Well, I got an iTunes gift card for Christmas, so after lord knows how many months of whinging, I actually have the opportunity to buy new music. Of course, with great powers great responsibility, so I'm taking it easy, making sure I get what I really want. Why I would tell you this, or why you'd be interested, is well beyond me. It seems this statistical notetaking has just become something of a tradition. Ergo...
#1  Way Out West - Pulse of Life (+1)
#2  William Ørbit - Cavalleria Rusticana (+1)
#3  William Ørbit - Ogive Number I (+1)
#4  William Ørbit - In A Landscape (-3)
#5  菅野よう子 [Yoko Kanno] - Bad Dog (+2)
#6  William Ørbit - L'Inverno (-)
#7  Thom Yorke - Analyse (+1)
#8  William Ørbit - Pieces in the Old Style 3 (-3)
#9  CocoRosie - Rainbowarriors (-)
#10  Björk - Mouths Cradle (-)
#11  William Ørbit - Triple Concerto (-)
#12  William Ørbit - Xerxes (-)
#13  William Ørbit - Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte (-)
#14  Björk - Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right) (+1)
#15  Underworld - Two Months Off (Radio Edit) (-1)
#16  Moby - My Weakness (+3)
#17  William Ørbit - Pieces in the Old Style I (-1)
#18  William Ørbit - Opus I32 (-1)
#19  CoLD SToRAGE - Body in Motion (-1)
#20  Vangelis - Love Theme from Bladerunner (-)
#21  Bodyrox feat. Luciana - Yeah Yeah (D. Ramirez Radio Edit) (+1)
#22  Björk - Submarine (-1)
#23  Gustav - Genua (-)
#24  Intermix - Mantra (-)
#25  William Ørbit - Adagio for Strings (-)
#26  Björk - Visur Vatnsenda Rosu (-)
#27  CoLD SToRAGE - Cold Comfort (+4)
#28  The Future Sound of London - Papua New Guinea (-)
#29  Hot Chip - Over and Over (+1)
#30  Björk - Desired Constellation (-1)
#31  UNKLE - Lonely Soul (-4)
#32  Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You (Radio Edit) (+4)
#33  Madonna - Frozen (+5)
#34  Radiohead - Videotape (+6)
#35  Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out (-2)
#36  Björk - Pleasure is all Mine (-4)
#37  Moby - Porcelain (Clubbed to Death Version by Rob Dougan) (+10)
#38  Cassius - Toop Toop (-3)
#39  b(if)tek feat. Julee Cruise - Wired for Sound (-)
#40  Pendulum - Coma (-6)
#41  Rob Dougan - Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation) (+5)
#42  Einsturzende Neubauten - Blume (-)
#43  PNAU - Journey Agent (+2)
#44  Groove Zone - Eisbaer (Extended Mix) (-7)
#45  CoLD SToRAGE - Cairodrome (-1)
#46  Groove Terminator - Losing Ground (-5)
#47  DJ Krush - Dig This Vibe (-4)
#48  Moby - Bodyrock (Hybrid's Bodyshock Remix) (-)
#49  Madonna - Drowned World/Substitute for Love (+7)
#50  Luke Slater - Stars and Heroes (+9)
#51  Sasha - Wavy Gravy (+6)
#52  Björk - Vokuro (-3)
#53  William Ørbit - Barber's Adagio for Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix) (-2)
#54  Hot Chip - Grubbs (-4)
#55  CoLD SToRAGE - Onyx (-3)
#56  Moby - Memory Gospel (-1)
#57  Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks (-4)
#58  William Ørbit - Water From a Vine Leaf (-6)
#59  UNKLE - Rabbit in your Headlights (-4)
#60  Nine Inch Nails - Just Like You Imagined (-2)
#61  Ratty - Sunrise (Here I Am) (Radio Edit) (+4)
#62  Moby - ARP (-8)
#63  Console - 14 Zero Zero (-2)
#64  Pet Shop Boys - Miracles (Radio Edit) (-2)
#65  The Beta Band - Space Beatle (-5)
#66  Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be (-)
#67  Björk - Triumph of a Heart (+1)
