If lives are named
Like winter storms
Jeff Buckley’s #Grace
Condoleezza Rice’s Face
Did my name change
When your family was no longer mine?
If lives are named
Like winter storms
Jeff Buckley’s #Grace
Condoleezza Rice’s Face
Did my name change
When your family was no longer mine?
Gwen never thought she could love a man who drove a Chevy Monte Carlo. But here she was, sitting in the passenger seat with the window down, carving the Ohio corn fields geometrically along the country roads while the sun melted down on Friday.
“Stan, we’re here!”
Stan pulled his blood-red Chevy over to the side of the road and turned off the ignition.
“Come on, Stan!”
Gwen was already disappearing into the golden, uniformly thin corn trees by the time Stan could close the driver’s door. So he ran too.
The air was cold as it filled his nose, softened by the sweetness of the ripening stalks and the spice of burning wood. Stan zipped up his flannel jacket as he jogged after Gwen, crunching dried corn debris with each step. He had to bow his head to keep the loose silk from rasping his eyes. As he looked down and lightly ran, the corn stalks graced his shoulders as if he were being continually and rhythmically knighted. “Gwen is always getting me into shit like this,” Stan thought to himself.
Dusk cindered while a set of seven torches took over the responsibility of light. Gennessee and Steven waited in front of the crowd; smiling, as everyone took their seats. Gwen and Stan whisked into the back of six rows. The torches were parked about 15 feet behind the almost-bride and almost-groom, flickering shadows on their faces.
A football field grid had been cut out on Gennessee’s family farm. A small patch hidden in the countless acres of corn. The decorations were spartan, but pretty. Lace was strewn along the seat rows, enclosing them from the outside. White flowers had been placed along the ground in front of Steven and Gennessee. It created a clear, but frail demarcation from the audience. Otherwise, there was no stage to highlight the hosts.
Steven wore a navy, loose-fitting suit without a tie. Gennessee wore a mother-of-pearl dress that her grandmother had given her before she died. The sewing on the body was ornate, like a cursive maze. The bottom flowed out behind her like a jelly fish in motion.
Gennessee and Steven stood on a tapestry that used to cover the living room inside Gennessee’s parents’ house in front of the fireplace. It was divided into squares, sewn by Gennessee’s mother; one for each year of life she thought she had left when she had sewn it ten years prior. There were forty two squares in all, and each had a sketch of something she wanted to do before she died. One of the squares held a needlepoint picture of a red, hot air balloon.
There was no priest nor pastor nor judge nor emcee at this ceremony. Steven and Gennessee wanted to do it on their own. “If we can’t conduct our own wedding, how will know how to conduct our marriage?” Gennessee had said at their engagement party. It was best not to argue logic with them, because they never based any of their decisions on it. And the conversations beget by mentions of logic always ended up with amorphous, tautological discussions of the universe and inertia.
Gennessee was raised a few inches from the ground, on top of a white satin step that looked to be a pillow on top of a step stool, underneath a sheet. Everyone had been seated, and without saying anything, Steven took Gennessee’s hands into his. Left in left. Right in right. He then began to speak.
“I feel you inside my marrow. This pledge today is an afterthought. Tonight is where all these people get to see me look into your chestnut eyes with the indivisibility of a husband. This is where they see us interlock our hands in a promise throughout time. But what they don’t get to see is how we were formed from the same manna, you and I. We were created as interwoven swaths from the same coat.
“Gennessee, we will never break—not even death’s crisp grasp will peel you apart from me. Not even senility can rip the image of your gentle jawline from being burned into my hippocampus. Because, don’t you see, all else in life is but a series of mirrors in which I see your reflected image? It is not that these friends here today; your family; our future children, are not all vitally important. I love them. But they only make sense because I get to see you look back at me with your oak-stained eyes that I see even when you blink. I never need anything else other than your clenched-lip smile you make when I enter a room, your smile that seems to say, ‘why can’t life always be this easy?’
“So please, Gennessee, say you will marry me? Right here, now, in this field among our cherished people? Because I can’t believe in the future one more minute without knowing that you are legally my wife.”
