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my year in music

Michele's Year in Music or: How I Learned to Stop Expecting Every CD I Was Looking Forward to to be the Absolute Best Thing Ever

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I was just going to do a list type thing of my favorite music of the year, but no. You get a long winded rant instead. Enjoy, discuss and debate.

There were a lot of expectations this year, a lot of disappointments. There were also good finds in between. Overall, I think the year was a washout musically. There were very few albums that made me rush out to the store and spend my money.

By far, my best album of the year award, if there were such a thing in my world, would go to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "No More Shall We Part."It was everything I expected it to be and more. Haunting, melodramatic, beatiful and poetic, all in true Nick Cave fashion. Of all the albums that came out in 2001, this one definitely got the most airplay on my stereo.

Also anticpated, but not as equally loved, was Radiohead's "Amnesiac."I do like it, I like it a lot. It's just not something I can throw into the mix at any time. I have to really be in the mood for it, and it comes off more like background music than something to groove to. Knives Out, however, is a great song to clean the living room to. Listening to Amnesiac did cause me to break out my copies of Bends and OK Computer, both of which I became obsessed with all over again, so Amnesiac did have a greater purpose.

It was a good year for Mike Patton fans, as he released cds with two bands: Fantomas and Tomahawk. Neither cd is easily accesible, listening wise. They are an acquired taste, like all things Patton (Epic notwithstanding). The Fantomas cd, "The Directors Cut" is all reworked movie scores, featuring music from The Omen, The Godfather and Rosemary's Baby among others. Rosemary's Baby is particularly haunting and Experiment in Terror is oddly beautiful. Not something to listen to when you are out on a joyride, but great on a dark, stormy night with the headphones on.

There were several albums I had been only sort of looking forward to, in that whole "lowered expectations" rule of life. Incubus had disappointed me before, moving from the hard edged, mosh-able music of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. to the lovesick, mainstream Make Yourself in one swift, deadly move. I despised Make Yourself for a long time, until I stopped viewing it as a followup to S.C.I.E.N.C.E and let it stand alone on its own. So when Morning View came out, I was hesitant to listen at first. I really wanted to Incubus to return to their Faith No More influenced sound, but I had a feeling this wasn't going to be the cd that did it. On first listen, I almost keeled over dead. I immediately thought, this is Backstreet Boys for the older crowd. But for some odd reason, I kept playing the cd over and over and, even though the lyrics have a tendency to be incredibly cheesy and almost laughable, I really enjoyed the music. So chalk this one up to good but not great, not really a disappointment because Make Yourself let some of the steam out of the engine to begin with. In that same vein as Incubus (the lowered expectations rule) were Staind, Slayer and Fear Factory, although all three fall under different categories.

Staind is a band I like but don't get fervent about. I seriously dug Dysfunction, in that "I need a cd to play when I hate the world" sort of way. Aaron Lewis does have a tendency to get whiny and self pitying, but nonetheless, I enjoyed playing Dysfunction at very loud volumes. So I looked to Break the Cycle for much of the same. I don't want to say I was disappointed; that's too strong a word. But the cd just left me...blah. Yea, that's the word. I think they were reaching for that accesible sound that would get them played on the radio, something they knew they could achieve once that horrid rendition of Outside with Fred Durst hit the airwaves en masse. So Break the Cycle is a schitzophrenic sort of cd, wanting to be the old, mosh pit type Staind (see, Pressure) but resorting mostly to the top-40 craving Staind (see, Outside, Epiphany). Rated blah for blandness.

Slayer. Good old Slayer; dependable, sturdy, satanic. All I have to say about this superb album is, first of all, its called God Hate Us All. It is vintage Slayer, consistent with every other magnificent piece of head-banging, fast-driving, anger management music they have every issued. Sample lyrics:You self-righteous fuck, give me a reason not to rip your fucking face off, why don't you take a good look in these eyes, cause I'm the one that's gonna tear your fucking heart out, my hate is contagious; you've got no one to run to. Hey, some days you really need that.

Then we have Tool and Weezer, the antithesis of each other. Weezer made us wait too many years for a new cd and then gave us something shorter than Mariah Carey's skirt. Tool makes us wait too many years and then gives us leaden prog-rock with songs that last longer than a Kevin Costner movie. I hated both of these cds on first listen and they led me to two conclusions: I was never really a Weezer fan as much as I was a fan of the Blue Album; and even though I once loved Tool to the point of obsession, they have really run away with their own imaginations. Once a band considers themselves artists and not per se, a rock band, start running.

Speaking of running away screaming, is there anyone out there who even bought Stabbing Westward's

new cd? What the hell happened to them? Once one of my favorite bands (Darkest Days is still one of my most played cds), they turned to utter and complete shit. If there was an award from greatest fall from grace, Stabbing Westward would get my nomination, hands down.

Other cds that made more than a few turns in my cd player this year:

Aphex Twin - Drukqs; Deltron 3030 - Deltron 3030; Gorillaz - Gorillaz; System Of A Down - Toxicity; Wu-Tang Clan - Iron Flag; Jay -Z Blue Print; Rammstein - Mutter; Nickelback - Silver Side Up; Toadies - Hell Below/Star Above (Dollskin is one of the greates songs ever); Clutch - Pure Rock Fury

Cds, bands and individual songs that played over and over again on my stereo this year (not necessarily 2001 releases):

Cold - 13 Ways to Bleed Onstage; Self - Breakfast With Girls; Failure - Stuck on You; And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead; Glassjaw - Everything You Wanted to Know About Silence; Propagandhi - How to Clean Everything; Hayden; Soundtrack of Our Lives - Dow Jones Syndrome, (total obession with) Smashing Pumpkins...and I just realized I can do this forever, so I'll stop.

I know I forgot a lot of cds, and I did want to make a list of cds I wish never came out this year and bands I wish would just go away, and maybe I will. For now, this was my year in music. How was yours?


You know I heard the lead singer from Faith No More has an all star band out...I think they're playing in Vegas for the New Years :)

No More Shall We Part was good - I wasn't sure about it at first, but it grew on me alot. I love Hallelujah, and the title track. Let Love In is still my favourite Cave & the Bad Seeds album though.

On the other hand, the new Leonard Cohen album, Ten New Songs, is really disappointing, especially after his last recording, The Future, and a 9-year wait.

I got laid off twice this year. This allowed me the necessary angst, time and resources to channel my inner penglipur lara (SE Asian spiritual advisors who induce mass catharsis through music) and make a really pretty nifty series mix cds.

I'd love to send you a musical care package. Send me a mailing address?

Ha ha. Fabulous stuff, mostly, esp. TSOOL, Failure, ...Trail of Dead... Like to think I helped expand your already broad musical horizons just a little more.

Noticably absent from your list? Howbout a little outfit called The Hills Have Eyes? Oh, and I know you haven't actually heard Wish yet, but that's no reasong to leave 'em off the list.... ; )

Oh, fuck. I forgot to add "DO NOT buy the new Trail of Dead EP under any cirsumstances. I'll AIM you the trax and you can save yrself 7 bucks. What a rip job.

Damned straight you're obsessed with the Pumpkins now, they're a band to be obsessed about :D

And I feel like I need a lot of Glassjaw right now.

Jessica: That would be wonderful. thank you!

Ian: I was going to a whole separate post on how The Hills Have Eyes are going to save the world of music as we know it, but you blew it. And yes,you definitely influenced this list heavily.

In honor of CBG: "Ooh, a sarcasm detector! That's really original!"

(detector explodes)

You fucking rock me. =)



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