|By Nick Woodside||Thursday, 10 Jan 2008|
Holy crap this was probably the fastest year of my life that I can remember. Really the whole thing is kind of a blur. I got fatter, I got skinnier, my kid got older (and constantly reminded me of my own impending doom), and I didn’t fall under any large, fast moving vehicles. I would mark those all as successes. The problem I’m having is making sense of all that happened for this year end list that Zach has quietly encouraged us to write*. I started a couple lists but never felt like they had enough to see them through to the end. Also I get distracted easy. Distracted by laziness. Anyway, I decided to merge all these lists into one super list. I’m just going to jam everything in here and shove it into the intertubes for viewing on your home computer machines boxes. How could this fail? My guess is spectacularly. Please note these seven things are not in any sort of order. I couldn’t rate one over the other. My brain was just not up to it. (Plus I kind of ate and drank a lot the past couple days, so all available mental resources are being allocated to keep me from shitting myself.)
NUMBER ONE – OLD ALBUMS
American Analog Set – Know By Heart
This is one of the sweetest albums I have ever heard. I don’t mean “Bro dude, that was a sweet fucking kegstand.” either. That is a terrible description, but I can’t really think of anyway to describe it better. Everything about it has this soft, inviting feel to it. Even the up tempo songs where they do their best imitation of rocking still have this early AM on a Sunday feel to it. Honestly, it is like a hug for your ears. (Yeah, I’m trying to outcrap my “sweet” description. So what?) Around the beginning of this decade, I listened to this album so much that I wore the cd out. I never got a new copy though and I forgot about it until I recently found it on emusic. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that it hasn’t lost any of the warm atmosphere I remember. The standout songs (“The Kindness of Strangers”, “Punk as Fuck”, “Choir Vandals”) still made me feel the same sort of happiness as before. However I was not aware of how terrible the drumming is on this album. I don’t think it’s possible for “The Kindness of Strangers” to have any more generic/shitty drums. Still, this is a great album.
Rocket From the Crypt – The State of the Art is on Fire/Hot Charity
The fact that I never checked these guys out until now seems a little weird to me. I like Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu and Pitchfork. Why have I never checked out Reis’ other huge band? I chalk it up to their name. I sometimes (incorrectly) decide what a band sounds like based on their name alone. Like how I used to think Husker Du sounded like Hanoi Rocks (wtf amirite!?). I always assumed that RFTC sounded like Bosstones lite, but these two records are content to just be sleazy rock and roll. There’s really not a bad song on either of these albums. There’s really nothing more to say other than that. Speaking of Hanoi Du…
Sugar – File Under Easy Listening
I’m sure Bob Mould disciples can do this record much more justice than I. There are probably thesis papers that have been written about the musical merits of Sugar in relation to Husker Du and the music scene in general. Shut up you fucking nerds. Why does it have to be all academic? Why can’t you just say “This is a good album. I highly recommend it.” Why do you have to use words like seminal? I hate that word. Look the first song, “Gift”, pretty much establishes that you’re about to hear a great album. From then on it’s all distorted guitars and great song writing. Go listen to this record.
Masta Ace – Slaughtahouse
I have wanted to revisit this album for years. I used to have it on cassette and, since it’s not humanly possible to listen to cassettes anymore, I haven’t heard it in years. Honestly, it was worth the wait. Some hip hop albums from the early 90′s sound ancient next to later releases but this album hasn’t aged a bit since ’93. Ace’s denouncing of fake bullshit thugs on this album is still relevant and the beats remain fresh and innovative. Shit, half the title track is parody and it ends up being better than most of the genuine releases it’s mocking. Proof.
The Glands – s/t
I got a couple of tracks off this album back when Napster was still around and recently found it on emusic. It’s totally an album I never expected to find again, but here it is. I don’t know what else to say about it. It’s a nice mellow, interesting indie rock album that got lost in the shuffle. Shit, I bet most of the people who know about this dude only know because they live in the same city or something. Anyway, I probably like it more than anyone else would just because it’s tied to memories of hanging out with my wife when we first met. *cough*fukin’ qweah*cough*.
Lightning Bolt – Beautiful Rainbow
A friend of mine suggested this album to me and told me that it was “the most rocking album of the year”. Boy did I think she was full of shit! These dudes have been a sort of musical nemesis of mine for years because the first (and only) time I listened to this album made me feel like my brain was eating a bunch of shit, puking it up and then eating it again over and over again. Cut to 2007: I decided to write a review for this very site that would finally make people realize how shitty this band is. Well guess who is a little bit of a hypocrite? This album is actually alright and probably didn’t deserve my scorn all those years. “Dracula Mountain” is a pretty awesome song and there’s a couple more that aren’t too shabby either. What a fucking letdown.
Metallica – Kill ‘Em All
Did you know these guys used to be good and that even though everyone points to “Master of Puppets” as their crowning achievement I think it is sort of overrated and that this album is superior? Okay, just checking.
NUMBER TWO – PHANTOM HOURGLASS FOR THE DS
“Lookie what I found in your pooper!”
