Bruce's Top Ten Songs of 2011

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Edited By Bruce

10. "East Harlem" by Beirut, from the album The Rip Tide.

The Rip Tide’s greatest achievement is “East Harlem”, which finds cultured vagabond Zach Condon crooning a story of commuter blues: Two lovers separated by this lovely, unrelenting Subway system of ours here in New York City. Being a lifelong New Yorker, I was thrilled to finally hear Condon’s interpretation of this often chaotic metropolis. I love the imagery of roses wilting, the brass horns in the instrumental break, and even the subtle humor of lines like, “Uptown / Downtown, a thousand miles between us. She’s waiting for the night to fall; let it fall, I’ll never make it in time.”

9. "Novacane" by Frank Ocean, from the mixtape nostalgia, Ultra

The video for my favorite song of 2010 – and subsequently my favorite song period – features Eric Berglund appearing out of a veil of white smoke wearing one of those Venetian masks from Eyes Wide Shut, playing a guitar solo on a white Gibson Les Paul. Frank Ocean’s “Novacane” refers to that same Eyes Wide Shut eroticism, albeit more directly, using it as a metaphor for a night of stoned debauchery with a girl who gets Ocean wasted off of stolen dental anesthesia. It’s an inventive narrative, but it’s also the most promising piece of music to come out of the consistently disappointing Odd Future collective (ASIDE ALERT: who probably won’t be relevant within another year). The demanding beat pulses alongside Ocean, whose vocal style here recalls the best of 90s New Jack Swing. Ocean spends the aforementioned high looking for some sort of emotional release, but the realization is that he probably won’t remember anything in the morning, and worst of all, the drugs are preventing any feeling during the high itself: “I can’t feel a thing,” Ocean sings, topping off what actually ends up being a sad piece of existentialism.

8. "A Real Hero" by College (feat. Electric Youth), from Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Okay, I cheated. Technically, College’s “A Real Hero” came out in 2009. But it came to prominence from its inclusion in Drive, both in the very last scene of the film and the accompanying soundtrack. And since I can’t hear the song without picturing Ryan Gosling in that white scorpion jacket, it gets a spot on this list (Kavinsky's "Nightcall" is also noteworthy); and even when you listen to it, it sounds strikingly like a song written for the film as opposed to an obscure synth pop number picked for the soundtrack. Cliff Martinez deserves a lot of the credit for setting the tone of Drive (and an Oscar), but Ryan Gosling (second Oscar nomination forthcoming, since he was foolishly overlooked for Blue Valentine) blinking his eyes just wouldn’t have had the same effect if it weren’t for “A Real Hero” promptly reminding us that catharsis doesn’t always have to be so plainly obvious.

7. "Kaputt" by Destroyer, from the album Kaputt

Dan Bejar had been making eccentric rock records for years as Destroyer, but it wasn’t until Kaputt that I took notice. Kaputt is immaculately polished, carefully borrowing from some of rock’s forgotten heroes: Like the saxophone driven pretention of Bryan Ferry’s timeless art rock band, Roxy Music. Kaputt’s title track is rock excess personified. What begins as a yearning for an article in virtually any respected music journal (Smash Hits, Melody Maker, and NME) soon turns to nightly cocaine highs and chasing women “through the backrooms of the world.” The handy commentary on America and our nasty habit of worshipping these strung out rock stars is present in spades, but it’s the rhythm section that makes it special. Kaputt comes off as wise, not condescending; it’s the sort of record that only a rock veteran with eight prior albums could dare to even write, let alone pull off with skill and class.

