Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Soundtrack to a Warm Winter: #iPodAlbumPlaylist, December 2013



As the year ends, I begin a new method of recording my musical explorations. Since the spring, I've been rounding up #iPodAlbumPlaylists, groups of LPs I set up and then listened to over the course of weeks or months (you can keep track via this hashtag on Twitter). I'm no longer setting up these playlists ahead of time, but rather choosing what album I want to listen to at a given moment - and at the end of each month I'll round up the results. Here's what I listened to in December, limited by the absence of headphones for several weeks and a Christmas song playlist that occupied my earspace around the holidays. Next month there will probably be more titles here. As before, I've included covers, basic info, and favorite tracks with a link to the track itself, if available online.



The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972) - David Bowie
Favorite track: "Lady Stardust"

Moondance (1970) - Van Morrison
Favorite track: "Crazy Love" (no video)

Abbey Road (1969) - The Beatles
Favorite track: "The End"

The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968) - The Kinks
Favorite track: "Big Sky"

Let It Bleed (1969) - The Rolling Stones
Favorite track: "Gimme Shelter"

Revolver (1966) - The Beatles
Favorite track: "Eleanor Rigby"

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993) - Wu-Tang Clan
Favorite track: "Shame on a Nigga"

Meat is Murder (1985) - The Smiths
Favorite track: "The Headmaster Ritual"

Parklife (1994) - Blur
Favorite track: "To the End"

What's Going On (1971) - Marvin Gaye
Favorite track: "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)"

Heroes (1977) - David Bowie
Favorite track: "Heroes"

Between the Buttons (1967) - The Rolling Stones
Favorite track: "Something Happened to Me Yesterday"

Kilimanjaro (1980) - The Teardrop Explodes
Favorite track: "Poppies in the Field" (no video)

Physical Graffiti (1975) - Led Zeppelin
Favorite track: "In the Light"

The Smiths (1984) - The Smiths
Favorite track: "What Difference Does It Make?"

Sound Sun Pleasure!! (recorded 1959) - Sun Ra
Favorite track: "Hour of Parting"

4 comments:

Mike said...

Cool roundup, lots of big albums that are on my radar but I haven't actually listened to (yet). I have listened to two of them though. Take a wild guess which ones...

Enter the 36 Chambers- This album has become so ingrained in my daily listening whether it be on my workout playlist or just songs that come up on shuffle for years now that I kinda take for granted the fact that it might just be the greatest hip-hop album of all time. Every song is unique and essential. Shame on a Nigga is an interesting pick, for me that's actually in the bottom half if I had to rank the songs (but they're all still great). C.R.E.A.M., Da Mystery of Chessboxin, Bring the Ruckus, Protect Ya Neck and Tearz are my favorites.

What's Going On- Love it. Some painful moments (Save the babies!) but otherwise a beautiful and sincere cry for peace through music. The title track for me is tops, Inner City Blues is right behind.

Random, but I made my own playlist of my favorite songs I heard for the first time in 2013. No limit to how many songs per artist but one song per album (I'm more of an album oriented listener anyways). I put an asterisk next to songs that actually came out in 2013. Have you heard any of these?

Autre Ne Veut- Play by Play * (Only discovered this recently, but wow. I think you'll either love it or hate it.)
Björk- Big Time Sensuality
Björk- Hyperballad (I gotta say man, thanks for getting me into this! Yeah, the first time I heard this song was watching the video for it which was on your favorite short films list a few months ago, which sent me on a Björk-listening spree. If I heard it earlier in the year, it probably would have been my most played song of the year. Just amazing.)
Björk- All is Full of Love
Black Moon- I Gotcha Open
Cannibal Ox- Iron Galaxy
Curtis Mayfield- Move on Up
De La Soul- Eye Know
De La Soul- Sunshine
Drake- Wu-Tang Forever *
Freddie Gibbs- The Real G Money *
Ghostface Killah- The Soul Controller
Godspeed You! Black Emperor- Storm (Wasn't on my actual playlist because it's 20 minutes long, but noteworthy nonetheless)
Ice Cube- You Can't Fade Me
J Dilla- Time: The Donut of the Heart
John Coltrane- Moment's Notice
John Coltrane- Naima
John Coltrane- A Love Supreme Part 1
Jungle Brothers- What U Waitin 4 (My most played song of 2013. If you like colorful dance/pop hip-hop this is your jam.)
KA- I'm Ready * (Best actual 2013 release IMO)
Kanye West- Black Skinhead *
Killer Mike & El-P- Job Well Done *
Kool G Rap- Two to the Head
Madvillain- All Caps
Marvin Gaye- What's Going On (My most played non hip-hip song of 2013)
Marvin Gaye- Let's Get it On
Miles Davis- Flamenco Sketches
Nick Drake- Way to Blue
Public Enemy- Brothers Gonna Work it Out (Even if you don't like Public Enemy, check this song out. This is perhaps their finest achievement.)
Redman- Pick it Up
The Roots- Respond/React
Scarface- No Tears
Stevie Wonder- Love's in Need of Love Today
A Tribe Called Quest- Can I Kick It?

