Monday, January 7, 2013

My 2012: Sliding into Home

The end of the year came with a bang, in the form of Christmas gifts (that I orchestrated via my Wish List, of course), and a 2012 New Year’s resolution to get current music. Which I finally got around to on December 31.

So my grades are even less considered than usual.

Tallest Man on Earth The Wild Hunt
Nutboy was raving about this one, and I finally got around to it on Christmas. This one catches you immediately, with the elfin, early Dylan-ish vocals and spare arrangements. After a few listens you notice there are real tunes here, and words, too. Perfect for early winter mornings, when you’re feeling a little weird, and weird is the only way to go. A-

Steve Earle: Guitar Town
A little too straightforward country for me, but better than last year’s dabblings (Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley). So I’m more willing to stick around, and let it work its magic. B+

Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Spinning Around the Sun
Now here’s a paradox. This one is more conventionally country than Steve Earle, but I like to more. Maybe because it’s so damned pretty. (And Mrs. Jaybee is tolerating Gilmore’s quavery voice better than Iris Dement’s. But by this point, she observed “You didn’t tell me you liked country music before we got married.”) He manages to keep it from getting too cloying, all the while hitting you with strong melodies. Highlights include a great version of Hank Williams “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry” and the brilliant “You’re Just a Wave”. A-

All year long, I waited for some clear choices for current music, but my limited success with rap and r&b kept me from trying Frank Ocean or Kendrick Lamar. By New Year’s Eve, my desperation to appear cool forces my hand:

Fiona Apple The Title Goes On and On and On (jk it’s The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do:
Well, so far I can’t say that the music I’ve heard so far is any better or more attractive than what I typically hear from her. As spare as the arrangements are, after a few listens, it’s still kind of a blur. She’s very smart and and very tough, though. Mommy, I’m scared! B+

So that’s 2012 in all it’s gory detail. Next time, I’ll cut to the chase and give you that all-purpose summary of anything and everything of any and sometimes no consequence: a top 10 list.

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