Tag Archives: album

Keeping Score is Losing (even if you’re morally superior)

27 Jan

Letter to the Past-

I think this song pairs well with the story in the first song. The narrator [Brandi?] says it’s [love? life?] is a game. And admits the partner is right. BUT even so, nobody is winning when everyone is negative and holding grudges.

In this song, our troubled main character puts it all out there. Brandi sings she is usually losing, but wins sometimes. Our narrator asks her lover to look at the bigger picture, open up their mind and also be more authentic instead of always trying to show a tough face. Because loving someone while keeping score is still kind of losing, even if you’re morally right. We all die one day, and nobody looks at the score. So the narrator asks the partner to stop trying to keep score, as it’s actually hurting themself in the end, they are becoming fatigued and sore.

This song is beautiful, with soulful singing and lots of emotion.

The chorus really bothers me though! The following comparison, in my opinion, is bad writing: The narrator is saying the partner is like a Stone wall (intentional call-back to start of gay-movement location? but stable, grounded, always there, strong). But it’s not a good comparison to rubber-bands (flexible? Stretched too thin?). It’s just two random objects being compared. I think the writing could have been better.

Anyway, the last line, “you’re built to last” I’m almost certain that’s the slogan of a car manufacturer-Ford? I cannot take the song seriously when it ends in a commercial jingle!

This song is not my favorite, but continues to peek into this couple’s psyche to see what is wrong, why they got there, and if there is a desire on both parts to repair it.

Brandi Carlile’s Broken Horses-My Take

25 Jan

Broken Horses-

Is the best singing on the album. Brandi told Rolling Stone podcast that she didn’t want to look like she was just singing so strongly like this to show off. I say, there should be MORE belting the eff out. And less apologizing for showcasing talent. Show. the fuck. off, Brandi! Jesus the scream-note. Because I love the singing so much and think this is the best song (vocally) on this album, and towards the top in her catalogue, I honestly didn’t attend to the lyrics for the first 100 listens.

Wearing something inside your skin is quite the imagery. Brandi is telling us that leather (tough, of-nature, yet soft, versatile) was passed down from her father to her. And it’s not just something she can take off–the leather inside the skin is deeply ingrained. I don’t know who “you” is in this song. I don’t think it’s the partner referenced in the prior songs. Brandi insinuates this person somehow attacks her. I think the Sunday best means someone in a church, or someone really phony who uses their dress and manner to hide their sinister intentions. Telling that person they had better call their priest shows me maybe it’s someone in the congregation (from her denied-Baptism story?) telling Brandi she doesn’t belong?

Brandi says she has also worn the jester’s bells (funny, silly, clownish, naïve?). And she worshiped at the alter of a puppet-master. I think this means a religious leader had an expectation their congregation would be mindless and under his(?) total control without thought or push-back. Then, Brandi compares religion to a play or show. She says, being a puppet for an authoritarian minister was not fulfilling. Brandi blames this minister for a more superficial, experience. When under this preacher’s guidance, she held back her true words, and the result of that was her children are in the cheap seats (far back, more distractions, not as good, worse) and got a worse big event (religious understanding or experience, going back to reality).

I feel like the book would enlighten me to the meaning of the chorus. [Right now Cool is reading it, while I finish a book I had already started. I’ll read Brandi’s when she’s done]. But Cool did tell me Brandi said she’s not talking about “breaking” a horse to ride here. Tethered in open spaces is feeling tied down, being restrained but seeing huge possibility. If you’re spiritually restrained or holding back your true self in a big, wide world would feel smothering. The horse and the subdued person would both want to escape, run free, be more authentic to their nature.

Right into the barrel of a gun. I’m not sure where the gun comes from . Is someone aggressing? Is it suicide ideology? This could mean, when the person holds back so much that they are missing out that they don’t want to continue on that way. Because life lived in a closed way, isn’t even worth living? Or they’re so frustrated, yet trapped and they don’t know how to gain freedom? Or it could be the cowboy (or captor, person making them feel so trapped) that holds the gun to keep the horse/person within their control. If they escape, run, open up–they will be punished.

Mending up YOUR fences with MY horses runnin’ wild seems like some sort of compromise. Brandi says her inner self is running wild (the horses are untied and galloping through the field) but she’s careful too. She’s fixing the break in the fence that allowed that momentary freedom. She is reigning it back in, checking herself. Brandi helps keep herself tethered by fixing the fence that traps her and makes her so unhappy. Now, it’s not just the person with the gun keeping her (emotions) tied up and hidden, it’s Brandi (the horses) herself capitulating.

The 3rd verse reinforces this. Brandi says she treaded softly (walked on eggshells, tried to “behave”) to get this other person’s praise. This other person doesn’t like Brandi as she is, they want her to be less wild. As such Brandi doesn’t shout loudly or stomp or act out–she whispers through tears and begs sweetly. At the end, Brandi says, enough with this shit, it’s not me. I’m not going to reign it in and be tethered to please you any longer. She says she allowed this for a long time, but it’s not what she wants for her children. She tells this “you” enough.

Like I said, not having read the book, I think I’m at a bit of a disadvantage to analyze the song. But I get the impression “you” isn’t the same you as the romantic partner in the prior songs on the album. I think this may relate to the story I’ve heard Brandi tell in concert, and in many interviews about the pastor who wouldn’t baptize her. That traumatized her and she’s saying she played along and acted “good” for long enough. She wants to be more her authentic self, despite criticism from the church.

2022 Music Statistics

21 Jan

Unfortunately for statistical accuracy, I used a pad for over half the year, and it was a shared device so it wasn’t under my username. Then my phone died and I had to switch to an older phone. So this is not accurate at all, but it fits the vibe of 2022 (ruined) so I’m posting it so I can look back at it in the future.

Most popular artists this year (on this device and username):

Taylor Swift led this year, followed by MY MATE ManiK Fox. Check out her music on Spotify or Apple–I think it’s on all the platforms. ManiK Fox. After that was Kelly Clarkson and Brandi with their pipes. Young the Giant was 5th on this device, feisty Miranda Lambert 6th, and album of the year winner, Amy Ray 7th on this device:

Most listened to albums (on this device):

Popular Songs:

I really hope Katie Pruitt puts out some more music soon, I was enjoying listening to her a lot after we discovered her at Brandi’s concert. You can tell the stats are skewed because a lot of Christmas music is showing up even though I really don’t listen to it much, and never outside of December.

Question… Taylor Keeps Repeating the Same Old Pattern that Ultimately Makes her Miserable [Part 14]

12 Dec

Taylor wins the pronoun game.  I’m not even going to try to untangle the speaker/recipient/changing characters in this song.  It was written so convoluted that I haven’t even seen a satisfactory answer to this yet.  Instead, I took lyric snippets from other songs featuring the same word, to get a feeling about Taylor’s sentiment and even subject. Don’t get overwhelmed with the length of this post.  The word I’m trying to point-out from Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

I was going along the lyrics of Question… in the order Taylor wrote them. But I have one small piece that fits best with this entry, but if I put it at the end, it ruins the flow. So just here I’m going to mix the Question… lyrics to make my analysis have the arc I want it to.

Can I ask you a question?

Did you ever have someone kiss you in a crowded room?

And every single one of your friends was making fun of you

Make fun:

Gorgeous

We already know from Enchanted that Taylor enjoys conversation and banter, and I’d bet that this making fun of the way someone talks is part of that. Taylor is enamored with this cool, Gorgeous person in the song. And she’s magnetized to the (gal. We’re going with female because I don’t think guys are really called gorgeous) despite Taylor’s “boyfriend” that she doesn’t care what he’s doing.

I just may like to have a conversation

Conversation:

Enchanted

stay beautiful

holy ground

end game

other side of the door

sad, beautiful, tragic

I think it’s safe to say that one of, if not the primary, love languages for Taylor is communication.  And it makes sense since she’s obviously a lover of words.  These songs convey how witty repartee is a necessary part of wooing Taylor Swift.  Enchanted mentions a physical attraction, but the banter is what really gets Taylor going.  She thinks about this person all the way home and wonders if they’re single, or if they even date women (“who do you love?”).  Taylor reiterates communication is key in Stay Beautiful, where talking to this person is the highlight of Taylor’s day.  It makes her nervous, and even though this person takes her breath away she finds it difficult to talk.  

Holy Ground tells about a mutual understanding between two people.  There is an unspoken familiarity that helps each individual put everything else aside to enjoy being unexpectedly captivated. They don’t require banter, because they are already close from the beginning.  And it’s the first time Taylor feels love (vs. comp-het).  She has something to lose because she actually has real feelings.

