It’s hard to separate the good and the bad when so much of you was so very very bad. Still, you had some serious bright spots—amazing art, good books, lovely times with friends. I also moved into a new apartment this year, leaving my old nest of 16 years on Powers Street and heading to Bushwick with Joshua Sanchez. In some ways this felt like the longest year ever, in other ways time seems to be moving at light speed. As always, wishing I could just press pause on life and have a moment to catch my breath and get my head on straight, but instead I’ll take a moment to look back at some of the things that gave some welcome respite from the never-ending political nightmare of the past 12 months. As always, putting together this list is nice because it reminds of how lucky I am to be in a position to write and think about art for a living and how incredibly privileged I feel to both love and be loved by so many amazing humans.Read More
My main takeaway from this year was namely that the general toxicity of our political landscape sometimes made it hard to appreciate anything beautiful...but it also made the capacity to appreciate art and beauty feel so much more necessary. As a person whose job it is now to talk to artists and creators on pretty much a daily basis, I feel both grateful and honored that so many people—including so many of my friends—are continuing to put good energy out into the universe at a time when it's harder than ever to do so.Read More
After getting a new job this year and finally saying goodbye to my freelance life, it didn’t take long to realize that my relationship to music had also changed. Since I’m not writing about music almost exclusively anymore, I don’t have the same kind of impetus—or the time, frankly—to wade through a million promos or spend all day listening to the same record over and over just to figure out if I like it or not. That being said, music continues play an important part in my life daily and I credit it with helping save my sanity during this flaming shit show of a year. While I tend to lean on my arsenal of comfort records during times of duress (thank you, Disintegration), there were plenty of new records that also made me feel things (happy, inspired, comforted, not totally insane) this year. These are those records.Read More
As always, there were so many records released this year that were technically dazzling and critically beloved that, quite honestly, I just never really listened to that much (Grimes, D’Angelo, Jamie XX)...and lots of records that might not necessarily have been critical darlings but still brought me lots of pleasure while I listened to them in my office while wearing pajamas, guzzling coffee and scrolling through cat photos on the internet. These are those records.Read More
I have to preface this by saying that what follows is a personal list (based upon the number of iTunes plays and spins on my turntable) rather than a strictly critical one. There were a lot of records released in 2013 that I thought were truly exceptional—Kanye West’s Yeezus being an obvious one (also, Beyonce!)—but these are the ones that I actually listened to the most. I think it says something about my topsy turvy year that when I was here at home alone (which is generally all day, every day) I mostly wanted to hear things that mellowed me out or were particularly conducive to staring out the window and wondering “What have I done with my life?”Read More
This is such a hard list to make because there are always so many records that I genuinely love, both as a critic and as a nerdy music lover. In the end I always go with the records that got the highest number of plays in my iTunes library or spend the most time on my turntable. I’m also biased this year because Chan Marshall—Cat Power—is a good friend. It’s hard for me to be objective about her music because I love her so much as a human being, but I do think that Sun is a towering achievement. She worked really hard on this record for a really long time and I couldn’t be more proud of her for finally putting it out into the world. I also listened to it more than anything else this year.Read More
Seriously 2009? Are you Serious?
What can I say about 2009? The year actually started out promisingly enough—when the clock struck midnight, I was sitting at Madison Square Garden waving my arms in the air as My Morning Jacket rang in the new year. Little did I know that just a couple of hours later I would find myself hanging out of my bedroom window as a fire raged through our home and I screamed like a lady for firemen to come and drag me out through the smoke. What happened next? Oh yeah, the economy tanked and the majority of my steady freelance jobs packed their bags and ran outof my life like a cheating husband. A bunch of other bad things happened after that, but I might spontaneously combust if I tried to remember them all. The upside of 2009 was that my friends and family continued to be awesome (especially in the wake of the crazy fire), I got to travel to some faraway places, I saw some great shows, and learned how to be a part-time bartender (this was actually one of the most fun things I did this year). Maybe I also learned how to be a little more thankful in 2009 (a lot more thankful, actually) and gained a new appreciation for not sweating the small stuff. I also got a LOT of amazing new ceramic cats and cat-related paraphernalia given to me this year, so that was a definite plus. More than ever, my home looks liketherefuge of an elderly woman obsessed with feline knick-knacks, which is just the way I like it. I guess I’m cautiously optimistic about 2010, but basically there is no love lost between me and 2009. Actually, you know what 2009? Fuck you. You are dead to me. Don’t let the big cosmic door of time hit you on your way out.
People seem to love this silly list, but every year I tend to get the same two primary responses. My music nerd friends (aka music writers) tend to respond with things like “How dare you exclude that amazing folk record from the Netherlands!” and/or “How dare you not include more rap music! ” while my non-music nerd friends respond with something like “Once again, I’ve never heard of anything on your list.” As a semi-respectable music journalist, there are lots of records that probably should be on my list and aren’t, but in the end I just choose the records and songs that got the most face time around my home office (as evidenced by the number of plays in my iTunes). So, even though I could easily list about 100 records that I genuinely liked in 2008 (this was a great year for music, don’t let anyone tell you differently!), here are the 40 albums that I listened to the most.Read More
Oh, 2007. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Mostly, at least for me, it was the busiest of times. I got to travel, I got to write all kinds of amazing stuff, and the year was filled with good friends, good times, and an abundance of good art. As per usual, I preface this list by saying that there are lots of things that—especially as an alleged music journalist—I probably should have on here and don’t, but these are the records that I listened to the most (for better or worse) and the things that brought me the most joy in ’07.
As I do every year, I will begin this list by simply saying that these are the records, books, movies, shows, and interviews that I enjoyed the most in 2006 (even though there were arguably better records made this year and I can already think of about 40 more that I’ve forgotten to include). These were the booksthat I particularly savored that were actually published in 2006 (otherwise I’d just be listing Sylvia Plath and Sharon Olds over and over each year). Movies were tough since there were a lot of them that I never managed to see and considering that I really disliked the majority of the ones I did. I chose the live shows that were simply the most fun (probably the ones where I had the most to drink) and this year I thought it would also be fun to go through and pick out my favorite interviews (since that is what I pretend to do for a living). I’d like to think I chose my favorite interview subjects based on how fascinating or revealing they were (Courtney!), but it mostly had to to with people who made me laugh or were particularly beautiful or handsome. I’m not gonna lie. So anyway, here is my annual nerdfest for the year that was 2006. Read it and weep.Read More
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m HAPPY to see 2005 go away. This year my appendix exploded, my brother got thrown from a four-wheeler at high velocity (he’s ok now) and lots of other annoying crap went down. On the flipside, however, I loved a lot of things in 2005, including my friends, my family, my work, NYC, and the following movies, books, records and shows.Read More
I always begin this list with an apology, since I know lots of people are offended by my glaring omissions. I’m a total indie-mindy (I know, I know) and I love sad, depressing music. Deal with it. So, I’m just going with the records I listened to the most last year. For example, I Know everyone loves The Killers…but I probably only listened to that record twice. Same with Franz Ferdinand. Great records, to be sure, but they didn’t exactly burn up my stereo in the way the following records did…Read More
So, here is my annual list, the geekfest that so many of you have come to know and love. I labored over this a little longer than usual this year and, as usual, I found it impossible to narrow down my music list down to ten records (getting it down to thirty was tough enough). Also, before people start sending me hostile emails to remind me of everything I’ve left out, let me just say that these were the things that brought me the most pleasure in the past year. There may have technically been better records, movies and books than the ones on this list, but these are the ones I played the most, enjoyed the most, and thought about the most.