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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2008

[Santigold - Santigold]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

The Favorite Edition 2008 spurred this exercise to revisit lists from 10 years ago. While the Favorite 10 has only one change, the other favorites include a number of new discoveries.

  1. Santigold, Santigold
  2. MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS, MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS
  3. The Magnetic Fields, Distortion
  4. Emmylou Harris, All I Intended to Be
  5. ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, World World World
  6. Girl Talk, Feed the Animals
  7. Sam Amidon, All Is Well
  8. Leo Imai, Fix Neon
  9. Nico Muhly, Mothertongue
  10. Spangle call Lilli line, ISOLATION

Other favorites from the year:

  • Matt Alber, Hide Nothing
  • ZAZEN BOYS, ZAZEN BOYS 4
  • Utada Hikaru, HEART STATION
  • Perfume, GAME
  • Jennifer Koh, String Poetic
  • Janelle Monáe, Metropolis: The Chase Suite
  • Chris Walla, Field Manual

It took me a year and a half to get around to Santigold. I’m not sure why I hadn’t, and I can’t remember what finally spurred me to do so. I’m just glad I did. Chris Walla, unfortunately, must make way.

Perfume, Jennifer Koh and Janelle Monáe are retroactive entries, replacing hey willpower, Bob Mould and VOLA AND THE ORIENTAL MACHINE.

I must have really been tough on Utada Hikaru’s HEART STATION — it didn’t even rank at the time.

Competition for this list was tough. Matt Alber and ZAZEN BOYS could have squeezed into the Favorite 10, and even Janet Jackson and R.E.M. turned out some decent work that year. The cup runneth over.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2009

[Alarm Will Sound - a/rhythmia]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

The 2009 list went through a revision, and subsequent discoveries from the year weren’t moving enough to dislodge anything.

  1. … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Century of Self
  2. LEO Imai, LASER RAIN
  3. Van Tomiko, Van.
  4. Alarm Will Sound, a/rhythmia
  5. Onitsuka Chihiro, DOROTHY
  6. Shiina Ringo, Sanmon Gossip
  7. Tomosaka Rie, Toridori.
  8. mono, Hymn to the Immortal Wind
  9. Wendy & Lisa, White Flags of Winter Chimneys
  10. Sacha Sacket, Hermitage

Other favorites from the year:

  • Office, Mecca
  • Kronos Quartet, Floodplain
  • The Bad Plus joined by Wendy Lewis, For All I Care
  • Utada, This Is the One

In explaining the dearth of new releases on this list, I mentioned that I spent more time listening to catalog music, but like 2012 and 2011, I haven’t picked any more titles from 2009 in the 9 years that have passed.

It makes me think it wasn’t a terribly interesting time for discovery.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2013

[Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

I relaunched this site in early 2014 to focus more on discovering catalog music than newer artists. As a result, I didn’t get a chance to revise the Favorite Edition 2013 list after I discovered a number of critical favorites.

  1. Jason Isbell, Southeastern
  2. Jarell Perry, Simple Things
  3. Patty Griffin, Silver Bell
  4. Sam Amidon, Bright Sunny South
  5. James Blake, Overgrown
  6. Sigur Rós, Kveikur
  7. Hem, Departure and Farewell
  8. Blood Orange, Cupid Deluxe
  9. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Old Yellow Moon
  10. LEO Imai, Made from Nothing

Other favorites from the year:

  • Rhye, Woman
  • Kanye West, Yeezus
  • Johnny Hates Jazz, Magnetized
  • TV Mania, Bored with the Internet and Prozac?
  • Ty Herndon, Lies I Told Myself
  • Res, Refried Mac
  • Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady

Jason Isbell had caught my eye with the stark but stunning cover of Southeastern, but I didn’t follow up on that fascination till well into 2014. Nor did I make the connection between Blood Orange and Solange till after 2013 had passed.

Isbell and Blood Orange bumped Johnny Hates Jazz and TV Mania, while Rhye and Kanye West nearly crack the Favorite 10.