Joel Bocko said...

Great comment - I know some of these songs but a lot of them no. But you've inspired me - when I get home maybe I'll transpose my own most-played songs too (although I'll have to estimate because the play counts will reflect since summer 2011 when I got my present iPod). As for recent music I'm completely out of the loop there - I don't think I have any albums produced post-2007 (except an Amy Wonehouse posthumous compilation). I've missed a lot of noteworthy Kanye stuff in particular.

Mike said...

I'm not a big fan of Kanye overall, there is much more to contemporary hip-hop than him and it's disappointing to me that many critics heap praise on him endlessly inflating his monster ego while ignoring other praiseworthy acts. Yeezus was a frustrating listen with a few big highlights (Black Skinhead being the biggest) and some interesting beats but I can't say it's up to par with his earlier efforts. Drake is probably my favorite current mainstream rapper, followed by Danny Brown if you could call him "mainstream".

Oh and to be clear this is a list of my favorite songs I heard for the first time in 2013, not the most played, although obviously there would be many correlations between the two lists. If I did create the latter list it would feature a few re-discoveries like Mobb Deep and A Tribe Called Quest which received heavy spins last year from me. Also a favorite list is more subjective so I took some liberties when deciding which song from a certain album to pick. I'd be very interested to see a list of the sort from you.

Joel Bocko said...

Due many of my co-workers, I'm a little more aware of current hip-hop than I've been in years but mostly just a name basis, not having listened to much of it (I have heard Danny Brown though).

I was gonna follow through and show the tracks I listened to the most in 2013, but as I scroll through the top 40 or 50 most-played songs on my iPod I realize most are songs I began listening to heavily in 2011 or 2012. As these posts demonstrate, 2013 was more a year of albums than individual tracks. That said, I made a playlist using the "favorite track" I tweeted/blogged after each album on the #iPodAlbumPlaylist. Here are some of the songs that stuck out to me from that playlist:

"Avalon" (Roxy Music, Avalon)
"Choronzon" (Tangerine Dream, Exit)
"Valerie ['68 Version]" (Amy Winehouse, Lioness)
"Only You" (Portishead, Portishead)
"Neon Lights" (Kraftwerk, The Man Machine)
"Hour of Parting" (Sun Ra, Sound Sun Pleasure!!)
"Suicide Bomb" (Primal Scream, Beautiful Future)
"Passing me By" (The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde)
"Right Where It Belongs" (Nine Inch Nails)
"Run" (Air, Talkie-Walkie)
"Walking On Air" (King Crimson,
"Autobahn" (Kraftwerk, Autobahn)
"Brooklyn Zoo" (Ol' Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers)
"Your Silent Face" (New Order, Power Corruption and Lies)

plus "Take a Chance With Me", "Tara", "India", and "True to Life" from Avalon by Roxy Music, which was definitely my album of the year in terms of repeat listens or number of songs regularly dipped into.

Also "More than Distance" which was a bonus track (originally a stand-alone single) on Telex's Neurovision, thus not eligible as a "favorite track" from that album but definitely my favorite from that artist. I also really liked Giftgas by Throbbing Gristle.

Incidentally, I don't believe my play count on my iPod (I know for a fact that sometimes it won't register a play if I pause the track near the end of the song). For one thing, it says I've only listened to Keep Ya Head Up only twice in 2 1/2 years which seems entirely impossible.