But, but, but Taylor’s career and people’s perception of her is never far from her mind.  Even when she’s swept away by the strongest desires for women, she is still worried about judgment.  End Game describes how the body is gold, the eyes make her drunk on love, and this person has captured her very soul.  But at the same time Taylor can’t forget all the drama and how her reputation suffered.  Taylor knows if she dated a woman it would be a big conversation, and a lot of negative reactions.

The pain of closeting and not pursuing the one you love out of fear of social rejection is spelled out in On the Other Side of the Door.  Taylor tells white lies to protect herself from being outed.  But as will be the case throughout her love life, those lies break down the relationship.  Taylor needs this person in the little black dress, but pushes her away out of self-preservation and fear.  And when the gal actually leaves instead of throwing pebbles at Taylor’s window, Taylor cries.  Her early romances ended nearly the same as her current romance has ended.  Taylor loves, but in secret.  The partner doesn’t like the pain of being in the closet.  Taylor fears for her image and how that might hurt her career, so she pushes her lover away, despite wanting to hold onto them.  Then, Taylor is left alone and sad. 

It’s a pattern Taylor has repeated over and over, and Question… is a song about that habitual reaction to fear of being outed.

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Seriously Saying Something [Songs Ranked 9-1]

7 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math or the quantitative stuff):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.
Ok, Weezer is really messing up my ranking because they aren’t releasing their fourth installment of this concept album until December 21.  I told me I would only rank my A+ favorites after October 21st.  I had to finish the countdown by the time Midnights dropped so I could focus on that.  And I like to post this prior to Christmas on the first week of December, while anybody is still paying attention to things aside from the holiday.  BUT I have ranked ¾ of Weezer’s material.  I might stop if it had been mediocre and toward the bottom since it wouldn’t make that much of a difference if they were 35th place rather than 39th, for example.  But they are nudging the top spot without 7 more songs!  So what I’m going to do is post this with them in their mathematical position, but then edit to include Winter in late December, which may change up the whole top of the list…

From Lowest to Highest:

9.

Lissie: 83.33% + 32.5 = 115.83 Final

10 of 12 total songs = 83.33%

2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

8+3.5+21 = 32.5

Sad- angsty. Bitter song! Catchy. Gr

Lonesome Wine- personal. G 

Night Moves- catchy. Sounds like Stevie Nicks. G

Flowers- self permission for emotion after a breakup. G.

Carving Canyons- deep! Descriptive. G.

I Hate This- autopsy of relationship. Regret. Breakup feels. Feeling. G 

Unlock the Chains- Inspired by Fleetwood Mac but original and not a copycat. Lyrics. Catchy. Gr.

Heart’s on Fire- Adult contemporary soft rock sound.  G.

Yellow Rose- backing sounds like Lord Huron, a little cowboy. G.

Midnight- good ending song for emotion after a breakup and for the album. Cohesive album. Tells full story. Notes. Brass. G-Gr

8.

Avril Lavigne: 75% + 41 = 116 Final

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

1 Elite awesome 6; 3 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Good 3

6+15+9+8+3 = 41

This was such an exciting album!  I really, really thought it would take album of the year, because I liked it so much, all throughout 2022.  It dropped very early, and I listened so many times and never tired of it. For treadmilling, it’s perfect. It reminds me of her first album, still edgy, but an adult. Nothing seemed forced or disengenuine and it’s so great to hear pop-punk rock again! I hope Avril stays right in this very genre and does more of this. I LOVED this album. But also, numbers don’t lie, it’s fair and square eigth.

Cannonball- Such a high energy opener! Always gets stuck in my head. Good beat. Great example of pop-punk. Elite-A.

Bite Me- Tough girl. Talking shit to ex-loser. Catchy. Gr-A.

Love Sux- bitter song. I love that she holds HIM accountable but still acknowledges her hurt. More edgy version of Avril is back and I’m happy to hear it. A.

Avalanche- more of a vulnerable song. Touches on mental illness. Always stuck in my head. A.

Deja vu- Relatable song about someone doing the same garbage over and over and the girlfriend getting tired of it. Bitter song! A.

FU- Frustration of talking to someone you can’t get through to no matter what. Realizing you can’t change someone. Gr.

All I Wanted – They sound perfect together. Just a touch of that late 90s CA pop-punk. Gr-A

Dare to Love Me- Quiet song. Strong singing. G.

Break of a Heartache- ends album on an upbeat note. Says she’s tired of hurting.  Gr.

7.

Michelle Branch: 90%+30.5 = 120.5 Final

9 of 10 total songs = 90%

1 Elite awesome 6; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

6+3.5+21 = 30.5

Who knew?! I liked her (overplayed) stuff in my younger years, and really, really liked her side project the Wreckers. I didn’t know where she went, but Michelle is back. And she’s speaking up. I love how she addresses real issues, yet keeps the songs themselves light and catchy.

Beating on the Outside- jarring opening line. Sex and marriage. Snippets of guitar sound good. G.

Closest thing to heaven- swirling guitar. G.

You got me where you want me- cello. Beautiful. Descriptive. G-Gr.

I’m a Man- I like how straightforward and blatant. Abortion rights. Why men are problematic. First notes get me pumped up! Elite awesome.

I’m sorry- the backing music increases intensity. Instrumental bridge. G.

Not My Lover- sounds like band Garbage. G.

When that somebody is you- quiet. Introspective. G.

You get me- adult contemporary. G

Zut! Alors- G.

6.5

Brandi Carlile:  90.91%+36 = 126.91 Final

10 of 11 total songs = 90.91%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

4.5+12+10.5+9 = 36

Doesn’t count?

You already saw my disclaimer at the start of every ranking. I am not here for the money grab. Same songs but acoustic. IG just gave both same time same price. Don’t like $18 for the same stuff. I need to have a talk to the Grammys about album sales. She’s not the only one, but it $ucks all the same. But yet.. that VOICE. Brandi has the chops and knows how to use them. And I appreciate that the twins are featured more prominently in the acoustics. Brandi should know that the band can rock and harmonize since she was basically the third Indigo Girl for years. But alas, this is good, just not fair to fans.

Right on Time- stripped down. Focus on harmonies. More twin involvement is good. They took out everything that made the song excellent. Touch of western on the instrumental brought it up a notch. G-Gr.

You and me on the Rock- pretty harmonies. Quiet. Nobody can compare to Brandi’s singing I would just have had Catherine sing with her bc her voice is thin by itself. G.

This time tomorrow- I don’t like when they change key or whatever for a song I’m familiar with. It always sounds off to me. Nice piano and harmony though. Instruments bring a fullness that wasn’t in the original. G-Gr.

Broken Horses- not as punchy. Not as impactful. Not THE scream-note. Doesn’t make the cut.

Letter to the Past- nice harmonies. Good that the twins are heavily featured. Like the different instruments on short interlude. More western. G-Gr 

Mama Werewolf- love the bridge – angelic. Harmony sounds good. Piano brings a seriousness to it.  She took out high notes unnecessarily, making the vocals a little worse. G

When you’re wrong- wish that the rocking versions also featured more twin harmonies. Piano is nice. Cello is star. Singing is haunting. Gr-A.

Stay gentle- swelling strings. Should have been in the original version. Gr.

Sinners Saints and Fools- dropped from elite awesome to excellent. Still great, but the other version is whoa. Lyrics more easily heard here. Gr.

Throwing good after Bad- nice harmonies. G.

Space Oddity- God. She has such a voice. She can make anything sound good. Gr.

6.

Miranda Lambert: 80% + 47.5 = 127.5 Final

12 of 15 total songs = 80%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

6+10+9+10.5+12 = 47.5

I thought this album might win. I love how cheeky and feisty Miranda always is in her songs. She really brought in with this album and it was a fun, yet sincere set of cohesive songs. The cowgirl vibe and outlaw mentality add a lot and seem totally apt for the singer. Miranda always does her best to shake up the boys’ club that is the country music industry, and I appreciate her always putting herself out there. More. Like. This. Please!

Actin Up- I like a cheeky song. Also liked the state call-outs . G

Scenes- catchy. Gritty sound puts you in the gritty travel that is living on the road. G-Gr.

Carousel- emotional. G.

I’ll be lovn you – catchy. Piano. Gr-A 

If I was a cowboy- gender bender. Feisty. G-Gr 

Country money- fun. Sassy. Is that Gwen Stefani’s voice at the end? G.

Geraldine – Lambert’s take on Jolene is one of my favorite songs of the year! Elite awesome

Music City Queen- probably the best featured artist of the year. The B52s fit the vibe of the song and make their presence known without overwhelming the song. Catchy. A.

Pursuit of happiness- empowering. Hopeful. G-Gr.

