Hi everyone & Happy New Year! I just got back from the Christmas holidays where I tried (mostly in vain) to stay offline as much as possible.
Damn all those vacation rentals and their easy Wi-fi 🙂 But it was good to get away – we drove down the California coast, saw some nature and lots of seals, sea lions, otters and stars, absolutely amazing stars at night.
And even though I’d made a California playlist for the drive, we ended up listening to the radio most of the time. Which pretty much meant classic rock and modern pop. So my kids now know who CCR is, and I know that Avicii is like, one guy from Sweden. We also watched the New Year’s Eve countdown shows, in which Miley Cyrus threw down the entertainment gauntlet by fondling a female dwarf in gold lame. Let’s see Lady Gaga top that!
So herewith is my second installment of the Year in Review, in no particular order, heavy on strong female voices. Hoorah!
Tessanne Chin’s version of ‘I Have Nothing’ on The Voice reaffirmed my belief in the power of a pop song. Whitney would be proud. Tessanne, you are golden.
Bieber & his moustache. You can do it, sweetheart – Movember is only ten months away!
Timberlake sings that he wants a girl to be “my mirror, my mirror staring back at me”. I say, “I’ve got no time for a raging narcissist, JT. I’m moving on.”
Critics’ Darling that’s actually kinda boring: Vampire Weekend.
Criminally Underappreciated: Neko Case.
Unexpectedly awesome in concert: Belle & Sebastian, Dirty Projectors.
Robin Thicke is that Dad with the hands that you had to watch out for when you were a babysitter.
What do Kanye West and Woody Allen have in common? They’ve both lost touch with the real world.
If you want to hear something cool, check out Lo-Fang’s single, ‘#88’. Debut album out soon.
Atoms for Peace is Pepsi to Radiohead’s Coke. You drink it anyway, but only because they’re out of Coke.
Pharrell Williams’ sweet, disarming face totally hides his pervy nature.
Whoever chose the Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam songs for the TV show Castle is the MOST AWESOME PERSON EVER.
The best singer-songwriters today aren’t American or even Canadian. They’re Brits: Laura Marling and Jake Bugg.
One of my favorite things about 2013 was listening to Miranda Lambert and Pistol Annies.
Super duo: Edie Brickell & Steve Martin.
There was more fresh, original music coming out of country and alt-country than the alternative/rock scene. Discuss.
Eminem is now 40. Can an angry rapper age gracefully? This could be interesting.
All hail the return of the king – David Bowie – and the art of the music video:
One day I’m going to listen to that Arcade Fire double album all the way through. But probably not ’til EO goes off to college.
The sad thing about Miley Cyrus is that she made us forget what a great voice she has.
New NCIS-LL Cool J crossover hit: ‘Grandmama Said Knock You Out’.
I know I’m supposed to say Breaking Bad, but what I really like are Arsenal games and Castle.
Still the coolest person in the room: Aimee Mann on Twitter.
The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street. Please can we stop with the all-soundtrack ADHD movie? It smacks of artistic desperation and well, laziness.
Embrace the cliché: 2013 was the Year of our Lorde. That is all.
Wait. Yet. It’s still Beyonce’s world. We’re just living in it. #texasproud
Forget those Best Of / Top 20 / Hot Lists, here’s my year’s worth of musings:
The best music snap of the year (above). Comes from a Berlin disco. Found on the Twitter page of Stana Katic, who’s one-half of the TV show, Castle, which my family can tell you I’m senselessly, annoyingly addicted to. It’s Moonlighting with Canadians! It’s awesome. And, yes, this does make me realize that the internet is high school. Now, if someone would just remake Remington Steele…
My Fleet Foxes fixation continues unabated. Old stuff, new stuff, it doesn’t matter. It’s like I’ve become oddly attracted to Crosby or Stills or Nash (which one’s which?). In one of my favorite movies of the year, “Your Sister’s Sister”, Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass name drop the Foxes. I was so excited, I squealed on the inside and thought about them for the rest of the movie.
Fiona Apple is a bonafide torch singer, and if you cross her she will light that torch and stick it up your sorry a**! Unstable, brilliant, painfully vivid, awesome. ‘Hot Knife’ is just crazy good. Makes me dream of Alvin Ailey dancers in motion across a shiny black stage.
With his upswept ‘do, baby skin and wife beaters, Justin Bieber’s lesbian-chic androgyny is strangely fascinating.
If Cat Power battled Feist, who would win the chance to drop kick Lana Del Rey’s ass?
On iTunes, what’s the difference between Alternative and Indie?
The most wonderful Angry White Man is back! I’m so glad to see you, Bob Mould!
Frank Ocean – meandering, unfinished, falsetto doodles… yawn. What am I missing here???
Since everyone – Fun, The Belle Brigade, Best Coast – seems to be channeling Fleetwood Mac these days, it was inevitable. A Fleetwood Mac reunion tour 2013! Yes! Worship at the sky high heels of Stevie. We’re getting the band back together!
Lumineers? Decemberists? Lumineers? Decemberists? Can’t tell the difference. Like ’em both.
Green Day appearing on the Twilight: Breaking Dawn OST surely is the final nail in their coffin, n’est pas? Now go away until some kind of reunion in 2018.
Singles I enjoyed this year, even though some of them are old:
‘I Know What I Am’ by Band of Skulls
‘Solitude is Bliss’ by Tame Impala
‘Pumped Up Kicks’ by Foster the People
‘Mykonos’ by Fleet Foxes, xxxxx, call me 😉
‘Satan’ by Beast
‘Nightlight’ by Little Dragon
‘UMI Says’ by Mos Def
‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy (come on, it is irresistible)
Favorite albums 2012:
Jack White’s Blunderbuss
Fiona Apple’s Idler Wheel…
The Black Keys’ El Camino (technically released at end of 2011 but hey)
Texans of the Year:
San Saba County
Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears – follow Joe on Twitter, he tweets entire Cowboys’ games. Hilarious!
So call me mainstream, I’m still not tired of Adele and I keep the new Taylor Swift on even after I’ve dropped off EO and YO at swim training.
Rihanna just bugs me. They say she does it her way but I’m seeing no self respect.
When I dip a toe in to dance music I enjoy Morgan Page and the gloomy glam of The Presets, who are so deliciously Depeche Mode, it hurts in a sweet, angsty way.
The guy I’m digging & rediscovering at the moment: Willie Nelson. He sounds fantastic on “Live & Kickin”. Makes me homesick.
In this digital day and age is it really necessary to deny Hong Kong Spotify and Pandora? There is a border between us and the Communists, but I can’t do anything about the pirates.
So many folk-pop, California mellow, girl-boy duos – Tennis, Best Coast, Teen Dream – so little time. Or interest.
Rufus Wainwright’s “Out of the Game” doesn’t hit the highs of “Release The Stars” but I’ll take it all the same.
Mumford & Sons = The Pogues x Coldplay – Elvis Costello with even more points deducted because Jake Gyllenhaal joined you guys on tour.
Saint Etienne are either celebrating pure pop like Kylie or subverting the genre in some kind of Pet Shop-Blondie mash-up. This kind of thing works really well in the UK. Too fey for the US I’m afraid.
I want to write like a Radiohead song: compact, intense, perfect.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from therockmom x