6. "The Morning" by the Weeknd, from the mixtape House of Balloons

The Weeknd released “What You Need” and immediately we all wanted to know more about this enigmatic R&B project from Toronto. The aesthetic was definitely intriguing, to say the least: Black and white photos of women in the shortest black skirts possible (or no clothes at all), gothic, almost post-punk sonics (with a contemporary R&B vibe), and depictions of partying on a level you wouldn’t even dream of—even if you had time off from work. The mystery of the Weeknd has since been expelled (Thanks, Drake! Ugh), but that doesn’t make House of Balloons any less valuable; in fact, it’s both reassuring and terrifying at the same time that these songs indeed come from a real person. His name is Abel Tesfaye, and I sure as hell hope that House of Balloons isn’t autobiographical. “The Morning”, the slickest track on the mixtape, is the thesis statement of House of Balloons. This is live fast, die young to the extreme: Massive amounts of drugs, loose women, going to sleep, waking up in the morning (hopefully), and doing it all over again. It’s the verse, chorus, verse equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah, and with how good it sounds, it’s damn persuasive: "Downtown lovin', when the moon comin', only place to find base heads and hot women!"

5. "No Widows" by the Antlers, from the album Burst Apart

Before its release, The Antlers announced that Burst Apart would be a more “electro” oriented record, but also that it wouldn’t be the same “emotionally heavy experience” as Hospice. Thank G-d. While I’m certain that Peter Silberman is capable of writing another narrative as beautifully tragic as Hospice, I don’t think that he wants to, nor should he. With that in mind, Burst Apart is quite literal: It’s the final separation and closure from Hospice, from the “sad town” of the patient and her unnamed male caregiver, her failed marriage, implied child abuse, and a pregnancy that foreshadowed the end rather than the beginning. While there aren’t any overly “happy” Antlers songs, it’s an aesthetic choice this time around for Burst Apart rather than actual sulking depression. The industrial churning of “No Widows” pauses as Silberman sings, “If I never get back home, there’s no garden overgrown,” and then retreats to the background beat. As Silberman’s ghostly falsetto reaches its peak, the grandiose bursts of emotion from Hospice return but without the lingering shadow of its narrative. I can’t think of many vocals this year that contained the power of Silberman’s delivery, especially the finale: “When they shake, say the wings won’t break.”

4. "Demons" by A$AP Rocky, from the mixtape LIVELOVEA$AP

A$AP Rocky has true respect for rap music, and the knowledge he gained through constant observation culminated in a debut record that is by no means amateur; LIVELOVEA$AP is the work of a true perfectionist, with even its promotional videos (partially directed by Rocky himself) showcasing an artist clearly above his actual experience. “Demons” is one of many standouts on LIVELOVEA$AP, and it’s also a perfect coupling of rapper and producer. Rocky understands production, and more importantly, he gets songwriting. “Demons” only has one standard verse; meanwhile, the remainder of the song drifts on a laidback hook that compliments the ethereal soundscape courtesy of Clams Casino. Rocky knows exactly how each part of the puzzle fits, as “Demons” lasts for only three minutes yet feels entirely complete. While “I be that pretty motherfucker!” are certainly words to live by (“Peso” is an outstanding song in its own right), it’s good to know that Rocky can be a little deeper when he wants.

3. "Glass Jar" by Gang Gang Dance, from the album Eye Contact

Gang Gang Dance inexplicitly tours with a Japanese vagabond, Taka Imamura. The band’s spiritual guide (or “vibes manager,” as he prefers to be called) doesn’t play a single instrument on Eye Contact. He doesn’t sing, nor did he produce or engineer any of the songs. However, despite his seemingly arbitrary and bizarre presence, waving flags at live shows that he pieced together from garbage (a true homeless Manhattanite), Imamura effortlessly prologues Eye Contact, clearly stating, “I can hear everything; it’s everything time.”

It’s a paradoxical statement, as its clarity and definitiveness describes the oncoming slow build-up of “Glass Jar” whilst also representing the only isolated sound heard on the entire album (Imamura’s voice). As Imamura truthfully states, Eye Contact is “everything”, which makes his brief contribution that much more profound. Every song is woven with a ridiculously eclectic variety of musical styles and samples, clashing against one another until the individual sources are completely obscured. “Glass Jar” climbs to its peak patiently, with a spiritual – courtesy of Imamura’s odd musings – foundation that explodes into a vibrant collage of keyboards, circling percussion, and singer Lizzi Bougatsos’ unintelligible vocal delivery. Those with patience will find great reward in the eleven minutes and some seconds of “Glass Jar”, and those without it will miss out not on a song, but an experience.

