As I mentioned before, I am dismantling, rebuilding, and reviewing all of the albums on the Rolling Stone Magazine Top 50 of 2014 list.
The introduction to this process is here, and you should read it so that you can glimpse into my insanity:
The second group of 10 are here: https://bradytighe.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/dismantling-and-rebuilding-the-rolling-stone-magazine-50-best-albums-of-2014-part-3/
What follows is the reviews for albums 29 – 20.
29.) Spoon – They Want My Soul
When I first started working as a student journalist, one of my first reviews was of a Spoon album. I will now admit that I didn’t really listen to the album, and wrote a review full of clichéd sentences, with the titles of songs that I mentioned picked at random. I don’t know why I did this, but it probably had something to do with the fact that the only thing I was listening to at the time was Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em
All” and that I had no time for records by a band named after a dining utensil.
In the spirit of that jaded, bullshit reason to not review an album, I am not going to review this one either. Ah, nostalgia.
28.) Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal
Another band from Brooklyn that sounds like they haven’t figured out what most of the buttons on their amps do. Why do people keep insisting that this dulled down, boring, simple music is something to strive for? There’s nothing wrong with things being simple, there is something wrong with that being the only thing that you can point to describe a band.
This band sounds like amphetamine Dylan mixed with shoe gaze bullshit. Except that sounds kind of cool, and this band isn’t cool. When they do manage to somehow manage to put a song together that doesn’t sound like they’re still learning to play it, they’re not bad. However, that only happened once during the whole fucking record.
Also, don’t be thinking about stealing the phrase “Amphetamine Dylan Mixed With Shoe Gaze Bullshit,” because I think that’s going to be the title of my next novel.
27.) Alt-J – This Is All Yours
Alt-J makes interesting albums. They are interesting to listen to, and if you like the kind of music they make then you will probably play this album a whole bunch. This one doesn’t suck, and I liked it, because the lead singer has a good voice, and because my friend James likes them, and he’s a cool dude. What can I say? I’m shallow when it comes to what makes me like something.
However, I can tell that the guys in this band are the artiest of art school jerks. The pretentiousness that they manage to pull forth on certain songs is at a level that puts them at #1 of my 2014 list of “People Who Need To Have a Full Beer Can Thrown at Them.”
The name should have given them away on that front though. Still, it’s better then calling the band “Art School Douche Canoes on A Sea of Over-the-Top Trying to Impress Chicks Horseshit.”
26.) Tom Petty and the Heartbreaks – Hypnotic Eye
Didn’t Tom Petty used to be really fucking good? I had to remind myself of that fact after three songs of this heap. So I put on his old greatest hits and listened to that for an hour instead, and it was awesome. Rebels? I Need to Know? The dude can write a fucking rock song. Which is why I’m curious as to whatever the fuck happened to make Tom Petty forget that rock albums are supposed to rock.
Why the fuck is this even on this list? It’s just another album from an older artist who cruises to praise because people like the older, way better songs that they used to write. This album is lifeless. There is none of that epic feel to it that other Tom Petty albums have. If you listened to this on an open highway, you would feel an unending desire to either switch to FM radio (although God help you if you do) or just eject the CD and throw it out the window to be eaten by wild animals.
This is typical late career bullshit, a subject that we are sure to revisit later in the list.
25.) YG – My Krazy Life
Another 10 albums, another hip hop album to round out the set. Although, this one is better than the other two that have come before it combined. It grabbed me from the first second and kicked a metric fuck-ton of ass.
Maybe I just have a thing for John Carpenter keyboards and sketches between songs, which this record has in abundance. I thought that those went out of date like forever ago? Shows how much I pay attention to rap music. Anyway, I laughed out loud a couple of times, which is something that doesn’t often happen when I listen to music.
Also, there is no way all rappers are as good in bed as they say they are on their records, and I wish there was a way to confirm which one’s are and which ones aren’t.
24.) Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems
“I used to be your favourite drunk, always good for one more laugh. Then we both ran out of luck, and luck was all we ever had.”
Now that’s a fucking lyric. Holy shit does Leonard Cohen ever know how to make an album. Even the title is a stroke of genius. People at the age of 80 shouldn’t be able to make records this good. Light a cigarette and put this on your turntable.
I listened to it six times or more.
23.) War on Drugs – Lost in a Dream
Are Manic Pixie Dream Boys a thing? I don’t know, because I don’t go outside and I don’t pay attention to people. If there was such a thing then this would be the album that all of them would champion in an attempt to get all the girls in scarves to awkwardly make out with them. It’s an album of those kind of hazy, drugged out, soft, delicious songs that you hear too much of in the Pacific Northwest, but that’s not a reason to hate it.
In fact, I can’t find a reason to hate it. It’s a wonderful album. Maybe I’m going soft on the bearded wunderkinds of the list.
22.) Skrillex – Recess
Exhausting bro-step that was only cool for the 30 seconds that teenagers liked it. Then their unrepentant ADHD kicked in and they moved on.
This is the disco of our time, and it was just an excuse to do drugs and listen to the sounds of calculators fucking. Also, Skrillex, I don’t forget “From First to Last,” and you will never be forgiven for it.
21.) Eric Church – The Outsiders
This is apparently a country album. I wouldn’t know, because I don’t listen to modern country, because it’s a goddamn embarrassment. So, instead of listening to some new jackasses fuck with a proud and noble history, I decided to get drunk and listen to real country music.
Now I’m listening to Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and George Jones; songs to drink and to cry to, that music that is always there for you when things are tough. People that don’t like old country music when they’re down in the dumps late at night are people that you should never trust. What do you know about heartache that Hank Williams hasn’t already felt?
Modern country is a fucking war crime. Also, the cover of this album makes the band look like the next One Direction. Is it that hard to have a good cover on your album?
Also worth mentioning, I have this problem with running out of ice cubes, and then being forced to drink all of my whiskey straight. Anyone else run into this issue?
20.) Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
More manic pixie problems, this one just sounds better than the earlier entries on the list.
I get a Florence and the Machine vibe from this whole album, and since Florence and her band aren’t making music then this is what I guess we have to live with in 2014. Although When Florence and the Machine kick it into high gear, I feel it in every single part of my body; this album never seems to reach that level, and I feel like I’m constantly stuck waiting for things to hit that unachievable electronic light apex.
Also, this sounds like a breakup album between Sharon and some of the earlier dudes on the list. Which isn’t to say it’s bad, it would just be nice to hear an album where the reverb nob on the guitar amps is notched down a smidge. I like ringing notes as much as the next guy, but the next guy in this case is a rolled up Capri-pants jackass with a twirled mustache and a toque, and who the fuck can trust his opinion?