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Posts Tagged ‘kanye west’

It is that time of the decade where one stares at their music collection and promptly regrets buying 95% of the music they now own.  Everyone does it. Okay, maybe I do it.  I buy a lot of music, so much so my children are convinced that I actually buy milk at the local vinyl store and bread from iTunes. This small habit has created a massive music collection that can be somewhat unwieldy.  It doesn’t stop me from gathering up hundreds of albums from the past decade and asking myself a very simple question:

If I could only save fifty of these albums from the past ten years, what fifty would it be?

It would be easy for me to write-up a list in which only Green Day, and White Stripes albums are on it, simply because they produced amazing albums this decade. I could have simply gone with my kids suggestion and made the list all about Hannah Montana and the Wiggles. That was tempting, they could have written it for me.

My criteria was simple. First- I must have actually listened to it. I still have a couple of albums in the plastic. Most of these albums were gifts from well-meaning people who thought that I really needed Daniel Bedingfield’s album.

Second-  How often did I listen to this album? Having the most listens didn’t mean that it would be number one.  Music is very much my day between the hours of six a.m. and six p.m. There are albums on this list I only listened to once and found so compelling that I felt it needed to be on the list. Most I have listened to so often my CD player refuses to open to play them again and my iTunes has decided that they are the only artists I listen to.

Lastly- I must have had fun listening to it at some point. Dreary music is of no interest to me. That doesn’t mean sad music is ignored for the oeuvre of Britney Spears. On the contrary, I find Britney Spears to be enormously depressing. But her greatest hits album makes for a delightful coaster.

The list, in full, after the break.

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Dial Idol has a close race between Allison (NO!!!!!), Jasmine, and Jorge heading off into the sunset.

The new rule- Judges save. It’s not as horrible as the idea floating out there that the judges were adapting the SYTYCD judging model ( America votes the bottoms, judges eliminate after a dance off). But I know that Idol fans, for all their complaints of  Jennifer Hudson-Chris Daughtry- Michael Johns unfairness, prefer to have the vote without judges interference. I know I do- and  I love love LOVE the three singers mentioned above.

So the group car wreck- er- number- let’s just skip that. I’m too tired to even comprehend it right now.

Is it me, or is RyRy looking particularly stupid tonight. I am tired. Daylight Savings and all.

Do the producers put these callback moments through Autotune or something. They always sound better in these callbacks. Except Jasmine.

And why would I bother to watch anymore if Adam and Danny are really the chosen ones? I want Alexis and Allison or Lil if necessary.

The Ford Music Video- not that sucky.

Rig Pig- safe.

Allison- safe. ( I love it when DI gets it wrong…)

Jasmine- down to the stage.

JT Wannabe- safe

Married Hottie and Megan Joy- Married stays, Megan to the floor.

Jasmine and Megan… and Megan is safe! Whooo! So relieved. She’s at least interesting. Jasmine is not interesting at all. They are making her sing as the judges deliberate. Why, God? I hate the sing out.

I want my Kanye and Kelly. Where are they?

Randy tells Jasmine sorry, not good enough. She cries. RyRy comforts her. We get the package and whatever sets in for me.

Kanye comes out and does “Heartless”, which is one of the best songs off of 808s and Heartbreaks. He has never been a great singer, but this song uses his limited vocal range and mixes his more light, sing-songy rap style to excellent effect.

Did they shrink the swaybots this year? I hardly have noticed them.

Those crazy ass screaming teens are too young for you, Kanye ( I know exactly how old he is, we were born a mere month apart).

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how one performs on the Idol stage. Awesome Kanye.

Scottay- safe. No surprise.

Alexis- safe. Thank the soul of Jimi.

Mopey- safe. Geez. And you know something? Sky is blue.

Anoop Doggy Dogg- to the stage.

Madame- safe. Sun is yellow.

Jorge… Lil… come on, we know it Jorge. And there he goes to the stage. Lil is safe. No kidding.