2. "Midnight City" by M83, from the album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

A disappointing album, but an incredible lead single. Sound familiar? Does “Kim and Jessie” ring a bell? I’m well aware that many find M83’s albums to be both worthwhile and complete. I, however, don’t; my issue is that Anthony Gonzalez doesn’t seem to know whether or not he wants to make computerized ambient records, or pop records that recall just about every John Hughes film ever made (the end result come across as disjointed). The latter is what I prefer from M83, and while Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming certainly had more singing than it did ambitious, albeit meandering, instrumentals, I didn’t think that the songs were very good. Of course, with every M83 album there is always that one outlier that makes me believe in Gonzalez all over again despite my better judgment. This time around it was “Midnight City”. Hell, I even tried to get tickets to see the band live at the Music Hall of Williamsburg!

“Midnight City” is as close to flawless as you can get in the realm of pop music. The abstract keyboard riff creates frenzy, juxtaposing Gonzalez’s soft and gorgeous personification of an inescapable neon utopia—a place that only a true dreamer and chronic escapist could conceive of. Unlike the other songs on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Gonzalez gearing up toward a more violent vocal is appropriate (“This city is my church”), as it introduces the blaring saxophone solo that – much like in the excellent video – has enough force to set the sun.

1. "Video Games" by Lana Del Rey, from the album Born to Die

I really don’t concern myself with Lana Del Rey’s gimmick, mostly because I recognize it as just that, a gimmick. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t see entertainers as being held to the same standards as average people. In fact, what would be so entertaining about them if nothing were exaggerated? You can criticize Lana’s look, and the obvious work she’s had done on her face to accompany a rather ridiculous femme-fatale aesthetic, but “Video Games” is the heartfelt accomplishment of a true singer; no matter how contrived her image is, it’s hard to deny her that.

Lana calling herself the “Gangsta Nancy Sinatra,” her botched Botox, millions upon millions of hits on YouTube, a rather rocky (and nervous) performance on Jools Holland, a major record deal with Interscope, and an inevitable (some feel, unearned and handed) future climb to superstardom . . . for some reason, these aforementioned criticisms have perpetuated disregard to the song that put forth all of this attention in the first place. Prior to “Video Games”, Lana had a few songs that – at best – could score a scene in a pulpy Tarantino film. But “Blue Jeans” and the recently released “Born to Die” point to “Video Games” being more than just a happenstance fluke by a so-called manufactured pop star.

And it’s not just an era-specific thing either. The swelling, orchestral piano balladry of “Video Games” sounds old, and yes, songstresses such as Nancy Sinatra recorded similarly emotional songs in the much-too-often drooled over fifties and sixties—most of which were written for them. But it’s the contemporary spin that Lana puts on it, the way she describes the dependency of love, which left me in awe: “He holds me in his big arms, drunk and I am seeing stars, this is all I think of.” Lana delivers these lines beautifully, but there’s a tragic underlying portrait as to what this girl is willing to give up in return for this all-too-clichéd ideal—essentially, her life: “They say that the world was built for two, only worth living if somebody is loving you.” There is implied doubt as to whether or not it's even the life she even wants, “watching all our friends fall, in and out of old Paul’s, this is my idea of fun,” making the whole of the lyrics portray a bleak mental prison of devotion. Lana Del Rey may have a 'fake' appearance (and a character that she chooses to portray), but both “Video Games” and her talent are entirely real. “It’s you, it’s you, it’s all for you.”

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#1  Edited By Bruce

10. "East Harlem" by Beirut, from the album The Rip Tide.

The Rip Tide’s greatest achievement is “East Harlem”, which finds cultured vagabond Zach Condon crooning a story of commuter blues: Two lovers separated by this lovely, unrelenting Subway system of ours here in New York City. Being a lifelong New Yorker, I was thrilled to finally hear Condon’s interpretation of this often chaotic metropolis. I love the imagery of roses wilting, the brass horns in the instrumental break, and even the subtle humor of lines like, “Uptown / Downtown, a thousand miles between us. She’s waiting for the night to fall; let it fall, I’ll never make it in time.”