A man seated two rows in front of Stan and Gwen took advantage of the lull, and cleared his throat. Gennessee’s mother dabbed at some tears. Gwen moved Stan’s hand onto her lap while she kept both of her hands gripped on his firmly from top and bottom. Gennessee then began her reply.
“Steven, I hated you the moment I first saw you. I looked at your 500-tooth-filled smile and despised the world for making someone that could look so happy. For years, I was a proud misanthrope until you belied my firm grasp on cynicism.
“I looked in the mirror this morning, Steven. I looked at myself as if I were already your wife: Mrs. Milton. And I have never seen so many teeth in my entire life.”
Gennessees’s eyes bulged from her low brow like a set of wet pearls.
“I have never believed in soulmates. Or God. Or ‘good cholesterol,’ for that matter. But, Steven, I believe in you. When my head rests in your chest, I lose all the fears I had the moment before. I wish I had religion so I could have scripture to guide me as I venture deeper into your heart.
“I give you all of me today. Everything I have ever done, and will ever do. I give you all of me today while my mama watches. I leave with you today while we are encircled with these corn stalks that fed me since I was born.
“I have always loved you, Steven. But now we are family. My blood now spills into yours with the same platelets and plasma. We are forever now, Steven. And I have already begun counting backwards from eternity with my smile that says ‘dear God, I can’t believe this gets to never end.’ I am marrying you now, Steven, because our beginnings and false-ends need a moment to look upon to rest their hats. I am yours now, Steven, so please take my hand now as my mama watches us walk away?”
Steven pulled in her left hand and stared firmly into it before pushing a golden ring onto her finger.
Gennessee and Steven, with their hands still interlocked, took several moments in silence while they stared at each other in half-smiles, both their faces scrunched. They then kissed quietly, smoothly. They looked like they had rehearsed how not to look rehearsed.
Steven gestured for everyone to stand. Everyone did. With his left left hand holding her left, and his right hand on the small of her back, Steven led Gennnessee through the small aisle of guests and into the red log barn.
I got a van and it runs.
Pushes pavement with piston guns.
Salt-licked and snow-tipped,
Fueled by winter suns.
I got a van and it drives.
Nonstop like prescription wives.
Eating feet on the mile sheet.
Speedway for weekly tithes.
I got a van that’s mature.
Just for Men dashboard couture.
Odometer gauge like a banker wage,
Campaigning a final road tour.
I got a van named Vanessa.
My Rand McNally professor.
We slice highways on Fridays;
Staple distant cities together.
I was told that in the Mackerel Coral,
Where reefs hang like Pegasus’s legs,
Churning in expansion,
We can hide like kisses in a darkened theater.
We will get there soon, together.
Oven-gloved with winter skin;
Dry, fair and cleanly weathered.
We will get there boo, soon.
Saffron-scented iron pots;
Steamed in kitchen-made lagoons.
We will be there new, flumed.
Arrested in sweaters indigo-dyed,
As months spew like an oil boom.
We will wake there then, raw.
Honeyed, blistered, bone cold.
Snow and lights barely thawed.
We will get there together; fazed.
Flushed forward by half-decade.
Mossed, sanded, ember-glazed.
We will get there soon, together.
Tumbled bed of timber askew,
Paced by the grace of a falling feather.
Last year, I proclaimed the reemergence of the album. I wrote “[t]he album is, and has, been the vessel for musical delivery.” This remains true. Artists still go into the studio, and come out with about a dozen songs ready to deliver to the public. This does not seem to be changing anytime soon. But when I look back on the year, it is a handful of different tracks instead of twelve-song series that filters into my sleep.
There were some great albums this year. Frank Ocean made a statement that felt important. Sun Airway made an album that absolutely works better when not split apart. Miguel put out twelve tracks that are each as good as the others. Cloud Nothings completely reinvented themselves. And while I was not sold on Kendrick Lamar’s production, he continued to push rap in a new direction.
I began these lists six years ago as journalistic time capsules: snapshots of what music was most important to me before the next year’s wave scattered my thoughts. The lists then progressed as a source of “truth” once the national media began to use year-end lists as larger commentary about popular music. Now, I write these for you.