And they are going to make us wait. Poor guys. I hate RyRy for doing that to you. But Kelly’s gonna sing. We love Kelly. The Original Idol.

( I am clearly a Kelly girl from way back when, and I honestly think that the slam her last album got was unfair- it’s a mature, beautiful piece of melancholia).

This Idol re-visitation is gonna be weekly. Cool. Kelly looks fabulous, and is sweet and charming. She launches into ” My Life Would Suck Without You”, which is awesome if a little to reminiscent of ” Since U Been Gone”. I adore her still.

And so, we come down to Anoop and Jorge. And Anoop is safe… poor Jorge is gonna sing as the judges chat.

My friend, the awesome Melissa in Baltimore, had been hearing that only one person would end up getting eliminated due to the phone mishap ( Idol-13 is a porn number… whoops).  But Simon puts that to rest with a sharp “No.”

That is Carrie singing ” Home Sweet Home”, a awesome cover of the Mötley Crüe road song classic. And we say goodbye to two.

Next week- more hell. This season is disappointing in so many ways.

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Best British male
Paul Weller

Best British female
Duffy

Best British group
Elbow

Best British live act
Iron Maiden

Best British single
Girls Aloud – The Promise

Best British Album
Duffy – Rockferry

Best British breakthrough act
Duffy

Best international album
Kings of Leon – Only By The Night

Best international male
Kanye West

Best international female
Katy Perry

Best international group
Kings of Leon

Critics’ Choice
Florence and the Machine

Outstanding Contribution To Music
Pet Shop Boys

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What another craptastic year in music. That’s the point, I guess. But some happy things happened in the nominees this year. Yes, there is a token old timer, but that old timer is Robert ” I’m the lead singer of fucking Led Zeppelin” Plant with Alison Krauss, and that album is so freakin’ awesome. There’s a favored rapper, but it’s the twisted and gifted Lil Wayne.  There are the young chanteuses with golden voices, but they’re both British and one ( Adele) has barely made a dent on the charts.  And there are the giants- Radiohead and Coldplay. Overall, the list this year is better than most.

Now for the play by play…

Album of the Year
Coldplay, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
Radiohead, In Rainbows

All five of these are on my year end list ( guess where they are, you get a ” Lollipop”. Heh.) But despite it’s groundbreaking release, I think Radiohead is the underdog. They get nominated often, but the don’t win in the big one ( remember OK Computer?)  Lil Wayne- one of the best albums of the year, but seriously, do you see it winning with the panel form the Jurassic era running the show? Ne-Yo is a mere tot, and his album is the weakest of the five. It comes down to Coldplay and Plant and Krauss. I’m giving it to Plant and Krauss. Because they are freaking awesome! And T-Bone Burnett produced this gem of covers.

Best New Artist
Adele
Duffy
Jonas Brothers
Lady Antebellum
Jazmine Sullivan

Who will win? Don’t be surprised if the Jonas Brothers did, because despite myself, I give begrudging respect to fifteen year old Nick, who writes those songs, and his clear gift for melody. Who should win? Adele. That girl sings from her toes, and that voice is so freakin’ soulful, she makes Amy Winehouse sound like she’s the lead singer from Bread.

Record of the Year
Adele, “Chasing Pavements”
Coldplay, “Viva la Vida”
Leona Lewis, “Bleeding Love”
M.I.A., “Paper Planes”
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, “Please Read the Letter”

When you see my year end lists, three of these songs are in my top twenty five. Clearly this one is one of them.

Song of the Year
Estelle (featuring Kanye West), “American Boy”
Adele, “Chasing Pavements”
Jason Mraz, “I’m Yours”
Sara Bareilles, “Love Song”
Coldplay, “Viva la Vida”

Yeah, I know. Mraz is more interesting, Adele’s  is the best of the lot, Bareilles’ was everywhere, and Estelle’s should break her here ( seriously, she’s another Brit beauty with a voice like a sodding angel). But Coldplay’s anthemic piano pop is what Grammy voters eat up. And they’re Coldplay- the biggest band on the planet when U2 is on vaycay.