Strange- catchy . She is not specific about the problems that cause these strange feelings , but in this year 2022 we can guess the COVID/quarantine &/ politics. I like how she gives suggestions for letting loose and being easy on yourself during these odd times. A.

Wandering spirit -. The begging is low- and quiet then the backing instruments and choir come in on the wandering spirit part. Sounds full and conveys cowgirl to match the cover art. Gr-A.

Waxahatchee- G.

5.

Weezer-Summer: 100% + 28.5 = 128.5 Final

7 out of 7 total tracks = 100%

1 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

5+9+8+3.5+3 = 28.5

Lawn Chair- strings sound orchestral and lovely. Adds a beat. Lyrics are jarring compared to instruments. Gr.

Records- electric guitar is great. Like the beat. G-Gr.

Blue like jazz- I like the harder rock. Instruments are edgy. Swirling backing. Rounds/harmony. Gr-A

Opposite of me- piano swirling! Do do do are catchy. Gr-A 

What’s the good of being good- a march. Best friend stole his gal and talked $hit so he’s contemplating why not to go low. G.

Cuomoville- rock is nice to hear. Hopeful, positive lyrics. Feed em to the lions sounds really cool. Love the beat. Gr.

Thank you and good night- perfect to end the show. Electric guitar is awesome. Hard rock howl is cool. End is awesome! A.

4.

Taylor Swift:  75%+57.5 = 132.5 Final

15 out of 20 (I didn’t buy the Target album, so there’s one song I don’t have) = 75%

2 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 4 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3; 1 Awesome-skip cusp -0.5; G-N cusp 1; 1 Neutral -1; 1 elite-meh cusp 2; N-M cusp -2; 2 Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

10+9+16+10.5+12 = 57.5

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t love it. The rollout for the era was very retro 1970s so I think my expectations ruined my perception. I have no idea why there was a random 70s theme, because the songs do not convey that to me–it’s a very Man of the Woods moment. If Taylor had not had some rando promo, I think I would have enjoyed the album more. Also, the tricky, cheatee way of dropping a 100 different colored albums, different pictures, having 4 make a clock, recording a million versions of one song to amp up streams doesn’t set well with me. I wish the charts and the Grammys would modify the rules and records so that fans were not exploited. Buying the green album only to find out the purple album with an extra song was rolled out a week later is $hitty. I don’t like it, but it shows the power of curating a loyal fan base. Taylor’s sales and records may be inflated, but the number and buying power of her fans is not–she has a legitimate, obsessed following.

I will say the songs grew on me over many listens. What the album did do was inspire me to research and analyze and think. So I love that! Engaging with the work is my favorite part of being a music fan, and Taylor gave me a lot of fodder this year.

That said, if I was ranking Midnights against Taylor’s own catalog, it would not fare well. Every song had some element that I didn’t like: A beat, a phrase, the lyrics, etc… I think the entire thing would have benefitted from another draft and another edit. It shows that some of these lyrics, some of the songs were drafts, or vault, or half-worked. I think Taylor hustled to finish them up to feed the audience while the legalities of the Re-records get worked out. Taylor had to keep attention and her Eras tour substantiates that this album is to keep people listening and waiting for each old album to drop. She needs the “Taylor’s Versions” to be successful to complete her plan.

At any rate, I wish I liked the songs better, but I do like trying to decode the subtext.

Sidenote, I did not calculate anything below Good in my ranking to stay consistent with the whole list. I did include my opinions on those lower songs just for funsies. They are marked XXX to show I didn’t count them.

Lavender haze- Catchy. Good message. Calling out heteronormative milestones and pressure to hit them quickly/at all. Didn’t like the little ah ah stuff at first but it really grew on me. Like the faster go viral. One note. Good heartbeat noise in parts. Gr

Maroon- The song itself is just good. But the fact Taylor inspires me to research and analyze the meaning brings it up to great. So G-Gr 

Question…- Catchy. Tells a story. I like the sexy noises. Pronoun game is on pointe. Kissgate and it’s aftermath. Brave of Taylor to be so direct. The slowed down mean-girl /tone statement. Gr.

Anti-hero- This might be the most Catchy on Midnights. Self aware. Really putting herself out there more than usual. HATE sexy baby. It just makes my brain go to pedophile. DIL is confusing. The video didn’t count toward this ranking, but it was cheeky-Taylor (my favorite Taylor) I liked the quirky humor and wink wink aspects. Adorable! Gr-A

XXX Snow on the beach- Boring. Not really a duet. Not that catchy. Janet reference is jarring. M.

You’re on Your Own Now Kid- Explains why Taylor feels so lonely and isolated. G

XXX Midnight rain- I absolutely hate the distorted voice. Tells a story. Nothing really going on with backing. No notes. OK

Vigilante Shit- A bitter song! Calling people out. Superhero imagry- consistent throughout. Moag! The production is perfect – understated Reputation. A

Bejeweled- Kind of a throway song. Lyrics kind of superficial. I like the nice! Who is she talking to? The bridge brings something interesting to the song. G.

XXX Labyrinth- The backing has some nice touches but it’s not enough to redeem the blah. It’s too dreamy and half asleep. Lyrics repeat too much. M.

Karma- To everyone who closeted her, started her bearding, and foiled her coming out. With the masters heist. Subtle moag. Very detailed. Visual.  Gr.

Sweet nothings- Sweet song. I listen to it through the lens that it’s about her mom. The only person who loves Taylor unconditionally. Very subdued but it fits well the story perfectly. Tranquility and calm. G-Gr.

XXX Mastermind- This song makes her seem sociopathic. I think it addressed how she is an active participant in bearding and furthering her career with meticulous planning. I think she meant it cheeky but to me it comes across as creepy. That said this might be my favorite production on Midnights. Love moag and videogame noises. It would be looking at awesome territory if not for the psychopathic words.S-A

The great war- The story of Kaylor! Catchy. I like the snare to go along with war. Lyrics invoke war symbolism. Gr.

Bigger than the whole sky- Jarring transition between songs. This song so beautifully encapsulates grief.  This is where dream pop really shines. Conveys agony. I think a lot of people will find solace in this song after any ending  A 

Paris- Snarky. Someone gossiping about kissgate and the 1975 guy being a hookup. Pictures = kissgate. The fictional Paris is when Kaylor boarded up the windos and went private.  Cleaver change of characters. Her fantasy world. Not the kind that’s thrown is clunky. Meant to say it’s Tree, her publicist doing PR damage control. Brainwash Karly to pick her over josh. Go to the lakes or tower in actual paris. But it’s all imaginary  The song is flat and one dimensional in my opinion (which all of this is). G.

XXX High infidelity- Compelling. Makes me want to dig into the analysis. Multiple story threads weaved together masterfully. The oooo ooos are reminiscent of the train so many songs talk about. Lots of callback. Sort of boring musically but lyrics are elite. M-elite

Glitch- Catchy. Is this about Kaylor being a deviation from bearding. Or her dalliance with Kelsea? G.

Could’ve would’ve should’ve- Finally not boring at all. Good backing. Telling a few stories covertly. Extra points for motivating me to untangle who and why. Finally some actual skillful singing in the bridge. I wish the album had more of this. I like the different sounds of the song throughout. The fast part at the end makes me FEEL. Gr-A

Dear reader- I didn’t like it at first. Found the title like the start of a 3rd graders essay. But after a couple of listens I realized Taylor wrote a letter directly to the Gaylors- which is very special. I like the echoing sound. The vulnerability is really likeable. G-Gr 

3.

Kelsea Ballerini:  86.67% + 49 = 135.67 Final

13 of 15 total songs = 86.67%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 1 Great 4; 4 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 5 Good 3

6+10+4+14+ 15 = 49

Oh my goodness! This album inspired me to analyze so much. I love the multiple layers and hidden meanings throughout every song. I think Kelsea is one to watch, and I also hope she will fully come out one day. This album is just brimming with Sapphic feelings and I would love for a successful country singer to be open AND remain famous.

I can’t help myself- fun! Inspired by Shania. The repeated words make it cute. Gr.

If you go down I’m going down to- very much could be a (Dixie) chicks song. Strings sound good with it. A.

Love is a Cowboy- good imagry- being with you is like ropin the wind. Hints of fiddle. G.

Muscle Memory- catchy. G.

I guess they call it Fallin- love the faster lyrics. G-Gr 

Weather- upbeat. Catchy though lyrics are kinda sad. G-Gr.

Universe- slow. Pretty. Love song. G. 

Walk in the park- love despite being difficult sometimes. G-Gr.

Heartfirst- following your heart. G 

You’re drunk go home- fun! Love talking shit. Love the features. Notes! Like Shania, chicks, any country that’s cheeky. Elite awesome.

Doin my best- relatable. Talks about insider info. Snaps/claps. G.