I hope there is a song on this list that you have not heard before. And I hope you listen to it. I hope there are songs on this list that you have heard before. I want you to agree with some of my selections, and disagree with others. While the distinction is arbitrary (why is music released on December 21, 2012, and January 11, 2013 beyond comparison?), this is a chance to enter into the conversation about how and why these songs from the past year were important.
The music released this past year was your soundtrack: the setting for where you were when you were this age. It was just as important as the buildings you passed on your way to work, or the pair of jeans you never second-guessed wearing. Like that bleached-out Instagram you took in June of you and your crew, these songs will forever be temporally tied.
Here are my top 20 songs of 2012:
20. Icky Blossoms – “Heat Lightning”
Icky Blossoms’ eponymous debut holds arguably the worst song of the year. Even the name, “Sex to the Devil,” implies they were trying to make “Charles Manson meets disco/electro” somehow seem hip. And, oh man, they failed worse than Tom Brady’s attempts to convince men to wear Ugg boots.
Remarkably, two tracks prior to that Warhol clown party travesty, this Omaha group blasted out a banger. “Heat Lightning” powers through a striking chorus with synths blaring. The drums are precise to the point that they seem inhuman. And Sarah Bohling’s singing is good and uncaring enough to convince you that she is, indeed, actually cooler than you.
19. Joey Bada$$ - “Waves”
Joey Bada$$’s mixtape, 1999, harkens back to the 1990’s in the same vein as the movie, The Wackness. Hip-Hop in New York was omnipresent, clean, and pure. Biggie rapped about video games. Weed flowed like it does now in Seattle. You can hear remnants of Q-Tip in Bada$$’s voice.
Typically, rappers claim they are king until they actually become it (see Rick Ross), or until they become forgotten (see Cam’ron). Rare is the rapper that speaks of his future.
Joey’s still a kid, just 17-years-old, and he has plenty of time to dream. In “Waves,” he lays out his goals. He wants to meet Jay-Z. He wants three kids. He wants himself and his future wife to raise them well. And he points out that first he needs to put together a professionally produced album before the rest can take place. Bada$$ tells us what he wants thoughtfully, cunningly, and movingly over top a beat as crisp as a new pair of Air Jordan XIII’s.
18. Kwes – “Igoyh”
Kwes is a 24-year-old solo musician from London who has a rare condition that makes it difficult for him to perceive color in his visual field, but has left his auditory understanding undisturbed. He has only released a handful of songs despite recording for a few years. His music, thus far, has a lot in common with Frank Ocean. It is full, soulful, and theatrical. His lyrics are straightforward, and his voice is instantly engaging.
The final track on his Meantime EP is called “Igoyh,” and despite having a name akin to something likely to be found scribbled on a Ukrainian bathroom stall, it is a smooth closer. Kwes offers his unwavering hand of support to a woman as he sings “I’m not going anywhere. Darling, let go of the hurt in your heart.” Similar to an Ocean track, the seven minute opus concludes with over three minutes of spaced-out electric guitar and warbled keys before it fully fades away.
17. Kathleen Edwards – “Change the Sheets”
Besides dating Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Kathleen also had him produce her most recent album, Voyageur. So Vernon did what he knows how to do, which is burnish higher-pitched notes until they luster. Not to say that Edwards’s voice failed to spark before, but here it shines.
“Change the Sheets” pulses forward as a relationship struggles with the late, lonely nights she spends away from home while on tour. Edwards does not appreciate the emotional distance that has been joining the physical. But Edwards pushes on. She makes clear to the other person that she plans to stay in tune with herself, even if he decides to run. This song may not especially sound like the Country music Edwards has made in the past, but the boot-strapped mentality is there as her Ford truck moves right along, with or without him.
16. John Talabot ft. Pional – “So Will Be Now”
Since 2009, a lot of kids have become acquainted with Spanish dance music. Thanks to the likes of El Guincho and Delorean, Americans are familiar with the tropical beats of Balearic. John Talabot provides a new twist on that understanding; infusing more traditional techno with the sounds of his Barcelona home.
The hypnotic, “So Will Be Now,” loops and layers a vocal track by Pional so that it becomes just another instrument, spinning and tumbling along. The beat slowly moves in, changes, breathes, and bursts forward again. Electro arpeggios pop in intermittently. The result is irresistibly head-knoddable. Talabot never complicates things. He just takes what he knows, and makes it his own.
