I’m going to go HAM with this one because as previously discussed I couldn’t participate properly until the last decade, and not only is this the last decade but this was when I really got into music properly (probably started in 08/09). So hope this isn’t boring, appreciate feedback.
Brandon Flowers - Flamingo. First solo outing and he does it well. Only The Young is my favourite song of all time.
Best: Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
I know he’s a ■■■■■■■■ and drinks his own bathwater and I’m sure a lot of you oldies probably write him off but this is his magnum opus and cements him as a bona fide genius capable of making incredible music. I quite liked Graduation which was his previous album, got into a few tracks but then went the alternative rock route and never tried Hip Hop. Saw this got album of the year in several publications so had to check out the fuss. First year of Uni, listened to this every day on my commute for about a half a year. Incredible. There is not a SINGLE weak song on this album and every song can stand up in its own right. The mood, feel, themes, samples, guest appearances, my goodness. This is easily one of my favourite albums of all time.
Listen to: Every song. Start to finish. But: So Appalled, Devil In a New Dress, this:
This is the hardest year I’ve done so far. Had 3 belter albums.
Honourable Mentions: Shabazz Palaces - Black Up, TV On The Radio - Nine Types of Light.
Best: Handsome Furs - Sound Kapital.
TVOTR were incredibly unlucky so I’m going to give a brief review to this one then. Probably don’t know a single album that’s a better exemplar of “Whole package way better than the sum of the parts.” Just a very good album that flows incredibly and lacks a weak song (I’ve said that twice in 2 reviews but honestly couldn’t think of more than a couple more that I could say that about). Very good band who did their best work on this.
As for Handsome Furs - they are the product of Wolf Parade’s guitarist and his then wife. 3 albums, 2 OK ones and then this cracker. Very simplistic electronic rock that is just very good. Every song on it is good (there I go again…) and it has a couple of my favourite songs ever on it. Love the feel of this whole thing.
Listen to: What About Us, Repatriated, and mainly Cheap Music and this, would be in my top 10 of all time.
Honourable Mentions: Alt-J - An Awesome Wave, Father John Misty - Fear Fun. The Killers - Battle Born had a couple of great songs but too many shockers.
Best: Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, m.a.a.d City.
This was my first exposure to Kendrick having missed his debut section.80 and it’s just incredible. Concept album about his growing up, really takes you on a journey and really solidified my love for good hip hop. Can’t say much about it other than that it’s probably also in my top 10 and probably 5 albums of all time. Like Kanye’s MBDTF it just reminds me of a certain period in my life and I may have listened to this north of 50 (100?) times. Unlike Kanye it has 1 or 2 “ok” songs but probably has a stronger top 4. Also like Kanye (who had Rick Ross) it has one of the better cameo verses supplied by Drake.
Listen to: ■■■■■, Don’t Kill my Vibe, Backseat Freestyle, Poetic Justice, this:
(Skip the first 20 second intro). Drum machine and synth line here are absolutely fkd (lyrics/flow/drum machine drop just after 1:20 may be one of my favourite moments in any song ever).
This is the anti-2011. Didn’t have anything that made me go crazy.
I liked: Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels. Breath of fresh air in a genre that can get a bit droning at times (hip hop).
The Strokes - Comedown Machine. Very good just not incredible.
The Growlers - Hung at Heart. Love this band, their next two are great but there’s a few too many poor songs on this to elevate it.
Let’s go with one of my favourite songs on the year since no album really seized the prize:
Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
D’Angelo - Black Messiah
This is another close one so quickly:
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz - Tyranny. The two singles were great (particularly the epic Human Sadness) and the whole album has a great theme not to mention being a style of music I’ve never heard prior or since. If you put the time in to working out what the HELL is going on there are some great songs.
Best: The Growlers - Chinese Fountain.
This just has a GREAT feel and sound. Surf/beach rock where every song flows beautifully into one another. These guys have become one of my favourite bands, lucky enough to see them a few months ago. The 2 strongest songs are very good which are:
Listen to: (Big Toe, Love Test) and especially Dull Boy, THIS (one of the best ever):
■■■■ this is another hard one.
Honourable Mentions: Grimes - Art Angels. Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect (very unlucky not to tie for first place - check out Lonely Town which is one of the better songs I’ve ever heard).
Going to split this one, sorry.
Best 1: Drake - If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
I love everything about this. Word is he signed a 4 album deal with his label and after releasing 3 he released this one to get out of his contract. He dropped it without any fanfare and the cover art and title is consistent with this theme. It’s so simple in sound, it’s as if he just recorded this over a weekend and put it out the next week. So many good tracks of Drake just at his arrogant best and he knows it. Star67 into Preach is one of the better 2 punch combos I know of on an album. Closes so well with 6PM in New York. The song styles are so non-standard/weird but it’s just all so good.
Listen to: Legend, Star67, Preach, You & The 6, 6PM in New York (no Youtube, go find it all on Spotify)
Best 2: Father John Misty - I Love You Honeybear.
Love this so much. A concept album full of modern folksy cutesy love songs mostly written about his life and wife but with a cynical, jaded, funny twist. One song is a beautiful song about his wife, another about him dating some random bimbo that he hates. Another is about his jaded depression with modern life, another a modern rethink of “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” This guy is a genius, I really like it all and encourage everyone to listen to this one (some people might not like the other albums I’ve mentioned but I think everyone can enjoy this one).
Listen to: I Lovey You Honeybear, Chateau Lobby #4, Holy ■■■■, this:
Honourable: Ryan Downey - Me & Her (very quirky 20 min EP from a guy from Melbourne - try it out), Nick Cave & TBS - Skeleton Tree
Best: The Growlers - City Club.
This one was pretty easy. I take a LONG time to get into albums but this one I liked on the first listen. Julian Casablancas of The Strokes produced this one so if you like them you’ll find this familiar yet fresh. Can’t say much more than I really really really like it all. The cover art may be one of my favourites ever too.
Listen to: Vacant Lot, Night Ride, Blood of a Mutt, When You Were Made, this:
Honourable: Father John Misty - Pure Comedy. This one was hard to split too. This is probably the smartest, most prescient, pointed, insightful yet funny album I’ve ever heard. It’s a natural progression from his previous album, but this one is less about love and his wife and more about how the entire world is going in the toilet. It could also be titled: “2017: The Album.” Recommend you listen to every single song with lyrics in front of you and just enjoy. Total Entertainment Forever, Leaving LA, Two Wildly Different Perspectives and the 2 closing tracks. But you really need the whole thing.
Best: Creeper, Eternity In Your Arms.
The reason I gave the other album a pump up was because “intellectually” I feel like FJM’s should be my favourite of the year and one of my favourite of all time… and it is… it’s so heavy and “smart” and all but this one…I just can’t stop listening to this fkn album. It’s punky/emo and the lyrics make me feel so lame and guilty but this is one of the first albums since Kanye’s in 2010 where every single song could conceivably be a single. The dark lyrics make me cringe as I said but I just love the music itself so much and cannot stop listening to it. It’s a joy from start to finish and it’s so refreshing to be “obsessed” with an album for the first time in a few years.
Listen to: Every song. But… Black Rain, Misery, Room 309, Winona Forever, this:
I think that’s the longest post I’ve ever made on Blitz… sorry for the essay, I hope some of you got something out of it and maybe found some new music (I’m sure no-one did).
Be interested to hear any thoughts.