Monday, January 16, 2017

Sixth Annual JBBs: 2016, or Holy F*cking Sh*t

Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest

For once, I’m going to get this done before the Voice does their Pazz and Jop poll.

Anyway, it was the best of times (music) and it was the worst of times (everything else). You get the idea.

Unlike prior years, in 2016 there always seemed to be a really good record to listen to. Alas, like most prior years there didn’t seem to be any outright great ones (except one). But overall things could have been a lot, lot worse.


I’m always trying to cut down on the CDs in favor of mp3s, and out of a total of 32 albums, only 15 were actual CDs. So I did pretty well not overfilling the house with plastic jewel cases, but I kind of miss the liner notes.

And in my struggle to stay more current, I’m treading water. As in 2015, I managed to get four albums from 2016. I’ve still got to work on that, since I can’t compete with Nutboy, who can spin off a Top 5 list and still say that Car Seat Headrest is great without including it. So I know he’s got a few more up his sleeve. I must do better!

And eat more vegetables.


And speaking of Nutboy, here’s his list:

1. Bob Dylan: The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert 
2. Radiohead: Heart Shaped Pool
3. Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
4. Drive By Truckers: American Band 
5. Angel Olsen: My Woman

Now I have no doubt Nutboy can listen to the six CD Dylan The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965-1966  in a single sitting, and I wouldn’t put it past him to enjoy a collection of outgoing messages from Dylan’s answering machine, and good for him I say. But I’m guessing he’s onto something here.

Angel Olsen is the only one that I’ve got and I can understand why it made his cut. It kind of made mine, too.

And the rest have been on my radar, and now that they have the NSA (Nutboy Seal of Approval) I can proceed, but, as usual, I’m a dollar short and a year late.

Overrated, or Disappointments:

Without dwelling on it, I’ll just say that Elliott Smith’s Either/Or is Neither, and Joy of Cooking
stinks to high heaven of 1970. It’s not a bad smell, mind you, but it should have worn off by now.

Top Ten:

So here’s my list, which I’ll remind you contains whatever I got acquainted with last year, and is thus not limited to 2016 releases.

1. Car Seat Headrest: Teens of Denial

2. Erroll Garner: The Complete Concert by the Sea

3. Chills: Kaleidoscope World

4. Fairport Convention: Liege and Leif

5. Kinks: Lola vs Powerman and the Money Go Round

6. Philip Glass: Glassworks (Expanded Edition)

7. The Go! Team: Thunder Lightning Strike

8. Bach: The Well Tempered Clavier/Art of the Fugue/A Musical Offering

9. Apples in Stereo: New Magnetic Wonder

and tied for 10th
John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions
Robbie Fulks: Upland Stories 
The Go-Betweens: The Friends of Rachel Worth 
Angel Olsen: My Woman

Top Songs:

This is just some of them, and I’m sure I’ve missed a few:
Car Seat Headrest: "Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales"
Car Seat Headrest: “Vincent”
The Chills: “Cosmic Drift”
The Chills: “Rolling Moon”
The Chills “Doledrums”
Fairport Convention: “Come All Ye”
The Kinks: “Top of the Pops”
The Kinks: “Strangers” 
Philip Glass “Opening”
The Go! Team: “Bottle Rocket”
The Apples in Stereo: “Beautiful Machine Part 1-2”
The Apples in Stereo: “Seven Suns”
Elliot Smith: “Rose Parade”
Gavin Bryars: “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet”

Most Awesomest:

Bach: The Well Tempered Clavier/Art of the Fugue/A Musical Offering: 7 CDs, after all

Most Funnest:

Car Seat Headrest: It’s got everything I need.

Bestest First Cut:

Fairport Convention: “Come All Ye”

Best Last Line:

I'm cheating, because there’s short “coda” after this, but Car Seat Headrest’s “Connect the Dots”  ends with F*ck All This!!


So how could Car Seat Headrest be better than Bach or an album with "Lola” on it? The shock of the new I guess. And I have to learn to trust that more.

It’s amazing that the election didn’t ruin Kaleidoscope World for me. That makes it rank pretty high.

I considered not listing Erroll Garner at all since I’ve had the original album for years, but it turns out that more EG is better EG.

How the hell did Philip Glass end up making one of the more emotional records I heard this year?

This has nothing to do with any objective musical quality, otherwise Bach would be at the top. This is about subjective experience.

The Year of….

If it’s an artist (and it usually is):
Bach? Maybe. I mean, 9 CDs worth just this year? So if it was an artist, it would be him.

But maybe it’s a thing.
World History Project? No, this is just getting started, musically.

A Concept? 
Disappointment? Not musically, though.

Maybe it’s the year of Things More Important Than Music, and Not In A Good Way. That’s probably it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still need music. As a matter of fact, it’s what gets me through it all.

And for the next four years, I’m gonna need a lot of it.

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