15. Chromatics – “Kill for Love”
Chromatics have been making excellent nouveau disco for over a decade. Their latest album is solid throughout, but it isn’t any sort of breakthrough. They have been this good.
The title track is covered in late night frost. While the instrumentation is chilled, Ruth Radelet’s voice remains full; offering comfort whether this song accompanies a brisk walk home at 3 A.M., or an equally valid trip to the freezer at 3 A.M. for a frozen banana.
14. Shigeto – “Field Trip”
Zach Shigeto Saginaw grew up playing Jazz music. First in his hometown of Ann Arbor and nearby Detroit, then he studied for six more years in New York and London. The London dubstep scene rubbed off on him, and Saginaw quickly took to electronic production.
There are, indeed, hints of British dubstep beats and wobbles in Shigeto’s music, as well as Burial-influenced, off-kilter, found-sound clips. And yet “Field Trip” still feels like a Jazz song at heart. It riffs through a series of buzzing synths and colorful glockenspiel, warm and cool at the same time. The whole track feels improvised. And when the song takes off at the end, it is clear that despite the intricate orchestration, Saginaw is acting entirely in the moment.
13. Here We Go Magic – “How Do I Know”
Luke Temple’s voice echoes. It is a specific weapon. On every album, Here We Go Magic find at least one song to float it like a ship.
Temple repeatedly questions “How do I know that I love you? How do I know that I know you?” as he provides his reasons to believe that he will never really know if he feels as though he thinks he does. The rest of the band paces on without him as he remains lost in thought. Temple never fully joins them, instead becoming ever more manic, asking his questions more rapidly. The amalgam ends up sounding like a Graceland track, if Paul Simon had decided to devote a song to a meeting with his therapist.
12. Perfume Genius – “All Waters”
Mike Hadreas already shocked us two years ago when he wrote a song about a student-teacher relationship that resulted in a suicide. So my guard was up when I pressed play on his latest album, Put Your Back N 2 It. And, of course, that guard quickly came down as Hadreas continued to turn the screwdriver even deeper.
“All Waters” is heart-wrenching. Hadreas succinctly speaks to the man that he loves about how they may never be able to fully embrace in public with the freedom of a heterosexual couple. Their ability to demonstrate their love is limited.
The song is brief, only two-minutes long. In that short time, Hadreas’s voice morphs from a Connor Oberst-like low vibrato into a meek, but handsome, whimper. It is tragic, and I hate that I want to listen to it again and again.
11. Mirrorring – “Drowning the Call”
Someone told me recently that they do not like to listen to “pretty music.” While I don’t subscribe to such abstinence, I understand why they would want to refrain. It can be draining to listen to an unabashedly beautiful song. Art isn’t always easy to appreciate.
Mirrorring [sic] is a supergroup of desolate folk, if there could be such a thing. The two women from Grouper and Tiny Vipers have already painted stripped soundscapes many times before. Together, they manage to not overbulk the minimalist palettes that have worked so well for them in the past.
“Drowning the Call” is somber from beginning to end. It is a collection of quietly shifting shades and tones that elicit an easy trip to sleep. The singing is only a couple notches above a whisper. The guitar picking is gentle. The song as a whole is terribly beautiful, to the point that it can be difficult at times to fully enjoy.
10. Mac Demarco – “Cooking Up Something Good”
Somehow from Montreal, Mac Demarco makes quirky, laid-back guitar tunes better set for beachside stoners. His songs drift. They compel incense-burning and free-form hippie dancing.
Cookin’ Up Something Good is the lead-off track from Demarco’s most recent album, simply titled 2. It begins with a tingly guitar riff that would not be out of place on a Grateful Dead album. It then shimmies between over-the-top guitar noodling and a groovy chorus as he sings “oh, when life moves this slowly, just try and let it go.”
The song, like much of the album, seems to be a vivid recount of his time growing up in the suburbs; where he felt different than the surface of normal all around him. And since Demarco makes music somewhere between Nick Drake and Phish and Jimmy Buffett, he likely had good reason to believe that he was different.