Marilyn- thoughtful sounds. Double subject. G-Gr.

What I have- appreciate what you have. Introspective. A.

2.

Weezer:

16/21= 76.19% ¾ year + 60.5 yr = 136.69 Semi-Final

16.5 + 28.5 + 15.5 = 60.5

1.

Amy Ray: 100%+37.5 = 137.5 Final

10 out of 10 total songs = 100%

2 awesome 5; 1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Great 4; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

10+4.5+4+7+12 = 37.5

Amy Ray has always been political. She continuously makes her work mean something, it’s not just words on a page to her. She also puts her beliefs into action with her advocacy. I have always loved the Indigo Girls duo (They are my top of the top all-time favorite music/artists/band) and have grown to love Amy’s solo efforts as well. The transition between the two musical entities is sometimes jarring, but still on-brand.

I like how this album tells a story rarely (never?) heard. Amy Ray is Southern and loves her rural roots. She is also part of the LGBTQQAA community and I think based on interviews I’ve heard, that her identity has shifted over time, and with society’s level of acceptance. Amy Ray started out just being herself, and not really acknowledging her queerness, or taking an identity, let alone projecting it out to the masses. She pinged anyway and her band became pegged “lesbian music” by the mainstream. As part of the Indigo Girls, Amy was portrayed in a stereotypical, non-flattering light on sketch shows, sometimes derided, always in the center of her close-knit fan’s hearts. She learned to embrace her differences and used that to help others. I think now she leans NB or even trans, but in the podcast I heard Amy Ray indicated that it wasn’t a visible option for her when she was younger. Now she may feel too old (her sentiment, not mine) to totally change her trajectory.

All that is to say that this album of a southern queer is an important contribution to the landscape, and as with the Indigo Girls, I hope it opens doors for other artists to embrace their queer/rural roots simultaneously.

Joy Train- Reminds me of Bonnie Raitt. Great banjo!  Vocals are intentionally discordant but it’s not that pleasing to the ear. G.

Chuck will’s widow- Strings are the star. Very folksy. G-Gr.

They won’t have me- Recycled song. String interlude great. More powerful, emotive singing. Heavier bass gives it more urgency. Gr-A

From the room- slow. Harmony. G.

Tear it down- slow. Harmony. G

A mighty thing- after slow/bleak a welcome faster, brighter instrumentation. About homophobia. A.

Subway- could be an IG song. Love string interlude. Singing is powerful & longing. Gay rights. A 

Cowboys and pirates- catchy.  tells a story. Folksy/Americana. String! Gr.

Muscadine- slow. G.

North Star- a bit more triumphant sounding. Hint of choral/gospel. Hymn-like. G-Gr.

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Revelry, Theater, & Therapy [Songs Ranked 18-10]

6 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math and the quantitative stuff):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.

Ok, Weezer is really messing up my ranking because they aren’t releasing their fourth installment of this concept album until December 21.  I told me I would only rank my A+ favorites after October 21st.  I had to finish the countdown by the time Midnights dropped so I could focus on that.  And I like to post this prior to Christmas on the first week of December, while anybody is still paying attention to things aside from the holiday.  BUT I have ranked ¾ of Weezer’s material.  I might stop if it had been mediocre and toward the bottom since it wouldn’t make that much of a difference if they were 35th place rather than 39th, for example.  But they are nudging the top spot without 7 more songs!  So what I’m going to do is post this with them in their mathematical position, but then edit to include Winter in late December, which may change up the whole top of the list…

From lowest to highest:

18.

Red hot chili peppers: 64.71% + 39 = 103.71 Final

11 out of total 17 = 64.71%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

4.5+12+10.5+12 = 39

They are weirdly enough still their authentic selves after all this time. The album was familiar yet new. They have a formula–and it works for them.

Tippa my tongue- sings similar to Giveitaway. Funky guitar. G-Gr 

Peace and love- funky interlude. G.

Eddie – wails on guitar. Funk. 70s. Gr.

Fake as fuck- catchy. Funky guitar. Spacey, psychedelic bridge. Trumpet! Gr-A

Roulette- G

My cigarette- I absolutely love the music on this track!  It would probably be an awesome if was about anything else.  Anything! Singing about the killer cigarettes is yuck. Smoking is unhygienic, gross, and literally tied to a bunch of cancers and health problems.  I understand cigarettes are small potatoes once you’ve done heroin, but still…  G

Afterlife- Gr

Shoot me a smile- G

The drummer- catchy. Funky guitar. Nice beat. G-Gr

Bag of grin- darker. Fast backing is interesting. Chorus has a nervana sound. Gr.

Copperbelly- G-Gr

17.

Marcus Mumford:  80%+24.5 = 104.5 Final

8 of 10 total songs = 80%

1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

3.5+21 = 24.5

I liked the album, but feel like it needs something. I can’t quite put my finger on it…

Cannibal- singing sounds like band. Softly angry. G-Gr

Grace- nice singing. Catchy. Drawn out words are nice. Double voice on bridge adds. Guitar breakdown is interesting. G .

Prior warning- quiet. Sparse. Chimes. Shooting noise. G.

Dangerous game- interesting. Sounds like the singing I liked from the band. G.

Better angels- more rock. G.

Go in light-vsings with feeling. G

Stonecatcher- haunting. Duet goes well. Piano. G.

How- Brandi always sounds perfect. She is awesome at meeting the vibe. And of course notes/harmonies. Sounds great together.

16.

Luke Combs:  75%+31 = 106

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

2 Great 4; 4 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

8+14+9 = 31

Doin This- a lot of heart. Shows genuine love for music not just fame. G-Gr 

Any given Friday night- tailgate song! Relatable. Small Town fun. References John mellencamp. G

The kind of love we make- catchy. Love song. The singing has urgency to it. G-Gr 

On the other line- mirraccas! Fishing instead of being with his gal. Unapologetic. Double meaning of line. G-Gr 

Outrunnin your memory- catchy. Miranda sounds perfect with him. Gr.

Used to wish I was- story of a failed fb career but it was fate that brought him here. Embracing who he is. G-Gr.

Ain’t far from it- catchy! References Allen Jackson. Good syncopated beat. Fun. Gr

Call me- he figures Even if she’s bitter he’s still on her mind. G.

Going going gone- descriptive and visual. Comparisons. G.

15.

Dropkick Murphys:  80%+27 = 107 Final

8 out of 10 total sons = 80%

1 awesome 5; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 5 Good 3

5+7+15 = 27

All you fonies- G

Cadillac Cadillac- G

Dig a hole- country western. Guitar changes their sound a lot. G.

The last one- harmonica. Pro- Blue collar work. Workers rights. G.

Never got drunk no more- a conversation. Hungover person says they’ll never drink again. The wife knows it’s been said before and doesn’t believe it. G-Gr.

Ten Times More- G-Gr.

Water are a’risi- G

Where Trouble is at- A

14.

Lizzo-

9 of 12 total songs = 75.00% + 33 = 108 Final

1 awesome 5; 1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

5+4.5+4+10.5+9 = 33

Overall, I love the positive vibes, I love loving yourself and your friends.  This album seemed like a lot of therapy has taken place, and is doing the talking.  The positivity is a good post-Covid sentiment to push.  I know it’s about Lizzo’s Twitter wars and how that caused her trauma.  I’m glad she could write this album to help process that pain in a constructive way.  As society, we need to find a middle ground on weight.  The 90’s Kate Moss look was dangerous.  But being morbidly obese is also dangerous.  We shouldn’t bully, but not intervening (in either direction) when someone is literally killing themselves is just not enough either.  On a completely different note, I got big, bi-vibes from a lot of these songs.  

The Sign- references quarantine. Cool electric guitar sounds. G-Gr.

About damn time- very disco. Used disco samples-fun. The hustle flute and I’m comin out Tonight lyrics. A little on the nose. Gr.

Grrrls- valuing friends and women. Empower. Bi-girl energy. G.

2b ready (to be loved)- more disco samples. Empower. G

I love you bitch- empowering song about self-love. Tals about struggles . A 

Special- Rhymes video with video. Talks about race, weight, loneliness, and self-esteem. More self-love and love for others. Empowering. Gr-A

Special- empowering. Self love. Propping others up. G-Gr.

Everybody’s Gay- no they’re not. Is that Thriller sampled? It’s hilarious that she references Michael Jackson in a song with gay in the title. Spectacular keyboard. G-Gr 

If you love me – more empowering and self-love. Does the MJ woo!  I like the sentiment very much, but don’t like the fat-positive movement-it’s literally dangerous.  That’s not to say I want bullying, or pro-anorexia, but weight does impact health negatively in many different ways.  G.

