Friday, January 07, 2005

More Music of '04

Now when I posted my top 10 albums, I was really struggling to limit myself to 10, plus there were still a few weeks left in the year. Here are a couple of albums that either barely missed the cut, or that I've found in the weeks since that post.

Morrissey - You Are the Quarry - This album finished 11th on my list, but I felt it would be a crime not to mention it. This is the Mozzer's first album in 7 years, and it returns him to form after a couple of forgettable albums in the mid-90s (dare I say Maladjusted and Southpaw Grammar). This time around, Moz hits on American politics after many years living in the states ("America Is Not the World"), addresses his huge latino fan base ("First of the Gang to Die") and gives us some great Moz lyrics ("The World Is Full of Crashing Bores"). The singles are catchy, the slow songs strike the right nerve, and except for a couple of missteps, this is damn near a perfect Morrissey album.

Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans - I had a feeling this album would make it onto here somehow. I actually didn't get it until Christmas, but I loved Greetings from Michigan. . . so much that I was almost positive that I'd like this one just as much. It's a little more stripped down than his last album, but Sufjan does the slow acoustic songs as well, if not better than he does the more upbeat pop stuff. For those who are not familiar with Sufjan, he is essentially the most accessible member of the neo-folk scene that is emerging at the moment. He has a gorgeous voice, plays almost all the instruments on his album, and has a bit of an Elliot Smith feel, but way less fucked up lyrics. The dual acoustic guitars and banjo in "That Dress Looks Nice on You" will give you chills and the melody in "Sister" will get stuck in your head before you know it.

The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike - Now pause a second before you continue, and imagine what a band with that name and an album with that title would sound like. Got it? Well, no it's time for imagination to meet reality, because I hope you all think like I do. The album opens with "Panther Dash," a perfect intro song that sounds like it could almost be played over the credits of some cheesy action show (okay, I stole that from pitchfork, but it's so true). We next hit "Ladyflash," an incredibly upbeat song featuring vocals from singer/rapper Ninja, which will get you up on your feet no matter where you are. From there the album continues on this pace, there are no slow songs, very few vocals, but it doesn't matter, you won't be able to stop listening. They're kinda along the lines of the Avalanches, but with more live instrumentation and less sampling. The best way to describe them is just to say that it's a perfect album to put on as you're headed out to a party or a bar, it just gets you ready to dance and have fun and puts a big smile on your face.


At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Matt--
What about the last Elliott Smith album? Thoughts on it? -Kristen V.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Matt Starr said...

I like the new Elliot Smith album, but I wouldn't say that it's a great album deserving of being mentioned as one of the best albums of the year. I think had he been able to finish working on it, it could have been, but since some songs were left off and the final mixing was overseen by outsiders, it wasn't. It is a strong album, but I don't think it even touches XO or Either/Or, although some songs like "Fond Farewell" and "King's Crossing" are spectacular. As a whole, however, I feel like it's a bit inconsistent. Just my opinion, you can take it for what it's worth.

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