Necessary Evil 2022: ‘Jesus Fucking Christ, Is it That Time Already?’

Yeah, my subeditor Shawn picked that title, said it best encapsulated the feeling of the endless torment of duty that this list has become. “Shawn”, I replied, “You’ve done it again!”

Yeah, no flies on Shawn, like I always say. He saw through my bullshit immediately, part of the reason that he’s one of the best damn subeditors in this dark and dirty business of blogging. The ‘Linebreak Kid’, we call him. Sure, he may have used backstage politicking to damage the careers of other up and coming subeditors, and been an absolute bellend in the 90s, but he’s found God now, so we all forgive him. Isn’t that right, Shawn?

Yeah, he’s really busy right now, We’ll probably catch up later.

I’m engaging in this top quality banter with Shawn because traditionally I use this intro to do a solid 15 minutes of current affairs “wasn’t it mad when Judy Finnigan’s boobs fell out on Benghazi?” topical humour. This year, however, I’ve spaffed most of that top quality content all over CM Punk’s bloodied brow as he absentmindedly chows down on Mindy’s Bakery’s Sunday Special, so I’m kind of all out of cultural references. NFTs! Bored apes on a yacht, or something. Lol, right click save picture. Timeless comedy. Nah, I’m out, sorry.

It’s been another great year for music, though like many recent years I think we’ve lacked that true gut punch anal fissure of an absolute alltimer. The Goats have been quiet this year. I think since the banner year of 2018 – which just shitted out classics like it was a serious medical issue – I only think we’ve had 2019’s ‘Ghosteen‘ and last year’s poignant possible farewell from Low. There have been many, many fucking amazing records – and there are many, many more this year – but as for a record that truly makes you shit yourself with pleasure and forces you to question the very lens through which you observe reality? Yeah, none of that, unfortunately. Fuck me, remember 2016?? When do things get that amazing again??

Yeah, probably when The Hotelier finally get round to releasing their followup to ‘Goodness‘…

Conscious of how much work I’d be creating for myself at the end of year, and wary of completely ruining another Christmas, I decided to be extra strict with my selections this year to keep the list’s length down to a bare minimum. Remember in 2010 when I did a top twenty?? The utter holocaust of creativity that is the Manics’ tenth album landed as high as fifteenth simply because I hadn’t listened to many other albums!! I was so happy back then!!

So, yeah, lots of (dis)honorable mentions, which I’ll do now. If an album you love is on this list then, yeah, sorry, I don’t want to get to number two and you overload with excitement. But even if this means your opinion is actually (and laughably) incorrect, you should still read the full list to see what kind of stuff you should be into to avoid embarrassing yourself in the future.

  • I’ve been huge fans of their work in their work in the past – and FloriDada is still one of the most perfect pop songs of the 21st century – but I tapped out of ‘Time Skiffs‘ by Animal Collective. A strained and painful attempt at ‘maturity’ that was the sound of sucking cardboard.
  • Bloc Party’s ‘Alpha Games is far from bereft of good to great songs, but come one, lads, I just don’t have time for ‘occasionally good’ these days
  • Kitty, if you’re reading, I’m sorry, but Cam Cole‘s ‘Powered by the Sun‘ EP didn’t make it. My love for your love for him does not translate into my love for him. Your going to be on the list yourself this year, so don’t fret too much.
  • Elbow, man, fucking elbow! Here’s the placings for the last four elbow records released when there’s been a NE countdown – 2008: #2!; 2014: #15!; 2017: [didn’t chart coz it was shit]; 2019: # motherfucking 3!!; 2022: [didn’t chart coz it was shit]. I’m being a little glib perhaps – and ‘Flying Dream 1‘ is definitely better than the arseache that was 2017’s ‘Little Fictions’ – but its lack of flair was a insurmountable barrier to inspiring true majesty. Dull as dog’s cock, is what I’m saying.
  • I, erm, kept arguing with myself over whether Kid Cudi‘s ‘Entergalactic‘ counted as a ‘proper’ album and… hadn’t decided by the time I made the list. Sorry.
  • The Nova Twins seem fun, don’t they? I kind of love them, but there were just too many moments on ‘Supernova‘ when I had traumatic flashbacks to 1999’s 21st Century Girls, Simon Fuller’s failed attempt to repeat the success of the Spice Girls. Yes, I know, not the Nova Twins’ fault – especially because I’m sure I’m the only person still living that remembers 21st Century Girls – but the trauma’s there and I can’t just ignore it. And now, if you’ve listened to that song, the curse has been passed on to you. Sorry. Again.
  • I have tried so freaking hard to get into Quelle Chris, I honestly have. He’s the top of my list of artists that I know I’m supposed to like, I know it all makes sense, but I can never quite get there. I tried with 2019’s ‘Guns‘, but apart from the incredible Straight Shot being the 25th best song of the year, I failed. And this year I really, really, really tried with ‘DEATHFAME, I force fed that cunt like I was a deflated volley ball mainlining pumps, but once again it didn’t stick! I’ll still try again with his next album, because I just know there’s something there that I haven’t quite got yet.
  • Regina Spektor got all Ziony, so I couldn’t be arsed with ‘Home, Before and After‘. Hey! This is easy sometimes!
  • I was all fine having the completely adequate ‘Everything Was Beautiful‘ by Spiritualized in the lower parts of the list – a respectable #63 or something – until I got the ick when I realised that this would actually be the first time that the band had made the list!! No. It felt dirty. I’m not having the authors of some of the most beautiful and emotionally challenging art that this world has ever been privy to (they changed the world in 1997, just so you know) have their sole NE representation with this. Fucking… this?? Nah, bro, yeet it.
  • Memoria‘ was good but I… Sorry, that 21st Century Girls song is so bad, I really shouldn’t have listened to it again. I’m gonna need a minute.

