Monthly Archives: December 2021

By the numbers, 2021

[Tokyo Jihen - Sougou]

In the past, I would try to write about every album I encountered. These days, I listen to a lot of stuff, but I’ll only post an entry if something sparks a memory.

As these statistics demonstrate, I’m leaving a lot out of this blog.

First and last purchases of the year

The first and last purchases of the year are determined by the date of order. Pre-ordered items not yet shipped have already been taken into account.

  • First purchase: Cocco, Kuchinashi on CD.
  • First purchase of a 2021 release: Anton Reicha, Reicha Rediscovered (Ivan Ilić) on CD.
  • Last purchase of a 2021 release: Tokyo Jihen, Sougou on CD
  • Last purchase: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, F# A# ∞ on LP.

Purchases by format

FormatNew releaseReissueCatalogTotal
7-inch0112
12-inch2518
CD Single0000
CD318420459
CD-R0000
Downloads703744
Vinyl142687127
Total items bought5440546640

Definitions

New release
Initial release within the calendar year.
Reissue
Originally released prior to the calendar year but reissued within the calendar year.
Catalog
Initial release prior to the calendar year.

Top catalog release years

YearNumber of items purchasedYear-over-year change
198825New!
200025+7
199721New!
199920-3
1985180
198718New!
199818-3
198017New!
199417New!
200117-2

Top artists

Single titles purchased in multiple formats are counted individually.

ArtistNumber of items purchased
Adam Neely13
Various Artists8
Tokyo Jihen 8
John Coltrane7
Gustav Mahler6
The Rolling Stones6
Emmylou Harris6
Robbie Williams5
Dmitri Shostakovich5

Notes

  • Adam Neely posts singles and EPs, so his recorded output is not as prolific as it may seem.
  • My policy with regard to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones is to avoid paying more than $3 for their CDs, which means I’m usually finding them at thrift stores. It’s actually surprisingly common to see mid-90s Beatles remasters show up for $1.
  • You would think an Emmylou Harris stan such as myself would have already bought every recording in sight. I’ve held out on the Profile compilations because I have other compilations that contain that music. I keep hoping to find Light in the Stable on CD at the thrift store.
  • Over the years, I’ve posited that 1987 and 2002 were significant years in music releases. I’m beginning to sense 1980 is also such a year, not just because I was old enough to bug my mom to buy stuff for me.

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Favorite Edition 2021: Year Final

[ABBA - Voyage]

I can’t say I expected much from 2021 given how Generation X has turned out to be such dumb fucks, but I didn’t anticipate those expectations should have been lower. If the current trajectory holds, 2022 can already go fuck itself.

At least we got a new ABBA album out of the deal.

  1. ABBA, Voyage: When Frida sang the opening notes of “I Still Have Faith in You,” I hadn’t realized how starved I was to hear that voice, those voices. Voyage also pulls off the remarkable feat of picking up exactly where the band left off in 1982, practically ignoring the musical developments that came in the wake of ABBA’s hiatus. It makes sense for the virtual live show. Why let 2022 intrude on 1982? It’s also remarkable how the band’s lyrics are darker than I remember. But I was 8 years old the first time I was an ABBA fan, so a lot of that subtext would have been lost on me.
  2. Duran Duran, FUTURE PAST: ABBA shows how you can take the past into the present. Duran Duran takes the future into the past. Duran Duran has always tried to run parallel with the contemporary, but on some albums, they skew too heavy on relevancy. (I’m looking at you, Red Carpet Massacre.) With FUTURE PAST, Duran Duran embraces its past self, grounding all the experience of a 4-decade career into the fundamentals that make their signature sound.
  3. Deafheaven, Infinite Granite: Yes, I’m far more into post-rock than heavy metal, so the fact this album embrace more of the former and less of the latter does not disappoint me in the least. Toward the end of the album, we do get treated to the scream vocals.
  4. sungazer, Perihelion: Adam Neely is correct when he says recorded music has been too de-valued to be a reliable income source. As much as I love this sungazer album, I’m not going to complain if the next one takes years to arrive, if it ever does.
  5. Utada Hikaru, One Last Kiss EP: I don’t think I’ve spun an Utada Hikaru song this much since “Be My Last”. I also love that all the remixes of “Beautiful World” are distinctive enough to withstand repeated listening.
  6. Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert: Glad to hear it’s lost no longer.
  7. Jam and Lewis, Volume 1: There’s a melodic turn at the end of the chorus on “Happily Unhappy” that pretty much encapsulates the longevity of Jam and Lewis. Volume 2 reportedly includes the pair’s biggest collaborator, Janet.
  8. MONO, Pilgrimage of the Soul: I seem to like every other MONO album since Hymn to the Immortal World. Couldn’t get into For My Parents …, The Last Dawn or Now Here Nowhere, but I’m all about Requiem for Hell, Rays of Darkness and this album.
  9. Helmet, Live and Rare: I have only the first three Helmet albums in my collection, but this live album makes me wish I had seen them live.
  10. FINNEAS, Optimist: Sorry, Billie.

