getting 6 rejections from various grad schools (but I did get 3 acceptances!)
the final chapter of A Visit From The Goon Squad (which I finally read in February)
Top 10 Albums To Which I Am Most Looking Forward***:
Major — Fang Island
Yellow & Green — Baroness
TBA — Coheed & Cambria****
TBA — Ben Folds Five
channel ORANGE — Frank Ocean
Swing Lo Magellan — Dirty Projectors
Love This Giant — David Byrne & St. Vincent
The Janus Mirror — Emanuel & The Fear
Sun — Cat Power
The 2nd Law — Muse
According To last.fm, My Most Listened Artists Over The Last 6 Months:
*Bonus points to anyone who knows this reference.
**I subconsciously selected only songs that did not appear on any of my favorite albums. After realizing I did this, I was happy with that choice. Suffice it to say, many of my favorite songs do come from my favorite albums, but for the sake of non-repetition, I kept it the way it was.
***Yeah, gross, prepositions.
****I’m not even sure this album is coming out in 2012, but they are finished recording it, so I’m assuming.
This video skillfully captures the cute/creepy dynamic that inhabits almost all of Annie Clark’s work as St. Vincent. None of the clip’s images are violent outright, but their sinister undertones perfectly embody the song’s central question of, “How could you be / Casually / Cruel?” (And the image of Annie playing the guitar solo with a bag over her head is just fantastic.)
4. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire feat. Despot, Das Racist, Danny Brown, and El-P - “The Last Huzzah (Remix)”
A pitch perfect homage to Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)” the video for the remix to Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire’s “Huzzah!” puts a weird twist on the classic black-and-white Bad Boy crew video. It also features Killer Mike standing in the background with an automatic rifle, Das Racist’s Dap dancing in a rocking chair that says “Danger” on it, and El-P’s mustache. What’s not to love?
Yeah, this isn’t a ~real~ music video, but it’s probably the most compelling footage of a performance that I’ve ever seen. It’s staggering in it’s simplicity. Shot by Jay-Z on his camera phone, Beyonce tears through an absolutely astonishing rendition of “1+1” as a warm-up. Say what you will about the proliferation of the internet, but without it no one outside of that room would have gotten to see this amazing performance.
2. The Throne - “Otis”
Like most of Watch The Throne, what makes the video for “Otis” so enjoyable is that it’s fun as hell, despite the price tag. On the track, Kanye cuts up Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness”, and he and Jay play pass-the-mic over top of it. In the video, the boys chop up a Maybach, and joyride around in it in front of an American flag. Even though the sample and the car are expensive things to dice to hell, it still looks pretty enjoyable, and isn’t enjoyment what you’re supposed to get out of money?
1. Tyler, the Creator - “Yonkers”
When this video debuted on Tumblr, I made two separate posts wildly rambling about how good it was. And, all of these months later, I might like it more than I did then. It’s the perfect summation of Odd Future as a whole: creepy, funny, and instantly iconic. Even if the rest of Goblin didn’t live up to the insanely high bar set by “Yonkers”, this video has not been tarnished in the slightest bit. It’s every bit as gross, and exciting as it was when it sent me into hysterics ten months ago.
A bizarre combination of Alice in Wonderland and Breaking Bad, the video for Mastodon’s “Curl of the Burl” features surreal imagery that reflects the psychedelic elements of the song’s stoner metal roots. It also contains some really excellently low-budget special effects reminiscent of the best kind of cult horror film. Plus, naked fire boobs.
4. Beyoncé - “Countdown”
This video is another mishmash of varying influences, from the clean lines of art deco to the fastmotion dancing of silent films. Combine these with contemporary moves and vintage outfits, and you have a video that truly embodies the maximalist approach of the song itself. Particularly impressive are the color swaps near the beginning and the 10 Beyoncés grooving to the Boyz II Men sample.
3. Battles - “Ice Cream”
A perfect summer video for a perfect summer song. Ice cream, swimming, bathing suits, sunshine, dancing, all key summer signifiers. The most interesting aspect of this video is its found footage aesthetic, which recalls Battles’s use of samples and looping in their music. And hey, you can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned licking motif.
First, sorry there’s no embedded video, but NBC has taken it down, and the only version on youtube has embedding disabled. Click above for a link. This isn’t technically a music video, but it is a video, and it is of music, so get bent, sticklers. Featuring just Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, this performance of “Give Up The Ghost” on Jimmy Fallon’s talk show provides a fascinating insight into how Radiohead craft their songs. Although The King Of Limbs, where this song can be found, is a dense, intricately layered headphones album, this arrangement of one of its best songs is sparse, lovely, and downright pastoral. For all of their various bleeps and bloops, Radiohead can sure craft some killer melodies. When Thom loops his own voice seemingly a dozen times, the ensuing chorale of Yorkes is as affecting as anything they’ve ever produced.
1. Eleanor Friedberger - “My Mistakes”
At the heart of any great music video (or any great anything, for that matter) lies a compelling story. We want to see something happen, and for a reason. The music video for Eleanor Friedberger’s “My Mistakes” is not only my favorite one from 2011, but it’s also one of the best I’ve ever seen. The video is a study in comparison: using real, grainy footage of Eleanor shot for an art class when she was an undergrad at the University of Texas in the 90s, and contemporary HD video of her today, it tells the story of a woman at two distinct points in her life. In the archival material, proto-Eleanor is going through a routine of getting ready, and the footage shot today has Eleanor2.0 copying this original routine, utilizing clever match cuts to showcase the subtle differences in the two Eleanors. Astute observers will notice one Britt Daniel, of Spoon, playing the supporting role of guy-who-picks-her-up-for-a-date-but-then-just-gets-straight-to-mackin’ in the old, UT footage. In the new 2011 storyline, Eleanor is not getting ready for a date with some guy, but rather a jovial summer get together on the front stoop, complete with American cheese slices, peeps, and hard boiled eggs. The character of Eleanor has embraced her agency, and, despite fitting into the exact same dress (props, E.F.), she foregoes her earlier motivation for a more communal one. An examination of the lyrics (cue reader gasp at BIH mentioning lyrics at all) reveals the thematic resonance of this wonderful short story: “Why keep time traveling if it doesn’t get better on the second time around?”