Once again we’ve come to the end of the year and we’re being inundated with lists: Best Ofs, Least Essentials, Worsts (my personal favorite), and Most Underrateds. When you start to stack up the amount of content that’s been released over a year it can be intimidating. If the amount of albums released this year were physically collected and stacked atop one another, one could live as a comfortable hermit within their confines until the next year’s crop of content were added to the shack.
As a columnist for one of the world’s foremost cutting edge men’s lifestyle magazines, it’s my job to compile some type of year end list for the public to consume. If I don’t do it someone in the office will, and I can’t let the jackals nipping on my heels catch up.
I just spoke with Ignatius by the coffee pot and discovered that he’s been working on a top 14 list of favorite thrift store electronic gizmo finds and I can’t let him beat me to the punch.
I’ve now been sitting at my desk for a week, surviving on coffee and antacids to listen to every album released this year and quantify them into something tangible. The list has begun to feel like a cement block chained to my ankle that I’m forced to drag through the streets while children point and chant, “that man has very little lower body strength!” The thought of tethering myself to a set collection of anything has become worrisome. I don’t want to look the fool in ten years when it’s proven that Taylor Swift’s 1989 was incrementally better than Sun Kill Moon’s Benji. I almost threw up when my girlfriend saw a picture of me from high school, I can’t imagine what will happen when someone reads this list at an undecided date in the future.
When I read a best of list I find myself wondering what conditions the author was under when he wrote up the hoary index. Was he being confined to a brick room with nothing but chex mix to snack on until he thought of 15 vegetables that were too good to be kept a secret? Was there a smiling man standing just out of view whose grin stretched a bit too far beyond his face, revealing sharpened fangs, while the author pratted on about his fifteen favorite micro budget films of 2014? Or was he having quite the nice Tuesday morning when he rattled off a list of his 75 favorite hidden notes found in used books? There’s no way to know.
I suppose we (the columnists of the world) could start each article off with a quick line or two about how we’re feeling. Reimagine yourself at the beginning:
I am writing this article under duress because I feel that people prefer reading lists rather than settling into a cozy article, in fact; I find the entire concept of lists to be suspect. There! I said it!
Rather than write a typical best of list cataloging albums that were released in 2014 I decided to make a playlist of songs that I enjoyed. It’s a two hour plus mix of pop, hardcore, country, electronic oddities, and whatever else I fancied sticking into my head on train rides or while dancing around the apartment. A playlist feels more indicative of how we consume content and honestly it’s less of a slog for me. If there’s something you don’t like then skip it, but if a song strikes a chord in your heart then please follow that feeling down whatever wormhole it leads you through.
Throughout the process of creating a playlist I inadvertently found a few albums that I preferred over the rest, although I feel reticent to declare anything my favorite album of the year. There was a lot of wonderful music that will probably grow on me so much throughout the next year that I will deny having ever written this article.
Albums I liked all the way through in no particular order:
Teebs - Estara
Foxes In Fiction – Ontario Gothic
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2
Sun Kill Moon – Benji
Mirah – Changing Light
Fucked Up – Glass Boys
FKA Twigs – LP1
Ryan Adams – 1984