13.

Panic at the Disco: 75% + 33.5 = 108.5 Final

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

9+12+3.5+9 = 33.5

I still don’t know when Brendan did, or why everyone is calling him problematic.  So I went ahead and ranked a band I really liked way back when. I didn’t research the album but my overall impression was that it’s theatric. I’m not sure if it’s an actual soundtrack or play or something, but it could be.

Viva Las Vengeance- I love the energy behind this. The notes always move me. There is a show tune quality to it.  Notes! Gr-A 

Middle of a Breakup- relatable. Notes. Idk much about theater but this song also seems show tune adjacent so I’m wondering if this is a concept album. Meatloaf quality. G.

Don’t Let the Lights go out- notes. Heart beat. G.

Star Spangled Banner- def theater. Never saw Rent, but this seems like it could fit in there. Verse reminds me of Billie Joel. Nice orchestral at end. Gr.

God Killed Rock and Roll- very Queen. Like exact rip- of their everything. Notes. Gr-A 

Something About Maggie- cross between Queen Amie Mann and show tune. Brass is nice.  Notes. I like the circusy interlude. Nice trumpet at end. G-Gr.

Sad clown- Dichotomy between the happy energetic music and angsty lyrics. Notes and notes and notes! Gr.

All by yourself- slow. Reminds me of wonder years Beatles theme at first. Notes. G

Do it to Death- sounds like a commercial ad. Choppy transitions.

Gr.

12.

Imagine Dragons:  66.67+42 = 108.67 Final

12 of 18 total songs = 66.67%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 5 Good 3

4.5+12+10.5+15 = 42

It was like there were two writers on this album. Some of the songs were very screamy and some were the sound I liked from prior albums. The discs are very–I’m in therapy. Which is fine, and sometimes uplifting. Not their best work.

Bones- catchy. Distortion. Electronic snips. Just enough screamy.

G-Gr 

Sympathy- interesting comparisons. Flute? Ownnawannapia. Gr.

Sharks- foreboding. Claps that aren’t Ott pop. Like the pace of comin to get you. Whisper used to good effect. Like a horror movie. Gr.

I Don’t Like Myself- someone had therapy. Introspective. Gr-A 

Blur- Gr.

Higher Ground- syncopation. Reminiscent of their earlier work. G-Gr 

Take a Easy- channeling Weezer. Catchy. Harmony. Nice Base toward the end. Could do without the screamy. G-Gr.

Waves- catchy. Seems heartfelt and sincere. More comparison to water. G.

I’m Happy- therapy. Repetition. Some moag. Nice distortion at the end. G.

Sirens- catchy. G.

Younger- this must be the letter to self that was mentioned earlier. Good instrumental break. G.

I Wish- lots of emotion. Nice to hear about friendship.  The vocals get a bit overwrought, but the swelling instrumentation at the end is nice. G

11. 

Kelly Clarkson:  83.33%+25.5 = 108.83 Final

5 out of 6 total songs = 83.33%

1 Elite awesome 6; 3 awesome 5; 1 A-Gr cusp 4.5

6+15+4.5 = 25.5

I really wish Kelly would have put out a full-length album.  She would probably be my top album of the year if there was more material.  Girl can SING.  It’s breathtakingly amazing to listen to her belt it out.

Call Out My Name- notes!  The instruments sound 80s.  Gr-A

Happier than Ever- starts very slow, but blazes into a notes/bitter song.  Tiny elephant trumpeting.  The beat ramps up.  The notes ramp up. A

Trampoline- A

Queen of the Night- WOW, wow, wow!  How does anyone compare to Whitney?  It’s pretty brave to even do a cover of possibly the best singer of all time.  But Kelly really goes for it.  Great notes and a bit more edgy of a delivery.  Buzzsaw noises. Taking into account production and technology differences between the early 90s and now, I dare say this one is the better version.  They are both elites though.  Elite Awesome

Fake Plastic Trees- notes! A

10.

Demi Lovato:

11 of 16 total songs = 68.75% + 46 = 114.75 Final

3 awesome 5; 3 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

15+13.5+4+10.5+3 = 46

The genre switch is forced, but Demi’s pipes are able to work any material in front of her.  I didn’t think the pop-punk was apt or genuine for her, and I begrudgingly remain unbiased when giving points.  I don’t like her appropriating pronouns, and I don’t like her sketchy manager, but the gal can SING!!!

Freak- channeling Paramore. More edgy. Screaming. G-Gr 

Skin of my teeth- reminds me of Ashlee Simpson. Personal lyrics. Catchy. Notes! A.

Substance- upbeat backing for depressing sentiment. Notes. Personal. Gr.

Eat me- lots of acoustic background sounds. Fast. Shouting. Angry. Brittney copy. Note to yell. Could be in a comic movie. A.

29- age inappropriate. 17 to 29. Calling out some scumbag. Notes! G-Gr

Happy Ending- about her addiction. Relatable about demons and searching for elusive happiness. G-Gr 

City of angels- many LA sights & places. Hard rocking. Gr-A.

Wasted- double meaning. notes. Gr-A.

Dead Friends- personal. Upbeat. Punky. Notes. Gr-A 

Help Me- screamy. G 

Feed- uplifting. Personal responsibility and choices. A

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Artists Return [Songs Ranked 29-19]

5 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math or the quantitative process):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.

Lowest to highest:

29.

Death cab for cutie:  63.64%+23.5 = 87.14 Final

7 out of 11 songs = 63.64%

5 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

17.5+6 = 23.5

I don’t know how I survive- G-Gr

Roman candles- G-Gr

Here to forever- G-Gr

Pepper- G-Gr 

I miss strangers- G-Gr

Wheat like waves- G

I’ll never give up on you- G

28.

Weezer-Spring: 71.43% + 16.5 = 87.93 Final

5 of 7 total tracks = 71.43%

3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

10.5+6 = 16.5

Opening night- Shakespeare on the grass. Random topic. Funsy and light but catchy. Electric guitar. Ends with a touch of renfest. G-Gr 

A Little bit- Positivity. Catchy. Sincere. G-Gr 

The sound of drums- catchy. Sing-song. G.

All this love- light. Upbeat. Piano is a nice touch. G

Wild at Heart- drums! G-Gr.

27.

Fletcher:  61.54%+27.5 = 89.04 Final

8 of 13 total songs = 61.54%

1 Great 4; 5 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

4+17.5+6 = 27.5

Becky’s so Hot- hate the sentiment. The base is good especially at the end when the melody cuts out. Gr.

Guess We Lied- Fun double meaning of lie. G-Gr 

Better Version- skews country. Smart profound lyrics. G.

Conversations- relatable song about overthinking and ruminating.  G-Gr 

Serial Heartbreaker- Faster 80s beat. Fast verse. Uses slower speed at the end to emphasize the point. G.

Girl of my Dreams- self-love during a breakup. Empowering lyrics. G-Gr 

I love you bitch- like Lizzo-, an empowering song about self-love and acceptance. G-Gr 

For Cari- nice ending. Sounds low-key triumphant. G-Gr 

26.

Arcade Fire: 70%+20 = 90 Final

7 of 10 total songs = 70%

1 Great 4; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3; 

4+7+9 = 20

Tracks set up like a movie, a continuation of each chapter of the story.

Age of Anxiety I- quiet start. Kicks up later 3rd of the song. Speaks of current events and how they impact us as individuals. G-Gr

Age of Anxiety Ii- 80s. Dreamy. Female voice changes the vibe a bit. Idk the lyrics but probably profound. G

End of the Empire IV- singing sounds more like their past albums. Nice piano. Modern language – unsubscribe. Chime bell sound at end. G 

The Lightning Ii- upbeat yay finally! I like how they say increments of time. Anticipation. Frenzied backing. G-Gr 

Unconditional I- phonemes always make it song catchy. Empowering lyrics. Motivational. G.

Unconditional II- 80s synthesizer sound to it. Around 4min neat sound. Gr.

25.

Weezer-Autumn:

4 out of 7 total tracks = 57.14% + 15.5 = 72.64 Final

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Good 3

4.5+8+3 = 15.5

Can’t dance don’t ask me- syncopation and speed are nice. G.

Get off on the pain. Buzzing instrumental. Quiet parts of singing. Teeny bit of 80s. Ramps up. Gr

What happens after you- guitar is star. Sounds awesome in the back! Like the harder more edgy sound. Gr-A.

Tastes like pain- samples one of my favorite allegros. Fun mix of classical and rock. Gr.

24.

Amanda Shires: 70% + 23 = 93 Final

7 of 10 total songs = 70%

2 Great 4; 5 Good 3

8+15 = 23

Take it like a Man- sparse, emotional. Desperate. Long. Orchestral finish. Gr.

