Monday, December 7, 2015

Albums I didn't buy in 2015, plus some I still might

I took a good look back at my posts this past year, and after noting I had failed in my new year’s resolution to have and do more guest posts, I also noted that I had done only one album review this entire year. This is not a review blog, but just one review seems too few. I found this particularly strange because I tried out Apple’s streaming service for 3 months, so I was listening to more new music than I usually do. This year, as in the past several years, I also listened regularly to NPR’s Sound Opinions and All Songs Considered programs to get a handle on new music, so you might think that I would have responded to some of that music here on the blog, also.

In the end, though, I guess I didn’t have much to say about a lot of music that came out this year. I do try and set the bar high for myself, meaning that if I have something to say, I better say it well. Also, with some styles of music (such as hip-hop), I don’t feel like I have the expertise to really comment on it well.

In this post, I want to make some amends, and a mention is probably better than nothing. Instead of doing a top 10 albums or my biggest disappointments (like the Sounds Opinions annual Turkey Shoot), I’m just going to list some albums I listened to this year, divided into two groups: 1) albums I’m thinking about buying because I mostly enjoyed them, but didn’t have a lot to say about them (and obviously weren't so strong that I bought them right away) and 2) albums I’m not thinking about buying, meaning I seriously considered buying them, but ended up taking them off my wishlist after I listened to them. For the second group, I don’t think any of them are bad necessarily, but I didn’t think they were worth buying, either.

Albums I’m still thinking about buying:

  • Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and And Sometimes I Just Sit
  • Wilco: Star Wars (note: this was free, and I don’t regret downloading it)
  • Sufjan Stevens: Carrie and Lowell
  • Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love
Albums I’m not buying:
  • Churches: Every Open Eye - I loved their first album; I was excited by the first single for this album, too, but it was mostly a letdown. I may still buy that single.
  • The Decemberists: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World - I mean, it was okay, but none of the tracks really grabbed me.
  • Watkins Family Hour - I got excited about this when I saw their tiny desk concert (link), but the songs they did for that turned out to to be the only one good tracks on the album.
  • Joanna Newsom: Divers - I probably needed more time to get into it, but am not willing to put in that time.
  • Björk: Vulnicura - ditto.
  • Passion Pit: Kindred
  • Glen Hansard: Didn’t He Ramble
  • Rhiannon Giddens: Tomorrow is My Turn - My one #TweetReview for the year, which was not a positive one.
  • Joy Williams: VENUS - Definitely some good tracks, but not as strong as her Civil Wars records.
The best I album I discovered this year was actually Sarah Jarosz’s Build Me Up From Bones, which came out in 2013. It was actually an album that Amazon had repeatedly suggested to me until I gave up and listened to it and loved it.

What albums did you buy this year, or were thinking of buying but changed your mind later? Should I rethink any of my album decisions?

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