I can’t stop listening to Taylor Swift “1989”.

I (finally) got this album in November…and loved it on the first listen…but then I just barely had any time to listen to music during the school year and sort of forgot about what I had bought earlier and even had some months where I didn’t even buy anything (what? that’s unheard of!). Well I’ve remedied that in the past 10 days and I cannot turn this album off. True sign of a great album: even the last three tracks are fabulous.

Her public persona is a BIT much (along the lines of Tom Cruise is a BIT enthusiastic), and I have never listened to any of her prior stuff, and sure some of the lyrics are a little silly, and sure when you hear what the songs are reportedly about sometimes you have to scoff…but I can’t stop humming them and singing them and dancing to them. Just can’t stop.

November Album Reviews

Absolutely Love & Adore:

Sons of Anarchy: Shelter EP – Yup, another EP from my favorite TV show. Katey Sagal covers “Ruby Tuesday” in a beautiful, heartbreaking rendition. The other songs are good too but that’s the one I can’t stop listening to.

Matt Hires “Take Us to the Start” – YAY I have been waiting for this album since the first time I heard “Honey, Let Me Sing You a Song” (which yay is also on here). He’s definitely someone you would expect me to like, a singer/songwriter-y dude with sort of acoustic, mostly cheery songs. What my cousin calls “WB Music” (i.e., something that would have been used in the background on Dawson’s Creek or Everwood). That doesn’t bother me at all. Other fave song: “A Perfect Day” (LOVE!)

Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “Mary” Patty Griffin – so so so beautiful.
  • “Fly Me Away” Annie Little – a freebie from Amazon but I still like it!
  • “Sumatra” Katie Herzig – the second song of hers to become a serious repeat play for me. I should probably check out her albums at this point.

Other Albums I Liked:

  • Shwayze “Let It Beat” – I have no idea why I dig these weird Shwayze albums so much. But you know what? I DO. And that’s all there is to it. They make me wanna dance.

Not really for me / but maybe for you!: Nada!!

Shamefully have either not listened to at all, or not all the way through, or so few times that I can’t legitimately offer an opinion:

Mos Def “The Ecstatic” – I dug this dude’s acting in both “16 Blocks” and “Be Kind, Rewind,” and then Rolling Stone gave this album a really enthusiastic review…but I’ve barely listened to it yet. Hey! November was a TOUGH month school-wise.

Company of Thieves “Ordinary Riches” – another victim of my inability to listen to music at the end of last semester when I was writing, writing, writing for weeks (my semester was very back-end-heavy in terms of assignments). Cant’ remember what made me buy it, but I don’t think I’ve made it through twice yet. I will say, the lead female really sounds like Rachael Yamagata. And you know, someday I’ll find time to listen and check it out more!!

October Album Reviews

Hold on, you’re not even going to believe this. Are you sitting down? I DIDN’T BUY ANY RECORDS IN OCTOBER. I know, right? It’s like the world ended and no one told us. I didn’t even realize it until about a week ago when I went to print out all the monthly playlists I was behind on. Going back to school is making me WEIRD.

September Album Reviews

Absolutely Love & Adore:

The Avett Brothers “I and Love and You” – I’m sure I have mentioned these guys enough times now that you are not surprised to see them. This album just continues their greatness and they’re getting a much wider release and YAY for them. I can’t really even pick a favorite song or two because everytime I listen I either a) love them all or b) completely change my mind on which one is best!

Sons of Anarchy: North Country EP – Yes, that’s right, my favorite show of the year is also releasing little EP soundtracks. And they’re awesome. This one has “John the Revelator” from Curtis Stigers, the song from the season 1 finale, which is so great. And the “Forever Young” cover by Audra Mae is just lovely.

Glee – The Music, Vol. 1 – I had bought a lot of these as singles as they were released, so I just finished up the album with what I hadn’t already bought. This show is, for the most part, a LOT of fun and so are the covers. I have this random, not well thought out at all, theory that covers are ALMOST ALWAYS good because it’s so hard to ruin a good song. Whereas movie remakes, there are just SO many places those can go wrong. And some of these are not just good or decent covers…some of these are GREAT! Faves: “Bust Your Windows” “Take a Bow” “Push It”

Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “Hazy” Rosi Golan and William Fitzsimmons – so pretty!
  • “Single Ladies” (cover) Pampelmoose – you can find it on myspace or somewheres

Other Albums I Liked:

  • Kid Cudi “Man on the Moon – The End of Day” – Remember back when Kanye was just getting big and dressed like a schoolboy in sweater vests all the time and referred to himself as “Carlton” (from Fresh Prince of LA)? Kid Cudi seems to have taken that personality over for him now that Kanye’s gone all glam. Fave: I really love the song they’re both on here “Make Her Say” (with Common also).

Not really for me / but maybe for you!:

J. Tillman “Year in the Kingdom” – a solo album from a Fleet Fox. Some of this is really pretty – I really like “Earthly Bodies” and “Year in the Kingdom” but I can’t listen to it as a whole album: too overall “on the same note” / too slow and methodical. Needs to shake it up once in a while to keep me going, I just end up fast forwarding… Sorry. 🙁

Shamefully have either not listened to at all, or not all the way through, or so few times that I can’t legitimately offer an opinion:

Sea Wolf “White Water, White Bloom” – I really like this band, I just haven’t given this album much more than a cursory listen. I KNOW. I got it after school started though and listening since then has been very inconsistent. What I’ve listened to sounds pretty but I know their old stuff a lot better.