Empty Cups- voice sounds very Dolly Parton -cant be accidental. G.

Here he comes- catchy.  G

Bad behavior – sultry. Gets stuck in my head. Gr.

Stupid love- there’s nothing I can call out in this song that I don’t like, but .. G.

Lonely at night – good, wide open singing. G.

Everything has its own time- could be on a movie soundtrack. Very thematic. G.

23.

King Princess:  66.67%+ 27 = 93.67 Final

8 of 12 total songs = 66.67%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

4.5+10.5+12 = 27

I Hate Myself I Want to Party- depressing. Gritty. Depressing. Describes a bleak life. end is 180 faster and more in control empowered. Un-does prior song? G.

Cursed- catchy. More upbeat. Emotive singing. Longing. Regret about an ex. G-Gr. 

Little Brother- 80s backing but more gritty singing. Calling someone out.  G-Gr 

For My Friends- catchy. Just enough 80s and moag but not Ott. G.

Too Bad- bitter song. Personal lyrics. Interesting backing sounds. Angsty. G.

Change the Locks- COVID quarantine made them petty and argumentative. She’s mad they’re over. G-Gr

Dotted Lines- depression. Signing bad contract young. G.

Let Us Die- catchy. Angsty. 2020s Alanis? Gr-A.

22.

Young the Giant: 62.5% + 32 = 94.5 Final (all 4)

10/16 for whole year = 62.5%

9.5 + 6.5 + 9+7 = 32

Despite loving the Weezer seasons concept albums, I didn’t like the Act roll outs because I feel like I’m going to miss something. I like the concept of the albums, and think it is very deep and meaningful theoretically. That said, the songs were not like the rest of the catalog and it was difficult for me to attach to any of them in that same way. I realize the band was on a spiritual and political journey, and think it’s an important story to tell and contribution to society. I just want some hooks or a beat in there somewhere! First songs are real duds. Too soft and slow.

21.

Beyonce 62.5%+35 = 97.5 Final

10 of 16 total songs = 62.5%

1 awesome 5; 1 Great 4; 4 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

5+4+14+12 = 35

I liked the backing mostly, and I don’t think Beyonce intended for it to be a lyrical album. That said, I get that it’s sexy, and it’s supposed to get listeners to feel. This is totally a me thing–there were too many explicit straight sex references, and it totally grossed me out and put me off. Most people will not have this issue, so this ranking might be too low.

Alien superstar- like the on the bar. Rest is just ok. G

Cuff it- I like the backing. Catchy. Ties into aliens. 70s. G.

Really smooth transition. 1st listen I thought it was the same song.

Energy- remind me of Justin Timberlake crossed with childish Gambino’s this is America. Lotta interesting phoneme sounds. African flair. G-Gr.

Virgo’s groove- really slow to get interesting. Not good til 5min mark. destiny’s child-esk harmonies and many mariàh singing runs. G-Gr.

Move- I like the move out the way parts. G.

Heated- I think she says, I gotta fend myself off. If so, I like the idea we can be our own harshest critics and worst enemy. The weird talking part is interesting and different. Gr.

All up in your mind – love that moag! I like the backing and recognize but can’t place it. G-Gr

America has a problem – I like the 1st few music lines. Like the fast sing. Those 3 nos get stuck in my head for days. Catchy! A. 

Pure honey- like the backing. Seems like a song designed for a group dance, like cha cha. Turns into Prince sounding. Silly voice at end? G-Gr.

Summer Renaissance – more classic Beyonce. Obvious sample. Appluse speeds it up and makes it catchy. Choral backing fills it out. G.

20.

Carrie Underwood: 66.67% + 32.5 = 99.17 Final

8 of 12 total songs = 66.67%

2 Elite awesome 6; 1 awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

12+5+3.5+12 = 32.5

UGH! Carrie’s voice is just top tier. This gal can siiiiinnng. Her register is expansive and her belting always moves me. However, it seems like she gets lost when picking material or formulating an album (I didn’t look to see if she writes her own songs). I wish she would have more of a theme for each album. The Velvet Heartbreak does tell a story, and it flows… But I think she could do something stronger. Showcase her voice, but have a certain vibe for the entire album.

Velvet Heartbreak- I love the comparisons of clothes to men.  It’s visual and relatable.  God she can always fucking sing! That …ache at the end alone is elite!  Elite awesome.

Ghost Story- A boring song but when she hits those notes it’s magical! G-Gr 

Hate my Heart- catchy and relatable. Not wanting to miss someone, but missing them anyway. G.

Burn- Can’t get over the memory despite being over the ex. Just a good. G.

Pink Champagne-kind of an 80s beat. I like when it slows down. Just a good. G. 

Poor Everybody Else- might be my favorite song of the year. Empowering and exciting. Love the concept. Notes! Similar to some of her other songs but still awesome! Elite awesome.

She Don’t know- I love that it’s not 2 women fighting each other! Carrie is saying you can have my life with that dude (bc it sucks). I love a bitter song! A. 

Garden- this is a good final song. The message that you get what you put out there goes with the rest of the album. G

19.

Skillet: 66.67% + 37 = 103.67 Final

8 of 12 total songs = 66.67%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 4 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Good 3

6+10+18+3 = 37

I enjoyed this album so much when I was listening that I thought it might win. I don’t add all the numbers until every contender’s songs are ranked though. I do it that way so my judging is equal and I don’t amp up or lower albums in order to make them fit in a certain spot. It’s a blind ranking to make the final countdown as unbiased by aesthetic, sentimentalism, standbys, etc… As such, I was surprised Skillet ranked this low based on the songs. It was definitely one of the best listens of 2022 (and great treadmill tunes)!

Standing in the storm- catchy. Hard. Bravery despite pressure. Just enough screamy. Gr-A.

Dominion- electric guitar! Fast. Awesome instrumental break! Exciting. Gr-A 

Valley of Death- starts quiet slow emotional. Elite awesome.

Beyond Incredible- hints of electric guitar. Good running beat.

 Gr-A

Destiny- reminds me of Lincoln park with harder/catchy parts interspersed. Triumphant. Gr-A.

Shout your freedom- great running beat. Empowering. A.

Destroyer- such cool guitar. Fast. Reminds me of 1990s alternative. Guitar zipping. Ramps up. Electric on last words adds a lot. A.

Forever or The end-  hard rock ballad. Harmonies rounds. G.

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Mostly Throw-Backs & Queer Representation [Songs Ranked 40-30]

4 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math or the quantitative process):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.

from lowest to highest:

40.

Vance Joy: 41.67% + 16.5 = 58.17 Final

5 of 12 total songs = 41.67%

3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

10.5+6 = 16.5

Missing Piece- sounds just like before. Catchy. Lyrically based. G-Gr.

Clarity- always upbeat and catchy. Visual. G.

Boardwalk- have a definite sound and stayed true to it.  G.

Looking at me like that- sex song. Catchy. Devotional. G-Gr.

This one- Banjo is very welcome! G-Gr.

39.

Papa Roach: 42.86% + 20.5 = 63.36 Final

6 of 14 total songs = 42.86%

5 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

17.5+3 = 20.5

Stand up- A bit screamy.  Structured like Linkin park with scream/sing. Good pump up song for running. G-Gr 

Liar- catchy. Rap-singing. Could be a skillet song. G-Gr.

Ego Trip- chorus is catchy. Staccato verse militarized. G-Gr 

Unglued- the backing music is nice juxtaposition for more saccharine lyrics. G.

No apology – more lyrical. Still rocks. Emotive. Very early-otts. G-Gr.

I surrender – sounds a bit churchy. Quiet end is nice and makes you listen hard- impactful. G-Gr 

38.

Bowling for Soup: 40%+22.5 = 66.5 Final

6 of 15 total songs = 40%

1 awesome 5; 2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

5+8+3.5+6 = 22.5

Greatest of All Time- self-aware. Funny. Upbeat . Gr.

I Wanna be Brad Pitt- I like all the name drops .  G.

Hello Anxiety- it’s my song! G-Gr 

June Carter Cash- catchy. Backing is very late 90s. G.

Killin em with kindness- I love how it’s in gangsta rap style saying something positive and uplifting on the chorus . The Harmonies and rounds sound good too. A.

After all these beers- a summation of their career. A drinking song. Great end to the album. The sing along makes it very pub. Gr

37=37

*exact tie

Harry Styles:  46.15%+21.5 = 67.65 Final

6 of 13 total tracks = 46.15%

2 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

8+10.5+3 = 21.5

music for a sushi restaurant- some Prince sound mixed in. 70s vibe with backing singers. Unique sound with the talking to shout-singing. Brass? Gr.

