Here’s my list of 10 hipster cred albums that didn’t move me in 2006. These were loved by bloggers and tastemakers, but not by me. You say you love these albums? Well good for you. I’m sure you think my top 10 list is conventional and boring. I can live with that.
1) Joanna Newsom: Ys (Drag City) – This is a great album for pre-school children. Her voice is so precious; it reminds me of a bratty five-year old. Further proof? I love Van Dyke Parks’ work on Pet Sounds, but these days he mostly scores pre-school shows. Accolades? #5 best reviewed album of the year on Metacritic. Other Music’s best of. 9.4/10 on Pitchfork and #3 album of the year.
2) The Knife: Silent Shout (Mute) – If this is your album of the year, what kind of gay dance party’s going on over at your crib? I keed. I like guitar music; electro music feels so soulless to me. Other Music’s best of list. Urb’s top 10. 8.6/10 from Pitchfork and best album of the year.
3) Beach House: Beach House (Carpark) – The same people who love Grizzly Bear also seem to love Beach House. To me they’re pretty much polar opposites (other than a heavy dependence on Pro Tools). Grizzly Bear’s so busy it gives me a headache and Beach House is so empty it puts me to sleep. I like being rocked to sleep as much as the next guy, but this is ridiculous. Wake me when it’s over. Accolades: 8.1/10 on Pitchfork and #16 album of the year. Download “Apple Orchard” (courtesy of P-fork)
4) CSS: Cansei de Ser Sexy (Sub Pop) – If corporations are dumb enough to pay you $10,000 to play your IPod for a bunch of coked up, Sparks drinking, models, C-list celebs and advertising executives, then you’re excused for listening to this. Otherwise I just don’t get it. Accolades: NME’s #6. Download “Alala” (courtesy of Sub Pop)
5) Tapes ‘n’ Tapes: The Loon (Ibid) – This is a perfectly decent debut album from a perfectly fine regional band. One of your top albums of the year? You must have more of a stake in them than I do. I deleted most of the tracks off my MP3 player a long time ago. I can think of about a dozen local bands that sound similar and I like better. In a year with a lot of bands ripping off the Pixies, “Cowbell” is one of the best. Publications like Pitchfork will tear bands apart for being derivative, but then give certain insanely derivative bands a free pass. What’s up with that? Accolades: Other Music’s best of list. 8.3/10 from Pitchfork and #40th best album. Download “Insistor” and “Cowbell”
6) Lily Allen: Alright, Still (EMI Int’l) – Of course the hyperbolic British press loves her, but US tastemakers do too? Honestly I don’t think this is that bad, but I only listen to it when my girlfriend makes me. It’s like the music equivalent of Fun Dip. Accolades: Other Music’s best of list. 8.3/10 on Pitchfork and #29th best album of the year.
7) Grizzly Bear: Yellow House (Warp) – I know it’s completely unfair to penalize a band for what is being written about them; however I really resent the comparisons to the Beach Boys. I guess the Beach Boys represent great harmonizers? Grizzly Bear’s more of a Pro Tools band. The layer on top of claustrophobic layer makes me feel like my head’s going to explode. And what’s up with that interview in Out Magazine? I really don’t care what he thinks are the best and worst countries to “slut around in” (for the record France is his favorite, while England is his least favorite). That said, I see why people like the record. If I spent a little more time with it I might come around. Accolades: Other Music’s best of list. 8.7/10 on Pitchfork and #8 album of the year
8) Beirut: The Gulag Orkestar (Bada Bing) – How am I going to rip a 19 year-old kid from Albuquerque who listened to a bunch of Balkan gypsy music and made an interesting record? Well, I’m not. I gave this one many listens (bought it on CD and vinyl) and tried to force myself to like it. Unfortunately it still leaves me a little cold. There are some really nice moments, but I usually forget about it about three minutes after I put it on. He’s got a bright future ahead of him and I’m curious to see what he does next. Accolades: 7.7/10 on Pitchfork. Download “Postcards from Italy”
9) Hold Steady: Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant) – Once again, I’ve got nothing against these guys, I’m just a little surprised by the praise. I probably like classic rock more than you, but the praise makes me think of the Grifters (bar band that music snobs universally embrace). Remember the Grifters? Didn’t think so. Accolades: #13 best reviewed album of the year on Metacritic. Other Music’s best of list. The Onion’s #1 album. 9.4/10 on Pitchfork and 3rd best album of the year. Download “Stuck Between Stations” (courtesy of P-fork)
10) Man Man: Six Demon Bag (Ace Fu) – Honestly I’m too lazy to even download one of their tracks. Do you ever discriminate against a band just because of their picture? Accolades: Pitchfork’s 20th best album of the year.