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THE TOP 38 ALBUMS OF 2014

Hello, and welcome to the 2014 Year End Music Extravaganza!!!  This year, we've got three blogs instead of two, because last year I had a meltdown.  But fear not, consumer!  Our stark-ravings have turned into your savings!  2013's album list can be read right here, and The Top 20 Songs Of 2014 can be read right here.

So, coming off a year last year that had me doubting my interest in writing and music in their entireties, how did we do this year?  Well, music is pretty fucking weak, to be honest.  Impressively enough, there is something good I can say about every entry on this list, and that's never happened before, but that's also part of the problem.  The distance between the top and the bottom entries in quality has never been so small, and therefore everything kinda averages out.  It was an average quality year.  Couple that with a dismal year for quantity (I can make a top 40 out of every year going back to the 80's if I wanted to, with the possible exception …

The Top 20 Songs Of 2014

This was actually a pretty weird year for songs.  I could've subtitled this "The St. Vincent Show", because, lo and behold, she has SIX entries on this list.  SIX.  Her album only has 11 songs.  That's fucknuts.  Animals As Leaders has four.  There have been nine acts that have notched three before now, but both of these are record breakers.  (For the record, they were: 2013: Janelle Monae, 2012: Death Penis, although if you count me as an artist, I'd get four that year since I'm part of The GV Crew too, 2011: Company Of Thieves (God, I miss that band...), 2010: Gorillaz, 2009: Spiral Trance and Method Man & Redman, 2008: Meshuggah, Busta Rhymes and, unbelievable but true, Ashlee Simpson.)  Shit, Skrillex is on here three times, and that ain't shit.

Anyway, it's been a weird year.  (Another bizarre stat is that neither the album I picked for number one OR number two are represented on this countdown.  Let the rampant speculation begin...)  I figur…

COUNTDOWN ABORTED: A Look Back At 2013's Top Albums Countdown, And Why I Didn't Write It

Last year, I went to write my annual "Albums Of The Year" list, and something...happened.  Reading back the diatribe I posted in its place, I caught a faint whiff, a reminiscence of the anxiety I felt at the time.  I went back there for a second, and holy shit was it unpleasant.  I feel justified for having did what I did.  I was more burnt out on not just music but writing itself than I'd ever been in my life.  Why should I write a long, 10 page essay about music?  (In fact, I thought about quitting writing altogether.)

I've since come to realize: I don't hate writing.  I just hate my college major.  I wish I'd realized that before it was too late to switch, but c'est la vie.  That's one of the main reasons there's been a major drop-off in the amount of content on this blog.  (The other being too busy writing bullshit for J.A.M.S.  Yes, I major in something called J.A.M.S., and my institution of higher learning has managed to suck all the fun out…

MIX-TASTIC: "The Last Shall Be First" & "The First Shall Be Last"

Recently, I started jotting down ideas for a new mix, and wound up with more than enough songs.  Instead of cutting down the list, I broke it in two and here we are.  Each mix is almost exactly eighty minutes and has sixteen songs.  They're a little on the downtempo side, but that serves to make the impactful moments more so.  Check 'em out:

Okay, Who Else Gives A Shit? Really? Okay, More Music Reviews.

Bette Midler "It's The Girls"

Still has a good voice, but sings the standards in an unremarkable way.  Next!



Azealia Banks "Broke With Expensive Taste" 1/2 *

Okay, I said last time that I missed albums poorly made and shittily executed, and here we are a mere blog entry later and YAY!  We found the suck!  If early 90's B-Movie Hip-Hop was a genre, it would be this album!  It's really lame, but not in the same way as everyone else, so I'll give her half a point for trying something different!  (But DAMN is this record crap!)



Tenth Avenue North "Cathedrals"

The same as every Christian rock band from the last...ten years?  So hard to hear uniqueness in this genre.  I don't have a problem with wanting to say something you believe in with your music.  I just don't like lame soft rock.  Later.