Admittedly I am a Zelda fanboy and not really as hardcore about gaming as I used to be (OMG WTF CANCEL YOUR SHIZZ ACCOUNT AND DIE!). Still, this is shaping up to be a great addition to the series. The combination of innovative controls and the continuation of the underrated Windwaker story line have completely sucked me in. One of my favorite parts of the past two Zelda games (This and Twilight Princess) has been how intuitive the controls are. The Wii and the DS are pushing the way that games are going to be played in the future. It’s a fresh change from the whole d-pad/joystick controls of the past. Although I have to admit, it took me some time to figure out how to get the third crest on my Sea Chart. Whatever, I’m not that great about talking about games with any sort of insight so I’m not even going to try anymore. “Fantom Ourglass rulsz!~ LOL!”
NUMBER THREE – CLARK AND MICHAEL INTERNET SHOW
“I mean, why should we make a golden necklace to drape around a neck that nobody watches?”
Clark and Michael is one of those shows that rewards repeated viewings. It’s these little subtle touches that make the series so tight. Really I’d say that this series was better than just about all the sitcoms thrown at us by clueless television executives over the past year. There are countless versions of the same tired format being churned out by the networks, while high quality shows get relegated to the internet or wither on the vine completely. Like the Fantasy Football script I co-wrote. I was supposed to be driving a solid-gold Testarossa by now. I wrote it in my goals journal and everything. Thanks for crushing this poor orphan’s dream, corporate America.
NUMBER FOUR – NEW ALBUMS
Battles – Mirrored
This easily ended up being my favorite album of the year and honestly people probably wish I’d just shut the hell up about it. I really wanted to write review of it but I wasn’t even kind of up to the task. It’s an album that is complex and accessible all at once and there’s no way I would do it justice. Look man, it’s good. Either you like it or you don’t.
Big Business – Here Come the Waterworks
Another album I reviewed for this site, albeit poorly with lots of lyrics quoted. Well like Levar Burton’s little fuck minions said “Don’t take *my* word for it!” Check it out yourself.
Fiest – The Reminder
Kevin Drew – Spirit If…
It was a good year for Broken Social Scene members.
A Place to Bury Strangers – s/t
This band is one of those ones who wear their influences on their sleeve but don’t sound like cheap knock offs. I was really surprised by this album. I don’t really have much to say beyond that.
Liars – Liars
Before this album, I disliked everything I heard by these guys. However, this album really clicked with me. It helps that, in my opinion, some of the songs sound like something Q and not U might have put out if they didn’t break up. “Sailing to Byzantium” in particular.
Coliseum – No Salvation
Originally I had the new LCD Soundsystem here, but I dropped it for two reasons. One: Do you really need to hear about that album anymore? If you have the internet you know that people like that album. Two: Even though I picked up this album in December, I’ve already listened to it 15 times. They also fall into the old discoveries section, as their cover of Danzig’s “Am I Demon” is pretty awesome.
NUMBER FIVE – METROID PRIME/MARIO GALAXY
“Would every game be better with like-likes? You decide.”
Man, it’s so awesome to have a couple of really good games for the Wii. Not that there haven’t been any, but like I said earlier I don’t spend as much time gaming as I used to. The only gamefor the Wii that I’ve really spent a ton of time with has been Twilight Princess. Something has to be really suck me in these days to get me to play it a ton. Both of these games did just that. Even though Metroid is more of the same, the Wii controls make it so much more fun to play. Mario Galaxy on the other hand, like pretty much everyone has said, is just crazy. Every time I play it takes me a couple of minutes to get used to the motion sickness I get running around these planets. That’s a good thing.
NUMBER SIX – THE 2007 WORLD SERIES
“Seventh innin’ streeeATCH kid! Bin waitin’ awl game fa this shit! SWEEEEET! KARAAALIAAAAAAAAAAAAHN! BAH BAH BAH! YEEEAAAHH! AW SHIT! Heah comes the wave again! Love that fahkin thing! HEY! TAKE OWF YA FAHKIN’ HAT DURING “GOD BLESS AMAHRICA!” YOU A FAHKIN’ YANKEES FAN OR SUMPTHIN!? YA GUY! It’s Pahpelbon time! I fahking love that kid! Look I ain’t qweah, but I’d give him a hummah. You wouldn’t? Yaw outta ya tree, dude! It’d be like blowing God and that’s nawt gay. It’s in the bible, look it up ya fahkin’ tool.”
To answer your question yes, we all talk like this.
NUMBER SEVEN – WEIGHT LOSS
“Nonedible eclair. Not to be taken orally.”
I road the weight lollercoaster this year, both getting as fat and as trim as I ever have been all in a calendar year. How did I do it? Internment camp. I mean Weight Watchers. I would put on my shabby housecoat and shuffle down to the local meeting, eyes filled with fat and shame. I’d tell the other housewives how sorry I was that I ate those éclairs. I tried to resist them I’d say, but goddamn they were just so delicious looking. I’d go to bed and have hot, sweaty dreams about my secret lovers’ dark skin and silky cream. I wanted them in my mouth, I’d tell them and I wouldn’t stop until I had them all. And that my friends, is the last time I was invited to Career Day. Where was I? Or right, weight loss. Yeah I ate right and worked out. It’s not rocket science, noobs.
Christ, this list took forever to write. I mean really. It’s ten days into 2008 for cripes sake. Resolution for next year: be less ambitious. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
*This is a total lie. Seriously, if anyone has seen my wife and daughter, please call Crimestoppers.