the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

Album Closers

In music on October 24, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Records have lived and died by their finales this year. The best push against the stylistic boundaries set down by the band over the course of the album, suggesting something new while inviting you to explore the origins of these emerging threads over the previous 10-11 tracks. The worst seem to revive, like zombies, the albums’ most nagging, unoriginal, and trite motifs.

AWESOME:

Arcade Fire / The Suburbs / “Sprawl II”

Good god, this song is awesome. Sort of reminds me of Toto. In a good way. For some, Arcade Fire’s over-exuberance can be grating. “Sprawl II” is, then, a challenge—if you can’t stand this jaunty, lovely synth-blast, maybe it’s YOUR heart that’s cold.

LCD Soundsystem / This is Happening / “Home

If this is how James Murphy and crew goes out, bravo. It’s not a slow-burn in the traditional sense: Murphy understands that the fade out is as important as the build-up. And the last 1:30 of “Home” elicits uncontrolled air-drumming like no other tune in 2010.

The Radio Dept. / Clinging to a Scheme / “You Stopped Making Sense

A new take on the classic lullaby closer, with just the perfect combo of fuzz and static and xylophone beauty.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow / Autumn, Again / “100/0 (Snowdays Forever)”

My Bloody Valentine should be jealous of this Philly group—they manage to create the same blend of reverb-laden gorgeousness as MBV, but with an exuberance (catch the “Woo!”-s towards the end of the song) the perennial shoegazers never quite found.

Joanna Newsome / Have one on me / “Does Not Suffice

No comment. Just listen.

HONORABLE Mentions: “I think UR a Contra” / Vampire Weekend, “Sleepin’ In” / Morning Benders, “Lisbon” / The Walkmen, “He Would Have Laughed” / Deerhunter.

BLEGH:

The National / High Violet / “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

We get it guys. You’re incredible musicians. This song, like most off of High Violet, is extremely well crafted, witty, etc. But at these extremes, it comes off as self-parody.

Free Energy / Stuck on Nothing / “Wild Winds”

The rest of this album rides a “The Boys are Back in Town” -meets-Boston-guitar-solos vibe, and is pretty much awesome. “Wild Winds,” not so much—it strains the frontman’s minimal range, and those Marshall stacks were meant to play much more badass solos.

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  1. Totally agree. Much better than when the last few songs on an album were meant to be throwaways (ah, the 90s…). I think an honorable mention should go to Scissor Sisters’ “Invisible Light,” which is a delicious slice of disco :o)

  2. They always mess up my smileys. Meant to be a happy one.

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