Tag Archives: arcade fire

Top 20 Songs of 2013

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This list was once a big deal around here at BDWPS. Back in 2010, it was comprised of a top 100 list with an audio clip for each.  Not only was this a lot of work, it also never got nearly the attention that our Top Albums list always receives. I’ve also found that since starting the BDWPS Podcast that majority of the songs listed have been played and discussed at some point during the year.  By the time this list arrives, my discussion of the track seems a bit stale.  Below you’ll find 20 of my favorite songs of 2013.  Although it’s not much in comparison to what it once was, it’s still a solid playlist of memorable hooks that may have went under radar this past year.

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Top 40 Albums of 2013 (1-20)

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(Check out 40-21 HERE)

As I came to my conclusive final ordering of albums, I couldn’t help but feel like my list differed from the norm. You’ll find familiar faces like Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend, but many of the albums that ended up surfacing near the top are absent from all the major lists I’ve perused in the past few weeks.  Does this mean I’m out of touch or that I’ve become such an outsider that I can’t connect with the mainstream? I hope not. Those albums you find on this list that you’ve never seen included on other lists are not my attempt at being different, rather, they are albums that fell through the cracks by the major outlets and deserve a listen from anyone who still appreciates “the album” as a work of art. The BDWPS.com mission statement of “guiding you down the path less traveled” is truer than ever in 2013.

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BDWPS Podcast #21

With the end of 2013 just ahead, buckle in for an epic playlist. On this month’s episode you’ll be taken through nine great tracks that will help you gear up for the upcoming year end lists here at BDWPS.com. Check it out HERE or subscribe on iTunes (Keyword: BDWPS).

Playlist:

Grooms “I Think We’re Alone Now” 
Mutual Benefit “Advanced Falconry” 
Arcade Fire “Normal Person” 
Moonface “Barbarian” 
Destroyer “El Rito” 
Windhand “Evergreen” 
Girls Against Boys “Let’s Get Killed” 
Future of the Left “The Real Meaning of Christmas” 
Dylan and the Dead “Slow Train”

 

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Arcade Fire 1/21/2005

posterized n  - 1. North American slang derived from an action in the game of basketball in which the offensive player “dunks” over a defending player in a play that is spectacular enough to warrant reproduction in a printed poster  2. to be humbled, shamed, and exposed as an inferior athlete   3. a blog series on BDWPS.com that revisits various concert posters collected over the past ten years by contributor Android50

When talking about music with friends, a common question that comes up is “What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?” Many shows come to my mind (Elliot Smith, Propaghandi, Sleater Kinney, Bonnie “Prince” Billie, Man Man, HEALTH, Death From Above 1979, Jay Reatard, Times New Viking, Sufjan Stevens), but the concert that almost always pops up first is when I saw Arcade Fire in January of 2005.  Three months earlier the band’s path was altered forever when the influential Pitchfork.com deemed their album Funeral a 9.7 out of 10.

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Matt Bonner – Our DIY NBA Hero

Here at BDWPS we focus on the world of music, but on this special weekend, I ask you to turn your attention to the NBA All-Star Game festivities.  I have a lot of friends that speak of the NBA with disdain, often labeling the players as “thugs” or “money hungry,” yet these same people will watch an entire weekend of NFL football without blinking an eye at the cheap shots, late hits, and overall self-glorification seen after each tackle and first down. If you are one of those who turned your back on the NBA after the likes of Jordan and Bird retired, let me assure you, there are still athletes within the league who play with the same passion and humility (Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Love, to name a few).

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Lyric Man

My review of tUnE-yArDs has gotten quite a few responses (well, in BDWPS terms, 3 responses is a reader outpouring) and most comments have said something like “I’m not a lyric person.” This infers that I am a “lyric person”, whatever that is.  At first I accepted this label; I do, in fact, love great lyrics, whether they enlighten me, affect my emotions, or connect to my life and my experiences.

But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I feel that I shouldn’t be branded as simply a “lyric man.”  My enjoyment of many of the albums that have come out this year has nothing to do with lyrics. Many have no lyrics at all (Geotic, Colin Stetson, Earth) while others are in languages I don’t even understand: Davila 666 (Puerto Rico), Aurelio (Honduras), Ponytail (Rivendell).  And even the albums with English lyrics that I’ve been listening to are not filled with poetic language. Snowman’s best song “Hyena” on their album “Absence” (which I recently rated a 9 out of 10) consists primarily of the word “Hyena” being repeated over and over and over again.   Why would I expect a musician to also be a great writer? No one ever expected Robert Frost to be able to write great music to coincide with his poetry (although I heard he was into black metal).

So, no. I’m not a lyric man. In reality, I side more with the masses who responded to my tUnE-yArDs review (yes, all three of them). Brain research would suggest that a lyric “man” doesn’t even exist. I believe that females are more likely to fit in the legion of “lyric people.” The female brain is generally more empathetic and superior to men when it comes to language-based thoughts due to their larger frontal lobe.  The male brain, on the other hand, is more commonly associated with strength in breaking things down and analyzing them.  In a nutshell, women listen to the lyrics while the man is breaking down the music (obviously this a generalized, semi-sexist, uneducated hypothesis, but it is my view nonetheless). This supposed “lyric man” I keep hearing about is about as realistic as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.

This brings me back to tUnE-yArDs “W H O K I L L”.  For a guy who can joyfully listen to an hour of Ponytail’s Molly Siegal shout “Wha? Dobeeeda? Jabajojo!” for 40 minutes, it takes a lot for lyrics to annoy me.  But Merrill Garbus accomplished it.  The fact that the music on her album is refreshing, energetic, and fun only magnifies how bad the lyrics have to be to make the album so irritating. Her lyrics are like Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix”, totally taking the viewer out of what is an otherwise great movie. I’m not saying my lyrics have to be like Christian Bale in “The Fighter”. Marky Mark Wahlberg will suffice: sure, he’s getting out-acted by everyone else in the cast, but he’s able to tread generally unnoticed and not totally distract the viewer from the film.

Then again, when lyrics are truly great, they can take an album to a higher level.  Looking at my top 10 albums list of 2011, I can pinpoint five albums that are profoundly impacted by their lyrics.  Titus Adronicus’s “Monitor” is a lesson in allusion, constantly jumping from references to the Civil War, Bruce Springsteen, and Patrick Stickle’s own personal struggles, all woven together into a brilliant patchwork.  Arcade Fire’s “Suburbs” is packed with lyrics that all fit within an overall theme of alienation and lost innocence. And No Age’s “Everything in Between” lyrics aesthetically match the world within the music, with the noise being a character in the narrative, representing that one thing that makes us all ache.

I take it all back. I am a lyric man.  Please welcome me into the fold Mr. Loch Ness.

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