Some other favorites from the past year:

  • Yo Majesty, Return of the Matriarch: Q: Will sex, God, and titties continue to be a part of the Yo! Majesty brand? A: Anything less is uncivilized. It’s time to be free.
  • Lil Nas X, MONTERO: Given the amount of time I spend in thrift shops, I have a bias against streaming-only releases. For the price Columbia is charging for downloads, I may as well wait for a physical release. I like this album, but downloading FLAC files from Bandcamp is the closest I’ll consider owning a digital release. I’m old that way.
  • Perfume, Polygon Wave: Yeah, this was really a maxi single. But I couldn’t stop playing this one either.
  • CZARFACE / MF DOOM, Super What?: To be honest, I don’t own very many MF DOOM albums, but man, that was a 2020 loss that affected me more than I expected.
  • Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum, Thanks for Coming: This album is good, but I have a sense that it could have been phenomenal with a few more tweaks.

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Purchase log, 2021-12-14

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.

Catalog

CD
  • Basement Jaxx, Remedy
  • Blur, The Best of
  • Jack Ingram, Big Dreams and High Hopes
  • Led Zeppelin, The Complete Studio Recordings
  • Lush, Gala
  • Maxim Vengerov, Virtuoso Vengerov
  • Ornette Coleman, Beauty Is a Rare Thing: The Complete Atlantic Recordings
  • The Smashing Pumpkins, Adore
  • Tim McGraw, Set This Circus Down

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Favorite Edition 2021 Catalog

[Riz Ahmed - The Long Goodbye]

It’s been five years since I discovered the media section of Lifelong Thrift Shop, and I’m at a point where I’m making fewer discoveries. These days, I pick things up because they pique my curiosity, and I anticipate I’ll be re-donating a lot of the albums I bought in the past year.

Still, the vast majority of my listening these days is catalog, as the Favorite Edition Year Final will make clear. In the past, I might have scoffed at someone as new and popular as Olivia Rodrigo. Now? I shrug and follow the mantra, “Let people like things.”

There’s a lot of music out on which I missed when I sought the dopamine hit of finding a new favorite band.

  • Riz Ahmed, The Long Goodbye: Rogue One is probably my favorite movie in the Star Wars extended universe, and Riz Ahmed is big part of why. I’m usually skeptical of Hollywood actors making music, but The Long Goodbye is amazing. It’s a breakup record, but with an entire country. The interludes don’t even feel that arch.
  • Linda Ronstadt, Mad Love: “Hurt So Bad” drew my attention this album, which I then discovered had some solid post-punk credentials on it. I still don’t think calling it her “new wave” album is entirely accurate, though.
  • The Fixx, Reach the Beach: I bought this album on the strength of “One Thing Leads to Another” alone, but I was surprised to find “Save By Zero” on there.
  • Kelela, Take Me Apart: I love that today’s R&B artists draw on influence outside the genre. This album feels more like Utada Hikaru.
  • Laurie Anderson, Big Science: I have two other Laurie Anderson albums that did not answer the question why she’s so lauded. Then this album popped up at the thrift store, and it became clear.
  • Alexander O’Neal, Hearsay: This album did well at the time, and it’s definitely a fine production by Jam and Lewis.
  • Test Pattern, This Is My Street: Man, I want an entire physical release of this Documentary Now! parody of Stop Making Sense.
  • Brothers Johnson, Light Up the Night: Sure, this album was made in the last throes of disco, but there is some mighty fine playing here. And “Stomp!” is timeless.
  • Electric Light Orchestra, Time: I’m definitely not the target market for the orchestral classic rock of ELO, but this album was essentially the band’s detour into new wave. And I’m all for that.
  • A Taste of Honey, Twice as Sweet: Yes, this album concludes with “Sukiyaki”, but the 9 tracks preceding it are no slouch.

Other favorites:

  • Big Pig, Bonk
  • fIREHOSE, If’n
  • Arditti Quartet, Arditti
  • Control Machete, Artillería Pesada, Presenta …
  • Prefab Sprout, Two Wheels Good (a.k.a Steve McQueen)

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Purchase log, 2021-12-08

[Helmet - Live and Rare]

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
  • Helmet, Live and Rare

Catalog

CD
  • Anton Webern, Complete Works, Opp. 1-31 (Pierre Boulez, London Symphony Orchestra)
  • Bruce Springsteen, The Ghost of Tom Joad
  • David Sedaris, Live at Carnegie Hall
  • Johnny Cash, American III: Solitary Man
  • Martha Argerich, Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 / Listz: Piano Concerto No. 1
  • Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On? (Deluxe Edition)
  • Orchestra Baobab, Made in Dakar
  • Paul Jacobs, Paul Jacobs Plays Blues, Ballads & Rags
  • Roxy Music, Country Life
  • Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The 5 Violin Concertos (Itzhak Perlman; James Levine, Vienna Philharmonic)
Vinyl
  • The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour

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