My friend Lori always made End of the Year lists of her favorite music, but I’ve never felt in-the-know enough to do much of the same (especially since she was the main person who sent me new music). But, since we’re deprived of her list this year, I shall try to step in in a small way. This won’t all be music, and most of it is stuff I’ve only found today because the sound on my computer started working again and I’ve been able to listen to everyone else’s Top 25 lists. 🙂 In no particular order:
1. I’ve loved Fiona Apple since her first album, and though I don’t own this one (yet) and she’s fallen a bit off my radar lately, this is beautiful. After all of these years, I still want to force feed her a pizza, but dude, she’s wearing and OCTOPUS on her HEAD.
2. Kishi Bashi, in general, are awesome. Their website shows that they are one of the few bands that really get the whole internet-based fan interaction thing. It’s not fancy or crazy, but they offer many different options for both purchasing and listening to their music. Unfortunately, this blog interface hasn’t figured out how to deal with them, so here’s link to a song which will have you singing “aye yai yai” before you know it.
3. Can The National count? Just kidding, but just go ahead and owe the money, to the money, to the money you owe anyway.
4. Andrew Bird, Break It Yourself. This should really be at #1 for me, but since I said there wasn’t a particular order, I’ll stick to it. Goodness, this is a great album from beginning to end. Put on some giant Bose headphones and close your eyes until you pick up all of the different funny little noises and instruments. How does someone learn to whistle like that, anyhow? It’s difficult to pick a favorite song, but I’ll go with this one (sorry it’s not a video, but there’s a live version). Or Lazy Projector.
5. GAWD, I’m back in high school again. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but will probably do so this weekend, mostly due to this clip. A.H. haters gonna hate, but the girl can sing and this version of the song is better (I feel) than the cast version from the 90’s.
6. Emmylou by First Aid Kit. Can’t say I’m love with the album (it’s good background music for cooking), but this is a great song.
7. This video and song aren’t necessarily going on my mp3 player, but I love the sentiment and the lyrics are poignant, as is the imagery in the video.
8. Ivan and Alyosha. Technically, this came out in 2011, but whatever. Not going to break any boundaries of music or anything, but very listenable.
9. Kathleen Edwards, Voyager. I’ve liked her previous albums more but she has some really strong songs on this one.
10. The Lumineers are a little trendy, but again there are some good songs even if they are a little overly ready-for-radio.
11. Of Monsters and Men. I’m a little conflicted about them because, Jeebus, they’re really trying hard. And the repetition. But at the end of the day, they’ve put together a pretty solid album.
12. Beyonce. I don’t think she’s actually put out any music this year (?), but she gets the prize for all around awesomeness every year, I think. And she named her kid after me, so there’s that.
13. Young adult literature. There, I said it. Probably 75% of the books I read this year were YA, and I’m not going back. They weren’t all great, but there is a sudden wealth of newish literature with female leads who are actual characters and not just wandering around until they find a guy to marry. Sure, most of them have some sort of romantic side plot, but it’s not the whole point of the book. The fact that most of them are sci-fi/fantasy AND about girls is even cooler. I was never into that genre as a teen myself (well, except for Anne Rice), but I totally would have been if these books had been out. Shadow and Bone was probably my favorite, and I’m excited because it’s the first in a trilogy (books 2 and 3 haven’t come out yet). The Hunger Games Trilogy was also good, if a little more simplistic. Actually, maybe The Scorpio Races was my favorite, now that I think about it, but I believe it came out in 2011. The Graceling series was quite a lot of fun as well, and all about three different girls/women, though they interact throughout the books over a period of about 40(?) years. The most recent series I’ve read is the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, of which two books have been released. They’re a bit overdone on the promo side, I think (the cover art turns me off and these descriptions “Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low…” Gag me with a spoon), but the writing style makes the characters believable even if they are chimera and asshole angels. I got started on YA with Before I Fall (really great), The Golden Compass trilogy (holy crap was I surprised to find out how deep and subversive the message was, good thing most American parents don’t read or they would have banned the movie), Flip (pretty good), and the Insurgent series (started out strong, but I can’t say I’ll buy the third book when it comes out), and have been reading most of what Amazon has recommended since then. Fortunately, many of the books I’ve enjoyed seem to come in series, so I’m looking forward to the 2013 releases.
14. Other great books I read that didn’t necessarily come out in 2012: Nightwoods (Charles Frazier, if you haven’t read 13 Moons, please go out and buy it), The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern, will re-read this year), The Art of Fielding (Chad Harbach, really good), Bossypants (Tina Fey, I started giggling out loud on the first page), Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese, bit of a downer, but wonderful), I Remember Nothing (Nora Ephron, got it on a whim having no idea who she was, fantastic), and the entire Game of Thrones Series, which I don’t feel the need to comment on since you’ve all read it as well, or have at least been harassed to read it by someone else already.
15. Weddings! Well, wedding. Did I go to any other weddings this year other than mine? Was I the only person on the planet who got married in 2012? I don’t really know because it was all consuming, but in the end it was great, and everyone said they had fun and we all survived. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glad it was over.
16. Ok, I’m tired of this list and I’m sure you are too. So, since it’s a new year and this is part of my resolution, I’m going to just say it. Feminism. I’m not going to get political (even if politics were somewhat responsible for this), but I am going to reclaim the word and what it stands for. Here’s a great blog/conglomeration of blogs: The Hairpin