My Life in Albums (part 3 07-20/death)

Put my mind at ease, pretty please, I need your hands on me, sweet relief, pretty please…

Yeah, I’m in a good mood, what of it? Wanna fight about it? Bring it on, I bet I’ll have you kissing me before the first punch lands, because how can you stay angry at this face?? My good mood mainly arises from three reasons. Firstly, longtime reader Beryl got in touch to tell me how she enjoyed the last post, and only made the polite suggestion that this series could be improved if it…

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incorporated more hardcore scat pornography?? Jesus fucking Christ, Beryl. Honestly, whenever I’m that close to relaxing that restraining order, you come out with something that sends us back to square one. Maybe I’m at fault here for expecting more from someone I met on the online scatological fetish dating app ‘ScatrBraind‘, but I just always assumed she was interested in the person around the fecal matter, y’know?

Anyway, the second reason is that this will definitely be the final part in this series, allowing me to abandon my blog again to return to my three real loves (masturbating, crying, and masturbating while crying. Mainly the third, if I’m being completely honest).  Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, we are now actually into the years where I made a point of listing the best albums, so this part should be an absolute piece of piss! Look at the header of this blog- I’ve already got my best albums of 07-19 listed! I just need to copy those albums down again for this entry! It’s 8:53 now, and I’ll have all this done and dusted in time for my traditional 9am cry! Let’s do this shit!!

2007

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw shit! One year in and I already fucked up! In the heady days of late 2007- when all this was fields and those fields were filled with Souja Boy and Anderson*- I was bold enough to name Kings of Leon’s ‘Because of the Times‘ as the best album of the year. And, yeah, it’s a pretty brilliant album, but come on, 23 year old Alex, what were you thinking??

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(…son. son, son, he is better than Kleberson. He is class, he fucks brass, and he shits on Fabregas. ‘Brass’ are prostitutes by the way. Yeah, it was a different time- people actually sung songs about Anderson!!)

Pretty embarrassing, no?

Absolutely not! Check your motherfucking tone, friend!! Put some respect on that tongue!! I’ve written before many times (but, like, probably hidden in a Tyler the Creator review or some shit so impossible to reference) how humans are often more afraid of contradicting themselves- or their general believed ‘self’- than they are of being incorrect. Once someone make a decision (especially when they state that decision!) they’re far more likely to just defend that dumbarse decision for the rest of their lives, as if their opinion on the eleventh season of The Simpsons was an honourable hill worth dying on, rather than a silly point of view constantly open to be re-evaluated and re-assessed. I thought KoL’s third album was the year’s best. I no longer do. Because I’m not the same person I was twelve and a half years ago! I mean, I was thinner then, for a start…

To further boost my underground credibility after claiming the not officially released and technically illegal ‘Grey Album’ as the best album of 2004, I had decided to make the uncleared and unsanctioned mixtape ‘Paint it Blacker‘ from legitimately most exciting artist of the year, Plan B, perhaps the year’s best. That year’s NME Awards (which, honestly, people still gave kinda a shit about in 2007) were supposed to feature a performance by- and you’ll like this- a performance by- hehehe, wait until you hear!- that year’s NME Awards were supposed to feature a performance by- pffffffffffffff!!- a performance by- A-GA-GA-GA-GA-GAGA!!!- The Dirty fucking Pretty Things!! I know! Just the shittest, right?? Anyway, at the last minute, the band for people who were worried that The Libertines weren’t already shit enough had to pull out, leaving a space on the show that had to be filled quickly. Local rising star Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew was happy to step in, and happy to blow all the skinny pale indie boys away with his astonishing Radiohead sampling Missing Links. However, if you were paying attention during me talking about ‘The Grey Album’, record companies have no sense of art, no sense of support, and no sense of helping some East London scally scare members of The View. So, Plan B had the biggest stage of his career, but without clearance to play his songs. Not wanting to pass up on the exposure, Drew just panicked and thought he’s pick up an acoustic guitar and play it under his rapping instead of the samples of untouchable standards by Nirvana,The Rolling Stones, Coldplay and Leonard Cohen. He was absolutely jaw dropping, and the aggressive and gruesome rap over tender acoustic guitar that he shrugged himself into suddenly became the whole style of his astonishing debut album. As wonderful as his story is though, I was lucky enough to see him on Valentine’s Day 2008, and experienced how this powerful, aggressive, disgusting and overwhelming songs were originally intended to be heard. My wife and I shared a couple of grams of MDMA between us and saw a God that night. I appreciate how the drugs may have played a part in how I (we) appreciated the genius of the performance, but it was hardly the only gig I ever took drugs at, and I will go on record by saying it was the greatest live act I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Prince, The Manics and Goldie Lookin Chain. The merch stand was selling ‘Paint it Blacker’, and it’s an indispensable glimpse into what lens this extraordinary talent was first intended to be seen though. Plan B is the only example I can think of of an astonishing talent having his gall bladder cut out from his music by dirty music company compromise, but then still managing to reinvent himself and create another genius lens despite having to kowtow to legal restraints. Yeah, I know, that’s a pretty damn specific situation, but can you think of someone who has done it better?? No. I win. He’s since spent the rest of his career reinventing himself with every album, to differing commercial and artistic success, and showing himself an unusually talented actor and director. But he will never match the religious experience he managed to inspire in a drugged up couple one night more than a decade ago at Nowich’s Waterfront.