9. "Novacane" by Frank Ocean, from the mixtape nostalgia, Ultra

The video for my favorite song of 2010 – and subsequently my favorite song period – features Eric Berglund appearing out of a veil of white smoke wearing one of those Venetian masks from Eyes Wide Shut, playing a guitar solo on a white Gibson Les Paul. Frank Ocean’s “Novacane” refers to that same Eyes Wide Shut eroticism, albeit more directly, using it as a metaphor for a night of stoned debauchery with a girl who gets Ocean wasted off of stolen dental anesthesia. It’s an inventive narrative, but it’s also the most promising piece of music to come out of the consistently disappointing Odd Future collective (ASIDE ALERT: who probably won’t be relevant within another year). The demanding beat pulses alongside Ocean, whose vocal style here recalls the best of 90s New Jack Swing. Ocean spends the aforementioned high looking for some sort of emotional release, but the realization is that he probably won’t remember anything in the morning, and worst of all, the drugs are preventing any feeling during the high itself: “I can’t feel a thing,” Ocean sings, topping off what actually ends up being a sad piece of existentialism.

8. "A Real Hero" by College (feat. Electric Youth), from Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Okay, I cheated. Technically, College’s “A Real Hero” came out in 2009. But it came to prominence from its inclusion in Drive, both in the very last scene of the film and the accompanying soundtrack. And since I can’t hear the song without picturing Ryan Gosling in that white scorpion jacket, it gets a spot on this list (Kavinsky's "Nightcall" is also noteworthy); and even when you listen to it, it sounds strikingly like a song written for the film as opposed to an obscure synth pop number picked for the soundtrack. Cliff Martinez deserves a lot of the credit for setting the tone of Drive (and an Oscar), but Ryan Gosling (second Oscar nomination forthcoming, since he was foolishly overlooked for Blue Valentine) blinking his eyes just wouldn’t have had the same effect if it weren’t for “A Real Hero” promptly reminding us that catharsis doesn’t always have to be so plainly obvious.

7. "Kaputt" by Destroyer, from the album Kaputt

Dan Bejar had been making eccentric rock records for years as Destroyer, but it wasn’t until Kaputt that I took notice. Kaputt is immaculately polished, carefully borrowing from some of rock’s forgotten heroes: Like the saxophone driven pretention of Bryan Ferry’s timeless art rock band, Roxy Music. Kaputt’s title track is rock excess personified. What begins as a yearning for an article in virtually any respected music journal (Smash Hits, Melody Maker, and NME) soon turns to nightly cocaine highs and chasing women “through the backrooms of the world.” The handy commentary on America and our nasty habit of worshipping these strung out rock stars is present in spades, but it’s the rhythm section that makes it special. Kaputt comes off as wise, not condescending; it’s the sort of record that only a rock veteran with eight prior albums could dare to even write, let alone pull off with skill and class.

6. "The Morning" by the Weeknd, from the mixtape House of Balloons

The Weeknd released “What You Need” and immediately we all wanted to know more about this enigmatic R&B project from Toronto. The aesthetic was definitely intriguing, to say the least: Black and white photos of women in the shortest black skirts possible (or no clothes at all), gothic, almost post-punk sonics (with a contemporary R&B vibe), and depictions of partying on a level you wouldn’t even dream of—even if you had time off from work. The mystery of the Weeknd has since been expelled (Thanks, Drake! Ugh), but that doesn’t make House of Balloons any less valuable; in fact, it’s both reassuring and terrifying at the same time that these songs indeed come from a real person. His name is Abel Tesfaye, and I sure as hell hope that House of Balloons isn’t autobiographical. “The Morning”, the slickest track on the mixtape, is the thesis statement of House of Balloons. This is live fast, die young to the extreme: Massive amounts of drugs, loose women, going to sleep, waking up in the morning (hopefully), and doing it all over again. It’s the verse, chorus, verse equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah, and with how good it sounds, it’s damn persuasive: "Downtown lovin', when the moon comin', only place to find base heads and hot women!"

