Monday, December 19, 2011

{GUEST MUSIC GUIDE} END OF THE YEAR ROUNDUP...

As he explains below, I asked my friend Adam to create a music gift guide for the ol' blog. He has phenomenal taste in music that's wildly similar to mine, and many of the MWMMs that pop up on Wednesdays come from his recommendations. Naturally, I thought he would be perfect for this task, but as he points out, music is a pretty tough gift to give in these days of Grooveshark, Spotify and Pandora. Instead, he came up with the brilliant solution of summing up some of the best artists he listened to this year and bundling it all into a funny and helpful round up for you! 

Editor's Note: There are some references to adult activities both legal and not in the proceeding text. If' you're not an adult, well, cover your eyes and scroll on past. As for the rest of you, feast your eyes and ears...

Christmas is right around the corner, as is Hanukkah, and maybe even Kwanzaa (Wikipedia update: it’s Dec. 26th – Jan. 1st), so you probably have some shopping to do. Taylor requested a music-based gift guide, but here’s the very best guidance I can give: Unless someone specifically asks for an album, or sings songs from it in the car, or the shower, or hums it at their desk, don’t give an album as a gift. It will fail, and the recipient will have to open it and force a stupid grin and you’ll see right through it and Christmas will be ruined for everyone. And then grandma will walk out of the kitchen without her pants on again and your boyfriend/girlfriend who’s spending his/her first Christmas with your family will get a face full of old, old skin and you’ll break up and end up alone forever. Anyway, please note that I haven’t listened to most of these albums in their entirety. Nor do I own most of them. Some of these artists don’t even have full albums out, as far as I can tell. So there’s a healthy deal of speculation in this article, but just think of it as room for more Christmas (holiday? I don’t care) surprises.

Lana Del Rey  

People like Lana Del Rey’s music. I like Lana Del Rey’s music. Born to Die, Diet Mountain Dew, and Video Games are all strong tracks that sound just like what you’d expect a large-lipped, sultry singer to produce.  There’s a whole bunch of hubbub about her transition from a goody two-shoes struggling singer into some sexxxy hipster, but I don’t really understand it and only really read the headlines, so you’re on your own there. Just know that people are talking about her for one reason or another, and her tunes are worth listening to.


Lana Del Rey is sexy, and The Weeknd is sex. It is drugs. It is everything you believe happens in the dark upper balconies of warehouse parties. It is heavy, sweaty bass and smooth, almost crooning rap. Its seductive qualities don’t discriminate between male and female targets. This is one album I’ve listened to from start to finish, and it does not disappoint. In fact, the tracks line up nicely, and you should indulge in an hour-or so listening session to appreciate how well this album is put together. High for This and House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls (really two songs in one) are both must-listens.  


Skrillex is dubstep for the masses. What Elvis Presley was to rock and roll, Skrillex is to dubstep, but with a distinctly more lesbian look. He’s taken music from its urban roots and presented it to a large, young audience in a palatable form. His dubstep is white bread enough (as in, towards the less experimental end of the spectrum) for a large listener base to appreciate, and it’s quickly gaining traction. Parents are somewhat offended by this DJ’s ear-destroying sonic output, but dubstep in general is finding its way into mainstream pop music, so get educated. The best part about Skrillex is how skreewawawaawaaaa wompwompwompwahwomp.

Rebecca & Fiona


I’m using Rebecca & Fiona as a nice segue between electronic/dance music and a female vocalist. These two ladies have created a few tracks worthy of note, including Jane Doe, Bullets, Turn it Down (a collaboration with Kaskade), and Luminary Ones. These make for great at-work songs for those of you lucky enough to have a headphone-friendly workplace. I don’t know much about them, but from what I can tell they are two Swedish babes with a knack for dance music. I’m really hoping to hear more from them in the near future.

Adele

I love Adele. Everyone should love Adele. If you don’t, you hate curvy women, or you’re misogynist, or maybe deep in the closet, or xenophobic, or your parents didn’t love you enough. I don’t care. Rolling in the Deep, Someone like You, and every cover, remix, and what-have-you derived from this woman’s shattered, fragile soul will have an immediate emotional impact on you. If you like her tunes, look up Marina and the Diamonds (another UK-raised singer) or Duffy (same deal), who knock it out of the park when it comes to white girls singing soul music. Also, I’m obligated to add something about Florence + the Machine. Her new releases are stellar. She provides my personal daily loop-fest, and her newest album—with tracks like Heartlines, Shake It Out, What the Water Gave Me, and Only If for a Night—is outstanding.

Mumford and Sons


I like Mumford and Sons, and so does everyone else, so blah blah blah blah buy their album. They’re Grammy contenders, how can you not buy their album? The Cave and Little Lion Man are my favorite tracks to date, but I haven’t done a lot of research on the rest of their music (Winter Winds? Something to that effect) and frankly I don’t have enough wine left to make a case for spending more time on them. You get it.

Drive Soundtrack

I’m going to fill this paragraph up with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie, stop and just buy this album. Trust me. Spoilers starting…Now. This album will make you want to put on a quilted jacket and driving gloves and paint everything in neon and stomp skulls until you feel like all that’s left beneath the sole of your boot is cracked eggshells and the innards of a pumpkin. The tracks on this album will make you feel like you live in the heyday of convertibles and white suits and blow. It takes you on a journey that is sometimes inspiring and other times downright sinister. A Real Hero, Tommy’s Theme, and Nightcall are all standout tracks. Turn off the lights, put on some sunglasses, and turn up the subwoofer. You’ll find yourself in a strange, strange place, and you will like it. You don’t get to see Christina Hendricks naked and someone gets stabbed with a fork. Told you there were spoilers.

[Fun fact: adding “repeat” after “youtube” in a YouTube URL will bring you to a page that will loop the video. For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5ZhBAylbN4 can be turned into http://www.youtuberepeat.com/watch?v=G5ZhBAylbN4 for an eternity of music.]

3 comments:

  1. I feel like this Adam character and I would have much to discuss, by way of the tunes. This is a solid "round up" but I feel as though it is missing numerous top albums and songs from 2011. But, perhaps that's why music is a poor gift choice - it is super personal, only meant for those gift givers who truly know their receivers.

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  2. Great post, love the recommendations. Agreed with most of them, and was happy to discover some new music!

    But I would agree with the beginning of the most -- Unless you really know someone's music style, a mixed tape is the best choice. In my life, I've received both amazing albums and albums I absolutely hated. Why not give someone a Itunes GC, but with a bunch of recommendations in a grooveshark playlist?

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  3. You left out the spice girls.

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