Daylight- the moag is nice. Sticking to you is gross. G-Gr 

Little Freak- more subtle moag. Poetic. Tells a story through imagery. Sounds like a heartbeat. Seems gay to me. G.

Daydreaming- big disco vibe. Catchy. Falsetto. Brass. Notes. Funk sound guitar gives it a 70s flair.  G-Gr 

Satellite- soft rock. Waiting. Lonely. Echoing. G-Gr.

Love of My Life- subtle moag. Beautiful singing. Nice love song. Like the piano at the end. Gr.

37=37.

*exact tie

Michael Buble:  46.15%+21.5 = 67.65 Final

6 of 13 total songs = 46.15%

2 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

8+10.5+3 = 21.5

Make you feel my love- song seems familiar. Is it a cover? He always sounds good though. Instrumentals are the star here. G.

Baby I’ll Wait – I like the doo-op type backing. Notes and emotion. Gr.

Higher- immediately catchy. Tango backing. Notes. G-Gr 

Bring it on home to me- sounds like the platters. Choral backing. Don’t love the word slave in a love song. G-Gr.

You’re the First you’re the last my everything – Typical Frank. Backing is nice. G-Gr.

Smile- Disney. Was there some reboot? Very overwrought backing instruments and singing. Note! Gr.

36.

Pussy Riot: 57.14% + 15 = 72.14 Final

4 of 7 total songs = 57.14%

3 Great 4; 1 Good 3

12+3 = 15

Princess charming – sounds just like Brittany. I like turning stereotypes on their head- def empowomsn, pride, lesbian lists. Catchy. Gr.

Horny- I don’t understand this Asian mini mouse voice? G.

Sugar mommy- this beat is the shit! And combined with a circusy sound it’s one of my faves of the year. Good for exercise. Hate the mommy shit tho- yuck!  Another turning stereotypes on their head, so to speak. Lyrics are cringe but backing fire. Gr.

Poof bitch- the rap/beat is so good . Hyper. Don’t love the robot rap but the backing gets me hyped! Gr.

35.

The Wrecks: 54.54% +24 = 78.54 Final

6 of 11 total songs = 54.54%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 4 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5

4.5+16+3.5 = 24

I love this part- Dark, late 90s sound. Linkin Park+ Backstreet Boys. Always gets stuck in my head. Gr

Where are you now- Pausing and singing intensity used to good effect. Good beat pre- bridge. Gr.

Don’t be scared- Hollow echo sound. G-Gr 

Unholy- catchy upbeat uplifting. Love the better than ever part. Keyboard backing sounds great. Touches of moag. Gr-A.

Dystopia- angstsy moody lyrically based. Base and guitar sound awesome at bridge. Dramatic. Jam crescendo at the end. Gr.

Ugly Side- Vance joy + plain white tees. Catchy. Gr.

34.

Hayley Kiyoko: 53.85% + 26 = 79.85 Final

7 of 13 total songs = 53.85%

1 awesome 5; 2 Great 4; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

5+8+7+6 = 26

Luna- catchy.  G.

For the Girls- a little like a commercial song. Catchy. Fun howls. Open lesbian. G-Gr 

Flicker Start- syncopation. Gr.

Forever- catchy. Romantic. Lesbian. G-Gr 

Deep in the woods- sounds a bit like Aqua. G 

Supposed to be- catchy. Nice strings at end. Gr.

Well…- catchy. Melody pause with beat and auto-tune. About an ex and feeling better than them. Petty. Fun electronic at the end. A.

33.

Thomas Rhett: 53.33% + 30 = 83.33 Final

8 of 15 total songs = 53.33%

1 elite awesome 6; 1 Great 4; 4 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

6+4+14+6 = 30

Church Boots- talking about staying down to Earth. G-Gr.

Anything cold- great tailgate song. Perfect happy, party song.

 G-Gr

Angels- seems sincere. Nice harmony. G

Half of Me- one of the best songs of the year! Great drinking song. Cute and cheeky. Elite awesome. 

Bring the Bar- a date at home. Low-key. Party for 2 take two.  G.

Slow down summer- this song feels like ice tea on a porch and chillaxin. Nice orchestral touches in the backing. Cheeky. G-Gr.

Us someday- would make a good wedding song. Gr.

Somebody like me- a gal talking about having high standards. She wants a bf to treat her right. He thinks he could fulfill all of that. Strings peeking through are nice. G-Gr.

32.

Young the Giant:

Act III: 75.00% + 9 = 84 Final (III only)

3 out of 4 total songs = 75.00%

3 Good 3

9

Dollar $tore- I don’t care for symbols and emojis in titles.  This song was real slow, didn’t like the meditative Indian-sounding part.  The end faster part salvaged this too long song.  G.

Cult of Personality- I heard “tower” in the lyrics too.  A Trump song?  A mistake.  G.

Dancing in the Rain- I’m finding that I only like the last 3rd of all these songs.  They could all be chopped up into 2-3 songs and make a true album.  Like the prior ones this one was too quiet, too slow, but the ending salvaged it.  G.

31.

Young the Giant:

Act I: 75% + 9.5 = 84.5 (I only) (tie-break- no Greats vs Black Keys)

3 out of 4 total = 75%

1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

3.5+6 = 9.5

American Bollywood- G

Wake Up-  Finally something interesting.  I like the beginning snippet.  Lyrical. G-Gr

Tomorrow- I like that it start out upbeat.  This seems more like their other material that I liked before. G

30.

Black Keys: 60%+24.5 = 84.5 Final (tie-break- 3 Gr vs 0 for Young the Giant)

6 of 10 songs total = 60%

3 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

12+3.5+9 = 24.5

Wild Child- it’s got a bit of darker guitar (bass?) The band is known for. Catchy . Gr.

For the love of money- sounds Mississippi blues. Like the stronger call back to jazz and blues. G-Gr 

Good love- it’s a relief to hear instrumental rock again with actual instruments doing jams. Gr

Burn the damn thing down- good opening riff . G.

Happiness- tambourine! Catchy. Gr.

Baby I’m coming home – I like the beat most. Nice to hear true rock. G.

Didn’t I love you- G.

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Disappointing or Not Enough [Songs Ranked 52-41]

3 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math or the quantitative process):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.

Starting from the bottom of the list (lowest scores):

Last

Drake: 0%

0 of 14 total songs = bad

Too much repetition. Too much auto tune! Very sparse and simplistic backing and production. I don’t get it…  Sometimes I realize music is not for me. But honestly I don’t know who this is for. It sounds like amateurish copycat of Kanye made in someone’s home studio. It is minimal techno with auto tune vocals over it.

52.

Trampled by Turtles:  9.09%+3 = 12.09 Final

1 out of 11 total songs = 9.09%

1 Good 3

3

I was super-disappointed in this album for the 2nd (3rd?) time.  I guess I’m not really a fan of the band like I thought, because it’s too slow and dreary.  I’m a fan of the album, Palomino.  I liked the fast bluegrassy-hipster ones like It’s a War and those seem to be gone from the remainder of the catalog…

Burlesque Desert Window- G.

51.

Jewel:  25%+10 = 35 Final

3 of 12 total songs = 25%

2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

7+3 = 10

Alibis- very poppy. Doesn’t sound like 90s her at. All. Catchy though. G-Gr 

Dance sing laugh love- it’s like a song of a pillow or canvas frame. All we’re missing is the word wine somewhere. It’s catchy and hopeful if not cheesy G.

No more tears- her singing sounds forced. Trying too hard. He sounds so much like Elton John here!  The I will rounds and love harmony is the highlight of the song. Darius Rucker does an outstanding job. G-Gr.

50.

Marren Morris: 25.00% + 13 = 38 Final

4 of 16 total songs = 25.00%

1 Great 4; 3 Good 3

4+9 = 13

I have to say, I was SUPER disappointed with this effort from Marren.  I loved her first album, and it was full of heart and spunk.  I hated to rank this album so low, but I just couldn’t get into it.  This one seems like she’s too happy, too settled, and not digging deep for real material.  Most of the songs were slow and quiet.  I hope she comes back on her next album with something she cares about and with more hyped up music.

Circles Around this Town- catchy. Story of how she came to be a famous singer. Comes off like she had it kinda easy. Little bit unlikeable. Like the call back to church song. G.

Nervous- like the edgier guitar. Finally some harder, more excited stuff. Singing with more emotion. Love the bit of edge. Gr.

X Tall Guys- silly topic but catchy and description. Really dumb lyrics. Maren needs some tragedy in her life to get some quality material. I had this ranked “Good,” but couldn’t handle the dumb lyrics so made it a skip. 

Detour- catchy. Actual singing. Western backing. Like the cowboy interlude. Sounds like a walking or horsing beat. Notes-brief. G.

