Best of ’14 Extravaganza!

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i’m sitting in the union sq think coffee waiting to see selma in a couple hours, listening to what i call in my head the ‘holy trinity’ of sky ferreira songs (you’re not the one / i blame myself / everything is embarrassing, OBVI) trying to recall the wise and clever things i wanted to say in this ‘year end music blog post’
 
i guess *a* thing i want to say is that i see very little utility at this point, for me personally, in trying to say something comprehensive and intelligent and unifying about ‘the year in music’ — i don’t have much motivation of late to write about music in any context, or even to write in general, tbh i’ve spent a fair amount of time this year trying to figure out how to make ‘writing pieces’ (aka things that aren’t emails and/or journal entries) feel like anything other than a staring contest with my computer screen
 
i’ve also spent a fair amount of time this year thinking about canonization in general. brad and i discussed this in our sole podcast episode a year ago and since then i’d say my feelings about it have drifted towards ‘canonization is stupid / stultifying / a tool by which hegemonic notions of cultural superiority are reinforced’ — drew daniel of matmos / soft pink truth said some smart things about this over at the quietus a few months ago
 
independent of any political feelings i have about the idea of canonization, creating a top 10 list or whatever at the end of the year just doesn’t at all meaningfully reflect the way i listen to music anymore. i can barely even conjure a speedy answer when someone asks me what i’m really into *right now* — there’s always too many answers to this, and i let my various itunes playlists do the remembering for me so i don’t have to store all that information in my head. so trying to create some pseudo-objective metric by which to compare two albums i had very different relationships with 11 months ago seems like a fool’s errand to me
 
so my playlists of favorite albums* and favorite songs are (like my favorite songs playlist from last year) really more of a “listening diary” than a retrospective evaluation. if, at some point during the year, i felt powerfully drawn to or locked in with an album or song *for the first time* (or at least in *a fresh new way*), i added it to the playlist. which means that many of the albums and some of the songs were released in other years
 
below i also included, for funsies, screenshots of my top 50 artists / songs / albums of the past year from last.fm. of course, this metric privileges certain types of listening as well. most rap or metal, for example, is not the type of music i can easily listen to while sitting at a desk or reading something, so i may hold it in equal esteem as something that shows up here with way more plays. i don’t think i’m alone in admitting that i just can’t emotionally sustain frequent spins through to be kind. lyrically dense albums like sun kil moon’s benji or lil herb’s welcome to fazoland i engage with more like a collection of short stories than a play-it-over-and-over-again album. needless to say, things released at the beginning of the year obviously benefit greatly from this approach. in other words: the number of times i listened to something is also far from an objective representation of how meaningful it was to me this year. BYE BYE
 
*p.s. not included in the fave albums spotify playlist are the nicki minaj & drake mixtapes i made, which definitely belong on there but would’ve taken forever to assemble on spotify. ALSO please note how many things i loved are greyed out on your spotify interface — most of them are probably mixtapes and are probably free to download! check them out and don’t let spotify be the arbiter of what music you listen to, that would be weird and bad!
 
p.p.s. if u wanna nerd out about music videos or want some suggestions of good ones just holla and i’ll send u an invite to view my nerdy google doc where i keep track of music videos that i like
 

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~ by toren on January 21, 2015.

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