5. "No Widows" by the Antlers, from the album Burst Apart

Before its release, The Antlers announced that Burst Apart would be a more “electro” oriented record, but also that it wouldn’t be the same “emotionally heavy experience” as Hospice. Thank G-d. While I’m certain that Peter Silberman is capable of writing another narrative as beautifully tragic as Hospice, I don’t think that he wants to, nor should he. With that in mind, Burst Apart is quite literal: It’s the final separation and closure from Hospice, from the “sad town” of the patient and her unnamed male caregiver, her failed marriage, implied child abuse, and a pregnancy that foreshadowed the end rather than the beginning. While there aren’t any overly “happy” Antlers songs, it’s an aesthetic choice this time around for Burst Apart rather than actual sulking depression. The industrial churning of “No Widows” pauses as Silberman sings, “If I never get back home, there’s no garden overgrown,” and then retreats to the background beat. As Silberman’s ghostly falsetto reaches its peak, the grandiose bursts of emotion from Hospice return but without the lingering shadow of its narrative. I can’t think of many vocals this year that contained the power of Silberman’s delivery, especially the finale: “When they shake, say the wings won’t break.”

4. "Demons" by A$AP Rocky, from the mixtape LIVELOVEA$AP

A$AP Rocky has true respect for rap music, and the knowledge he gained through constant observation culminated in a debut record that is by no means amateur; LIVELOVEA$AP is the work of a true perfectionist, with even its promotional videos (partially directed by Rocky himself) showcasing an artist clearly above his actual experience. “Demons” is one of many standouts on LIVELOVEA$AP, and it’s also a perfect coupling of rapper and producer. Rocky understands production, and more importantly, he gets songwriting. “Demons” only has one standard verse; meanwhile, the remainder of the song drifts on a laidback hook that compliments the ethereal soundscape courtesy of Clams Casino. Rocky knows exactly how each part of the puzzle fits, as “Demons” lasts for only three minutes yet feels entirely complete. While “I be that pretty motherfucker!” are certainly words to live by (“Peso” is an outstanding song in its own right), it’s good to know that Rocky can be a little deeper when he wants.

3. "Glass Jar" by Gang Gang Dance, from the album Eye Contact

Gang Gang Dance inexplicitly tours with a Japanese vagabond, Taka Imamura. The band’s spiritual guide (or “vibes manager,” as he prefers to be called) doesn’t play a single instrument on Eye Contact. He doesn’t sing, nor did he produce or engineer any of the songs. However, despite his seemingly arbitrary and bizarre presence, waving flags at live shows that he pieced together from garbage (a true homeless Manhattanite), Imamura effortlessly prologues Eye Contact, clearly stating, “I can hear everything; it’s everything time.”

It’s a paradoxical statement, as its clarity and definitiveness describes the oncoming slow build-up of “Glass Jar” whilst also representing the only isolated sound heard on the entire album (Imamura’s voice). As Imamura truthfully states, Eye Contact is “everything”, which makes his brief contribution that much more profound. Every song is woven with a ridiculously eclectic variety of musical styles and samples, clashing against one another until the individual sources are completely obscured. “Glass Jar” climbs to its peak patiently, with a spiritual – courtesy of Imamura’s odd musings – foundation that explodes into a vibrant collage of keyboards, circling percussion, and singer Lizzi Bougatsos’ unintelligible vocal delivery. Those with patience will find great reward in the eleven minutes and some seconds of “Glass Jar”, and those without it will miss out not on a song, but an experience.

