It’s that time of year again where we reflect on the best of the year’s new music. Here’s some of my favourite songs of the year, with download purchase links for the songs you’d like to keep.
You might recall that a few weeks ago, I reviewed Thurston Moore’s Demolished Thoughts with a view to revisiting it a month later to see if I still had the same opinion. I’m deliberately not looking back to my previous post so as not to “contaminate” this one with my first impressions. I have, of course, listened to the album a number of times since then, and mostly I’ve come to the conclusion that Demolished Thoughts is basically nine versions of Disarm by the Smashing Pumpkins. Well, it’s not that repetitive, but you get the idea.
Indoctrinating the sprog. It’s part of the reasons we have kids, isn’t it? To fill their tiny brains with the “proper” sort of education. Naturally, with such wilful parents, it’s sod’s law that Princess Jr will rebel against us by listening to Coldplay and insipid boy bands, but one does what one can. *sniff*
So I used my Amazon vouchers from work to go on an MP3 spree and make a compilation of tracks by Rockabye Baby. You’ve probably heard of this lot by now, even if you don’t have spawn: they make “lullaby-style” covers of rock songs, turning even the most noisy Metallica track and turning it into a pretty blend of tinkles and chimes.
Here’s one of my favourite purchases: their version of the appropriately-named Lullaby by The Cure.
So, Ben Pratt thinks that a reviewer should spend a month listening to an album before forming any sort of opinion on it. Back when I used to write for magazines, I would rarely have more than a week to listen to an album, and because I was sent several at a time and writing for multiple publications at once, it meant that albums rarely got more than two plays before review. You learn fast to think on your feet, make snap judgements and trust your instincts. I’ve very, very rarely changed my mind about a record after hearing it multiple times, and certainly never gone from hated to loved. Some records, sure, take a while to sink in, and you know I did that recently with Manorexia, but if you’d have asked me what I’d thought of it on the very first play (when it felt like being punched in the face), I’d have known that the album was just too much to take in and told you to come back later. Yes, I change my mind on individual tracks on albums, and sometimes upgrade an album from “OK” to “good” or “good” to “great”. Yes, there’s the bias of comparison: an OK album played after a terrible one sounds a lot better than it should. Even so, I should be able to hear a record and know right away whether it’s good or bad and expect to hold the same view after a month.
So I’m going to put it to the test. I’ll review an album tonight, cold-and-blind if you will, writing down my thoughts as they happen on first listen – just like those live-to-air blog pieces that were fashionable a while back. Then I’ll come back to it a month later and review it again without reading what I wrote the last time and see if I’ve changed my mind. Since it’s been on my wishlist for a while, I’ll purchase a shiny copy of Thurston Moore’s Demolished Thoughts and communicate my first impressions … right about now. Continue reading