Good friends- nice to hear women appreciate friendship. Slow. G.

49.

Jack Johnson:  30%+9.5 = 39.5 Final

3 of 10 total songs =30%

1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3;

3.5+6 = 9.5

Don’t Look Now- a little faster and more memorable. Slightly catchy. G.

Costume Party- lyrics interesting thought experiment and comparison.  G.

Any Wonder- slow and quiet. Emotive. Notes. G-Gr

48.

Jason Aldean- 26.67%+13.5 = 40.17 Final

4 of 15 total songs = 26.67% good and up

1 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3; 

4+3.5+6 = 13.5

Trouble with a heartbreak- you can’t physically travel away from your emotions. Catchy. G-Gr.

Good made airplanes- nice insinuation of the thesis of the last song. G.

Holy water- does she miss him too? G 

Your mama- sweet love song to moms. It’s not too much. Gr.

2012 song. Take a little ride (live lv)- fun to hear the crowd reaction. G.

2019 song.  Blame it on you (live)- catchy.  G.

47.

Florence and the Machine:  28.57%+14 = 42.57 Final

4 of 14 total songs = 28.57%

1 Great 4; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

4+7+3 = 14

Free- catchy. Relatable. Abusive relationship. G

Dream Girl Evil- catchy. Psychology. G-Gr 

Daffodil- drama. The backing music reminds me of a machine army. Drums increase tension. Gr.

Morning Elvis- quiet. Catchy. Lyrically complex . G-Gr 

46.

The Chainsmokers:  30.77+13.5 = 44.27 Final

4 of 13 total songs = 30.77%

3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

10.5+3 = 13.5

Time Bomb- doesn’t sound like I rei- softer. Electronic on bridge. G-Gr.

I love you- Akon song? Catchy. Electronic bridge brought song to G-Gr 

If you’re serious- the instrumental electronic solos and breakdown is the best thing about it. G-Gr

In too deep- sweet romantic song reminds me of Daughtry. G.

45.

Bonnie Raitt: 40% + 14.5 = 54.5 Final (tie-breaker- under Goo Goo Dolls by 1 great)

4 of 10 total songs = 40%

1 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5

4+10.5 = 14.5

Made Up Mind- very adult contemporary. Catchy.  G-Gr 

Somethings got a hold of my heart- the guitar is more gritty and makes this one more bluesy. G-Gr.

When we say goodnight- low key. Slightly catchy. The stuff your mom wouldn’t mind listening to in the car. The end jam is nice. G-Gr.

Waiting for you to blow- a bluesy bitter song- I know, redundant. Who is it about? Gr.

44.

Goo Goo Dolls:  40%+14.5 = 54.5 Final (tie-breaker- has 2 Greats vs. Bonnie’s 1)

4 of 10 total songs = 40%

2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

8+3.5+3 = 14.5

Yeah I like You- it sounds happy and upbeat but the lyrics are??? G-Gr.

War- angst and love in the same song. Gr.

Past Mistakes- G.

Superstar- low-key but poetic and romantic. Piano interlude is nice. Guitar catchy and moody. Gr.

43.

Young the Giant:

Act II: 50% + 6.5 = 56.5 Final (II)

2 out of 4 total = 50%

1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

3.5+3 = 6.5

My Way-  Catchy.  G-Gr

The Walk Home- G

42.

Young the Giant:

Act IV: 50% + 7 = 57 Final (IV)

2 out of 4 total songs = 50%

2 G-Gr cusp 3.5 = 7

Happy- cool distortion and flashes of orchestral. I like the break and it becomes almost a different song. G-Gr

Otherside- Little piano runs. Good beat. G-Gr 

41.

KT Tunstall: 41.67% + 16 = 57.67 Final

5 of 12 total songs = 41.67% 

2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

7+9 = 16

Is she an out lesbian at this point?  I haven’t really followed her since Suddenly I See but some of these lyrics were explicitly gay.  

I am the Pilot- catchy. Empowering.  G-Gr 

Dear Shadow- lonely in the closet. Being covert is tiring and lonely. Colors = lesbian. Shame. Overtly gay. G

Private Eyes- fun backing sounds. G-Gr.

Demigod- wlw. Pull me out into the open. A xylophone?! G.

Brain in a Jar- nice harmony. Kind of Americana. Hints of piano. G

Question… Desire to Touch Women is Taylor Swift’s Real Nemeses [Part 8]

1 Dec

Taylor wins the pronoun game.  I’m not even going to try to untangle the speaker/recipient/changing characters in this song.  It was written so convoluted that I haven’t even seen a satisfactory answer to this yet.  Instead, I took lyric snippets from other songs featuring the same word, to get a feeling about Taylor’s sentiment and even ascertain the subject. Don’t get overwhelmed with the length of this post.  The word I’m trying to point-out from Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

When she said it was too much

Do you wish you could still touch her?

Touch:

sparks fly

Treacherous

state of grace

I Almost Do

Marjorie

You are in Love

Red

Gorgeous

It’s Nice to have a Friend

ready for it

end game

Delicate

gold rush

don’t blame me

Death by a Thousand Cuts

champagne problems

Ivy

Touch is trepidation. 

In Sparks Fly, Taylor can’t get too close to this person, or they might feel her attraction.  She is a house of cards, trying to remain unseen so the structure doesn’t topple and bely her true feelings.  Touch is a boundary Taylor won’t allow herself to cross.  In Treacherous, Taylor is confronted with the same situation and she’s no longer sure if it’s a choice.  She gets so close to the person, yet does not touch.  It’s not real if they don’t actually touch.  This path is reckless and fraught, but Taylor finds herself liking it.  In State of Grace, Taylor is still battling these feelings.  She realizes wanting touch like this has changed who she thought she was-she’ll never be the same. 

There is a slight double meaning in I Almost Do.  Sure, Taylor is talking about rekindling a romance after a break up.  But under the surface, Taylor is now dreaming of touching this woman.  She is one step closer to crossing her boundaries.  She almost does.  We talked about how the depths signify Taylor’s fears of losing control and the unknown, in Marjory.  Touch fits with the song narrative perfectly.  For once you let go of all your fears and ghosts.  You knew what it was.  Taylor can’t deny it any longer, this desire to touch women is proof her best friend is actually romantic love and sexual attraction.  Wishing you had never found out in Red, builds on this idea.  Now that Taylor knows she’s gay, she feels more for her love interest.  It’s out of her control screeching a speeding car to a sudden stop, flying through the free fall, yet she can’t go without it.  She’s blue when this person is gone, gray when she’s all alone.  Despite Taylor’s great fear, and her negative feelings about being out of control, she can’t let go of this red, passionate love. 

Taylor needs that real love, but it makes her angry.  I’m so furious that you make me feel this way, in Gorgeous is that same pull from Red.  Taylor doesn’t like losing control, but here she is captivated by this gorgeous woman.  Taylor dares to dream of her future with a woman in It’s Nice to have a Friend.  She has trouble crossing the boundary into queerness, but in that song the female best friend dares to touch her romantically and it sends Taylor’s thoughts to a future wedding.  She is coming around to the idea that, though gay love is not traditional or fully accepted, she might be able to be happy anyway.  Ready for It…  the opener of Reputation shows a new bravado about the situation.  Taylor goes from he (the beard) to you (the gal she’s in love with) describing her future plans.  She will keep the beard as a cover for the WLW love forever, and at night all the touching that Taylor needs can take place in private.  

Taylor jealously guards her new found love with a woman in End Game, Delicate, and Gold Rush.  Now that she crossed her boundaries and touched a woman, Taylor can’t be without it.  She has fear and anxiety this person will leave her, they’ll chose someone else (a man?) over her.  And the thought of that makes Taylor miserable.  Taylor is so obsessed about keeping this new found love that she compares it to drug addiction.  Don’t Blame Me has Taylor, high on her lover’s touch, begging on her knees, and giving up grace to touch her.  Touch is forbidden and dangerous, but now touch is now a desperate need of Taylor’s.

But then there are political complications.  In Death by a Thousand Cuts Taylor describes how her and her lover’s paper thin plans were ruined by Trump.  Her lover gave up on her like a bad drug despite touching every part of Taylor.  

Taylor was working up to coming out.  She wanted to do it for her lover.  She wrote speeches…  But they ended up in the fire.  She couldn’t give an adequate reason why she just couldn’t bring herself to do it.  WLW slipped beyond her reaches as a result.  Now Taylor grieves for the living.  The tarnished (stigmatized) touch was the only thing that made Taylor feel and come in from the cold, numbing snow.  Though Taylor was unthawed by this love, and her whole being was impacted, her inaction caused the lover to leave.