Monday, December 28, 2009

What I've heard past & present

Top 10 Albums of 2009

10. Bishop Allen: Grrrr - This is admittedly not their best album. I didn't like the album when I first heard it, however after seeing them live and hearing what these songs they way they've been intended to hear and realized they are brilliant!
Recommended Track: Cue the Elephants

9. Ben Folds: University A Cappella - After seeing the video of a college a capella group singing his cover of "Bitches Ain't Shit" ben folds decided to have an online contest where a capella groups could submit their videos and he'd pick the best ones and put them on a CD. Some tracks are better than others and I was extremely disappointed by the rendition of "Evaporated"
Recommended Track: The University of Georgia performing You Don't Know Me

8. Norah Jones: The Fall - This CD is completely different than anything Norah Jones has previously released. It focuses more on Pop than the Jazz and Country of her past albums. Norah Jones will never record another "Come Away With Me" but that doesn't make this album any less interesting.
Recommended Track: Chasing Pirates

7. Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I was Freaky - Flight of the Conchords' second season was less than stellar. Compared to how brilliant the first season was the second season felt rushed and certainly lacked the laugh out loud jokes that make the first season so enjoyable. Regardless their second album is still a great album and not as a comedy CD but as a musical accomplishment it is impressive, perhaps even more impressive than their debut album last year.
Recommended Track: Sugarlumps

6. Weezer: Raditude - People give Weezer a bunch of crap for not being "Pinkerton Weezer" but what makes no sense to me is that this album is literally Weezer doing what Weezer does best, making good catchy songs. Is every single track on Raditude a winner? No, but Weezer (much like Green day and Blink 182) are always above average even at their worst.
Recommended Tracks: The Girl Got Hot

5. Lonely Island: Incredibad - Lonely Island has always been well loved for their songs on SNL. Between Lazy Sunday, Dick in a Box and I'm On a Boat. When they announced a CD release it was tough to decide if it was going to be hilarious or a disappointment, but with this release it's proof that Lonely Island to Hip Hop is what Tenacious D is to Metal. I believe you could play this CD at a party and no one would know it was a comedy CD unless they listened to the lyrics
Recommended Track: Punch you in the Jeans

4. Relient K: Forget and Not Slow Down - Relient K of now is not the same band I saw in a church basement a decade ago. Ten years ago the band was a christian blink 182, they were young and weird and silly, occasionally they'd talk about God but they more mostly about a G-rated good time. Now they're mature and writing concept albums and this is their finest record as the "new Relient K". It's a story of a break-up and a break-down and then a rebuild.
Recommended Track: Part of It

3. Mewithoutyou: It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright! - Mewithoutyou is another band that has changed quite a bit over the years. For two albums they were poetic post-hardcore screamo, suddenly, they stopped screaming and put down their electric guitars for acoustic guitars. A few years ago this change occurred but with their newest album under the production/guest vocals of "Brother" Danielson Smith the band created one of the most magical CDs of the decade channelling elements of Neutral Milk Hotel and other alt-folk indie rockers
Recommended Track: The Fox, The Crow & The Cookie

2. The March Hare: Mister Nimbus - No band breaking up upsets me more than The March Hare. Not enough people know who this band is because they were an unsigned indie band from Philadelphia, they were a band for almost 4 years before finally releasing their first (and last) LP. It is one of the most amazing and well constructed albums I've ever heard. Everytime I listen to it, it provides me something new to love about it.
Recommended Track: Dial 9-11

1. fun. - Aim & Ignite - When the Format broke up and I heard that Nate had formed a new band featuring members of Anathallo & Steel Train I felt there was no way the album would be a disappointment. As it got closer and closer to the CD release I started worrying it would disappointing like the Star wars Prequels... thankfully the former thought was the correct one. Every single second of this album is brilliant, every line of lyric, every plug of a string all of it. It's amazing from start to finish.
Recommended Track: Besides the whole fucking album... The Gambler or Be Calm

TOP 10 CDS of 1999
  1. The Get Up Kids: Something to write Home About - The Get Up Kids is the greatest Emo CD ever written and easily one of the top 100 greatest CD ever made, everyone should own this album if they don't already.
  2. The Ataris: Blue Skies, Broken Hearts, next 12 Exits - This isn't the Atari's best album in my opinion (99% of Punk Music fans will disagree with me) but regardless it's an amazing album. It contains the song San Damis High School Football Rules which is the greatest pop punk song ever written.
  3. Eminem: The Slim Shady LP - I think that "My Name Is..." might very well be the greatest debut single ever. This album has some of the greatest tongue-in-cheek word play in rap history.
  4. Blink 182: Enema of the State - This is the album that made Blink 182 the biggest band in the world for a while and with good reason, it's catchy and fun. We can only hope that with their new album they can still keep it as fun as this album.
  5. Limp Bizkit: Significant Other - Limp Bizkit has become the butt of various jokes now about the music scene but this album is incredible. Limp Bizkit is NOT Fred Durst... its all about the visionary musical styles of Wes Borland
  6. Jimmie’s Chicken Shack: Bring Your Own Stereo - The entire album is about Jimi's old girlfriend, I'm sorry that he got his heart broke but if it means that the music was going to be this amazing then I'm glad it happened
  7. Red Hot Chili Peppers: Californication - This is when the band really started to shine as more than just a wacky group of California musicians
  8. Fenix*TX - One of the Original Punk-Ass bands singing songs like "The rooster song" which starts every line with "I gotta big cock"
  9. Dogwood: More than Conquerors - The lead vocalist always leaves something to be desired by he's got alot of power in his off-key singing.
  10. “Weird Al” Yankovic: Running with Scissors - Possibly one of Al's greatest albums