Best Alternative Music Album
Beck, Modern Guilt
Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs
Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple
My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges
Radiohead, In Rainbows

Um… duh, yeah. Jeez. MMJ is a close second.

It’s a pretty safe bet that if they’re nominated in the big categories, they should win the subs- Coldplay in rock and pop, Lil Wayne in Rap, and so on.

Question- why is Beyonce nominated for ” Me Myself and I”? Wasn’t that on her first solo album back five years ago? Did I miss something?

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Coldplay, Radiohead, U2, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Kid Rock, Rihanna, Kenny Chesney, Jennifer Hudson, the Jonas Brothers, Lil’ Wayne, Paul McCartney ( with Dave Grohl on drums!), Katy Perry, T.I. with Justin Timberlake, and Carrie Underwood are all scheduled to play the big show, with a special performance by Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne, T.I., and Kanye Wesy of ” Swagga Like Us”. Coolness.

Neil Diamond is receiving the MusiCares humanitarian honor.

The Grammys air on CBS Sunday, February 8th.

UPDATE:  Added On Tuesday/Wednesday were Adele, Estelle, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Chris Brown, Sugarland, and a Four Tops tribute with Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo, and original Top Duke Fakir.

UPDATE # 2:  Added on Friday were Robin Thicke, Neil Diamond, M.I.A. ( unless labor interferes), Terence Blanchard, Smokey Robinson, Allen Toussaint, Stevie Wonder, and a Bo Diddley Tribute with Buddy Guy, BB King, John Mayer, and Keith Urban.

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25. Constatines ” Hard Feelings”

Canadian art-punks bring us a grinding, hard charging about the difficulty of emotions.

24. Ne-Yo ” Closer”

Usher’s heir apparent delivers on a R&B-hip hop jam that is smoother than creamy peanut butter.

23. T.I. ” Whatever You Like”

He’s such a generous guy, over trippy hio hop beats and a surprisingly warm chorus.

22. Jordin Sparks f. Chris Brown ” No Air”

Gorgeous, soaring vocal gymnastics by two teen sensations as they sing about the importance of oxygen, but the devastation of love.

21. Kings Of Leon ” Sex On Fire”

Southern gothic melodrama, with ringing guitars, as the Followills literally set things a flame.

20. Kid Rock ” All Summer Long”

Someone had the courage to do what I always thought about- put ” sweet Home Alabama” and ” Werewolves of London” together and see how similar they are. Add lyrics about partying and booze and sex, you have a classic summer jam.

19. Vampire Weekend ” Oxford Comma”

Bouncy African beats mixed with lyrics about sex and punctuation. I’m not joking.

18. Flo Rida ” Low”

Inescapable spring jam about Apple Bottom jeans and Reeboks with the straps.

17. Adele ” Chasing Pavements”

Soulful ruminations about being torn between love or happiness.

16. Kanye West ” Love Lockdown”

Autotune works for the master, and he creates a song about loss and love that is for the ages.

15. Rihanna ” Take A Bow”

“Disturbia” got the glory, but this song about kicking his ass to the curb remains her strongest single.

14. Sam Roberts ” Them Kids”

More folk country rock from the Canadian master of the guitar, with a charming SIMS inspired video mixed with 50s nostalgia.  A song about the fact kids don’t dance to rock and roll anymore.

13.  P!nk ” Sober”

” So What” maybe the typical hard rocking kiss off we expect from her, but Pink’s second single from her album is a more mature, honest song about divorce, alcohol, and love.

12. Katy Perry ” I Kissed A Girl”

Bouncy fun about same sex experiments and old fashioned button pushing. Not as jaw dropping as Jill Sobule’s track of the same name, but this grimy flirty track is a delight.