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Hahahahahahaha! You are so shit!!

But, fuck, I have to give this to Radiohead, don’t I?

Yeah, I’ve denied giving the most significant rock band of my lifetime their due so far. I’ve told you how strangely prosaic 1995’s ‘The Bends’ now sounds, I’ve slammed down a delicious hot take that ‘OK Computer’ isn’t the best album of 1997, I’ve mercilessly mocked all the laughable straw men out there who claim that 2000’s ‘Kid A’ is their best album, but when it comes to 2007’s ‘In Rainbows‘ I can no longer deny the band’s consistent quality. Maybe ‘In Rainbows’ isn’t scientifically the band’s best album, but for me it arrived after the band seemed to be struggling with their debilitating desire to insert themselves into their own anuses, when it seemed that they simply were no longer going to bother producing the kind of magic that I fucking knew they were capable of!! Then, ‘In Rainbows’ appeared, with its significant ‘pay what you want‘* pricing strategy, but with music on it so good that this unique facet was soon barely mentioned. Their last great (decent??) album, the last time they bothered to live up to their abilities. It contains their last amazing songs. Again, don’t @ me.

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(*I still downloaded it illegally. Honestly, I didn’t have a pound in my bank account at the time. Oh, and also, I’m a bit of a scumbag. Like, genetically)

There’s nothing on ‘In Rainbows’ as astonishing a Suzanne. There’s nothing anywhere like that. Fuck! I didn’t even mention the astonishing Manics album!! If you just gave me a few more words then I could tell you tha

2008

OK, that was more than 1000 words, but the rest of the years will just slide by like lubed butter, yeah? 2008 is an easy battle between two titans of the time: elbow’s ‘Seldom Seen Kid‘ was the people’s choice, mainly because it’s fucking amazing, but also it seemed to represent a gang of Northern good ‘uns finally getting the wider respect and success that gangs of good ‘uns so rarely enjoy. The nice guys actually finished first and soon became national treasures, and their Mercury Prize win was honestly celebrated amongst my group of friends like a winning goal in a World Cup final, or even Mankind winning the WWF title in 1999. I’m (gulp) choking up just (sniff) thinking about it.

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I only ranked it second in 2008 though, as at the time it simply couldn’t compete with the overworldly genius of TV On the Radio’s third record ‘Dear Science’, a masterwork that moved 24 year old Alex to state that “They’ve managed to pull of the near impossible trick of making the year’s most willfully experimental album while at the same time not forgetting to write absolutely killer hooks, it’s simply the most perfect a mix of the cerebral and the visceral since Radiohead were at their peak”. Yeah, I’d already forgotten that Radiohead released a great album the previous year and still wanted to put the boot in. But, has more than a decade of growing, learning, developing, and furiously masturbating witched these two classics around in my mind? Has the motherfucking narrative behind elbow and the emotions the response to this album inspired ensured that the record now takes its place ahead of the perhaps technically superior ‘Dear Science‘?

Yeah, I’m giving it to the album that I ranked fourth.

