Sunday, January 27, 2013

My 2012: The Second Annual Jaybee-bies

And what a mediocre year it’s been!  - Jaybee
No, that’s not really true.  I wrote that in November, just before everything came together.

That’s what I get for getting sucked into that very common, but very bad, habit of reviewing something - like a year - way too soon.

And, it has the paradoxical effect of stretching things out into the new year. My unofficial resolution to get this done much sooner than last time has fallen in the crapper. It’s almost February for God’s sake. I’ve already gotten new music. Time to get my ass in gear and put 2012 to bed.

How did I do on those other resolutions anyway?

2012 Resolutions:

1. Getting More Current Music: On this, I totally sucked, managing to get only one measly 2012 album (Fiona Apple) and that one only on December 31. Nutboy is laughing his ass off right now. On the one hand, it was due to there being so many possible candidates, none of whom I trusted enough to follow through on. There were dozens of records that somebody was enthusiastic about. I just couldn’t 
distinguish the momentary enthusiasms from the keepers. Every time a promising record appeared, there was old Christgau
snickering at it, or not liking it quite enough. I had to wait for the year end polls to enlighten me.  While I waited for it all to get sorted out, I got distracted by records that just happened to come out, oh, forty years ago.

My middle name is After the Fact. C

But the other thing was that most of the highest rated records fell into the soul and hip hop (Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Killer Mike, etc) genres - ones that I’m not too good with. Or not as good as I should be. So rather than waste a lot of time trying to make myself a better, more rounded person, I’m opting for happiness.

I feel bad that I’m shying away from these genres. I guess it’s selfish, and short sighted, but when I look ahead I’m not seeing all that much time. I can’t afford to experiment like I did when I was in my twenties, assuming what I didn’t like today, I might like years from now.  I don’t know how many of those I have. This wasn’t even a resolution but I’m giving myself a C on it anyway.

2. More Downloads, Fewer CDs: I did pretty good. By my rough count I ended up with 19 CDs and 16 MP3s. So it’s evening out. Still too many CDs, though.  B+

3. More Current Books: Well, I started off pretty good and read a handful of books from this century (Zazen (very powerful), The Hunger Games (brilliant) and Ready Player One (great fun) but then trailed off, and by the end of the year, I hadn’t read all that many from last century, either. C+

So the 2013 Resolutions are:

1. No CDs: Mrs. Jaybee is REALLY doubtful about it.  As long as I can stay away from downtown, where J&R and Other Music are located, I’ve got a shot.

2. At least 3 albums released in 2013: Nutboy’s probably managed more than 3 already.

3. Get Less Music: I did get more MP3s, but I didn’t get fewer CDs. I got
way too much music, and need to focus. (I have to, before I toss out a family member.)  But Amazon is doing their yearly 50 million albums for $5, and I’ve already gotten three. None from this year, by the way.

4. More music books!  I had great fun doing this in 2012, and realized I’d been remiss for many years. I don’t know why. Probably some combination of the books not being available at my library and me being too cheap to buy them. I also have a fear of reading about music at the expense of listening to it, as well as a dread of the potential Deadening of Joy Via Theory Effect, which happens to me when the writer is thinking it, but JUST NOT FEELIN' IT.

So How Good a Year Was It?

Things were so good that I’m not going to just mention one or two Best Albums of the Year with a handful of runners up.  I’m actually going to supply a top 10 list, which goes something like this:

1. Ogden’s Nut Flake by the Small Faces (1968)  
2. Sea Change by Beck (2002)
3. On by Imperial Teen (2002)

4. The Wild Hunt by the Tallest Man on Earth (2010)
5. The Mysterious Production of Eggs by Andrew Bird (2005)
6. Give Up by Postal Service  (2003)
7. Music for Airports by Brian Eno (1978)
8. So Beautiful or So What by Paul Simon (2011)
9. Whitechocolatespaceegg by Liz Phair (1998)
10. Spinning Around the Sun by Jimmie Dale Gilmore (1993)

Biggest Disappointment:
Wild Flag - Just not feelin it.

Jens Lekman - Expecting pop, got a big lump of cheesey weirdness, which I didn’t think was possible.

Biggest Stretch (for me):
Wu Tang Clan - Strong music, stronger subject matter.

Artist of the Year:
The Small Faces - For blowing away my assumption that they were just another 60s band.


So that’s it. I’m finally done with a very rewarding year and hoping I can keep it going without wasting a lot of time and money on misfires.

Well, are you going to help me out with that or what?

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