when Colbert doesn’t really have anything to criticize and is just trying to make some comedy, which is what happened here. Could have been worse, though.
By the end, I forgot he started with complaints about hunting. Gotta love how he always brings it back to some good ol’ royals hate.
I’ve found something to enjoy in nearly every Of Montreal album and moments of genius in nearly every later album, but I’ve always come back to the Sunlandic Twins. When I listen to something like Skeletal Lamping (also an amazing album, don’t get me wrong) I find that my ears are constantly searching for those moments of sheer pop genius that I know Kevin Barnes is capable of. If I had not started off with Sunlandic Twins, I would not have known those moments were possible. I would have just heard a bunch of schizophrenic snippets not culminating in anything. The Sunlandic Twins has helped me appreciate everything else by this band, so it’s at the top for me. Contextually, I’m sure having that schizophrenic side in many of his later albums helps me to appreciate the brilliant pop moments all the more, but the fact that Sunlandic Twins is proof he is able to make a great pop album top to bottom makes me wish he wrote that way a little more.
Still, I respect how much he experiments. I’d take that over stagnation any day.
Stephanie Dosen sounds nearly identical to Elizabeth Fraser in that song. Still, it’s pretty enjoyable. I’ve always wondered what Simon Raymonde was up to after the Cocteau Twins.
I’m imagining her stumbling across that gesture and thinking, “That’s IT…it was all about religion. Boom.”
I doubt she even knew that hand gesture existed until recently. Otherwise, why not use that excuse right after the incident?
Honestly, this is all pretty funny…I even get the impression that MIA thinks it’s funny as well.
The Smashing Pumpkins are hands down my favorite band (see my reply above) so I was very excited to see this list. And the writeup is perfect. Ryan nailed everything about this band. For every up and down I had in my younger days, the Smashing Pumpkins had a song for it. I am not about celebrity worship at all, but if I ever met Billy Corgan I would probably shit my pants. I nearly did when I saw them during the Zeitgeist tour…I was up front and screamed at Billy about how much he rocked during a jam session and he put his hands together and bowed at me. The fact that my childhood idol acknowledged my existence really affected me on a way I had never expected. I was simultaneously thrilled and disappointed with myself. But whatever…I’d do it again.
As for the ranking…yes, Siamese Dream is their best album, no contest so there are no issues there. I will say that the albums are ranked pretty much exactly how I would expect them to be ranked for your everyday SP fan (it’s probably the same ranking I would use if I were going to recommend any of their albums to a friend). That’s probably how these rankings should work, but of course everyone who dives into these albums will have a different opinion. My ranking would be:
Siamese Dream > Adore > Mellon Collie >MACHINA I/II > Gish > Pisces Iscariot > Oceania > Zeitgeist > Teargarden EPs
If TAFH was included it would go between Pisces Iscariot and Oceania.
Oceania also impressed me, but I think it could still be better. It gives me hope, but I can almost feel the paranoia that the other members feel when working with Billy…almost as if they are too petrified to play an out of place note for fear that they might get sacked. Mike does a respectable Jimmy impersonation…but it’s too mechanical. Jimmy could lay it down and it sounded effortless. After watching “Oceania Live in NYC” and seeing the few moments the other band members were allowed to let loose, I know they all have it in them. I hope they get it out for the next album.
Same. I had seen their videos on MTV and thought they were ok, but I didn’t think much of it. I got Siamese Dream just on a whim…I needed some new music that weekend I suppose. My first thought was, “Where has this been my whole life?” I am an audiophile because of that album alone. How it could be so heavy and so melodic at the same time was beyond me. I also had to know how he did it, so it also inspired me to pick up a guitar…I practiced until I could play every track. I still love playing those songs, too.
Good points there, but I think to an extent artists like Bowie and McCartney have earned the right to do whatever they want in most fans’ eyes. They may not be delivering something completely fresh, but they have in the past. They paid their dues, so to speak. Bands like Best Coast still have something to prove, and while that something might just be consistently solid guitar-pop, it may not be enough for longevity.
In the end, Best Coast’s music is highly enjoyable. I like it a lot. The real question for me isn’t “should I dislike this band because of sameness?”…because it really is their choice what music to create and if I don’t like it I just won’t listen to it. The question is more, “will I still reach for a Best Coast album 10 years from now?” If a band is striving to be remembered like the Led Zeppelins and Pink Floyds of the world, they do need that big hit album…but then they also need to expand after that point. Or at least have an incredibly unique sound that is instantly recognizable (like AC/DC…samey? yes…but anyone else trying that style out is immediately disregarded as an AC/DC clone).
If Best Coast aren’t aiming for that, then by all means they can keep doing what they are doing. But after 3 or 4 of the same album, I’m going to move on and find 10 other bands that can fill the hole they leave behind. I’m still on the fence about whether or not Best Coast fits in with this…but when I see creative potential in a band, I get really disappointed when they don’t capitalize on it.