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Yeah, sure, it technically came out in 2007, just like technically you’re face is so ugly that I have to assume that your parents were brother and sister, but you don’t see me going on about it, do you? In case you needed reminding, this is my fucking list and I’ll put albums wherever I damn please! Tegan and Sara’s ‘The Con‘ has had such a lasting and comforting effect on my life that Back In Your Head is still my ringtone twelve years later. It’s perfect, ever so slightly askew and weird pop music that sets fire to my soul. I mean,come on, not only did I review this album in 2008, but I did a ten year anniversary review of my own review! That’s so deliciously meta! You’ve got to give T&S credit for that.

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2009

I rated ‘Tarot Sport‘ by Fuck Buttons as the best album of 2009. Looking back now, I’ve come to realise that ‘Tarot Sport’ by Fuck Buttons was the best album of 2009. Christ, this is the length I hoped all entries would be. Shout out to the Manics, of course.

Tarot_Sport

2010

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww shit, here we go again. This actually really hurts me. I love Janelle Monae. I love Janelle Monae so much that I dedicate all my free time into collecting proof of her existence just so I could legitimise my affection with scientific evidence. I love her so much that I own a collection of more than 400 paintings of what I believe her soul to look like that I painted using only the cramping bile that my stomach produces when I consider the great but painful desire that my admiration for her provokes, mixed with the tears that such an emotional journey naturally inspires. I love her so much that I’ve been banned from her Twitter, Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, MySpace, Friendster, and in fact anywhere ‘within 275 metres’ of her person, after some bloody suit obviously decided that Janelle somehow no longer deserved to appreciate the vials of semen I used to photograph and send to her. Her debut, ‘The Archandroid‘ is an absolutely perfect collection of absolutely perfect songs. Not only did I proudly make Ms Monae the first female winner of Necessary Evil, and it rocks my tiny world to this day to the extent that I (kinda) named it the third best album of the decade. You’ve never been in love, you don’t understand my feelings. Me and ‘The Archandroid’, sitting in a tree, C.O.N.S.I.S.T.E.N.T.L.Y.F.U.C.K.I.N.G.

However, there has always been a shameful asterisk next to the album’s title. An album that was released in December 2010 that I hadn’t yet heard. An album that would blow most of the albums released over the year- and the upcoming decade- out of the freaking water.

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Yeah, I know. After moaning about how few women are being represented, I take the title off an actual, breathing woman (whom I am aggressively in love with) and give it to a freaking man. And not just any man, no, I give it to Kanye fucking West! Given the current wider impressions of Kanye West, it’s like complaining that there aren’t enough olives on your pizza, then responding by picking off what few olives there are and replacing them with crude lumps from an old tub Marmite that’s well past it’s sell by date. Then setting the pizza on fire. Then throwing it out the window. Then blowing up the kitchen.

But whatever his current mental state and artistic impasse, we can’t forget that for a good decade Mr West was by quite a distance the most notable and influential musical artist of the time, and the thin skinned meme machine was nothing less than an absolute genius. His first three albums were steadily more successful twists on modern hip-hop/pop music, his fourth- ‘808s & Heartbreak‘- perplexed people at the time but is arguably the most influential album of the 21st century considering for the next decade or so pretty much all popular music would sound like that. On his fifth, however, he just went fucking mental.

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My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy‘ is the most astonishing, accomplished, complete and exciting musical accomplishment of the 21st century. It’s the sound of an artist who has simply grown to know everything about the artform that they inhabit, and deciding to just lay it all out. It’s the sound of Kanye simply completing music, meaning there was little left for him to do except explore it’s darker and more aggressive edges with ‘Yeezus’, and then… well… Just go a bit mental. Cut off his ear and sent it to a prostitute, if you will.

Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t love this album. That’s OK, some people just aren’t mentally capable of properly processing music, maybe you’re suffering from massive head trauma or are a fetus in the early stage of growth and not yet capable of hearing sounds. About eighteen weeks, it usually starts, so you’ve got that to look forward to. I’m sorry to hear that, and I honestly don’t mean to offend. Perhaps you really, really dislike Kanye West and so have decided to discount all of his music. That’s cool. Enjoy letting your personal discrimination force you to discount facts.