9. Big K.R.I.T. – “4EvanNaDay (Theme)”
Big K.R.I.T delivered his major label debut this year to lukewarm reception. After years of solid mixtapes, people were ready for a crowning, a coming out. And when that didn’t happen, it was largely forgotten that K.R.I.T. released a great mixtape earlier this very year.
On the title track, K.R.I.T. is found finally receiving some recognition for his hard work, after countless people told him that he would not amount to anything with his rap music. He takes the opportunity not to gloat, but to show how he got there (“in the hood selling CDs cause they showed love at the Mom & Pops”), to say thank you to his Mississippi home, and to show that he won’t ever let success change him (“love from the underground, that’s forever”).
K.R.I.T.’s words roll from one to the next, further proving that a Southern drawl is always helpful to own. His verses are rhythmic, effortless; able to chop and stop on a dime, and then rattle speedily. His style never strays from his Southern heritage roots. And he won’t, because “if you ain’t ‘bout your own people, what you goin’ raise your fists for?”
8. Sun Airway – “New Movements”
Sun Airway’s latest album, Soft Fall, plays like a Jackson Pollock painting: it throws an endless, overwhelming supply of colors onto a giant canvas, completely obfuscating where the overall idea begins and ends. It is staggering. And it is the most replayable album of the year.
It can be difficult to discern particular songs on the album. Oftentimes, one song begins flooding in before another is done filtering out. “New Movements” is no more the best song on the album, as it is a microcosm of the Hurricane Sandy of ideas that course throughout.
At any given moment, even with a nice set of headphones, it is impossible to add up all of the sounds going on at once. But that would be besides the point. This is a collage of frantic drums, beats, and synths that singer Jon Barthmus coolly sings above. The result is overwhelming, like the dam-breaking sensation of falling in love, where many intangibles become cogent only in that they collectively make you feel completely sick, and entirely alive.
7. Fiona Apple – “Regret”
Fiona Apple is not one of us. She does not have a Twitter account, let alone a Tumblr. The only phones or computers she has ever owned have been gifts. She doesn’t know how to drive. She rarely leaves her own neighborhood. Her goldfish is named Desmond. She recently canceled her South African tour because she wanted to be home with her sick dog, Janet, for whom she apparently bakes tilapia.
Apple’s most recent album, The Idler Wheel…, is her first in seven years. And as you may expect from a recluse that is still learning how to maneuver the internet, the album is deeply personal. Relationships are a common theme, which she touches on with enough specificity to even name a song after her former boyfriend, Jonathan Ames, the author and writer for the HBO show Bored to Death.
“Regret” is acerbic. Apple calls the man in the song a “monster.” She refers to his words as “hot piss that comes through your mouth.” With just some sparse piano and a light drum, Apple’s voice spits back at this man that “taught me to be mean.”
Apple’s typically full, flawless voice cracks here as she shouts her retorts. She yelps. She squeals. For an artist that has never shied away from revealing her true feelings, “Regret” comes through as especially bare.
6. Miguel – “Pussy Is Mine”
Miguel saw acclaim this year for redefining the sound of R&B. Has anyone since D’Angelo been able to do that? That is not to say Miguel is D’Angelo; but that distinction is more about style than substance. Both were unafraid to bluntly address the banal. D’Angelo’s iconic video showed him completely unadorned as he continually asked “How does it feel?” Miguel’s latest single has a chorus asking “Do you like drugs?” So throw out the Jazz and toss in rock and hip-hop, and does Miguel give you D’Angelo 2.0? Maybe it does.
There isn’t a bad song on Kaleidoscope Dream. They are all polished, engaging, fully packaged singles. So perhaps that’s why the second-to-last track, presented as more of a demo than a ready-to-drop hit, seems like the indelible song from the album.
I’m asking for eyes to roll as I begin a third paragraph about a song called “Pussy Is Mine.” But have you heard this yet? Like D’angelo, Miguel does not beat around the bush. The meaning of this song is unequivocal. This isn’t Melvillian long-form symbolism, Miguel is speaking bedside to a woman. But listen to him. Listen how Miguel resembles no one more than Jeff Buckley as he ballads over a simple, stripped-down bass line. Wait for your jaw to drop when Miguel tells you why he wants her to lie to him. Who said banal couldn’t also be profound?