#68  Faithless - Drift Away (Paradiso Mix) (+7)
#69  Moby - Natural Blues (+7)
#70  Cassius - Toop Toop (Olivier Koletski Mix) (-)
#71  Orbital - Petrol (-4)
#72  b(if)tek - 3 Seconds of Her (-3)
#73  Supreme Beings of Leisure - Strangelove Addiction (+1)
#74  DJ Shadow - Six Days (+4)
#75  Raven Maize - The Real Life (Fatboy Slim Mix) (+5)
#76  Björk - Who Is It (Vitalic Mix) (-5)
#77  Moby - Flying Foxes (-5)
#78  Groove Armada - Dusk, You & Me (-5)
#79  Hot Chip - Boy From School (+2)
#80  Pet Shop Boys - I Don't Know What You Want but I can't Give It Anymore (-1)
#81  ana voog - Telepathic You (-4)
#82  Daft Punk - Around the World (-)
#83  Faithless - We Come 1 (+2)
#84  Kenji Kawai - Making of a Cyborg (-1)
#85  Pet Shop Boys - Paninaro '95 (-1)
#86  Bentley Rhythm Ace - Theme from Gutbuster (-)
#87  Hybrid - Finished Symphony (Album Version) (-)
#88  Sash! - Chill Out No. 1 (+4)
#85  Björk - Oceania (new)
#86  UNKLE - Unreal (+9)
#87  Luke Slater - Grace (+13)
#88  Hybrid - Zulu (RE)
#89  Faithless - Salva Mea (Way Out West Remix) (-1)
#90  Pet Shop Boys - Single - Bilingual (-)
#91  菅野よう子 [Yoko Kanno] - Pulse (-)
#92  Kenji Kawai - Pappetry Song (Gods' Gathering in the New World) (-3)
#93  Ramin Djawadi & The RZA - Daywalkers (+5)
#94  Pet Shop Boys - Being Boring (+3)
#95  Gustav - We Shall Overcome (-2)
#96  Gerling - Enter Space Capsule (new)
#97  Death in Vegas - Hands Around My Throat (-3)
#98  Moby - In My Heart (RE)
#99  Chicane feat. Bryan Adams - Don't Give Up (new)
#100  Timo Maas - To Get Down (RE)
In October I lost a dear friend/family member to kidney cancer, so I know the music I've been listening to has changed. For a week or more I didn't really listen to any music as I gradually adjusted to the fact that I was listening to it without the company of another pair of ears. Certain lyrics and tones also didn't fit my mood, through grieving, and through moving forward. I still think of him often and feel a great sadness for that massive loss. It's sometimes nice not to be reminded of it by song.
I'm looking forward to the long overdue addition of new music. "New" to my iPod, at least. I don't imagine anything recent chart topping music will win my thirty iPod dollars.
Actually, despite the above inferrence, I recently discovered the 2000's weren't as grim a decade for music as I'd thought. Granted, there's plenty of stuff that slipped by this decade, but even with that in mind, when I compiled a playlist full of tracks from the 00's, I was pleasantly surprised, even if there was some confirmation of the strength of the first half.
The bulk of the top 10 from this month's Top 100 came from the 2000's.
Some real gems are in there, too. PNAU's Journey Agent harkens back to better personal days and the creative vigor of the year 2000. It's been a theme of my video game blogging on 1up, but I think the sense that the world was inspired by the race toward the new millenium, only to finish the decade with a belly flop, applies to music as well. PNAU's warm, jazzy track is a stark contrast to the obnoxious eighties-kitsch they were churning out by 2008. They certanly weren't alone in producing this kind of claptrap, which is currently vying for the top of the pops with rap hangover and the usual plastic princess crap that sells to fourteen year old girls.
