really belated

so now that i've recovered/replaced computer parts in both my mac g4 laptop and my 1999 do-it-yerself PC (a sum total of about $600), it's time to get to work getting together some 2005 christmas gifts. sigh. i'm thinking something along the lines of a mix--the best music of 2005. i figure i can fit about 15 songs and i don't want more than one song by any band. suggestions (in other words, i want your best "mix songs" of '05--so though i love sigur ros, i'm not sure anything from takk would work....)


Blogger John McCollum said...

Anything by Sufjan Stevens would be awesome.

1/04/2006 2:14 PM  
Blogger e said...

1) Rev. Jeff Cannell defines "sarcasm" as: "tearing of the flesh".

2) Though Mike G. agrees with you that Sufjan is overrated--and I respect both of your musical opinions a great deal--you've not established some sort of critical high ground on the issue. I.e., the Sufjan "backlash" camp in '05/'06 is as objective as the Dylan "backlash" was in '65-'66.

3) I fart in your general direction.

1/05/2006 12:55 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...


Smort, smort, deblort.

Time will tell whether Sufjan is the next Dylan. I'm not sure what criteria you'd propose for establishing 'critical high ground.'

I actually have listened to the Illinois album -- in its entirety -- more than a dozen times. I just don't like it that much.

I don't think it sounds good. I think that the instrumentation is too cute by about half, and that where other people find song titles like "The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Going To Have To Leave Now, Or I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them" poignant, I find them pedantic and heavy-handed.

Likewise, lyrics like "Ancient hieroglyphic or the South Pacific/Typically terrific, busy and prolific/Classical devotion, architect promotion/ Lacking in emotion. Think about it now" and "Andrew Jackson, all I'm asking/Show us the wheel and give us the wine/Woohoo! Woohoo!/Raise the banner, Jackson hammer/Everyone goes to the capitol line/Woohoo! woohoo!/Colored preacher, nice to meet you!/The spirit is here and the spirit is fine!/Woohoo! Woohoo!/Education, ask the nation/You gave us our sight and the hearing is fine
Woohoo! woohoo!/Andrew Jackson all I'm asking/Give us the wheel and give us the wine" are, in my opinion, juvenile and simplistic. Formulaic, even.

I fail to see the genius. But I don't mind other people liking it. I just can't see how this is the best album of the year. I guess that's why they make more than one style of music.

At any rate, I was only being half-sarcastic. No, I don't like Sufjan's stuff that much. But I do think that, given your admiration of the young man's work, no Christmas collection from you would be complete without at least one of his tracks.

1/05/2006 1:17 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...


(Back atcha...)

1/05/2006 1:17 PM  
Blogger e said...

I understand why you don't enjoy Sufjan and I would never in a million years criticize you for that. I was mostly chiding your for being sarcastic. I also wanted real suggestions, since I would put only one Sufjan song on any forthcoming mix CD--"Chicago"--which I think is one of the better "redemption songs" out there.

I also want to make it clear that I agree with the majority of your assessment of the (at times) cutsy-ness and (at times) stupid or formulaic lyrics and pedantic titles. If that were everything that Sufjan was made of, I would also dislike him.

However, and I know I've already said this, he creates musical and lyrical "space" in his songs that I haven't heard in a long time. If you were to ask for examples, I'd have to write paragraphs, pages even, of chord transitions, layering instruments "just so", referencing extremely specific people and places in his songs to give each song a "sense of place". It's certainly much closer to 1970s poetry (thinking specifically of James Wright and even an Americanized Seamus Heaney) at times than 2005 rock music.

It's these intangibles that set him apart from most others out there, in my mind.

Probably something similar would happen if you and I were to get up in front of a group of people and sing a song. Technically, we'd probably be pretty close. But people would just shrug their shoulders and say, "I dunno--John just sounds better." Would you say that was an objective judgment? Probably not. But it might be a correct one.

1/06/2006 8:55 AM  
Blogger e said...

Furthermore--I really did want suggestions about what to put on this thing! Help me out, yous guys!

1/06/2006 8:55 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

you could put "hoppipolla" on a mix. but don't, someone already did, i think...

i've been thinking "gimme some salt" would sound good on a year-end mix. and "you are a runner" ends my latest mix.

oooh, you got the born to run box set? are you allowed to put re-releases on your list? cause "backstreets" rocks big time.

1/06/2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger Andy Whitman said...

Mix CDs usually get listened to in my car, and that's probably true for most folks, so I tend to avoid the headphones specials like Sigur Ros. With that in mind, here are some good, loud, industrial-strength 2005 tunes that can withstand the traffic noise.

-- New Pornographers -- Just about anything from "Twin Cinema," but I'm particularly partial to "Use It" and "Sing Me Spanish Techno."

-- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah -- "Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood"

-- James McMurtry -- "We Can't Make it Here"

-- Arcade Fire -- "Neighborhood #2 (Laika) (honorary 2004 inductee)

-- Son Volt -- "Bandages and Scars"

-- Neko Case -- "Loretta"

-- The Weakerthans -- "Plea from a Cat Named Virtue" (honorary 2003 inductee)

-- Ted Leo and the Pharmacists -- "Me and Mia"

-- Futureheads -- "Man Ray"

1/06/2006 12:06 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

For something laid-back and pretty, I'd go for "Jolene" by Ray Lamontagne. Beautiful.

1/09/2006 9:39 AM  

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