5. Cloud Nothings – “Wasted Days”
Cleveland’s Dylan Baldi decided it was time to lose control. Luke Winkie of Paste Magazine summed up Baldi’s metamorphasis from his earlier poppy, garage punk to the nine minute thrashing on “Wasted Days” as though he “simply wrote some rawer tracks, grabbed a legendary producer and played his heart out.” While this may be mostly true, it is just part of the full story.
Winkie overlooked the fascinating instability on Cloud Nothings’ latest album, Attack on Memory. He undersold that Baldi allowed himself to completely lose his shit. He forgot the final minute on this track, where Baldi repeatedly screams “I thought I would be more than this!” until you can hear his vocal chords begin to rip. This was the most left-field moment of 2012. A promising, young artist went where no one expected, and started shouting over and over again until we all heard him.
4. Kindness – “Swingin Party”
Numbness is not a traditionally embedded emotion in art. Popular art is supposed to be evocative. It tends to make you feel something, anything.
The original song by The Replacements was filled with 80’s guitar jangles and quivering vocals. It suggested real desperation, and the self-awareness of realizing it. The light drumming and upbeat meter showed hope. The original track had a lot of emotion.
Fast-forward 27 years and London’s Adam Bainbridge gives the song another try. His version begins with a steady, electronic drum beat that never wavers. Bainbridge’s vocals then enter, devoid of any Replacement rasp, instead crisp and cloudy like a headlight shining through late night fog. Bainbridge continues to sing the lyrics with the same cadence as Paul Westerberg, but with an airiness that is mirrored by the slowly stirring synths that swim behind.
The song ends with a final thump, after almost four-minutes of undisturbed gloss. The moment is chilling like the first breath of winter. When it finishes, you realize that you have no idea what you did in those last four minutes, or what you even thought about. You are left feeling nothing, except inexplicably moved.
3. Beat Connection – “New Criteria,” “The Palace Garden 4am,” & “Saola”
If I could pick “Best Three Song Section of 2012” it would be the first three songs on Beat Connection’s The Palace Garden. The first song, “New Criteria,” pulls you into Beat Connection’s psycho-tropical universe like a closet into Narnia. The second, “Palace Garden, 4 AM,” shocks you like Dorothy entering the full-spectrum color of Oz. And the third song, “Saola,” is a full-blown party once you’ve gained your bearings on brand new soil.
Beat Connection are but kids from Seattle. How they sound like they do is beyond my comprehension, so I will blame the internet. They seem to have Bittorrented a bunch of Spanish Balearic, or Youtubed how to surf the Puget Sound. This is islandic chillwave; with glockenspiels for steel drums and the obligatory, decked-out synths.
Together, these three tracks create a megasong. They flow directly into one another. Their life is much like “Super Shredder” from the movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II. It begins as a simple dream with a few foot soldiers, grows into a giant, unvanquishable freak, and then [20-YEAR-OLD SPOILER ALERT] sharply fades back into water.
2. Frank Ocean – “Pyramids”
Frank Ocean is not shy about stating that he made the best album of the year. And not many people will argue with him. Channel Orange is visionary. It is expansive. It was unparalleled in 2012.
Ocean wrote the songs for Channel Orange in just three weeks, then spent nine months perfecting them. It shows. The album’s finest track, “Pyramids,” is a 10-minute tour de force. The song compares a prostitute and a stripper from today to Cleopatra in ancient Egypt. He gently strokes upon the overlooked beauty in these troubled women as they’re “working at the pyramid tonight.” He appreciates them as he sings that they “feel like God inside that gold.” But he does not shy away from exploring the inelegance of their carnal work. He beckons their services before John Mayer strums away to the finish.
A lot of people began listening to Frank Ocean after reading a revealing (and beautifully written) Tumblr post about his sexuality. In a GQ interview, though, Ocean made it clear that he is “not trying to sell you sex.” Channel Orange offers so much more than that.
Now that people have heard the album, the controversy has already begun to subside. Frank Ocean is no longer known as just that guy who posted on Tumblr, or just the singer in the rap group Odd Future. Now he’s a six-time Grammy nominee. Now, he’s the guy who built “Pyramids.”