2. "Midnight City" by M83, from the album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

A disappointing album, but an incredible lead single. Sound familiar? Does “Kim and Jessie” ring a bell? I’m well aware that many find M83’s albums to be both worthwhile and complete. I, however, don’t; my issue is that Anthony Gonzalez doesn’t seem to know whether or not he wants to make computerized ambient records, or pop records that recall just about every John Hughes film ever made (the end result come across as disjointed). The latter is what I prefer from M83, and while Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming certainly had more singing than it did ambitious, albeit meandering, instrumentals, I didn’t think that the songs were very good. Of course, with every M83 album there is always that one outlier that makes me believe in Gonzalez all over again despite my better judgment. This time around it was “Midnight City”. Hell, I even tried to get tickets to see the band live at the Music Hall of Williamsburg!

“Midnight City” is as close to flawless as you can get in the realm of pop music. The abstract keyboard riff creates frenzy, juxtaposing Gonzalez’s soft and gorgeous personification of an inescapable neon utopia—a place that only a true dreamer and chronic escapist could conceive of. Unlike the other songs on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Gonzalez gearing up toward a more violent vocal is appropriate (“This city is my church”), as it introduces the blaring saxophone solo that – much like in the excellent video – has enough force to set the sun.

1. "Video Games" by Lana Del Rey, from the album Born to Die

I really don’t concern myself with Lana Del Rey’s gimmick, mostly because I recognize it as just that, a gimmick. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t see entertainers as being held to the same standards as average people. In fact, what would be so entertaining about them if nothing were exaggerated? You can criticize Lana’s look, and the obvious work she’s had done on her face to accompany a rather ridiculous femme-fatale aesthetic, but “Video Games” is the heartfelt accomplishment of a true singer; no matter how contrived her image is, it’s hard to deny her that.

Lana calling herself the “Gangsta Nancy Sinatra,” her botched Botox, millions upon millions of hits on YouTube, a rather rocky (and nervous) performance on Jools Holland, a major record deal with Interscope, and an inevitable (some feel, unearned and handed) future climb to superstardom . . . for some reason, these aforementioned criticisms have perpetuated disregard to the song that put forth all of this attention in the first place. Prior to “Video Games”, Lana had a few songs that – at best – could score a scene in a pulpy Tarantino film. But “Blue Jeans” and the recently released “Born to Die” point to “Video Games” being more than just a happenstance fluke by a so-called manufactured pop star.

And it’s not just an era-specific thing either. The swelling, orchestral piano balladry of “Video Games” sounds old, and yes, songstresses such as Nancy Sinatra recorded similarly emotional songs in the much-too-often drooled over fifties and sixties—most of which were written for them. But it’s the contemporary spin that Lana puts on it, the way she describes the dependency of love, which left me in awe: “He holds me in his big arms, drunk and I am seeing stars, this is all I think of.” Lana delivers these lines beautifully, but there’s a tragic underlying portrait as to what this girl is willing to give up in return for this all-too-clichéd ideal—essentially, her life: “They say that the world was built for two, only worth living if somebody is loving you.” There is implied doubt as to whether or not it's even the life she even wants, “watching all our friends fall, in and out of old Paul’s, this is my idea of fun,” making the whole of the lyrics portray a bleak mental prison of devotion. Lana Del Rey may have a 'fake' appearance (and a character that she chooses to portray), but both “Video Games” and her talent are entirely real. “It’s you, it’s you, it’s all for you.”

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#2  Edited By Dany

You are a real hero to me bruce, a real human being. I don't eat, I don't sleep, I do nothing but think of yoouuuuuuuuuuuuu.......

Great list! Some nice 'mellower' stuff than I'm used to.

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#3  Edited By Bruce

@Dany:

Me and everyone in my row (theatre was sold out) bobbed our heads throughout most of the movie.

And thank you!

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@Bruce: Not to bring some castrated sounding Facebook lingo in here, but "Like!"

I don't really have better words or ways to put it right now.

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#5  Edited By Bruce

@Penzilneck:

I "like" your "like"!

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@Bruce: Metalikes are the best.

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#7  Edited By Bruce

@Penzilneck:

No doubt.

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@Bruce: No diggity.

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#9  Edited By Bruce

@Penzilneck:

I like the way you work it?

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@Bruce: I got to bag it up, bag it up girl...