So would you say it would be more appropriate to criticize Best Coast for sameness if they had a hit album and started selling out stadiums?
I think bands that successfully experiment with their sound are bands that know how to maintain the very basic element of what their sound is in the first place. Radiohead may have tossed their guitars for Kid A, but you can hear traces of their “Radiohead-ism” in all their music. It’s when a band doesn’t know how to keep that root in their experiments that things flounder and they lose fans. In fact, I feel every band will face that problem. Sticking with the Radiohead example, while they have consistently offered unique sounding albums, there is no denying that they are starting to sound much more similar than their early days. The jump from In Rainbows to the King of Limbs was not that huge when compared to OK Computer and Kid A. I think they have become too comfortable with said Radiohead-ism and don’t know how to expand from there without losing that element.
Still, bands like Radiohead love to experiment and they are known for that. Then there are bands that I feel truly just love playing the music they love to play and don’t really care to find a new sound. While there are bands that do it to keep the sales going (I think this is why Nickelback gets so much crap) there are bands that just want to play. I think Best Coast falls into that category.
I do have to say, though, the first band that always comes to my mind when the “It all sounds the same” issue comes up is AC/DC. Will they ever stop?
This is the album that made me an audiophile. The moments where I listen to new music and think to myself “where has this been all my life?” are now few and far between, but I still remember that moment.
This album inspired me to learn guitar…I HAD to know how he was doing what he was doing. It also made buying a Big Muff a must. I finally got to check off an item on my bucket list and play my favorite song – Hummer – live. I felt like such a rock star droppin panties with that smooth solo at the end. It feels so good to play…
This has got to be one of the best descriptions of Tool I’ve heard. I completely agree. One day I realized Tool doesn’t really take themselves that seriously, they ask “how serious do you take us?” Just look at Maynard’s other projects..more of his humor leaks in. How can a guy that starts a band called Puscifer be taking things totally serious?
I started listening to Radiohead after Kid A/Amnesiac had come out. I hadn’t heard anything by them and I was in a massive grunge phase at the time. “Creep” played on MTV and actually became the first Radiohead song I ever heard…and convinced me to start with Pablo Honey. After listening to that I had absolutely no clue why Radiohead was such a big deal. It was…alright. I definitely wasn’t inspired to pick up anything else by them. It wasn’t until HTTT came out and I heard “There There” that I decided maybe Pablo Honey wasn’t very representative of the sound that made them huge. So that became my second Radiohead album and is maybe why I have a much more favorable opinion of it than most people.
In retrospect, Pablo Honey is an interesting album. I just find it interesting that I started with that despite listening to them well after their careers had taken off. I feel like I was almost able to see Radiohead’s progression in my own personal way.
I was thinking the same thing.
I disagree. It’s not their responsibility, they can play whatever they want. And who’s to say they haven’t ignited an interest in more nuanced folk for some people? Not moving beyond Mumford and Sons is fine for the casual music listener, but I’m sure there are people who have moved a little deeps…especially if they use something like Spotify. Just using the “related artists” tab, I could jump from Mumford to Fleet Foxes to Iron and Wine. So the potential is right there, the effort these days I feel falls more on the listener.
I don’t care one way or the other for this band, but I will tell you that it has produced some great moments when I meet a fan and ask if they have listened to Iron and Wine. I put that on and it’s like I just made their heads explode. So in that sense…thanks for making me look awesome, M+S.
Really great article.
When I first heard Loveless, I was one of the idiots that was convinced something was wrong with my copy when I first heard “Only Shallow”. The album didn’t really impress me that much and it wasn’t until a few months later that I felt I should really try to give it another chance. I heard more I liked that time around and definitely saw potential. Then I bought my first pair of really decent headphones, decided this was the album to send them off with, and never looked back. I devoured any other MBV I could find.
Being so comfortable with this band now, this album was a lot more immediate. I got home drunk at 4am on Saturday (the whole time at the party asking everyone if they are fans of MBV…sadly, this town has horrible taste in music as evidenced by a girl mistaking John Lennon for the Partridge Family), downloaded it, and just sat back and enjoyed. Similar to the author’s experience, I didn’t know what I wanted it to sound like…but it ended up being exactly what I wanted. I haven’t stopped playing it since.
And I hate jumping in on the drug argument…but listening to an album stoned has definitely carried over to listening to it sober. The first time I heard Mew’s And the Glass Handed Kites was stoned and it helped me listen to it at a depth I never would have sober. That depth carried over when I listened to it again. It has also carried over to other music that I may not have been open to otherwise (even without listening to something high for the first listen). Had to throw in my 2 cents there.