The New Basement Tapes "Lost On The River" [NEGATIVE 1 STAR]

Just like any other indie folk thing you care to mention, but somehow more so.…

Who Gives A Shit? Nobody. But Nonetheless...Music Reviews.

Foo Fighters "Sonic Highways" ** and 1/2

Sounds like any other classic rock band putting out an album now.  Which is crazy, since they're from the 90's, but we're all getting older, aren't we?  But for real, they have the aesthetic of a classic rock band down, reminiscent of something between AC/DC and the Night Flight Orchestra (a band that sounds like the 70's on purpose).  It's easily the best Foo Fighters I've heard in awhile, but that's not saying much since I checked out after "The Color And The Shape".  The most I can say is that the album doesn't suck, and the songs at least feel a little substantive.  It's not my trip, but it sounds like perfectly serviceable rock music, and not rock muzak.  The thing it's missing the most, however is a memorable song, being the only Foo Fighters track I can name since 2002 is "The Pretender".  Kind of a problem.



Pink Floyd "The Endless River"

This some pretty …

Dude, You've Gotta, Like...FEEL The Piano...WHOOAAAA....

Notes taken from a class about how Body Image is portrayed in film, in this case the movie "The Piano":

[The idea the teacher in this class put forth is that seeing an image would evoke the same sensory response as actually feeing the thing you see.  Which got me thinking...]

Okay.  So, the teacher sees the piano and "feels" the wood.  It evokes that in him, but it does nothing for me.  I can experience the sensation if I stare at the piano and consciously call up the memory of brushing my hand on smooth wood, but it doesn't evoke the feeling in me.

I'm starting to understand what the instructor is getting at, but still have little idea what this has to do with body image.  Also, it took two whole class periods to get to this infinitesimal level of understanding.  (Hell, at least it got me writing again.)   (Though if you go further with this kinda thing, it does make for different ways to watch movies.  Especially bullshit arthouse claptrap like this.)

If …

20,000 PAGEVIEWS (WOO HOO!!!)

Thank you for hitting me up 20,000 times, internet!  To celebrate, here's some fucked up shit that I found when I searched for "20,000", "20K" and "Twenty thousand":

Pictures:









Videos:





Further Reading:

The Wikipedia entry on 20,000:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20000_%28number%29



RANDOM BULLSHIT!: Pop Culture Observations

A few rapid fires for ya:

Whoever came up with the billboards on the South side of Milwaukee saying "OMG! Support Your Local Business" needs to go shoot their self(ie).

Fox Sports one promotes new interview...deal called "1-On-1"; promo graphic has three people in it.

I'll admit, The Rock's return, his subsequent promo w/ Triple H and Cena's marked heelishness have me intrigued, but what else happened on that episode of Monday Night Raw?  A Bella won a match with her hand tied behind her back and a tiny man in a bull costume wrestled a tiny man in an alligator costume.  Add that together with commercials and we're talkin' about an hour.  Raw is three hours long.  What happened during the other two?  Nothing anyone remembers.

Anyone else see the commercial for Mulaney and think "Mul-Cancelled"?  Watch the trailer and see what I mean:





Now I've got to solve the internal debate on whether I'll live blog the episodes of Matlock CBS …

THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets XXV-XXVIII, Third Round (Matches 589-596)

This is, unfortunately, a bit of a one-off.  I wrote these brackets sometime in July, and was waiting to write more and gain momentum before posting.  But finding time to post blog entries of any kind is going to be damn-near impossible for the foreseeable future.  I'll still throw something up from time to time (like this), but don't expect me to finish this tournament any time before Summerslam 2015.  I do hope you enjoy these eight matches that will never happen.  They're pretty interesting:

BRACKET XXV, Third Round (Matches 589 & 590):



Edge VS George Hackenschmidt
Oh how I love a contrast of styles.  Edge made his bread in TLC matches and as the opportunistic character he was, used two Money In The Bank cases and a relationship with SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero to win the bulk of his 11 world titles.  He was fast, impactful (with moves like the Edgecution, Impaler DDT and of course the Spear) and he used psychology over substance at times.  George Hackenschmidt was j…