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2011

Yeah, this is still definitely Weeknd’s ‘House of Balloons‘, for reasons I think I quite magically spelled out when I named it as (kinda) the seventh best album of the decade. Quick shout out to The Joy Formidable‘s ‘The Big Roar‘, simply as perfect a pop rock album as you’re ever likely to hear. The only reason that I kind of regret never writing an albums of the year list while I was rich, loved and happy in China is because I never had the opportunity to shine light on an absolute gem that not enough people are aware of. That is all.

The_Weeknd_-_House_of_Balloons

2012

Jeez, dude, 2012 sucked for music. It was by a distance the year of my adult life that I paid the least attention to the beautiful noises that people were making with their mouths and hands- I was in China considering the worth of every choice I had previously made as I considered a new life in a foreign country with a woman I dearly loved- which might have played a large part. But even looking back from the perspective of an eight year’s older and significantly less loved* middle aged misanthrope** the options are still slimmer than Karen Carpenter’s boob tube***. I’ve always officially claimed that Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange‘ is the year’s best, mainly because it’s pretty much the only album I heard. And I’ll tell you one thing:

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(*don’t be silly, we’re all loved and can only really be divided between those who know they’re loved and those yet to notice. Jesus, I’m in such a disgustingly good mood, I don’t feel right at all. Is this a symptom of COVID-19?)

(**nah, I’m just playing, you know I love each and every one of you. Eugh!! The fuck is wrong with me?!)

(***that’s more like it!!)

No, Frank Ocean’s sonic pentobarbital simulation may have sounded like something at the time, but going back and listening after 2016’s infinitely superior ‘Blonde‘ is a somewhat sober and, yes, motherfucking dull experience. But what else do we have? I quite enjoyed Killer Mike’s ‘R.A.P Music‘… I think… but I’m going to hand 2012 over to the always lovely Grimes and her album ‘Visions‘. No, I’m not a hundred percent sure that I’ve heard it, but it has Oblivion on it, so that’s the end of the discussion. Seriously, all I listened to in 2012 was Kanye West’s 2010 album. Oh, and Civil War by Guns ‘n Roses. Listen, if you don’t understand Chinese culture, you just wouldn’t get it, OK?

Grimes_-_Visions_album_cover

Dubba-dabba-dubba-dubba-dubba-dowdow-dub-dowdowdow, mmm, manow, mawalk about, doo-be-do… Seriously though, how epic is that song? Was there a better one that decade?

2013

We are back in the room! I’m disabled! I’m bed bound! I’m slowly learning to walk and to use the toilet again! All of this is really conducive to listening to music and then listing the year’s best albums! Yeah, my 2013 list was the last time I wrote my best of list as a word document, before I discovered this new invention called ‘blogs’ the next year and stopped having to pollute people’s email inbox early each December. And, erm, yeah, I… eesh… I have so little memory of any of this shit I wrote about, and I was actually dumb/prosaic enough to award the album of the year to the Arctic fucking Monkeys!? Jesus, 29 year old Alex, did you base your music recommendations on the Radio 2 playlist? That was such an uncool choice! That’s why people/Beryl hang on your words, 29 year old Alex. Because you’re cool. Don’t let your readers/Beryl down.

I’m not going to go into the story again, but The Arctic Monkeys’ rapid accession to the tax avoiding cunterati meant they were officially stripped of the title. The prize was instead awarded to Hjaltalín for the astonishingly affecting ‘Enter 4‘. However, 2013 did in fact- unlike the trashfire of dumpster abortions that was 2012- offer several legitimate contenders. Underrated year this. Hot take. Tell your kids.

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“What’s that smell…? Oh, yeah, 2012, I forgot…” #LiteralBurn

Firstly, I named Steven Mason’s ‘Money Minds in the Devil’s Time‘ as the year’s second best album, which is, yeah, pretty gangster, but also fucking insane. Kudos though, shine on you crazy ginger wunderkid. Kanye West also gave us ‘Yeezus‘, his impassioned growl at the world for not properly appreciating the legitimate genius of his previous album, and in doing so simply made more genius. Lorde showed the first glimpses of her frankly disgusting level of talent with ‘Pure Heroine‘. I was first introduced to the portly, bearded John Grant telling stories of tragedy and heartbreak while never neglecting his sense of humour (remind you of anyone?) on ‘Pale Green Ghosts‘. Making this list though, I realised that I’ve simply been in ridiculous denial for nearly seven years now. There is one album that soundtracked the beginning stages of my rehabilitation, it was the background noise for six months in hospital, it both illustrated my inner turmoil and comforted those same discomforts. I’ve grown to accept that Waxahatchee will never release another album as wonderful as ‘Cerulean Salt‘ again, but at the same time I hope I’m not in another situation where I need the album again.