Hey yo hey yo hey yo hey yooo

edit: This has gone far enough. I need a cig.

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#11  Edited By JayDee

cool, i guess. i feel like rocky's talents are being overstated though. he isn't horrible, but isn't anywhere near great, especially compared to the guys he is influenced by.

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#12  Edited By Bruce

@JayDee:

If he's as good as he is now, imagine how he'll be in a few years. Looking toward the future, not the past!

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#13  Edited By JayDee

@Bruce said:

@JayDee:

If he's as good as he is now, imagine how he'll be in a few years. Looking toward the future, not the past!

yeah that's why you have to keep it in perspective. he just released his first tape 2 months ago. it's the ridiculous hype and attention these guys get after doing nothing that's annoying.

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@Bruce said:

@JayDee:

If he's as good as he is now, imagine how he'll be in a few years. Looking toward the future, not the past!

I would be that he's at LEAST as good as he is now...

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#16  Edited By Bruce

@sarkeen:

That's a website!

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#17  Edited By sarkeen

QUeso sauce

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#18  Edited By Icil

Your taste is pretty varied, which is awesome. I liked your list, but "The Morning" wasn't my favorite Weeknd song from that album (the title track is). When The Weeknd raps on that second half, I'm hooked. Did you like Goblin by Tyler the Creator?

Midnight City is definitely up there, so I'm happy to see it given high praise here. No love for the new Portugal the Man though? I like that album a whole lot.

Midnight City by M83, Tron Cat by Tyler the Creator, and House of Balloons/Glass Table by The Weeknd would be my top picks for the year.

Good list though. You write like you've written album reviews before. I admire when people can write about music; it's damn hard to put how you feel about what you're hearing into words on paper.

"I'm awesome, and I fuck dolphins" -Tyler the Creator on Tron Cat

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#19  Edited By Bruce

@Icil:

I've been doing album reviews on this site for quite a while, actually, so thanks!

I actually was disappointed by Goblin. Maybe it was naive of me to expect something akin to the Marshall Mathers LP, but I dunno. He needs to work on his production.

@sarkeen:

I'm allergic to cheese; can't eat that shit.

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ElBarto

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#21  Edited By ElBarto

I believe you forgot something

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Bruce

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#22  Edited By Bruce

@ElBarto:

I considered it, but I really didn't like the album. Good song, though.

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Vonocourt

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#23  Edited By Vonocourt

Gotta respect having East Harlem up there, thought that was the stand out from that album.

Though no Bon Iver?! How can you call yourself a indie-inclined music enthusiasts without one of his songs...just kidding, after three tries I still haven't listen to that album in its entirety.

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ElBarto

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#24  Edited By ElBarto

@Bruce: I thought it was a good step up from Actor.

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EuanDewar

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#25  Edited By EuanDewar

Interesting choices. The only song we share on our top 10's is midnight city but I wouldn't say I disagree with any of the choices really. Apart from the number one ;). Who cares though, opinions be opinions. Merry Christmas!

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rollingzeppelin

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#26  Edited By rollingzeppelin

@Vonocourt

Had to delete Beth/rest, but the rest of the album was pretty good. I'm surprised I didn't see any of the Black Keys, their new album kicks ass!

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AhmadMetallic

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#27  Edited By AhmadMetallic

The mind capacity you have to pursue and enjoy all kinds of weird random music from weird random guys and girls around the world is just fascinating!

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A_Cute_Squirtle

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#28  Edited By A_Cute_Squirtle

Excellent choices. The Antlers, Beirut, and M83 all made my top ten list of this year.

James Blake and Wye Oak killed it for me though. Replica might've made it up there if I had spent more time with it.

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Bruce

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#29  Edited By Bruce

@A_Cute_Squirtle:

"The Wilhelm Scream" came really close to making the list, but it's in the honorable mentions category.

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Vonocourt

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#30  Edited By Vonocourt

@RollingZeppelin: I just find myself kind of drifting off while trying to listen too bon iver, didn't really care for the vocals on that album either.

