(Click here for Part 1 – Songs, here for Part 2 – Collaborations, here for Part 3 – Late Breakers, and here for Part 4: RVA Long Plays.)
Before I get started with my fifth and final list, I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to all you awesome people who visited You Hear That, left a comment, wrote a guest post, or shared a recommendation over the course of the past year. This here blog means a great deal to me, and whether we know each other in real life or in 1’s and 0’s, I’m tremendously thankful for all the support and feedback you’ve provided, and I’d hug every single one of you if it were physically possible and/or in keeping with your particular feelings about boundaries and personal space and stuff.
It’s getting a little misty up in here, so let’s get on with the matter at hand — the 5 albums that rocked my socks off in 2012.
We already have songs covered, and doing favorite albums on Day 2 of a 5-part feature would be like Skynyrd playing “Sweet Home Alabama” at the beginning of the concert… so how’s about collaborations? Yeah? Let’s do it! Here are the 5 momentary musical marriages I enjoyed most in 2012.
A few weeks ago, when the time came to start working on my 2012 Top-Whatever post, I started think about how much effort went into last year’s Top-10 albums post, and how the silly thing ended up being more than a thousand words, and, with no small amount of lazi/restless-ness, I decided I didn’t really feel like doing that again this year.
So what did I choose to do instead? Something even more time-consuming of course! Taking inspiration from the squirrel in that creepy White Stripes song, I’ve decided to split my year-end post up into 5 parts, each one a Top-5 unto itself (with a bonus, Christmasy Top-5 tomorrow). First up? My favorite 5 songs of 2012, in the order in which I’d put them if I was assembling a mini-mixtape.
As we all know, Common Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions bars businesses from assaulting customers with Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, countless malls and restaurants ignore this directive, opening the door for the year’s most profitable holiday to encroach upon the year’s tastiest. (This encroachment isn’t quite as irksome as Walmart starting their in-store Black Friday sales earlier and earlier on Thursday, which strikes me as pure evil, but it sucks nonetheless.)
So you can rest assured that, to liberally paraphrase one of my favorite songs from Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine album, “This is not about Christmas.” However, this post is about music featured in a movie that’s coming out on Christmas (sorry, once you start adding emphasis with italics, it’s hard to stop).
[Editor’s Note: Today’s the last official day of “OMG! OLYMPICS!” week. If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up by reading Day 1 here, Day 2 here, and Day 3 here.]
On the last official day of “OMG! OLYMPICS!” week, I’d like to send out a few special dedications…
Concert Catch-Up Week, Day 3: Radiohead
(click here if you missed Day 1: Todd Snider, and here if you missed Day 2: Justin Townes Earle)
I love picking music apart. Like some eager high school biology student with a scalpel in his hand and a dead frog lying belly-up on his desk (The album art above seems downright icky after reading that, doesn’t it?), I like dissecting songs, finding out what makes them tick, what makes them exceptional, and what they reveal about the people who wrote them. Actually, “like” might not be the right word to use; after years of playing in bands and nearly 250 posts on this here blog, this type of analytic thinking has become almost totally involuntary. I’ll sometimes catch myself coming up with angles for posts about even the dumbest pop music, like why that video of Jimmy Fallon and the Roots playing “Call Me Maybe” with Carly Rae Jepsen is actually pretty great, or how “Am I The Only One” by Dierks Bentley perfectly encapsulates the way relationships with your friends evolve during your mid-20’s (please someone dare me to actually write this).
With this propensity in mind, I had a quick chat with my brain as we hurried into the Verizon Center to catch the beginning of Radiohead’s June 3 performance. It went a little something like this…
A couple months back, I wrote about an epiphany I had that opened the door to a world that had previously seemed hopelessly walled-off. The epiphany went a little sumpin’ like this:
“…having a guy dressed as Beethoven in the balcony can’t exactly change the fact that the real guy died in 1827, but it does call attention to the fact that 4 people with instruments and some sheet music can bring a part of the German composer’s magnificently wired brain back to life, if only for the length of time it takes to play one of his works…”
Though I was talking about how Brooklyn Rider makes classical music accessible, the part about music providing an external, accessible image of a person’s consciousness is fascinating to me. And while every lyricist engages in this process by putting their thoughts to words, hearing Fiona Apple’s new song “Every Single Night” helped me realize that she’s in a class of her own in this respect.