Nick wrote:Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die" at 34? Hopefully that album falls a lot once the American lists start coming in. That album was truly horrible.
She might score a top 10 because of Slant Magazine, they gave her a 4 star rating and usually these kind of well-rated pop albums score high placements (Robyn, Lady Gaga). Honestly, if she hadn't received such a backlash in America and the whole blogosphere she would score even higher placements in British critics and Continental European -- where it looks like she had a more remarkable presence throughout the year. I went to relisten to the album again for an eminent AM's 2012 Poll and it is still pretty awful to me -- production values aside, the lyrics and the majority of the Lolita
references are truly atrocious; Tiny Mix Tapes, which not only gave the best reviews of Lana Del Rey records, also had a great piece on Lana and Lolita that enhanced my still very low opinion of Del Rey -- if she actually intentioned to use background noises the way the writer interpreted.
Harold wrote:Cartoken, I probably won't be posting another update until Friday (when a few of these gradually-rolling-out lists will be complete), but I can tell you that The Seer is now #18.
Hopefully The Seer
will keep on improving its position. I knew Swans was a niche band, but watching artists that also fit that category successfully place strong records in the upper areas of the top 20 and even the top 10, I hope they can make it with the help of American lists. It's been a weak year and Swans had delivered what is arguably their best and most individual record yet -- It's a tough nihilistic race that include both Soundtracks for the Blind
and White Light from the Mouth of Infinity
Nick wrote:And hopefully the Spiritualized album can break the top 30, but I'm not sure how much the American lists will help with that. At least Pitchfork should be giving it a solid position.
Unless they pull off a High Violet
and place them out of the top 20 (The National was #27 in 2010) after such a high score. It's been such a slower year, so I guess chances of this happening are almost none. There were not a lot of 9 rated records, so I guess that might be unheard of records sneaking inside the top 30 and those BNM records that readers tend to overlook, like EMA's Past Life Martyred Saints
. Also, seeing that an 8.8-record from a established artist -- PJ Harvey's Let England Shake
-- actually sneaked among the higher parts of the top 10 of last year's list, I guess Sweet Light Sweet Heart
might score a solid position inside the top 10 even with the lack of such a hype.
- I really thought that Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel
would actually become her breakthrough throughout Europe and Britain. Fiona's performance on American lists has enhanced in time: Tidal
has been reaching the lower parts of the top 100 of the 90s list, When the Pawn
-- arguably more deserving -- made that Spin list of the best records of the last 25 years. This all pointed to a "comeback" that arrived in the form of this last album -- that really isn't my favorite output of hers, falling behind When the Pawn
and perhaps the Brion version of Extraordinary Machine
. Maybe NME confusing Fiona with Alanis Morissette should have been the first sign that they weren't giving a dime for Apple, independently of 8s. The Idler Wheel
is a highlight of the year -- one of my top 5 favorites -- and with the help of American lists it might not pull off a Have One On Me
and fail to crack into the top 10 after such an earlier warm reception.
- I will put straight away: in my opinion Cat Power's Sun
is a mess. When I read some reviews that mentioned how much more mature and wiser she seemed, I wondered if those same people had actually gave a few spins to the likes of Moon Pix
. Cherokee and Ruin are great tracks, though tiresome in time, and the second half of the album is forgettable at best. That 10-minute Nothing But Time song has no business being so long. Maybe it was the unexpected thing that turned people on into that, but melodies were poor, lyrics poorer and only looking into Cat Power's personal battles these days I actually took songs like Human Being a little more serious. Sun
is not bad because is a poppier Cat Power -- hasn't she been this way since You Are Free
? -- but because it's too superficial in its approaches to actually connect with the themes it actually strives to place in table; Seeing -- and in front of more deserving records -- this in the top 10 is actually saddening.
- It's the same way I feel about the xx's Coexist
; This one was dead on arrival for me. Everything on the records has not only been done before by the band, but the few "sonic innovations" it brought were basically dated club sounds. The record failed to build an atmosphere like the previous one, it didn't sound minimalist as much as undercooked in everything -- lyrics, guitar melodies, sonic elements. This album was honestly the most boring moment I had this year while listening to a record and I even gave it a further amount of spins -- no signs of being a grower; The record seemed much longer and repetitive than it actually were, and this was all the more disappointing coming from such a great first album. They seemed much worried about the prettiness of the songs, ultimately forgetting to actually build some; The loss of a member was actually felt, since the keyboards are absent from most of the record and when it appears it tries to copy the same notes and feel of Night Time
, failing to achieve throughout. This album dangerously placed the xx on my list of one-trick-ponys. Some could argue that Beach House's also suffered from some of those very same problems, but Bloom
is a more successful affair, it gets repetitive and it does bring to mind Teen Dream
, but is ultimately more enjoyable than Coexist
; A sidestep for Beach House rather than a step backwards like the xx's.
- Animal Collective is nowhere to be seen and I find it fair enough. It was an all over the place record, that actually ended what might have been the strongest strike of great records from a band since Radiohead. There were fans that actually proclaimed this their Kid A
and time would do it justice. I can't predict the effects of time, but the Kid A
card has been played a little too much the last couple of years. I wasn't aware of music by 2000, but reading some of the reviews of the album from that times, Kid A
divided music critics, but it was an actually positive division, containing extremes, but a higher amount of 100 scores, of people already proclaiming a masterpiece that very same year. It was an universal acclaimed record that surprised many and scored mixed and negative reviews that never outweighed the positive ones; To see poorly received albums by bands -- and even by Radiohead itself with King of Limbs
-- actually compared to such a reception, which only "disappointed" back in those days because it came right after the OK Computer
boom, is rather lame.
- It was a good year for the likes of Dr John, Bill Fay, Dylan, Wommack and Cohen. Perfect timing to release strong releases that would inevitable pale in comparison to their older records; Wish Patti Smith's Banga
had received similar attention.
- Frank might actually pull off an Arcade Fire and achieves an AM topper and the Grammy of Album of the Year. Keeping in mind that AF might likely loose their spot to Kanye, it might actually stand alone. Channel Orange
is an excellent album -- not my personal favorite and let's see what time holds for this and other records after 2012's EOYs are said and done. It's funny that in an era that saw an increase of R&B records making lists again, How to Dress Well is underperforming -- maybe the American lists will help it. Jessie Ware has also been surprising overall, though i expected a bigger showing in some of the more mainstream lists of Great Britain.
- This year I realised that I got tired of many of the indie trends of the last couple of years that have been repeating themselves endlessly since the last decade -- shoegaze (except Deerhunter), indie pop, twee pop, chilllwave, synthpop, indie folk. This genres have not only been done before and better in other eras, they lacked in the last couple of years any innovation at all; If you're not going to innovate like the likes of Swans and Scott Walker -- albeit their new works arguably recall their older experiments -- you at least differ yourself from the current scene with strong songcrafts and passionate/consistent deliveries. Tame Impala's Lonerism
mix of synths and space rock is actually one of the most exciting things I have listened on a record in a long time. I can make a case of the record bringing in mind other bands -- from Todd Rundgren to Flaming Lips, or like a friend of mine has put it "as if brazilian Jovem Guarda had collided with Os Mutantes and the offspring actually worked". It's a piece of pop bliss with many highlights and the best Flaming Lips song ever in the form of "Feels Like We Always Go Backwards"; They have manipulated well-enough the essence of their influences and actually delivered a kaleidoscope of a sound of their own that took the form of one of the greatest records I have listened this new decade.
- I will wait for the American lists to give my opinion on the performance and my overall opinion of other records.