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What I've Seen past and present

10. Community College  - Nobody has seen or heard of this movie because it was made by my friends in New Jersey. It's an original and funny movie that works almost like a live-action Calvin & Hobbes constantly dancing between fantasy and reality. I think in time it can become a real cult classic.

9. Watchmen - Not everyone loved Watchmen but I for one felt this was the best movie adaptation of the comic you could ever possibly get. I think we also got a better ending out of this movie than we did in the comic not to mention pitch-perfect performances of characters we've loved for years.

8. Funny People - While the movie is admittedly very long and feels like two different movies combined into one it's the heart of the film that really makes it memorable. The best part of this movie is the way it uses real footage of it's actors to blur the lines of reality in a touching film.

7. Zombieland - Someone once told me this was the best zombie movie of all time. I don't agree with that particular statement but it is one of the more well written ones in recent time. I think that the 2nd half of the movie is much more entertaining than the first half specifically when the film picks up stem with a very unexpected but hilarious cameo

6. The Hangover - It was advertised as a really offensive in your face comedy from the same people who gave us Road Trip and Old School. While it had offensive humor it wasn't like the typical college humor gross out. It was a smart, well-written and compelling mystery full with unexpected twists and turns and hilarious one liners.

5. Crank 2 - I'll admit that Crank and Crank 2 are not the most brilliant movies ever written but I will say that I will NEVER have as much fun watching a movie as I did the first time I watched Crank 2 in the theaters. The entire film plays like a giant fuck you to the typical action genre. It's unrealistic, fast-paced, violent and crude and it doesn't give a shit about it. That's the true charm.

4. District 9 - I managed to avoid almost everything about this movie so when I finally saw it I was legitimately surprised as to what it was about. What I thought was going to just be an alien war film actually turned out to be an interesting and touching picture about immigration and human rights. The documentary style ads such an interesting level of realism and the interviews early on pull you in wondering what happened to the main character.

3. Up - Pixar seems to almost never be able to do wrong. Everyone told me multiple times that it's impossible to cry during Up. They were absolutely write. Every emotion moment hits each chord so well that it's hard to not get teary-eyed every 15 minutes or so. Pixar created a children's adventure film that's also a more touching love story than anything Nicholas Sparks ever wrote.

2. Adventureland - Poor Advertising practically murdered this film before it had a chance. Adventureland is a relatable story of post college life. It's greatest appeal is that there is no villain in this film, even the characters we're supposed to dislike are likeable. If only this wasn't advertised as "Superbad and Waiting in an amusement park"

1. (500) Days of Summer - One of the best stories ever written about a break-up is so perfectly constructed around the motions of loss. It jumps around and tells the story in an almost pitch-perfect way with great songs, great performances and wonderful fantasy elements. In the same company as Eternal Sunshine, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Annie Hall

In retrospect... ten years ago, these are the best movies from 1999
10. Being John Malkovich - Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman give us one of the most bizarre mind-fuck films ever
9. Office Space - Working in a cubic never looked so awful but Mike Judge's directoral debut is the ultimate work-rebellion story
8. Man on the Moon - Jim Carey brings the best performance of his life in this telling of Andy Kaufman's life. Extremely touching and well written.
7. Run Lola Run - The brilliant foreign film teaching us in 3 different version of the same story about how the smallest little thing could change the course of an event.
6. Titus - Shakespeare has never seemed so violent and outrageous. Where Shakespeare's original lacks in story the adapation makes up in appearance
5. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut - The South Park boys hit the big screen in a musical comedy that is better written than any of the mainstream musicals in the last few years (I'm looking at you Hairspray)
4. American Pie - The most honest high school film not written by John Hughes. The characters are relatable and their personal growth is touching
3. The Iron Giant - Brad Bird proved his brilliance in this 2-D film that mixes comedy, sci-fi and mixes lots of heart to create a wonderful fantasy that leaves you wanting more each viewing
2. Election - One of the darkest high school films ever made. While American Pie and John Hughes films are touching Election shows the darkness in high school hiarchy.
1. Fight Club - This very well might be one of the best movies of the 90's. It will be a film that is watched and re-watched and studied over and over again for years to come.