11. Estelle f. Kanye West ” American Boy”

Soulful British song stylist asking for a trip to NYC. Girl knows her shit. Discofied brilliance.

10.  Ting Tings ” Shut Up And Let Me Go”

Duo of punk inspired dance artists sing about how you are never gonna hit this again.

9. City And Colour ” Waiting…”

Quiet acoustic jam about waiting for the end of everything. Depression sounds almost peaceful.

8. David Cook ” Bar ba Sol”

Grinding punk guitar stylings mixed with lyrics about regretting the night before, where alcohol and possibly blonde skanks played a role in humiliation. Did I just say that?

7.  Billy Talent f. Rise Against ” Turn Your Back”

Two of the modern punk bands of note dress us down for ignoring the ecological disasters looming in the near future.

6. Duffy ” Mercy”

Sixties style pop soul with a Dusty vibe, and a girl with a voice grittier than gravel.

5. Hedley ” Old School”

Jacob Hoggard reminisces about setting tires on fire and the days where little mattered except getting wasted behind the old school.

4. Coldplay ” Violet Hill”

” Viva La Vida” has gotten all the glory, but this first single remains their grittiest, gungiest track. And the lyrics are mysteriously baroque and the vocals soar.

3. Metro Station ” Shake It”

Eighties inspired dance rock. God, how I’ve missed this stuff. Vaguely reminds me of Flock of Seagulls and Loverboy. Weird, but wonderful. And frickin’ catchy.

2. R.E.M. ” I’m Gonna D.J.”

Alt rock fore fathers come back to form with raging guitars and a plan for the end of days. I wanna be at that party.

1. M.I.A. ” Paper Planes”

I want to thank Seth Rogan and David Gordon Green for allowing this song to explode after the trailer for Pineapple Express introduced it to the world. Clash inspired guns and cash registers mixed with trip hop beats and the idea of exceeding what your borders permit. Stunning.

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20. David Cook David Cook

The mysteries of life. Idol winner’s first albums as a rule are supposed to suck hardcore. Except if you’re Kelly and manage to sneak ” Low” on yours.
Or Carrie and you luck out with ” Before He Cheats”. But David C. managed to do something surprising- delivering a rather cohesive ( more shocking considering the group think writing) rock album that was among the best rock albums of the year. ” Bar Ba Sol” is simply one of the best rock songs of 2008 period, and ” Light On” has grown on me significantly over the last several weeks.

19. Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago

I picked up this album simply because it has one of my daughter’s names in the title. I love it when I discover something in the process, though, of picking up crap stuff with my kids names on it. Spare acoustic tacks that feel like winter in Canada ( or Wisconsin, where it was recorded in a cabin), Justin Vernon’s elegant isolation remains bleak and unrelenting.

18. Ne Yo Year Of The Gentleman

I try to avoid flavor of the month hip hop soul stars. Couldn’t resist ” Closer”, though, and this album shows a maturing I didn’t expect.

17.  Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple

It’s not as accessible or fun as St. Elsewhere, but I deign for people to tell me this album isn’t going to be regarded as a classic in ten years time.  Cee-Lo remains one of the most underrated singers in music, and Danger Mouse is a musical genius.

16. Billy Talent 666

A Live album from the St. Catherines punk purists with a matching DVD. They are fantabulous live, and they hit all the right notes and sing the hits as well as fan faves. ” Devil In A Midnight Mass” still remains scorching.

15. MGMT Oracular Spectacular

Experimental yet somehow classic, the Brooklyn duo create magic on their second full length album, and believe me when I say we are all better off to just buy it. Influenced by New Order and space rock that would make Bowie proud, I recommend just listening to ” Kids” and reminding yourself of happier times.

14. Adele 19

Duffy had the big hit, Amy the big headlines, and Leona the big benefactor ( Simon Cowell), but Adele has the big voice, and her songs are not written by frickin’ Jesse McCartney. Simply stunning.

