Thursday, October 20, 2011

Band Obsessions

Working in an office gives me a chance to listen to music all day, which is certainly amazing for someone who loves music like I do! There have definitely been days where I've been in moods when I feel like I'm bored with my music selection and I need some new stuff (which I usually indulge in at that point), but lately there have been a few albums or artists that have been able to simply captivate beyond the need for anything else. Let me mention a few of them here:

Fall Out Boy - Take This To Your Grave: These boys have a way of playing their way into my sub conscience and not getting out. They are probably the catchiest band I listen to and Patrick Stump's voice has a way of captivating my attention that few other singers can do. Take This To Your Grave was their first big hit and is one of my favorite albums of all time. It is pop-punk mastery. I loved listening to these guys on my way through their hometown of Chicago on my cross-country trip. Their follow-up album, From Under the Cork Tree is another one of my all-time favorites and is full of catchy anthems. Their last release, Folie a Deux, is one of the most underrated albums of the last 5 years, in my opinion, with plenty of diversity and a few cool cameos (Pharrell, Lil Wayne).

Bon Iver - Bon Iver: In short, this is the best album of 2011. There will not be an album that is better. If there is, I will pee my pants. I did not think there was a chance Bon Iver could follow-up their first release, For Emma, Forever Ago, with anything better, but they reinvented their sound and released a completely different album that is simply beautiful. Every track is stunning. I have a couple favorites, but I rarely repeat songs because each song prepares your spirit for the next. It just makes sense to listen straight through. In particular, though, I have been obsessed with this Bonnie Raitt cover from a little CD of extras, "I Can't Make You Love Me/Nick of Time"

The Tallest Man on Earth - Everything: Kristian Matsson is The Tallest Man on Earth, but isn't particularly imposing in stature. Instead, he's fairly meek and humble. He is one man with no other musicians involved. He is Swedish, but manipulates and utilizes the English language. Most importantly, he controls you. There is something incredibly endearing about him, despite the fact that he doesn't talk much, move around much, or really do anything much to particularly entertain you. He simple plays beautiful music with such emotion and obvious spirit in his voice that you can't help but be under his spell.

Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends: This is the quintessential teen angst album, which I didn't actually own until I was firmly inserted in my mid-20s. Regardless, this album is full of anger, frustration, and I-don't-give-a-what mentality that it fits any disgruntled mood you might have. Can't find any motivation? Tell All Your Friends? Girls being a pain? Tell All Your Friends. Missed the bus? Tell All Your Friends. It was amazing to see most of these songs performed by the original lineup on their tour this summer. What's more, take a look at videos from 2011 and then take a look at 2002, when the album was first released. The maturity has changed this band quite a bit. The emotion is still there, just in a different form, and with a microphone swinging swagger.

Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend: The most unlikely addition to any music list of mine, I could not figure out people's affinity with Vampire Weekend for years. The songs were odd, cheeky, and not particularly interesting to me. Then one day, it just hit me. Everything was sticking in my head. I wanted to learn every word to every song. I'd listen to the album straight through, then I'd want to listen to it again. The songwriting sounds simple, but is full of changes in time signature and demeanor. The lyrics are intelligent and full of one-liners. I think what did it was "Oxford Comma", thanks to "who cares about details" mentality and its use of the most taboo word in the English language.


  1. I now have a playlist entitled "jake recommends" with these cd's on them, your recommendations never disappoint...

  2. yes! plenty more where this came from