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Fuck, that went all serious and sincere for a bit, didn’t it? Fucking COVID-19, man… The next entry will just be all dick jokes, I promise.

2014

This blog is born! And immediately I was given the impossible choice of ranking tree of the greatest albums you would have been likely to hear this past ten years. Against Me’s ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues‘ is a punk album so astonishing, so honest, so searing, that it even convinced me to take a freaking punk album to heart! Despite, as we all know, punk being an absolute sham of dogshit that isn’t worth the bogies I frequently flick in its direction! And, what’s more, ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ isn’t even one of the three classic albums I’m talking about!!

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“…and after that first date, I just stopped taking Brian’s calls”

Firstly, we’ve got The Young Fathers‘ astonishing debut ‘Dead‘, which actually made the Mercury Music Prize seem all exciting and relevant for a short time! It was “an introduction into a World that’s at least as evocative and thrilling as the Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’, even if that debut was quite clearly a hip-hop release and to simply label this album under the same genre can’t help but feel like laziness”. Shit, this is going to be so easy now I can just quote my own review. Then, of course, as always, there is The Manic Street Preachers. I named ‘Futurology‘ the greatest album of 2014, because of course I did. I was excited, overjoyed and- yes- aroused by The Greatest Band Ever™ releasing a legitimate ‘best ever’ contender so late in their careers after a run of pretty stinky poo-poo albums. However, revisiting it for my ‘Kinda Albums of the Decade‘ list, I was overjoyed to confirm that, yes, it was an absolutely banging album, and earned its album of the year nod because it motherfucking slaps!!

But the album of 2014 has to be Sharon van Etten’s masterpiece.

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Are We There‘ is an unmatched inward gaze and a serious- and successful- attempt to place the correct parts to correct the scrambled jigsaw of your own emotions/ Brothers and sisters, this record doesn’t just ‘slap’, it will seriously change your life.

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Lots more women on this list. You know what that must mean? That’s right- I must have been getting so much fanny.

2015

Shit, I thougt this would be finished by 9am. Three days ago. 2015 is obviously ‘Carrie and Lowell, right? I don’t need to explain why again, do I?

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2016

Wow, perhaps the greatest year for music in my short(ish) life. Those reviews are all solid if you need more info, but as a quick guide (deep breath): ‘22, A Million‘, ‘Blood Bitch‘, ‘Skeleton Tree‘, ‘I Gemini‘, ‘Passion pain & Demon Slaying‘… I’m forgetting about so many, just read that freaking list! ‘Shape Shift With Me‘! Then, of course, there’s ‘Lemonade‘, the world eating behemoth that I was happy to name as (kinda) the greatest album of the last ten years. Unfortunately, I have grown to realise that, although it may be the greatest artistic achievement of the decade, it isn’t the greatest album of 2016. It’s very complex, and I don’t expect you to understand.

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The Hotelier’s ‘Goodness‘ has become an important and inspirational album for me. It soundtracked the first time I dared to go to gigs again, they made me feel like there’s a God, the bring tears to my eyes, they have been the most important act for encouraging me to re-enter the business of being a music fan and they fucking remind me why I love music. Also, the album cover has tits, which I’m always trying to introduce to this blog.

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Oh, and Rihanna’s album was really good as well. I feel it’s important to mention that.

2017

Guys, this was like, yesterday. Just read the list

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2018

Ditto.

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2019

Ditto

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2020

A-haha! You want me to give you spoilers about the year’s best album in May?? And ruin all of your Christmases?? No siree, I will simply state that 070 Shake’s incredible debut ‘Modus Vivendi‘ is not getting anywhere near the respect it deserves. Give it a shot, when have I ever let you down? No, I mean apart from that time, I keep telling you that I had it on good advice that crocodiles can be domesticated and are no risk as pets, and anyway your aunt was pretty old anyway, y’know?

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So… that’s my life… kinda…I can definitely understand why Rus just took a picture…

Annotation 2020-05-21 063705

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