13 Rise Against Appeal To Reason

More punk purists, this time with an decidedly Marxist lean. They are passionate and surprisingly successful- this album debuted at 3 on te Billboard charts.  Political and rocking.

12. Lil Wayne Tha Carter III

He’s a wordsmith that would make Eminem smile, and his prolific bootlegs and internet releases make him a tad over exposed, but he is quickly becoming the MC to listne to. ” Lollipop” is hook filled fun.

11. Coldplay Viva La Vida

Their previous album was so controlled, I wished for some imperfect note to remove the museum like quality. This album is messier, sonically more diverse, baroque and the punkiest we’ll ever hear them. Lyrically as pretentious as ever, at least it rocks harder. Which is still not much, granted.

10. Girl Talk Feed the Animals

Danger Mouse started the internet mash up, but Gregg Gillis perfected it. ” Set It Off” indeed. Brilliantly wacky.

9. Black Keys Attack and Release

Highly recommended to me by a good friend, I finally picked it up about three weeks ago and have been grooving ever since.  With Danger Mouse producing ( what, him agian?), the Akron duo create a world of spare, historical guitar noodling delta blues minimalism. And if that all seems to be contridictory, you’re right, but it works.

8. My Morning Jacket Evil Urges

Blow my mind, moutain men, why don’t you? The soul brothers of my beloved Flaming Lips, these guys mix a gorgeous falsetto, southern rock, space jams, and veiled political references . Why am I coming to them so frickin’ late? Someone? Anyone?

7. TV On The Radio Dear Science

Funk is awesome. Team it with apocolyptic lyrics and the general feeling of doom, you get this masterpiece of an album.

6.  Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend

I can see how people can hate this Ivy league, hyperliterate band with a fondness for Paul Simon’s Graceland and the solo work of Peter Gabriel ( who is namechecked in “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”). But I love the fact they can simply create gently African melodies while asking ” Who gives a fuck about an Oxford Comma?” More fun that it should be.

5. Kings Of Leon Only By the Night

They are becoming one of my new faves, as they take the best of Skynyrd and add some U2 and becomebetter. They always seemed inauthentic in their southern gothic style, but this album launches them out of parody and into the forefront of the Southern rock revolution happening right now. My Morning Jacket has competition…

4. City and Colour Bring Me Your Love

Dallas Green’s solo side project is quickly eclipsing his day job in Alexisonfire. This album, a natural evolution from Sometimes acoustic heartbreaks, is by far the best Canadian album this year ( no one comes close- sorry, Nickelback). All those comparisons to Neil Young’s Harvest are justified.

3. Kanye West 808s and Heartbreaks

The man is broken. His mama died tragically and his fiancee dumped his ass. He has put the bravado aside and created an emotional, adult album with little hip hop braggacio. Stunning and suprising.

2. R.E.M. Accelerate

Whether it’s the hugley catchy vocal hook of ” Supernatural Superserious” or the quiet rage that seeps into ” Houston”, the end of days grandstanding of ” I’m Gonna DJ” or the dressing down given in ” Living Well Is The Best Revenge”, this album says two things. R.E.M. is not fine, and you know what, they still have it.

1. Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue

It’s becoming clear to me Jenny Lewis can do no wrong. I adore Rilo Kiley, her day job band, but her solo work impresses the hell out of me. This album, simple, folksy, county, rock, psychedelic, often all at the same time, remains my favorite this year.

Worst of the year- Scarlett Johannsson Anywhere I Lay My Head

She can’t sing. Not in the charming way Tom Waits can’t sing. She lacks charm as a vocalist, and this album of Tom Waits covers offends the Tom Waits fan in me.

Biggest relief: GNR finally releases Chinese Democracy

Biggest disappointment: GNR’s Chinese Democracy. I’ll never be okay again. It made me cry. Not in a good way. Flashes of genius are overshadowed by an over produced mess.

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