I dug The College Dropout, but West can teach Billy Corgan lessons in being insufferable. Yeezus, though, sounded like an indie rock record, so I could overlook the man and focus on the art. I wouldn’t cut him that slack nowadays.

Ty Herndon came out of the closet in 2014, and he was cute enough for me to take a listen to his greatest hits collection, This Is Ty Herndon. I ended up liking it more than I expected, mostly because I really can’t stand country radio.

Lies I Told Myself shows up on this list because it sounds way more confident than anything on This Is Ty Herndon.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2017

[Sampha - Process]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

Do I have new favorites? Which ones have fallen out of favor? This time around, we’ll cover a greater span of time from as recently as last year, all the way to 1978!

We start with last year’s list.

This most recent decade won’t see much in the way of significant revisions, as I explore deeper into catalog releases than following new artists. Wouldn’t it be odd if I discover new artists from 2017 five years from now? Probably not.

  1. Onitsuka Chihiro, Syndrome
  2. Royal Wood, Ghost Light
  3. RADWIMPS, Your name.
  4. Sam Smith, The Thrill of It All
  5. Sam Amidon, The Following Mountain
  6. Kronos Quartet, Folk Songs
  7. Gaytheist, Let’s Jam Again Soon
  8. Eluvium, Shuffle Drone
  9. Sampha, Process
  10. Living Colour, Shade

Other favorites from the year:

  • Anne Dudley, Anne Dudley Plays the Art of Noise
  • David Rawlings, Poor David’s Almanac
  • Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
  • Leo Imai, Film Scum EP
  • Renée Fleming, Distant Light
  • Shiina Ringo, Gyakuyunyuu ~Kuukoukyoku~
  • Brandon Stansell, Slow Down
  • Sufjan Stevens / Nico Muhly / Bryce Dessner / James McAlister, Planetarium

Jason Isbell’s previous two albums ranked high on the Favorite Edition lists of 2013 and 2015, but The Nashville Sound had a tenuous grip on its position in the 2017 list. The late discovery of Sampha and Eluvium gave Isbell the final nudge.

Anne Dudley took up Eluvium’s vacated spot, nearly knocking Living Colour off.

Brandon Stansell makes his first appearance on the list. Stansell performed at the Concert for Love and Acceptance, hosted by Ty Herndon. Like Herndon, Stansell is a country artist, although he’s starting his career out of the closet.

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Purchase log, 2018-07-17

[Leo Imai - VLP]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

New releases

CD
  • Leo Imai, VLP
  • Steve Grand, not the end of me

Catalog

CD
  • Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies
  • Tomosaka Rie, Murasaki.
  • Wendy Carlos, Switched-On Bach
  • Original London Cast, Miss Saigon
Vinyl
  • Andy Gibb, Shadow Dancing
  • Cannonball Adderley, Somethin’ Else
  • Chris Isaak, Forever Blue
  • Enigma, The Cross of Changes
  • Fishbone, In Your Face
  • McCoy Tyner, The Real McCoy
  • Ready for the World, Ready for the World
  • Simple Minds, Sparkle in the Rain
  • The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
  • The Pogues, Rum Sodomy & the Lash

Reissue

Vinyl
  • Anne Dudley, Anne Dudley Plays the Art of Noise
  • Fishbone, The Reality of My Surroundings

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Looking ahead, June-July 2018

[Utada Hikaru - Hatsukoi]

I started a new job on May 21, and I’m still getting adjusted to a new routine. I’m not ready to say the hiatus has ended just yet, but I can say new entries should resume before the end of summer. Till then, here’s a preview of upcoming releases.

Emmylou Harris, Ballad of Sally Rose (Deluxe Edition), June 1

I have listened to a lot of Emmylou Harris, and I can say this album is my least favorite. But its underdog status makes me curious about what didn’t make the album. Also, the current CD pressings sound awful, and I hope the remastering rectifies that.

