Annual Year End’r “Best of” music thing for 2015. Meh
I’d like to think that at some point I had a grand plan for this end-of-the-year annual blathering about the music I bought, found, and enjoyed for the year 2015. This year’s project was pretty lame, slim pickings for me. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a fair amount of great music released, shared, and played over the span of this year. I don’t think I had as many platforms offering new music/mix-tapes or other facets that would regularly introduce me to artists and sounds that had been made available over the previous years. Maybe labels are cracking down on free MP3s and monthly lists. Maybe there’s some paradigm shift with streaming music that I’m too old to really care about. I tried Spotify for a while, but it just pissed me off. I didn’t bother with the torture that is named Apple Music. I get Amazon Music for free with my Prime subscription, but I honestly don’t use it. The majority of my music introduction for 2015 was spent utilizing the benefits of my SiriusXM Satellite subscription service. I’ve been paying for it since 2005, so I honestly don’t think about it as a subscription anymore – but I sure as hell listen to it a lot. Because of shows like Aquarium Drunkard, I’ve found a lot of great older stuff that I enjoy – weirdness, rarities and strange vinyl cuts from the ghosts of music past. New releases have been the bane of 2015.
There are some artists and tracks that I have previously enjoyed, though found that the newest offerings were uninspired or simply played far too often, thus growing tired and annoyed of a music track before I was allowed to investigate and enjoy anything else offered on the release. Kurt Vile, Chvrches, and Grimes are victims to this overplayed single track mentality. I’m sure there are probably other tracks out there on the disk I’d enjoy more, but if I have to hear “Pretty Pimpin'” one more goddamn time I’m going to punch Kurt Vile in the throat. There were artists that I’ve watched fall apart. 2015’s Kid Cudi offering is what happens when you spend too much time doing mushrooms and not enough time actually producing your album. There are about 10 times that the music stops and goes into some stupid Beavis and Butthead dialog talking about the songs they just heard on the album. Yeah, I liked Beavis and Butthead too… 20 years ago. You’re not making a Cheech and Chong record, man. Get with the music and get out of the shroom dimension. Even Bjork re-recorded an album with just vocals and a string quartet that somehow managed to be better than the last album she produced. Coldplay released something akin to U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and I wonder if 2000’s Chris Martin could take a time machine and meet whatever the fuck 2015 Chris Martin has become and beat his ass. New Order made an album without Peter Hook. Neil Young made an album with Willie Nelson’s sons about GMOs or some shit and it’s just fucking terrible.
If you’re still with me, I’ll rattle off a couple of points that I personally found to be enjoyable about a few tracks offered on this year’s compilation. There were a couple of bands that put out LPs and EPs this year, so if it was worth it’s salt, you might here a couple of artists on here twice. There were some interesting cover versions of things that I like. but over all I felt this year’s list to be pretty short. It ain’t what it used to be. It’s all personal taste and subjective connection. I’m sure Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is fantastic. It’s just not my thing. As a matter of fact some of the pickings were so slim this year, I padded the list with a few 2nd tracks from albums I really enjoyed and felt they needed another listen.
THE PRODIGY – THE DAY IS MY ENEMY
Holy shit, it’s 1996 again and The Prodigy are putting beats in my brain. I’ve used a handful of these tracks on my run playlists. Super nostalgic and energetic electronica.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – KINTSUGI
The first 4 tracks of this album might as well be an EP from The Cure. The guitars and approach are spot on and when you’re dealing with the loose ends of divorce and falling apart, it just makes sense to lean on The Cure sound. Then it pops into a couple of Ben Gibbard solo songs, then classic Death Cab and a touch of The Postal Service. All around, I’ve enjoyed this album and have kept it in heavy rotation this year.
ALABAMA SHAKES – SOUND AND COLOR
One of my best purchases this year. Truly enjoyed the flow and feel of this album. The energy and bluesy smash of this band keeps the raw southern memories of my youth alive.
IRON & WINE AND BEN BRIDWELL – SING INTO MY MOUTH
If you like Iron & Wine and Band of Horses, this is basically the two front men exchanging tracks on a new record. It somehow works to calm the beast.
YO LA TENGO – STUFF LIKE THAT THERE
An album of covers and a handful of new tracks. Twangy. Dreamy.
BUILT TO SPILL – UNTHETHERED MOON
Built to Spill put out an album this year and much to my surprise it sounds exactly like a Built to Spill album is supposed to sound. Don’t change it up. Don’t mess with the formula. I’m good.
THE SOFT MOON – DEEPER
It’s like NIN and DEPECHE MODE had a dark wave emo baby. This is the darkest album they’ve released yet.
I don’t know, kids. Over all it just wasn’t the same in 2015. I kind of fell like I failed you this year. More so, I feel like the music industry might have finally cut off it’s own genitals.