Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Third Annual Jaybee-bies, or It Wasn’t You, 2013, It Was Me:

Mrs. Jaybee hated 2013. 

I just found it kind of annoying. Nothing really awful happened, but I did have to leave a job I liked because my employer was going under. It eventually worked out okay, but managed to cast a pall over everything. So it wasn’t a bad year, but it sure did seem to be messing with us a lot.

I was a bit fatigued by music this year. And TV and books and movies. As usual, there was plenty of good, but not quite enough great, music. My fault. I was bummed with  the job change hanging over me, so I wasn’t fit for fun, and my choices weren’t quite on the mark.
When I would look at the many, many possibilities out there I’d get a bad feeling that I'd be underwhelmed.  xgau was partly absent and I missed his keen eye for separating hype from quality. Admittedly, it's occasionally too keen, and has kept me from getting to some great albums, but overall he’s saved me lots of time.

And speaking of time, how did I do with my 2013 resolutions? Well, I was no better to 2013 than 2013 was to me.

2013 Resolutions:

1. No CDs:
I got 14, if you count double CD sets as two, and 12 mp3s. So I’ve got a ways to go.  B-

2. Get at least 3 albums released in 2013:
I failed utterly. My amazon Wish Lists are overflowing with records that seemed interesting but that I could think of an excuse not to buy. It was a mental version of what I used to do in the record store.
So I had to get something. And if my math is right, the “average year” of the music I did buy was 1987, with the 1970s being the decade most represented. I sort of made up for it by burning down some itunes and amazon gift cards - I’ve already got five records this year - three from 2013! But that’s too little, too late. F

3. Get Less Music:  It may seem counter-intuitive, but I really do believe that less is more. That the more you have, the less valuable each one is, especially when, like with mp3s, you can’t even touch them. And I did it! Didn’t seem like it! But I did it! A-.

4. More music books! Well I got “Revolution of the Head” anyway. Totally worth it. But that’s all. C+

Which all works out to a C+ average overall.

But enough about what I suck at. This show’s running long already, so it’s time for 

The Jaybee-bie  Awards!

Most Plays (By Other People) That I Could Have Easily Passed On, but That Ended Up Making Me Like The Record More Than I Thought:
Thanks to Mrs. Jaybee and Son of Jaybee Michael, who liked it more than I did, and insisted on putting it on constantly, I did end up liking this record.
On the one hand this merely reinforces my delusion that I’m the Arbiter of Good Music (in my house) who brings it to the Masses (in my house anyway (well, technically, it’s still the bank’s house)).
On the other hand, I hate it when other people end up liking my music more than I do.  (Hmmm. Must buy something they’ll hate….)

Most Disconcerting Musical Experience:
Which forced me to think about whether or not there is such a thing as having too much pop music.

Good News For Modern Man Award:
While none of his three records quite made it to the list, I’m now I’m putting on John Cale’s The Island Years for fun.

OK News For Modern Man Award:
For records that are better than I gave them credit for at the time,:
Pleasures of the Harbor - Phil Ochs (22 plays) - But not that much better.
The Creek Drank the Cradle - Iron and Wine (64 plays!!) which testifies to how easy it is to play this first thing in the morning.

Not So Good News For Modern Man Award:
Kleenex/Liliput (41 plays) and still not fun just yet.

And finally...

Best of the Year - Weasel Version:

Here’s my Top Ten. You may have noticed that I've included, where possible, indicate how many plays these albums got throughout the year. Let’s see if Plays = love.

Tied for first:

I couldn’t decide between:
It’s Blitz - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (only 4 plays, but that doesn’t count the ipad or the van)
Celebration Rock - Japandroids (12 plays, because it’s just too intense for just any occasion)

Oh, and let's throw in Tame Impala’s Lonerism (40 plays on the desktop alone!) in there as well.  As mistrustful as I've been to the woozy/hazy and even synth-y sounds, (and I could swear I smell a joint being passed around), and on top of all that, the singing that I thought was a gal actually being a guy. When measured against how good it sounded - from beginning to end - on a long drive last month, these guys deserve to be here. They combine the worst tendencies of the sixties and seventies and somehow make it sound great.

Tied for second (okay, fifth):

Copper Blue - Sugar (23 plays)

The more discerning of you may have noticed (hmmm, the more discerning of you left already, but whatever) is that I don’t have ten records in my top ten. It was that kind of pain in the ass year.

10. So let’s throw in The Very Best of Grin, which technically doesn’t qualify because it’s a best of, but what the hell. It’s a delight from beginning to end. (The Fall comes close, but “delight” isn’t quite the word I’d apply to them.)

Artist of the Year:
Nobody. Unless you count Imperial Teen who’ve made two albums that are amongst this and last year’s best. Yeah, screw you too, 2013!

So How Good a Year Was It?
Some of the annoying things from 2013 have finally settled down. It turned out, in retrospect, to be a good year. This is not the same thing as being a good year while you’re experiencing it, which is more, you know, fun.

I’ve already gotten five records this year. And they are, happily, all over the place. Which is how it’s supposed to be.

And Mrs. Jaybee is insisting that 2014 will be a good year.

You got that, 2014?

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