Sorry, I’m back now. Trust me, I really needed those eight hours to collect my thoughts.

  • Memoria‘ was good but I dunno, I feel like I might be (whisper it) kinda *done* with Trentemøller??
  • Finally, the brilliant ‘Remember Your North Star‘ by Yaya Bey is, as I mentioned, brilliant, but it was released around the same time as a superficially similar album (#41 on the list, I believe), I got them both at the same time and ‘North Star…’ only ever came off second best in this unfair and completely artificial competition that was only ever taking place in my brain. .

And I think that’s the lot, no other big albums to shout out to and absolutely no elephant in the room that I might need to address at some poi…

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck…

Sigh. Yeah, the artist formally known as Kanye West released an album this year. Honestly? An absolutely brilliant album. I try to keep track of my best of list throughout the year, and the stunning and expansive ‘Donda 2‘ was hovering around the top twenty. Then this fucking fool just kept talking. This old, out of touch, easily manipulated, barely pubescent brained narcissist just kept digging his hole. Unarguably and by far and away the most influential musician of the 21st century instead became a live experiment broadcast to the world of what a diet of right wing media can do to your brain. I’m not going to flag up or (God forbid) debate the absolute pish that Ye has grown convinced is worth repeating – this delusion that ‘all sides are valid and should be debated in the marketplace of ideas’ is a toxic and insidious notion that instead shackles decent people into endless shouting matches with imbeciles who believe that their broken brains are full of validity – if you’re the type of person that needs that explaining them I’ll cater to you later with a 5’000 word post explaining why brushing your teeth with a bread knife isn’t always ideal. This isn’t a ‘moral’ decision. I’m not going to self-righteously claim that I now refuse to ‘support his work’ (‘support’ him with what? With this bullshit??). Because I’m not a self-important arsepipe. Well, I am, just not in this case.

No, Ye won’t be featured in this countdown, probably ever again, because in 2022 he outed himself as an absolute idiot. Like, epically stupid. He’s a pathetic imbecile, and having him on the list is unfair to the other entrants whose brains have evolved enough to manage critical thinking. And who don’t consume news media for children.

“Erm, so just because he watches right wing news outlets that makes him an absolute shit for brains??”

Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. And it applies to everyone.

(OK, but I did like how when Ye did that interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson – perhaps America’s most notable white supremacist – they cut three things from the show. One, when he said some mask off indefensible antisemitic shit. Two, when he barbled some shit about them installing fake children in his house, when his insanity/stupidity was far too clear. And three, when he said he was vaccinated. Because, say what you like about Fox News, but they know what lines to not cross with their audience. Poor snowflakes, they should have arranged some sort of safe space)

OK, so with all that cull, with my new more stringent criteria for entry, I have managed to shorten this list considerably. It was a bloated and exhausting eighty one albums last year, but with my new harsher style, I’ve managed to trim this year’s list down to…

Don’t fall in love with me.

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