Friday, December 12, 2008

2008: Best of the Rest

This Year's Musical Pet Peeve
Conversing during concerts

Unlisted bonus tracks could win this category every year, as long as artists keep doing them, but I've already railed on that topic.

Instead, I turn my ire toward people who get into loud, long, involved discussions with their friends at concerts while they are standing in close proximity to me.

Steps on soap box.

I understand that maybe you agreed to go to this concert just to have something to do and you may only know one or two songs by the artist. I also understand that alcohol removes some of your self-awareness. I understand that you like to talk to your friends. But, please, consider others who paid their ticket price plus an additional 40% of the face value in Ticketmaster fees to HEAR THE MUSIC, not your conversation. If you want to talk to your friend and drink and hear music at the same time, save yourself some money and go to a bar with a jukebox. The ultimate lesson is one you can apply to all aspects of your life: You are not the only person on the planet. Thank you.

Steps off soapbox.

Best Cover Art
Flight of the Conchords

Look back at the past winners of this category, and you can basically guarantee I'm almost always going to pick a colorful hand-drawn cover. But a little predictability in a crazy world can't be a bad thing, can it?

Best Title
Sloan: Parallel Play

Parallel play is a developmental stage wherein children will play in proximity without interacting. Each member of Sloan writes and sings his own songs, so it's an apt description if you ignore the amazing synergy they have as a band.

Best Concert
Rufus Wainwright
State Theatre, Minneapolis

Just Rufus, a piano, and a theatre full of adoring fans. I didn't have much expectation for this show. Honestly, I halfway expected to be bored. But Rufus impressed me with a informally professional performance that kept everyone rapt, me included.

Best Trend 1
Earth-friendly Packaging

Yes, I still tend to buy physical CDs (though this year I bought and downloaded more whole albums than ever before)
, and I've noticed that jewel cases are becoming as rare as CD shoppers. At least half of the CDs I bought this year were packaged in thin cardboard sleeves (or digi-paks) instead. No more broken tabs or center circles? I'm all for it.

Best Trend 2

Consecutive Year Releases

The Broken West, Kaiser Chiefs, and Sloan all doubled our pleasure by following up excellent 2007 albums with excellent 2008 albums. I hope more artists follow this lead by ignoring the label-driven 3 year gap and putting out new sets of songs whenever they're ready.

Biggest Surprise
Kings of Leon: Only By The Night

I bought into the hype on Kings of Leon and their first album, but found it lacking. Their second and third also failed to grab me, despite the critical lauds. So the last thing I expected was to fall in love with their 4th album, and yet that's exactly what happened. Only a small part of me wonders what fans of their first three are feeling about this record.

2008 Mixes

Every June and December I create mixes to summarize the half year.
(I pilfered the cover art from the prolific Sam Brown.)

2008 a
1. The B-52's - Hot Corner
2. The Old 97's - Dance With Me
3. Liam Finn - Energy Spent
4. Nada Surf - I Like What You Say
5. Chris Walla - Everybody Needs a Home
6. Kathleen Edwards - Oil Man's War
7. Tift Merritt - Another Country
8. Kid Dakota - Stars
9. The Republic Tigers - Weatherbeaten
10. Dave Dill - Never So Beautiful
11. Supergrass - Rebel In You
12. Gary Louris - To Die a Happy Man

2008 b
1) MGMT - Electric Feel
2) Kaiser Chiefs - Good Days Bad Days
3) Sloan - Witches Wand
4) The Futureheads - Radio Heart
5) Bon Iver - Skinny Love
6) Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire
7) Ben Folds - Bitch Went Nutz
8) The Broken West - House Of Lies
9) Teddy Thompson - In My Arms
10) Keane - Better Than This
11) Jeremy Messersmith - Miracles
12) Q-Tip - Believe
13) Alanis Morissette - Giggling Again For No Reason
14) Elbow - One Day Like This

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