Clannad, Turas 1980, June 8

This live album contains songs never recorded in the studio by the band.

Utada Hikaru, Hatsukoi, June 27

In retrospect, Fantôme was something of a downer. The singles preceding the release of Hatsukoi indicate a bouncier direction. Utada comes full circle title-wise — hatsukoi is the Japanese translation of “first love”.

Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (Deluxe Edition), June 29

This album hadn’t already received a deluxe edition treatment? I’m not shelling out for anything more than the 2-disc edition.

Leo IMAI, V L P, July 11

I really enjoyed Film Scum, and it’s too bad the full album was only available at his live shows. I look forward to this album nonetheless.

Vinyl

Anne Dudley, Anne Dudley Plays the Art of Noise, June 22

This album receives a physical release in the UK and a digital release in the US. I was impatient and got the Japanese release last year, and Dudley employs some real studio wizardry to interpret the Art of Noise acoustically.

Fishbone, The Reality of My Surroundings, July 13

Trips to Goodwill have allowed me to rediscover this band.

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Purchase log, 2018-04-17

[Frank Ocean - nostalgia, ULTRA]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

New Releases

Files
  • Matt Alber, How High the Moon

Catalog

CD
  • BBMak, Into Your Head
  • Queens of the Stone Age, Rated R
  • The B-52’s, Whammy!
  • Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Soundtrack, Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid
Vinyl
  • Walter Carlos, Switched-On Bach
Files
  • Frank Ocean, nostalgia, ULTRA
  • Leo Imai, Film Scum

Reissues

CD
  • Frank Ocean, Endless (Ordered Nov. 24, 2017)
 Vinyl
  • U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind

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Favorite Edition 2017 Stragglers

[Anne Dudley - Plays the Art of Noise]

It was bound to happen — an influx of Christmas gift money allows me to explore more albums after the year-end post goes online. None of these albums would knock off anything in the final list, but they’re definitely worthy of some belated consideration.

Anne Dudley, Anne Dudley Plays the Art of Noise

Anne Dudley, Gary Langan and J.J. Jeczalik rebooted the post-Trevor Horn version of the Art of Noise to reissue In Visible Silence. In the midst of it, Dudley released her own interpretations of Art of Noise tracks using mostly piano and percussion with some clever arrangements. The album was released in Japan, and the band hinted it would eventually see a US/UK release. I was not patient, and I think Art of Noise fans are missing out.

Dudley strips away the obfuscating aspects of the original Art of Noise tracks to bring out their musicality. On “Legs”, the croaking bass line turns into clusters that lose none of the original’s percussiveness. Added bonus: she covers the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

Onitsuka Chihiro, Tiny Screams

I actually listened to Tiny Screams when it came out (via the Evil Sharing Networks) and vowed to get my own copy when the Christmas money came. The more I listened to it, the more I favored it over Cocco’s four-disc live extravaganza. The barebones arrangements of the original recordings somehow get stripped even further and become more intense (“BORDERLINE”).

R.E.M., Automatic for the People (Deluxe Edition)

I’ve already gone on record about my ambivalence toward Automatic for the People. I wasn’t inclined to get the deluxe edition of the album till I heard its companion live disc playing in-store at Easy Street Music. The playlist mixes just the correct amount of new material with familiar, throwing in a surprise on occasion. If anything, I’ve played the live disc — R.E.M.’s only concert in 1992 to promote the album — more times than I have the remastered album.

Leo Imai, Film Music EP

OK, I need to follow Leo Imai on some sort of social media site. Last I paid attention, Imai released his third solo album, Made from Nothing, in 2013. Since then, he formed another group, Metafive, and now he’s released an album of film music. The Film Music EP is available in the US through online services, but the full Film Music album is available only at live shows.

Imai has grown bolder as a writer. The four instrumentals on Film Music EP refract the influence of his KIMONOS bandmate Mukai Shuutoku, but “Videotape” shows Imai can be catchy when he wants to be.

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