Friday, December 21, 2012

Guest List Week: Carl's Top 15

[Guest List Week comes to its thrilling conclusion with my friend and co-worker Carl.  Though constantly locked in a tense battle to be seen as "Guy at the Office Who Loves Robyn the Most," we remain on good terms.]

I thought it would be harder to pick which track to make “number one.” Not this year. I like everything about this song, but maybe most of all how it makes me look forward to more music. I want to hear the CHVRCHES album in 2013.

It’s not easy to know what to make of these guys. I expected more from their first album. But on the other hand, here they are with one of the strongest tracks of the year. Many others did less with more.

I heard an interview where one of the members said (roughly) the band wanted to make a traditional punk rock album about twenty-somethings living through America’s lost decade. Great idea! The album has a few near misses and this bull’s-eye. If I were 25, I would be so angry – angrier than this, for sure.

Lucky for me I’m not 25, so I can listen to Swedish electro-pop dance hits without being a traitor to my generation. Woooo!

Her falsetto baby-doll voice doesn’t work for me except when it is saying something pretty dark. And this is dark stuff: like, I’m lonely and vulnerable, and I know that, rather than do anything to help, you are more likely to jump me when I’m walking after dark and break my neck. Compelling, too.

Singer Chloe Chaidez is very talented and absurdly young. She seems to have that “we don’t want to be labeled” thing going on. Do you admire her new band for choosing the search-engine-nightmare name “Kitten,” or is it just annoying?

This year Japandroids released the most Hold Steady-like album they could. Aaron is ecstatic, the rest of us perhaps less so. Still, there’s no denying this strong anthem-rock lives up to high expectations.

Someone said that genius is making really difficult tasks appear simple, or something like that. It is really difficult to make a song this good, and if you think it sounds like it was simple, you might as well say you think it was genius. Which would probably give the band a good laugh. On the other hand: “I saw this show on TV / these two girls wanted this guy / and he couldn’t choose between them / I wish that would happen to me / I can’t believe that’s anyone’s problem.” Genius!

This is my favorite 2012-list-eligible track from Shrines.

Aaron is right about Sweden. As evidence of this year’s shortage of Swedish electro-pop exports, consider that “Good For You” is the third-best track on an EP and I can’t name ten better songs from 2012. We need more songs from Sweden, not just more songs from Brooklyn. If you know someone in Sweden, please tell them to get to a recording studio and make an album next year.

A good Mountain Goats album this year. Not sure this is the best track from what is an old-fashioned LP record, but it seems to stick in my head slightly more than others.

A. C. Newman released a whole album of songs that sound like A.C. Newman. Maybe this track sounds more like New Pornographers than the others – that’s a compliment.

Yes, this one is embarrassing. If you used to like Adele but are sick of the overexposure, check this out. Otherwise, just move along.

This is an obscure band that will never rise out of obscurity. Like, ever. Apparently they broke up while working on their first album and posted what they had on

I used to make mixtapes. This is the kind of song you wanted as the last song on a mixtape.

1 comment:

  1. Love how your picks run the gambit there's a lot of new to me tracks. I also went through a solid Icona Pop phase when her EP was released so glad to see someone else embracing her whole heatedly.