This interview with John Shanks prompted a re-post of a few Bedbugs things that were nuked from the Blogspot site. This post from October 2007 was originally part of an immediately abandoned series called “Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me,” in which I was going to listen to all of my c. 1000 albums to figure out which ones to sell. The very first album was Autobiography by Ashlee Simpson, ostensibly the album that spurred the project (that is, I was avoiding writing about Autobiography).
Ashlee Simpson - Autobiography
I’m not listening to it, not right now, anyway. (I listened to “Shadow” once to help describe the guitars at the end.) I’ve listened to this album at least 200 times. Maybe more than that, and that’s not counting individual tracks, which easily double it. Yeah, probably more. I listen to it almost every day in the summer, at least once a week every other season. I listened to it three times in a row last weekend.
Why do I want to write a book about this album? Why does GOD want me to write a book about this album, if his random number generators can be trusted, which for the purposes of this experiment they can?
(1) I think people will think I’m being ironic (in the sense that isn’t actually “ironic,” more like “smug” or “sarcastic”) or something, when I’m clearly not, which will help my sales and cause me to hugely resent my audience. (Wishful thinking, like anyone would even read such a thing.)
(2) Frank Kogan doesn’t want to write the book (yet). (I checked.)
(3) I’m not sure what I’m trying to say yet, but I know it’s important.
(4) It’s an excellent album <—woops, should be #1!
(5) I still don’t get it.
I don’t get this album at all.
Surely you have time for the third best album of the last decade, don’t you?
Quick listen to Stromae’s album, which I was certain I heard in 2013 but almost certainly didn’t, and hemming/hawing inadequate placement of Miranda Lambert’s album, which I haven’t digested yet [ETA: After spending all day listening to it, I’m pretty sure ML is going to end up as my AOTY so far, but need more time with it], gets me crawling to 10:
And under the cut I copied Alfred Soto and listed my top 44 albums since 2010.
Here’s a deliberately cryptic question for the Tumblr masses:
When you think of key figures in popular music whose careers either began or hit their stride around 2004 and then transformed substantially (for better or worse) by 2008, who do you think of (I won’t give you my answers yet)?
ETA: Named so far: Black Eyed Peas, Keane, Scissor Sisters, Ciara, Colplay. These are good answers!
ETA2: OK, I’ll share mine — I had Kanye, Rihanna, Ashlee Simpson, M.I.A., and Arcade Fire on my list, along with a few other lesser names — Annie, Robyn, Fiery Furnaces.
I got 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die on super-sale the other day and am enjoying it — it hearkens to my teen days of reading consumer guides as introductions to movies and music. Is this a good one? Are there better ones? Inquiring dilettantes want to know!
While I shuffle my feet on the 2001 NOW post (my newborn fog has lifted somewhat, which means I’m no longer completely delusional about time management) here are the albums that I haven’t heard many people talk about that are pretty good this year:
After School - Dress to Kill: AS’s Japanese album is one of those things that I listen to and just shake my head at the dominance of small-fry artisanal pop in the states. Big but not pretentious, hits its marks, doesn’t overstay its welcome. Also digging, to a lesser degree, 15&’s Sugar. Most K-pop releases are, frustratingly, mini-albums, EPs, and “single albums,” and I tend to wait around until I can get a good 10 songs consecutively, followed by year-end ketchup. Wish I had more albums like this on my plate.
Nick Cannon - White People Party Music: Did I mention that this awful album is actually pretty good? There is only one (one!) tongue outta cheek song on here, and it’s about how great Mariah Carey is, but sung in a way that presumes that you, like, have no idea who Mariah Carey is (because who could know her like Nick Cannon does?). Big and goofy and ridiculous. Kind of like…
Duck Sauce - Quack: Too bad “Barbra Streisand” feels so (so) old. This album is a bosh-y mess and seems like precisely no one can be bothered to care about it, which is well deserved, I guess, but a shame nonetheless. Too many skits.
Apollo Brown - Thirty Eight: Is there such a thing as crate-digger MOR? Well, this is it. Perfect summer album, asks for nothing in return.
Cibo Matto - Hotel Valentine: I thought they were a bigger deal? This album is amazing — little Frankenstein monsters of pop gems sneaking around in an empty, haunted hotel. Season-Four-of-Angel pop?
Lily Allen - Sheezus: OK I guess a bunch of people are talking about this one — the Xgau refugees over at Odyshape are stanning for it a bit. I wouldn’t go that far — there are at least three songs on here that are among her (or maybe anyone’s? Nah.) worst ever.
Haven’t clicked with Miranda Lambert yet; the rest of Shakira didn’t (couldn’t?) live up to “Empire,” which may not even live up to itself; I’m pretty sure I’m wrong about Nick Cannon, but I’m not sure in which direction; still on the Angel Olsen and YG trains (see I can like things other people like); there is a LOT of pleasant music that I couldn’t care less about but listen to a lot this year, something something Spotification?
Full list of albums and stuff here.