August Album Reviews

I realize I am ridiculously behind but for some inexplicable reason I am determined to catch Snip up to speed rather than just skipping ahead. And hey look, another month where I barely bought any tunes! WEIRD!

Absolutely Love & Adore:

Damien Rice “Live at Fingerprints: Warts and All” – This dude really needs to put out an album of fresh material (he talks on here about how he thought he might never finish another record…Nooooooooooo). But these are nice arrangements and I could (do) listen to his previous stuff all the time. I just want MORE. 😉

Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” She & Him – from the 500 Days of Summer sdtrk
  • “Shining Down” Lupe Fiasco & Matthew Santos – LOVE!!
  • “Run This Town” Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye

Not really for me / but maybe for you!:

Horehound “Dead Weather” – I am a fan of almost everything Jack White does, and I bet this band is awesome live, but I just can’t get into this album.

Shamefully have either not listened to at all, or not all the way through, or so few times that I can’t legitimately offer an opinion:
I downloaded the free Nylon Magazine August mix…but I’ve never listened to it. Whoops.

July Album Reviews

I was about one thing, and one thing just about only, in July tune-wise: EMPTY ORCHESTRA!!

Absolutely Love & Adore:

Empty Orchestra “Here Lies Empty Orchestra” – My friend Pam’s band swung through Chicago in July and it was honestly the highlight of my summer! I would have gone to support her at the show regardless of how they sounded: so SUPER BONUS for me when it turned out they’re great!! Totally rockin’. I saw a reviewer call them “Americana” and I guess I can go along with that. It’s that space between pop, rock and country: where there’s some twang and some beats and some great guitar playing and woah Stephen’s vocals are great!! I mean really, I can’t see why you wouldn’t love this album unless you’re a total musical noob. Faves: “Always Already” (I can hear Pammie in the background!); “Words and Music” (oh the intro to this song slays me); “It Gets Better”.

Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “Closer Than You Think” Evertyhing Absent or Distorted
  • “Beneath Your Tree” Bowerbirds
  • “Earthly Bodies” J. Tillman – A Fleet Fox on his own. Nice.
  • “El Paso” Jason Anderson
  • “Sellout” (Live) Ryan Auffenberg (LOVE!)

Other Albums I Liked:

  • Empty Orchestra “Get Well Soon” – Six earlier (? I think) songs. Fave song “Civil War”.

June Album Reviews

Another month where I only bought two albums!! Kudos to me on not spending money but dang I’m sure there’s lots of awesome stuff out there I missed this year!!

Absolutely Love & Adore:

Pete Yorn “Back & Fourth” – Wow, I am just completely gaga for this album. Completely. Definitely my most-listened tunes for the second half of the year. It’s the usual melancholy swell of emotion from Yorn, soft and gentle and sad and rambling on. Which just makes it even odder that his concerts are so “all at the same volume level, arena anthem rock” sounding. Faves include “Dont’ Wanna Cry” and “Social Development Dance” but honestly I love this entire album front to back.

Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” Frightened Rabbit – really the only thing I regret about canceling my trip to Monolith is not getting to see these guys.
  • “H.O.T.T. (Half of the Time)” Wheat

Other Albums I Liked:

  • Dent May & His Magnificent Ukelele “The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and His Magnificent Ukelele” – Totally goofy. Kinda reminds me of Matt Costa. Unusual instrumentation, styles all over the map.

May Album Reviews

I know – who cares at this point. I just need to get myself up to date here.

Absolutely Love & Adore:

Telekinesis (self-titled) – Poppy and Fun. Fave tunes are “Rust”, “Coast of Carolina” and “I Saw Lightning” .

Favorite Singles (not on any of the above albums):

  • “Tear You Apart” She Wants Revenge (by far my favorite song of the month! and maybe the summer!)
  • “How Your Heart Is Wired” Bell X1
  • “Hypermode” A Shoreline Dream
  • “The Last of the Melting Snow” The Leisure Society
  • “We’ll See the Sun” Houses
  • “More Time” Needtobreathe
  • “Crazy Bitch” Buckcherry
  • “Magic Show” Electric Owls
  • “Percussion Gun” White Rabbits

Other Albums I Liked but Frankly Have Barely Listened to AT ALL:

I don’t know what was up with me in May, over the summer, or really this year, but all the below albums are 1) by artists I like and 2) decent albums and 3) I have barely listened to them at all. WTF? I guess it just wasn’t the right time for me with them.

  • Eminem “Relapse” – Especially love “Bagpipes from Baghdad” “Deja Vu” and “Careful What You Wish For”. “We Made You” has a total Dick Tracy feel. And I’m pretty sure that is (actor) Dominic West on the “Dr. West” skit (I hate the skits on rap albums. My most unfavorite thing about them!).

  • Green Day “21st Century Breakdown” – Not the tour de force their last album was but still really good. Fave songs are “Last of the American Girls” and bonus track “A Quick One While He’s Away”.

  • Phoenix “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” – oh so cheeky that title. I usually listen to this one straight through (the few times I have actually listened to it!); it’s so (consistently) upbeat and fun. But I guess “1901” and “Lasso” do stand out to me.

  • Red House Painters “Songs for a Blue Guitar” – an oldie I bought after my friend Craig tweeted about it a zillion times in one week.