Just got the new Black Keys album, it's pretty good. Super dumb, but fun.

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A_Cute_Squirtle

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#31  Edited By A_Cute_Squirtle

@Bruce said:

@A_Cute_Squirtle:

"The Wilhelm Scream" came really close to making the list, but it's in the honorable mentions category.

Do you only write reviews for blogs on here?

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Bruce

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#32  Edited By Bruce

@A_Cute_Squirtle:

Pretty much. It was something I did in my spare time, but then I noticed that you could pretty much post whatever on the off-topic, so I more or less made it my niche.

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Bruce

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#33  Edited By Bruce

@Vonocourt:

No offense to your tastes, but I hated that album. Didn't like a single song.

@EuanDewar:

Y U Gotta Be Hatin' On Lana? Kidding. Thank you!

@AhmadMetallic:

You know it!

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Lemmycaution217

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#34  Edited By Lemmycaution217

Neat list, man. I think I will get together a list of my own.

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Vonocourt

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#35  Edited By Vonocourt

Which one, Bon Iver or Black Keys? Cuz I could totally see why someone would hate either one.

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Bruce

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#36  Edited By Bruce

@Vonocourt:

I hate Bon Iver. The Black Keys are alright.

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Vonocourt

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#37  Edited By Vonocourt

@Bruce said:

@Vonocourt:

I hate Bon Iver. The Black Keys are alright.

I really enjoyed his first album, but like I said earlier, I haven't been able to listen to his second album in its entirety without shutting it off in disinterest.

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Bruce

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#38  Edited By Bruce

@Vonocourt:

I liked the video for "Holocene", but that's it.

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FunExplosions

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#39  Edited By FunExplosions

Gotta be honest, I'm completely baffled by people's appreciation of The Weeknd. No offense, but it sounds like people are just jumping on a runaway wagon with it. ...But it sounds like it'd be great to play for the next time I have sexy times, and I guess that's why I have half the music I do, anyway. Beirut and Lana Del Rey I can agree with, though.

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Contrarian

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#40  Edited By Contrarian

I lost track of M83 after Graveyard Girl (Saturdays = Youth), so I am going to attempt to listen to their new album. It was surprising that Graveyard Girl got some airplay in my parts, and I did love that whole John Hughes 80s movie feel to the sound. Nice reminder.

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chocolaterhinovampire

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I have only heard 3 of these

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Bruce

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#42  Edited By Bruce

@FunExplosions:

I am a DIEHARD Prince fan, so if you tell me that someone is recreating that old style of downright "we are having sex" R&B, but with some Goth atmosphere and a contemporary feel, I am ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL on that.

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FunExplosions

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#43  Edited By FunExplosions

@Bruce said:

@FunExplosions:

I am a DIEHARD Prince fan, so if you tell me that someone is recreating that old style of downright "we are having sex" R&B, but with some Goth atmosphere and a contemporary feel, I am ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL on that.

Makes more sense, then. I've never understood Prince's appeal, either, so I guess I just don't "get" this one.

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Bruce

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#44  Edited By Bruce

@FunExplosions:

Prince is incredible, man. Try revisiting some of those songs!

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Bruce

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#45  Edited By Bruce

@chocolaterhinovampire:

Hopefully you found something you really liked!

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amlabella

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#46  Edited By amlabella

Nice eclectic list. Loved seeing "A Real Hero" on here, it's definitely one of my favorites despite being two years old. The entire Drive soundtrack is pretty awesome. Out of your choices I'd probably say "Kaputt" is my favorite song. And though I really like "The Morning," if I had to pick one Weeknd song it would probably be "House of Balloons."

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Karl_Boss

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#47  Edited By Karl_Boss

It pretty fitting that a song titled video games was your song of the year. :P

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Bruce

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#48  Edited By Bruce

@Unknown_Pleasures:

Because I rarely play them, right? Lol. To my credit, I have done nothing but play games since graduating from college last week.

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Bruce

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#49  Edited By Bruce

@amlabella:

Drive was my favorite film of the year until I saw Shame and The Artist.