A late winter bus ride through the rolling, tree-lined hills of Appalachia not only introduced me to my two favorite albums in 2015 but confronted me with thoughts of pain and healing, injustice and equality while seated next to a stranger for hours on end. One album brought tears as I pondered the mortality of everyone I loved and my complicated feelings about the West Coast. The other brought anger – and a sense of awe – as it tackled racial inequality from a place of undefeated strength and joy.
2015 featured the aforementioned albums from Sufjan Stevens and Kendrick Lamar plus so many more I loved. Here are my Favorite Albums 2015 listed in descending order.
It’s mid-October, cold weather is a-comin’ and I am unprepared mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. Surprise, surprise. As a means of blocking out the coming winter and ignoring other pressing matters, today I’ve decided to write about 15 songs – my 2015 Favorite Song Nominees, for lack of a better phrase – that will certainly factor prominently on my year-end list.
Songs are listed in alphabetical order according to title. With one notable exception I elected to limit myself to one song per artist Below,. I’ve included my Faves 2015 Spotify playlist, featuring these 15 songs and many, many others. Enjoy!
Sufjan Stevens’s new album, Carrie and Lowell, releases March 31.
A song as painful as it is beautiful, “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross” finds the artist best known for portraits of other places and people turning his lens inward on his own grief following his mother’s death. For longtime Sufjan Stevens fans hearing the 39-year-old Michigan-born storyteller whisper-sing the words “Fuck me, I’m falling apart”, as he describes trying and failing to use vice to fill his void, will damn near rip your heart out. No one is spared grief in this life but few capture it in song in as haunting a manner as Stevens does here with just his shaky voice, finger-picked acoustic guitar and window a/c unit.
Sufjan Stevens looks lost without his banjo
Ed. Note: I started this post Tuesday night. My job search update and comments on fatigue from the BCS title game reflect upon this. My list of favorite Sufjan songs was compiled across parts of Tuesday and Wednesday (today). Fun times.
I spent most of this afternoon and evening reading descriptions of jobs from coast to coast, most of which were associated with the black art of journalism. Part of me wishes that newspapers weren’t dying. We could have been a good NBA Jam-style team, newspapers and I.
JOB SEARCH UPDATE: I applied for two jobs. It’s not time for a ticker tape parade. I didn’t apply for a job in Portland. I applied for jobs out of state. I have no plans to move.
As absurd as the logic in the preceding paragraph must read, it makes sense to me. I needed to apply for jobs. I didn’t see any jobs locally that caught my eye. To not apply for a job today — any job — would have been a failure. I might not have a bee-line on a job, but I don’t feel like a failure.
Tomorrow is a new day. It holds the potential for magic. I wield the wand, aka the pen.
Twenty Ten was a bad ass year for music. It was hard to whittle this list to 40 songs. I did, however, as an homage to Casey Kasem. How’s that for a tribute? I listened to Casey’s Weekly Top 40 every Sunday growing up. That’s how I found out about Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It.” That song pretty much made me the hustla I am today. This list, which is the second of a two-part post, is not meant to be a best of. It’s my favorite songs ranked from 1-20. Check it! PS: YouTube’s VEVO sucks. You can’t play their videos on wordpress, apparently. Lame! That explains why some of my favorite songs links don’t play. C’est la vie.
The LCD disco ball Photo credit: CajunTomato
Here is the first of a two-part series featuring my favorite albums of 2010. This is not a best of list. It is merely my favorite albums of the year. Come back Tuesday for my Top 10. Check it!
Big Boi at Pitchfork in Chicago. Credit: CajunTomato
The hardest part of coming up with my Song of the Year nominees? Resisting the urge to make this a list dominated by Kanye West. Seriously, Yeezy aka Mr. Taylor Swift has been a one-man Mt. St. Helens this year, blowing up practically every Friday with the newest release of his G.O.O.D. Friday collaboration project. Enough of this infomercial. Here below are a list of the songs I consider worthy of being named my favorite song of the year in December. They are listed in alphabetical order, as not to give away which way I am leaning in terms of an end of the year list. I am considering writing a Top 50 Songs of the Year, although that might be too ambitious.
Once again the songs are my favorites, not necessarily the ones people would agree are the best on a given album. Take for instance Sufjan Stevens’ “Futile Devices” from his album, The Age of Adz. It is my favorite track off that album, although most people would side with “Too Much” or “I Walked”, both of which are great in their own right. I encourage you to listen to the songs on this list and form your own opinion. Hopefully, you will find a song or two that you enjoy.
The 2010 calendar is almost complete. There will soon be more lists flying at you than you will know what to do with. My solution: Throw a list your way before you’re so inundated that you’re sick of them. Example A: Today’s list of contenders for my favorite album of the year. These are the albums that I’ve enjoyed the most this year.
P.S. My favorite album last year was Merriweather Post Pavillion by Animal Collective. That was an easy pick. I don’t see this year’s being quite so easy. PPS: This list does not include any albums that have not been released yet, most notably Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which could very well be one of 2010’s best.