Thursday, February 17, 2011

Best of 2010 - 10-6

10. Peter Wolf – Midnight Souvenirs
This is the comeback of the year (decade?) award. Wolf’s had an inimitable energy since his days fronting the J. Geils Band (“Centerfold”, “Freeze Frame”). It’s like he’s approached rock stardom with a wink and a grin, like he realized early on not to take it all too seriously. Bless him for it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t make as much music these days, but Souvenirs is a classic bar band album of lived in cuts bathed in whisky and nicotine from a guy who’s been there and back and kept his sense of humor. He’s more rooster than wolf. In fact, he’s actually more peacock.
Nugget: "Tragedy"

9. Maximum Balloon – ST
This is basically a side-project for TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek to indulge in his mad professor-ness. Sitek handles production duties for TVOTR as well as other up-and-coming artists like Scarlett Johansson, and his style is layers upon layers of dense vibes and textures. You know a Sitek production when you hear one. Max Balloon is him turning knobs and twisting dials while a bunch of guests file through the booth making special appearances. Some of it is hip-hop, some of it is alternative, a lot of it sounds like a variation on Massive Attack. All of it kills.
Nugget: “Groove Me”

8. Cee Lo Green – The Ladykiller
Cee Lo has positioned himself as one of the most important artists active today. He’s written, possibly, the two best singles of the last 10 years, Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and last year’s “F**k You”. His mind is twisted, he’s neurotic and paranoid. He’s like the musical equivalent of a Richard Pryor stand-up routine of the 70s, airing his demons for all the world to see. And whether he’s rapping or singing (that voice is a gift from God) he’s cutting to the heart of the matter with a devilish grin. The little fat man is a mad genius. And Ladykiller is a near masterpiece.
Nugget: “F**k You”

7. Joe Elliot’s Down N Outz – My Regeneration
So, Joe Elliot, lead singer of Def Leppard, gets asked to open for a back-together, Mott the Hoople, one of his rock idols. This inspires him to throw together a covers album of some lesser known Mott nuggets as a tie-in to the show, and to indulge himself of, I’m sure, a lifelong dream of fronting his favorite band while turning the world on to them. Joe attacks the project with passion and teeth. He takes what were already long-forgotten glam rock classics and “regenerates” them for today’s audience. The best part is, you can tell how much fun he’s having and it’s contagious. If only we were all so lucky.
Nugget: “Golden Opportunity”

6. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid
How to describe Janelle Monae? I think of her as the modern day Prince. Her tastes run so wide and her abilities so limitless, it reminds you of when His Purpleness was at the heights of his uncontainable imagination during the 80s. There’s rock, r&b, jazz, opera, classical, all on the same album. And “album” is a key word here. There is no one song that defines who Janelle is. Over the course of 18 tracks, she morphs from one ArchAndroid to another, blowing minds along the way. She’s quietly setting a new standard of excellence. People will look back on this album for years to come and know “that’s when a shift was made”.
Nugget: "Tightrope"

1 comment:

lormandela said...

Love, love, LOVE Janelle Monae! She's so refreshingly different, and amazingly talented! (Found your blog, dude!)