Don't get my title wrong. I am not implying that music really died. I am sure it is just as alive as ever; but to me, it took a little vacation. It is the end of the year and I keep telling Thistle that I am going to write a year end list, but 2009 is also the year lists died to me. With internet culture rampantly breathing down our necks everyone and their dog finds that they are compelled to pen year end lists: top ten movies, top ten books, best songs, favorite cat youtubes, top ten failed Obama promises, whatever. And since it is 2009, those list are doubling to include decade lists. These lists are consuming our interwebs, made by people who are not necessarily qualified to make these lists, and that's about where I see myself this year: not qualified. (Thistle is qualified. I see those weekly stats. I know you all love him). I have listened to probably a fourth the music I usually listen to in a year, and one billionth of what Thistle has listened to. If any of you are new readers, you probably don't even know that Thistle is not the only writer on Forest Gospel. I have been dormant for some time now. Here's reason number one-
I birthed this gorgeous monstrosity early this year. He has consumed my life and quite possibly my soul. He sleeps all day and never through the night. I don't listen to anything even remotely hard edged or laced with creepy or experimental or loud or basically anything around him unless it is soft and gorgeous and mellow (particularly for the first few months of his life) because he is sensitive as all get out, which brings me to my first Sassy Award that I want to give out this year-
ALBUM THAT SAVED MY LIFE- Andrew Bird's Noble Beast
I basically had this album on repeat for the first few month's of my son's life. He LOVES this album. It could calm him down from crying in about 1.25 songs. If I was driving in the car and he got fussy, BAM! Andrew Bird saves the day. We took naps to this album, played to this album and were comforted by Bird's gorgeous croon. I started listening to this a few weeks before my son was born and I swear it was familiar to him when he made his debut in the world. We listened to it in the hospital and he knew it. He would listen intently, it was amazing.
Another thing that kept me from music this year was work. I work with a small crew painting murals and faux paint on the interiors of people's mansions. My boss doesn't think it's appropriate to listen to music while in said people's mansions, and I can't wear headphones. When I get home from work I need to play with the above mentioned child, do dishes, laundry, cook dinner, work on art, and watch So You Think You Can Dance. I absolutely hate listening to new music as background music, in fact I don't really like background noise of any sort, especially when I am exhausted (which has been this entire year). If I am going to listen to something, I want to be able to sit down and give it a good old fashioned intent listening to. So, basically the only time I am sitting down and intently listening is while in my car. Half this year my ipod has been broken, and quite frankly I have been more interested in politics this year than music and have been listening mostly to NPR while driving, and the rest of the time while my ipod has been being a baby I have been surfing the radio for the first time in years and years, and I made a huge discovery. I like crappy radio singles! I had sworn off radio years ago, and made fun of stupid hip hop songs the get replayed every five seconds, but 2009 changed my mind. Radio singles rocked this year with hip hop collabs shining brightly. My next award is...
SINGLES THAT MADE ME REALIZE THAT SINGLES ARE SWEEEEEET
First off let's listen to a little Kid Cudi, Common and Kanye in "Make Her Say"
2009 really belongs to Jay-Z, so how about a little "Run This Town" with Rihanna and Kanye
This next one could most likely be dubbed my favorite single of the year. Although, not a radio single in these neck of the woods, it's a single and a collab nonetheless. Here is Kid Cudi, with Ratatat and MGMT.
Wow, that was fun. I just felt like radio DJ there for a moment. But, this post isn't about fun, it's about excuses and complaining, so let's get back to that. I could go off about feeling inadequate next to Thistle, or my friend's frustrating allusions of grandeur, or how last year's annoying lo-fi craze turned me waaaaaay off to new music, or how feeling like you have to review everything you listen to makes me feel abnormal levels of anxiety and this detracts from my enjoyment and thus is the reason for my absence. I could, but instead let me just remind everyone that 2009 will forever be remembered by people in their right minds, and haters alike, as the year that one of the closet things to music directly sent to the inhabitants on Earth from heavenly messengers was created.
THE ALBUM THAT ALMOST REACHED PERFECTION- Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest
Just admit it, you like it too.
I am a very sensitive soul, and when I see or hear something that I love, I cry. It doesn't matter if it's a commercial, a poem, a comic book, a dance or a song, just about anything can make me emotional if I truly think it's incredible, and with that said-
THE ONLY ALBUM TO MAKE ME SHED A GENUINE TEAR- Animal Collective's Merryweather Post Pavillion
Yes, I know it is strange to cry to an Animal Collective album. I was already pent up with pregnancy emotions, I was tired and even though it leaked early, we waited until we had bought the vinyl, brought it home and gave it a spin on the ol' turntable to hear it, and when the beat drops a couple minutes into track one it was like a release. My jaw literally dropped and I honestly shed a tear for the beauty that was swelling in our spare bedroom. I love music. I need music, but all these other factors have been impeding my enjoyment of music, and MPP for some reason temporarily broke that shell and reminded me the I LOVE MUSIC. I desperately needed that moment 'cause me and music have been fighting. It was like a aural hug and I wept (let the mocking commence).
My last award is something of a similar release. A place where my pent up musical frustration was temporarily washed aside as I fell in love with music again for a moment.
MY FAVORITE LIVE SHOW- Mt. Eerie and No Kids at Kilby Court
Now that we have a child, 21+ venues are a no-go. We aren't going to send our kid to a babysitter from 10pm until 2am. We aren't that crappy of parents. And for any locals reading this you know that the current status of good shows in Utah are primarily 21+. Thistle and I used to attend 1-3 shows a week, and this year I think we attended 1-3 shows total (well, maybe 10 or something). I don't really miss shows all that bad. I hate standing for long periods of time and Thistle and I agree, we have seen nearly every band that we really want to see live, but I hadn't seen No Kids yet, and I really adore them. They played an incredible set which I wrote about earlier this year, should you be so inclined to read. Mt. Eerie also brought the house down and obliterated my ear drums, as well as the eardrums of our offspring, so we left slightly early, but even with leaving prematurely I felt completely fulfilled. I reached that level of gratification that only the best of live bands can give you.
And that's about all the awards I want to give out. I told you I wasn't qualified. I listened to about the same music that everyone else listened to. Sure, I loved the new Beirut, and Bon Iver was astounding live. I listened to other albums that were good and worthy of being mentioned, but they've already been mentioned this year in one million other lists. I can't offer you anything new or exciting to look up, but I still wanted to write this, mostly for Thistle. So here it is, my homage to the music in my life in 2009.