Well the decade turned and a whole lot of sites and magazines and blogs busted a nut coming up with LISTS and tried to build narratives. As we all mulled last year, lists are partly about controlling and (if yr going public) presenting your concerns, your experiences&such biz, but these 00s music lists tend to be more than personal, they're in dialogue w/other critics (&/i.e. bloggers), people want consensus w/ their history-making, and they whine and pick at each others snapshots.
Anyway, making the effort to number music because the date's gone all funny is borderline numerology (normally a boring way of being superstitious). And there aren't too many collectives whose lists I'd be interested in. I'd like to see a Top Jams heard in Baghdad in 762 list, sorta, but I'd prefer a guidebook or better, someone from inside writing about how those jams got to be jams, because I don't know those people, and tho' music can give you a certain view on them, you need a way in.
Lists at least show you've been paying attention, and maybe even give the illusion that you care. I've been wondering lately how much we (i.e. YOU) care about music, especially the stuff that's coming out now, because we've gone pretty quiet.
Music is tied to identity, especially collective identity, in a way no other art form is. Music is an event, it occupies time&space like nothing else and marks the moment. And it's more open, inclusive & diverse than any other art form; nearly everyone has their jams. Cuz more than anything else music is affirmation: of the moment, of position, of a sentiment, of status, of a sound (floop floop floop), of structure, of yr skill, of ideas, of desire, of mood, of other music, of hate, of memory, of dreams (high or sobre), of quality, of boredom. And it just is, it gestures and expresses in one killer move. Fuck you.
Tho' I've always done the majority of my listening solo, I've also shared a lot of my sweetest and heaviest musical experiences w/ ppl reading this blog, so I'd like to see a resurgence of music-as-social-fabric, as something for us to use when we're 'us'.
If yr reading this then I want to know where you've got yr musical kicks from lately, and what sort of kicks they are. Was yr music Entertainment? and/or revelatory? Seriously, it can just be a youtube link and a sentence, but more would be AL-REET. If you like I'll add you to the contributors list, whoever you are.
Let me kick this shit off with some of the stuff I've got into and loved in 09 while I've not been stewing in older favourites (yes the main course is ready):
Start w/ The American Dream, mmhmm, oooh, oooh, Fresh from killing the radio - Single Ladies; Umberrrella - Terius Nash retreats to his bat-cave for his second solo album Love vs. Money. First album - Love/Hate or Love Me All Summer, Hate Me All Winter - was breezy and open and just fucking fantastic enough to be ripe for goofy-grinned youtube covers. Lv$ (almighty dollar cuz he's 'merican) starts out pretty open, pretty coverable, w/ galactic-scale pop even, but steadily reduces focus and ends up much more myopic. He's there on the cover, hands to temples, ready to GO IN. And youtubers have struggled w/ covering anything after the first couple of tracks, (but there are a shitload of screwed & chopped versions) cuz not only is this more of a studio record, these songs also work a lot better in context, this is more of a SUITE, in fact.
So, have a listen to this at horrible youtube bitrate while we continue:
Hard to overstate how great this is, and believe me, people have been trying. The track's paper thin, a surface of the most deliberate clicks, synth stabs, slow-decaying kickdrums and little studio flourishes that leave exactly the right space for our asshole-protagonist to self-harmonize, slow himself down, parrot-himself, warble&croon, chant foreground&background and do what he do.
Dream spends a lot of this record laying out his jet-setting VIP lifestyle in so many increasingly-intense incarnations that he's making himself the villain, coming to a head on Fancy, forcing people to recognise their ambitions in what he's saying - "You can be from the hood/But I know you want to live fancy" - and pushing those desires to the limit - "They say you can't buy love/Man, they lying". Mariah might sing all sassy about her status, and Ne-Yo act gentlemanly, but they're all poses, whether for self-defence or Entertainment, that let them hit key issues that resonate, making some amazing contributions to love-ballads as a genre, and Terius is no different. Doesn't really matter but he's consciously exploring those desires, those constructed senses-of-self throughout his music; dude's name is The-Dream.
And he's SO GOOD at posing. Framing himself perfectly at all times so he can pointedly drop a "Cupid ain't got shit on me" or do whatever it is that he's doing on Walkin' On The Moon, a much-maligned single w/ a video that goes thus:
Cruising for babes on the Millenium Falcon, dressed like a gay-biker, watching stars fly by on a flat-screen tv! Here we realise on the cover he wasn't massaging those temples to focus tunes, but rather focus optic beams - from his eyes! - cuz here he's got that shit under control Cyclops-style. The perfect setting to relax in the safety of yr clean-freak cockpit and serenade lycra-space-honeys by crooning, pulling down clouds, dazzling them and gurning like some sly cat-queer. Wingman comes in the form of Kanye West, comfortable in the role of 'Knobhead Chewbacca'. Woo-ooo-hooo!
Here's Terius getting married, in Trousers:
I love this man.
Next&supposedly last album's called Love King, out later this year. Now do that again.