Life at an Intersection

Chicago Phoenix, indemnity bonds, journaling, really really really want a zigazig ah, travel, books, travel books, relationships, values. It is hard to pinpoint precisely, but I'd say about 82% of what you read here is true. The rest is fictional nonfiction.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Favorite Albums, 2008

Oh, it's my five favorite albums of 2008. How fun!

1. The Format, Interventions + Lullabies


In a year that was a roller-coaster of emotional lows and highs, no one spoke the words of my bleeding heart and screaming head like The Format. I've got to give mad props to Miss Laura Zempel for introducing me to this awesomely underrated and recently deep-sixed Arizona band. I could swear that the lyrics from this 2003 album were transcribed straight from diary entries that I never wrote, and the melodies are catchy and memorable as can be. I went back to this album again and again this year, and it never let me down.

2. Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit


Bouncy, retro, Anglo-cool, familiar, fun. From this first listen, you feel like you've known every song for years. Recently voted "#76 Diversey Bus Commuter's Choice Album for Getting You to Work with a Smile on Your Face." Another prop is due here: Jeff Motter told the world two years ago on MySpace (remember when MySpace was the world?) to love this band and this album. As with all good advice, I filed it away in a dusty box and tripped over it long after I should have. "Dress Up in You" is a tragic, lovely story, and "The Blues Are Still Blue" is the best laundry metaphor song ever, I swear.

3. Conor Oberst, Conor Oberst


It's still Bright Eyes. It's still a bad pun, no matter how convincingly you sell it ("All souled out in heaven!). It's still road tripping music at its finest ("There's nothing that the road cannot heal"). He still sings the hell out of every song. "I Don't Want to Die (In the Hospital)" is made of the most honest song premise that I can imagine, and makes you chuckle at first with its Jerry Lee Lewis-in-the-saloon piano and rollicking chorus. But the song spirals and crescendos into palpable fear, panic and terror. "You've got to take me back outside! I don't want to die!" I'm pretty sure that's what every Conor Oberst song has ever been about anyway.

4. Lucinda Williams, Little Honey


This album contains multitudes. Of musical genres, that is. I swear, in 13 songs there's hard rock, pure country, Appalachian gospel, folk, something like pop, Mississippi delta blues, alt country, a couple of those slow, uncategorizable ballads, and then she caps off the album with an AC/DC song. When she growls, "I'll tell you folks, it's harder than it looks," you must believe her. There's something very difficult about approaching a new album from your favorite artist. Expectations can be so high, your existing relationship together has been so wonderful for so long, a new batch of songs can't possibly live up to your hopes. That is true here, too. But it is a very good album, with several highlights and my favorite lyric of the year: "If wishes were horses, I'd have a ranch. Come on and give me another chance."

5. Arcade Fire, Funeral


My list is kind of lame in that only 2/5ths of these five albums were actually released in 2008. What can I say? I'm a late bloomer, a slow poke, and totally behind the curve. The rest of the world discovered how awesome Arcade Fire is back in 2004 or 2005. The best way that I can describe their songs to the uninitiated is, I guess, atmospheric. Intricate, beautiful, involving, totally headphone and full attention-requiring. Fascinating. Funeral seems like the stronger of Arcade Fire's two albums to me, but Neon Bible has lots to recommend it also, like a couple of really cool songs about cars - "Keep the Car Running" and "No Cars Go."

Oh, other stuff:

Most Disappointing Album of the Year - Counting Crows, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings

Dear Adam Duritz, Tell me something that I don't know. Make me some poetry. Invent a new melody. I still respect you. Please keep trying. Love, Davie...

Most Played Song of 2008 on my Windows Media Player - "When You Come Back Down" by Nickel Creek

Guiltiest Guilty Pleasure - Soundtracks from High School Musicals 1, 2, and 3


Liza December 10, 2008 at 8:27 AM  

After reading this, I think you will be pleased with a number of songs that have made it on my list of favorite songs for the 2nd half of 2008.

I love your end of the year lists. I wait for them all year long.

Anonymous December 14, 2008 at 9:24 AM  

I'm glad Belle and Sabastian spoke to you this past year. I haven't listened to that album in several months. I think I'll listen to it today. Is it me or was there little decent new music this year?

jeff m.

Twitter / Davie_St

Words That I'm Living By - 5/2/2010

Time, as I've known it
Doesn't take much time to pass by me
Minutes into days, turn into months
Turn into years, they hurry by me
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

Dreams full of promises
Hopes for the future, I've had many
Dreams I can't remember now
Hopes that I've forgotten,
faded memories
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

And I love to see the morning
as it steals across the sky
I love to remember and
I love to wonder why
And I hope that I'm around
so I can be there when I die
When I'm gone

I hope that you will think of me
In moments when you're happy and you're smiling
That the thought will comfort you
On cold and cloudy days
if you are crying
And that you'll love to see
the sun go down
And the world go around
And around and around

"Around and Around" by Mark Kozelek

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