Wednesday, July 7, 2010

MTV Top 10 Albums (so far this year)

Well, my darling sister who very smartly chose a career in something exciting and exotic (radio broadcasting!) rather than something boring (econ- yawn) sent me a list of MTV’s top albums of the year so far. I was extremely excited, as you can imagine, but I was also alarmed at the number of artists on the list who I have never heard of- how does this continue to happen? When will I finally be cool enough to have MY top 10 list match MTV’s? After sampling the most popular song from each of these albums, I arrived at the answer to that question: never. I am going to go out on a limb and say that Suburban Music Mom is not the demographic that MTV is targeting at this point. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware that MTV had anything to do with music anymore since all I ever see on that channel is Cribs or My Super Sweet 16 (both of which I enjoy, by the way).

There are actually 11 albums on MTV’s list as there was a tie for #10. Of those 11 albums, I have reviewed one (Vampire Weekend) and have reviewed singles by two others (Sleigh Bells and LCD Soundsystem). Off I embarked on what was sure to be an enlightening journey, ending with some very mixed results. Incidentally, I am writing this from the DMV while I wait for my 16-year old to take her road test for her license. It is difficult not to make this entire post about my observations here, but I will just note that there are approximately 150 empty seats here and if you’re waiting for a loved one you are allowed to sit in a group of about 10 of those seats- brilliant. One of my favorite activities here is to watch the inevitable arguments between the workers and the people who have not brought the proper paperwork (which is difficult, I might add); hence, the ever present security guard. Anyway, what better place to drown out the sounds around you than at the DMV, so off we go! (Sorry, one more thing- I did not initially listen to these songs at the DMV in case you are nervous that it colored my impressions of the songs. I’m merely writing my final thoughts here).

1. High Violet (The National) – song reviewed: Bloodbuzz Ohio. For some reason this group’s sound reminds me of The Cure, although I’m guessing they’re not British if they’re singing about Ohio. This song was okay, not super exciting, which is fine because sometimes a song grows on you and you appreciate it more over time, but it never really got to that point for me. I liked the lyrics okay.

2. Contra (Vampire Weekend) – see previous post in April. I love this album.

3. The Monitor (Titus Andronicus) – song reviewed: A More Perfect Union. This song is kind of a rant, preceded and followed by a proclamation. If I’m interpreting the lyrics correctly, he is fed up with the state of the country and just wants a more perfect New Jersey. I guess I’m just not that into political songs and the music itself wasn’t really appealing to me, so this is a pass.

4. The ArchAndroid (Janelle Monáe) – song reviewed: Tightrope. This song was hands down my standout favorite of the entire group. I liked it a lot from the first listen. This particular song features Big Boi from Outkast, but she sounds like she can handle a song all by herself. She has kind of a funky R&B sound, a bit faster than you would normally think of for that genre. Actually, maybe she’s really considered a rapper- I’ll have to investigate and will definitely be looking to check out additional songs from this album.

5. This Is Happening (LCD Soundsystem) – sound reviewed: I Can Change. I reviewed another song for this album for a previous post because every reviewer I glance at loves this album. Since I didn’t love the first song I reviewed, I started wondering if I was wrong about liking it, so I was interested to try a second song. I like it better, but I’m just not crazy about the techno sound, so I’ll bump this one up to “medium”, but I am not a convert.

6. Treats (Sleigh Bells) – song reviewed: A Crown on the Ground. I reviewed another song by this group (Rill Rill) on an earlier post and liked it but had read that it was the most “mainstream” of their songs. I am here to tell you that this song sounds nothing like Rill Rill, which I sort of liked. A Crown on the Ground has the backdrop of a loud horn played through a poorly tuned radio- you can barely even hear the singing. If this is what the youngsters are listening to these days, I’m not interested- it was like nails on a chalkboard for me.

7. White Crosses (Against Me!) – song reviewed: I Was a Teenage Anarchist. I did like this song more the more I listened to it, but I’m still putting it in the “medium” category. It’s not bad, but it just doesn’t seem like anything special to me. From the song’s title you can get a flavor of the lyrics, sort of a retrospective about the hopefulness of youth. Interesting but not enough to want to make me buy the whole album.

8. Odd Blood (Yeasayer) – song reviewed: Ambling Alp. This song has kind of a cool message (stick up for yourself, don’t worry about anyone else). This song is an “eh”- nothing special for me.

9. Maniac Meat (Tobacco) – song reviewed: Fresh Hex. Oh my, this entire playlist is making me feel old. This is another one that just sounds like poorly tuned noise and more talking than actual singing. I’m wondering if I don’t know what good music sounds like anymore.

10. (tie!) My Best Friend is You (Kate Nash) – song reviewed: Do-Wah-Doo. I’ve heard of Kate Nash but don’t know that I’ve really listened to her before. She has a really heavy British accent and this song has some unexpected twists and turns. I’d give this song a thumbs up, but I wouldn’t say I’m an instant fan. I’d be curious to hear what some of her other songs sound like.

10. (tie!) If You leave it Alone/Instant Coffee Baby (The Wave Pictures) – song reviewed: Leave the Scene Behind. This song also kind of reminds me of 80’s British rock. Okay, not great.

To sum it all up, the only song I would strongly recommend is the one by Janelle Monáe (video below), some others fell in the “medium” category and some I just plain didn’t like. You’ll be happy to know that my daughter passed her road test and got her license, but there were so many fascinating distractions at the DMV that I had to finish this at home. Alas!

No comments:

Post a Comment