Well hello there.. welcome back.
In 2008 I also neglected to come up with a proper list, but I was very vocal about Department of Eagles' In Ear Park-- I was a fan of [Grizzly Bear member] Daniel Rossen's band before I had ever heard of Grizzly Bear [something which I'm obviously sort of proud of]. Fleet Foxes' self-titled album was near the top last year, as was Ratatat's LP3.
So there's a theme.. and there should be: no big surprises. If it's a contender for my favorite album of the year, chances are I've been listening to it for a good part of the year. Also, I'm not trying to like weird stuff other people don't like. Well, ok perhaps I actually am. But in the end, I'm usually not actually liking it anymore than everyone else.
Sure, I joke about still liking buttrockers Clutch and stoners Monster Magnet sometimes [which not too many indie blog readers will attest to these days] but when it comes to noisemakers like Wavves, catcallers like Joanna Newsom, pimple-faced teens Smith & Westerns, or bleep-and-blooping Neon Indian, no matter how much hype anyone gives them, if I don't like it after several attempts to see what the big deal is, then I just don't like it.
While I'm on that thought.... earlier this year I deleted all of the Neon Indian songs I had, and re-downloaded them all again, because I kept wondering to myself "am I listening to the same stuff that everyone else is? This can't be what everyone's raving about. Maybe I got some corrupt files. Maybe I got some mp3s that were improperly tagged." No, it was indeed the real [crappy] deal. What can I say? I gave it a try. And another. And still another. I just don't see the big fucking deal.
So anyway.... the two trends: no surprises and I like what's good. Pretty simple, huh? So in the spirit of this obvious statement, I'm doing my first ever [can't believe it's happening, myself] FaveAlbums list. And I'm going to do something slightly different than most blogs: I'm giving you my #1 favorite up front, because it's not really worth the suspense. It's not a big surprise. 99% of blogs and magazines and newspapers out there are all saying the same damn thing, and it's hard to refute the obvious. Trust me, I tried.
1 - Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion
I tried to will this away from the top of my list. I've never been much of a conformist [except when I'm paid to be in uniform]. I don't like being like everyone else. Ask my mom. I stopped listening to the album for days, maybe even weeks. But then the harmonies and drums and ghostly soundscapes began haunting me. Avey Tare's yelps. "In the Flowers"'s handclaps. The grinding and dodging of "Summertime Clothes". Synthstabs of "Daily Routine". The "Brother Sport" breakdown at 3:01. And, of course, the "My Girls" chorus.
Ignoring the pure brilliance of albums as wholes, I looked at ranking favorites quantitatively: giving numerical ratings to the standout tracks of each one, and then tallying up the scores. Even by looking at the stars I give each song in iTunes, I didn't need to do any counting. MPP is easily way ahead—dammit if 82% of the songs don’t have at least three stars by their names [yes, that’s 9 of 11 tracks; can you guess which two weren’t my favorites?].
Howabout the album's play count? Well, because I have two computers and got a new laptop halfway through the year, those numbers are inconclusive [and because I often leave my apartment forgetting a playlist is on repeat, the numbers are a little skewed]. However, I know like hell I listened to MPP more than anything else [even Teiam Player tracks/mixes!].
So there it is. I hopped on the bandwagon. So what? Now on with the rest.
Below are 50-26, which definitely deserve, at the very least, to be mentioned. Rankings are admittedly a little more loose here than they are on the top 25.
50 - Surfer Blood - Astrocast
49 - Universal Studios Florida Ocean Sunbirds
48 - Múm Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know
47 - Le Loup Family
46 - Yppah They Know What Ghost Know
45 - Here We Go Magic Here We Go Magic
44 - Nosaj Thing Drift
43 - PhaseOne Thanks But No Thanks
42 - Mountain Goats The Life of the World to Come
41 - Taken By Trees East of Eden
40 - The Isbells The Isbells
39 - The Moore Brothers Aptos
38 - Washed Out High Times
37 - No and the Maybes No and the Maybes
36 - Deastro Moondagger
35 - Major Lazer Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do
34 - Simian Mobile Disco Temporary Pleasure
33 - The Kills Keep On Your Mean Side
32 - Junior Boys Begone Dull Care
31 - Bombay Bicycle Club I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose
30 - Fires of Rome You Kingdom You
29 - Magic Arms Make Lists Do Something
28 - Mumford & Sons Sigh No More
27 - Freelance Whales Weathervanes
26 - Fool’s Gold Fool’s Gold
Places 25-2 will be coming along very very shortly, don't you worry.
Thanks for reading thus far.