Patrick Stump, Soul Punk
Music Math: (Fall Out Boy – everyone except Patrick Stump) x Prince
Best Tracks: “This City,” “Spotlight (New Regrets), Run Dry (X Heart X Fingers),” “Everybody Wants Somebody”
Representative Lyrics: “Step 1: Drink / Step 2: Make mistakes / Step 3: Pretend you don’t remember / Step 4: Drink a little more / Step 5: I need to run dry”
Notes: Many of you know I was devasted when my favorite emo band for 14-year-old girls broke up a bit ago, but my wounds have been healed by this release, which gives amazing vocalist Stump the ideal platform for his frenetic and funky brand of pop-rock. His voice is fully unleashed and is the star of the show, trumped (maybe) only by the note that Stump himself played every instrument on the album. Crazeballs! I saw him live this year and he is, truly, one of the most amazing live singers I’ve ever heard.
Beau’s Critique: “I love his voice, but this album is kind of lame.”
The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow
Music Math: (Peter Paul & Mary – Peter) + Ulysses S. Grant / Hell on Wheels
Best Tracks: “20 Years,” “I’ve Got this Friend,” “Barton Hollow”
Representative Lyrics: “I’m a dead man walking here / That’s the least of all my fears / Walk beneath the water”
Notes: Charmingly anachronistic duo The Civil Wars blend country, folk rolk, and bluegrass sounds with their perfect cross-gender harmonies. Both singers have beautiful solo voices, which we hear from time to time, but their real strength is their dueling melodies on tracks like “Barton Hollow,” which evokes the era of the actual Civil War more vividly than many elements of the war itself.
Beau’s Critique: “This album makes me want to commit suicide.”
Peter Bjorn and John, Gimme Some
Music Math: (The Hives – Green Day) + The Cars + Wakko from Animaniacs
Best Tracks: “Dig a Little Deeper,” “Second Chance” (awesome video above)
Representative Lyrics: “When you flew out of the nest / you made a mistake / flew all the way back”
Notes: In their effort to be constantly different than they used to be, Peter Bjorn and John released this fun little disc of anachronistic pop songs that feel like they could have appeared in just about any decade previous. The energy on the album is consistently high and the album doesn’t stray far from exquisitely crafted pop hooks, backbeats, and lyrics that are alternately vacant and pithy.
Beau’s Critique: “I kind of like that song now.”
This year, instead of ganging up my favorite albums post into one loooong post, I’m going to unroll it one day at a time.
I winnowed the list down to just 15 albums (which was tough), so starting on 12/16, there’ll be a daily post featuring one of the albums and my take on it.
Album of the Year
Tegan and Sara, Sainthood
Music Math: Indigo Girls – earnestness
Best Tracks: “Arrow,” “Hell,” “Alligator”
Representative Lyrics: “Would you take a straight and narrow / critical look at me / Would you tell me tough-love style / put judicial weight on me?”
Notes: Pumping up their folky sensibility with more ambitious production, louder guitars, and stronger beats, the next evolution of Tegan and Sara finds them still lyrically interesting but much more accessible.
America’s Next Top Model is back and already an outrage! Tonight’s elimination was so WRONG and obviously motivated by keeping a bitchy, conflict-inspiring contestant in the house while sending home the sweet-natured, attractive, better performing model.
So, aside from that, who am I loving?
Allison, freaky-eyed alien girl, who is awkward and strange, but also totally herself, and essentially very sweet.
Aminat, who is taller than me in heels and, without being cruel, tells it how it is.
London: “She loves Jesus, and modeling too.” She’s like a Tom Petty song! But she is also just cool and confident and fun-loving and wild–you know, in a Christian way.
Fo, whose freckles and fresh personality give her inner and outer beauty.
Jessica, of the flawless skin and flawless features.
Kortnie, who dated Dale Earnhardt junior and lived to tell about it! And who is barely plus-sized and plus-fabulous.
Sad to see the first elimination. I hope the next time–SHE’S on the chopping block. I usually don’t root against my hometown girls. Unless they’re, you know, evil