I've dwelled in the 98-02 period quite a bit this year, reminiscing over days when I felt much more empowered. The declining graph of creative endeavours over this decade has led me to feel quite a bit more disconnected than I had for a long time. I was very use to keeping a narrow scope that shifted with the times, but now I now I find I am constantly look backward, catching up on the things I missed the first time, and reappreciating the things that meant a lot.
The KLF has been a recent favourite. Other tracks from the eighties and nineties have been a feature, and I've got the 24 Hour Party People (movie) DVD on order, so the turning point of dance in the Manchester/Factory scene is something I'm sure I'll be soaking in again soon. Incidentally, if you've found yourself reading this, and you're interested in a pisstake of music history through the lens of modern myth, you should give it a look.
The big votes for the 05-09 period, at least on my feeble iPod playlist, come from Way Out West, Thom Yorke, CocoRosie, Hot Chip, Cassius, Peter Bjorn and John, Faithless, and various other Swedish acts. With the exception of the unbolded latter, it's a tad disheartening to see what is obviously a very nineties-influenced list of offerings.
Incidentally, La Roux's Bulletproof is heavily eighties-infused pop that actually manages to strike a chord, perhaps because it feels somehow more sincere than the glut of new releases baring gaudy neon strips over solid white backgrounds. The song's got an infectious pop hook with the benefit of a powerful lyrical message. I'm sure it's all about empowerment in the face of lusting adversity, but the large fiction-addled quadrant of my brain likes to think of it in terms of an old friend who promises to come back with none of the old weaknesses.
La Roux lakes the personalized reinterpretation of eighties trends that, say, MGMT were able to offer, but on the same token, didn't make me want to punch idiotic shirtless fifteen year olds in the face, either. I'll take a little tight white denim and big shoulder pads over muddy kids eating worms from the yard, any day!
Also well worth a look, against all odds, is the latest offering from the Black Eyed Peas, who against better judgment, continue to associate with Fergie. It seems, in a rare fit of musical integrity, the "BEP" have decided to investigate conventional wisdom, putting together a track in Meet Me Halfway that has a bit of an emotional punch to go along with it's pop competence. Replacing their usual modus operandi of constantly repeating a handful of words is an actual chorus, proving that, somewhere behind that squinty-eyed blonde, there's a competent music act, who, like PNAU, had better days at the beginning of the decade, kicking arse with pre-Fergie tracks like Weekend.
On the subject of kicking arse (and looking backward), I've been having semi-religious experiences revisiting the saxaphonic supremacy of 1989's Pacific State, by 808 State.
I don't think I'm getting carried away when I describe the echoing brass as nigh orgasmic. Somewhere out there I'm sure there's a remix that cuts the Roland TR-808 intrusion that hasn't aged all that well, and let's the sax speak for itself. Apparently it's in GTA: San Andreas, but I'll try not to hold that against it.
Also from the same period, I've been getting back in touch with one of my favourite albums (as a complete package), and the very first album I ever owned (late bloomer), U2's Achtung Baby. I shant sneer at their beloved eighties output, but I'm sure I'll always have a bias for the group's '91 turning point, which gave birth to the modern U2 of today, but did it without the tired, soulless gimmicky rubbish. Mind you, I'm undecided if the "birth" of Bono in black leather and giant sunglasses was at it's silliest in The Fly, or much less so than later years. I think perhaps I'll just focus on the music, which was bloody fantastic! I'm sure sometimes at night when I fall asleep I'm still hearing the opening electric of Zoo Station, still echoing in my ears years after I lost the swanky silver-buttoned Sony Walkman my late Great Aunt bought for the express purpose of firing up my synapses with this metal-grinding industrial reawakening [of u2].
That's probably enough bitching for one Christmas night, though.
Hope you're having a good one and just happened to find this post in February, rather than reading it when it was posted, late Christmas (early in the US). Cheers!