08/12/2013 - My albums of the year
By Master P Filth
1. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
I didn't really like Daft Punk before this year. Then Get Lucky happened.
I spent this summer listening to Random Access Memories from beginning to end without skipping. If you wanted me, I was to be found shouting "TOUCH!" at bewildered passers by at Maltby Street market. Or discussing in intricate detail the drum sound directly before the chorus on Instant Crush while driving to Porthmadog. Or dancing away a nightshift at Sky to Get Lucky. Or chopping onions to Giorgio by Moroder.
Then, whenever the album got to the end, I would think about changing the disc, dismiss the idea as nonsense, and just let the entire thing play again. The last album I did with that was My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West. Speaking of whom...
2. Kanye West - Yeezus
Finding his critical stock at a record high, on this record Kanye seems to have said to himself: "They think they like me? I'LL SHOW THEM." Consequently, a lot of this album is pretty disgusting, full of skronking electronic farting noises, rank misogyny, casual racism, dreadful jokes and lots and lots of semen. (Seriously, he ejaculates A LOT on this record). However, Kanye being Kanye, he can't help but put enough incredible stuff in there to keep it interesting for himself, and consequently us as well. The first four tracks are the most exciting 15 minutes of music released this year. There's a couple of stinkers towards the end, but mainly, it's a punk triumph and another completely fascinating instalment in The Continuing Saga of Yeezy.
3. William Onyeabor – Who Is William Onyeabor?
It’s almost as if William Onyeabor was created precisely to appeal to music snobs like me. Just check out his back story, which I have copy and pasted from Wikipedia. He is a funk musician from Nigeria who self-released eight albums between 1978 and 1985 and then became a born-again Christian, refusing ever to speak about himself or his music again. Reports suggest he still lives in Nigeria as a businessman working on government contracts and running his own flour mill. Obviously, that would be good enough for me on its own, but fortunately the music is completely properly fantastic as well. If William Onyeabor doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you clearly have no face.
4. Arctic Monkeys - AM
Fusions of rock and hip hop rarely work out well for anyone involved (See: nu-metal), but here the Arctic Monkeys actually, genuinely managed it. Go and listen the bridge of Why Do You Only Call Me When You're High, or the second half of Knee Socks, you'll see what I mean. As well as achieving this unlikely victory, the Arctic Monkeys also found time to write some other good songs and put them all together in the right order. Well done, "lads".
5. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
Vampire Weekend pulled a similar trick to the Arctics, by writing at least four great songs, and a load of others that were almost as good, then putting them in an order that hung together well and calling it an album. Considering it's that easy, I have no idea why more indie bands don't adopt this policy. (In case you're wondering, the good songs are Step, Diane Young, Hannah Hunt and Ya Hey, which is literally addressed to God and is one of those songs that I find profoundly moving despite not really understanding a word of it)
6. Mogwai - Les Revenants OST
The soundtrack to the best TV programme I saw this year that wasn’t Sharpe on DVD, post-modern French zombie thriller The Returned. For extra thrills, why not try driving from Inverness to Ullapool in the pissing rain with this blasting out? It’s the most terrifying thing I did this year.
7. Hookworms - Pearl Mystic
I once set my own hand on fire with petrol in the presence of the bassist from Hookworms. This fact is not very relevant to the record in question, other than to show off about vaguely knowing someone in a hip new band. Having vaguely known quite a few people who have made records, I find the problem with people that you vaguely know making records is that they’re usually rubbish, but then you have to pretend to like them. The problem with this record is that I have to disguise how much I like it for fear of coming across as a mad stalker type.
8. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
The best thing to do with this album is skip straight to Mirrors and play that eight times in a row. The worst thing to do with this album is play any of the other songs on it. The fact that the song Mirrors eight times in a row constitutes my eighth favourite album of the year should hopefully begin to convey to you how much I enjoy the song Mirrors.
9. Superchunk – I Hate Music
Melodic, intelligent, power chord-fuelled pop-punk. If you don’t like those things, we can’t be friends.
I only did nine, as none of the other records I bought this year have been good enough to warrant an especially glowing recommendation. Especially not that Savages record, however much I tried to like it.