1. How to Dress Well – “& It Was U”
This past year saw no shortage of quality R&B. Soulful, rhythmic ballads felt new again. The freshman crop of performers did more than just reincarnate Janet Jackson and Tony! Toni! Tone!, or Sly and the Family Stone and Stevie Wonder. Frank Ocean made movies out of songs. Jessie Ware slowed everything down in a very cool way. Miguel shattered traditional labels. Kwes made deeply personal art. The Weeknd finally made it onto mainstream radio. And then there was How to Dress Well.
How the [choose your own expletive!] does Tom Krell sing like that; ensconced in a full-range of falsetto that would make Cee-Lo cry on an episode of The Voice? How does he so clearly represent the ethos of 90’s R&B while claiming he never listened to it growing up? How did he make a slow-burning stunner, an out-of-the-box party starter, and a complicated story about impossibly undying love, all within the same song?
In all honesty, my argument on behalf of this song is not meritocratic. It isn’t normative. It is visceral. I have listened to this song countless times during the course of this year. And still, every time Krell sings “Any time you need me, I will come back,” I feel inspired to learn how to sing in falsetto. Every time the beat picks up midway through the song, I have the urge to get up—no matter where I am—and dance for someone.
Maybe you had a song like that this year? Maybe you were one of the 780,000 people who could not help but acoustically fist-pump when the new Mumford and Sons came out on iTunes? Maybe Ellie Goulding was your girl? Maybe Rihanna … brought … the … house … down?
Who knows what 2013 will bring? Maybe Insane Clown Posse will lose the Faygo and put together a masterpiece? Has Justin Vernon been feeling sad again? What’s Drake up to? I don’t know the answer to these questions. I just know that 2012 happened. And “& It was U” was as good as it got for me.
Standard Fare - “Bad Temper” — A reminder of great indie pop.
Brothertiger - “Golden Years” — Debut LP from the Toledo, OH Chillwave artist.
(((((((((4 A LIMITED TIME ONLY)))))))))
In honor of the month of February, my favorite month, I am putting out ‘Back to the Forest’ EP for free. Hope you enjoy, if you believe in something, Krush it all day like it’s your job, maybe it is your job that you believe in, then you’re in a really good position.
Maybe you’re writing your first novel, like my sisters boyfriend, Mike Oliphant, mad props to that guy. Maybe you’re studying environmental education like my sister Sahar and you’re developing your senior thesis right now. That’s mad respect. Maybe you’re working for a major artist in Los Angeles and just got you’re first gallery show there, maybe you’re killing it, like my best friend Ross Caliendo. Maybe you’re jamming in the architecture studio with new prospects on the horizon like my friend Mitch. Who knows? Whatever you’re doing, do it well, do it smart, do it with patience, do it with ease & intensity at the right times. I believe in myself, I believe in my friends and I believe in you. We can do this, America & the world are in a slump right now, but we’re smart humans and the internet is bringing us all together, opening our eyes to information & eachother. THE FUTURE IS OURS, LET’s MAKE IT.
2nd EP released on AMDISCS label ///\Check it out on the AMDISCS site///\http://www.amdiscs.com/?p=6304///\
Buy the Album on itunes : http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/back-to-the-forest/id473733672
Amazon : http://www.amazon.com/Back-To-The-Forest/dp/B005W56XF4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1328526510&sr=8-2
‘Back to the Forest’ : http://vimeo.com/29945048
‘Orange Days’ : http://vimeo.com/30288428
‘Stay’ : http://vimeo.com/26497084
‘Vibe Merchant’ : http://vimeo.com/34480245
‘Back to the Forest (AyGeeTee Remix) : http://vimeo.com/35148099
Cloud Nothings - “Wasted Days” — I didn’t know they had it in them.
The Books - “None But Shining Hours” — A great band is lost, but their found-sounds and glowing melodies will linger on.
Peter Wolf Crier - “Right Away” — Yet another school teacher gone indie star.
Yellow Ostrich - “Hold On” — Can you feel the harmony?
Guided by Voices - “Waves” — New material from everyone’s favorite Dayton schoolteacher.