This blog has been sadly ignored by me for far too long.....I apologize for that.
In 2013, I hope to be able to launch a new website that will replace this blog that will include a twitter feed that doesn't crap out and a weekly blog post about what I'm up to. I want to thank everyone from Nebraska, Alabama, Iowa or anywhere really, for keeping in touch and caring what I'm up to.
I'm getting married in 2013 to the love of my life and I'm so excited to see what this new year will bring my way.
However, I've been doing a Top 10 list of my favorite albums for years now and I'm late this year ....but below are my favorite albums of 2012. I'll do my favorite songs next weekend when I have some more time but feel free to add, argue, or comment on the albums I have selected. I'm sure you will have some strong opinions on my crazy musical tastes.
No. 10: Tilly and the Wall - Heavy Mood
The Nebraska band came to Boston in the fall of 2012 in support of this album and I was so excited to introduce them to my fiancee. What makes Tilly so unique, besides their catchy, fun songs, is the tap dancing of Jamie Pressnall of Omaha. While I still believe that Tilly is a far better live act than in the studio, Heavy Mood is the band's strongest record to date. Their fans are very unique and dressing up for their shows is not uncommon. If you go see them, leave your judging eyes at home.
Tilly And The Wall - Defenders from Ben Fee on Vimeo.
No. 9: Ani DiFranco - Which Side Are You On?
Was there a better album title for this past election year? America was forced to answer that question at the ballot box and lucky for us, the voters came through. Ani's latest record is filled with mature lyrics and complex melodies that her fans have come to expect. I have now seen Ms. DiFranco 29 times after taking my bride-to-be to see her play in Boston this past November. She continues to produce tremendous music year-in and year-out and this album, while not her greatest, is a must for any folk fan.
No. 8: Dave Matthews Band - Away From The World
A lot of people have strong feelings about Dave and his music. Some call him a sell-out. Some say he just sucks. But I have always been of the opinion that Dave does what Dave wants and he creates songs that I have loved for years. The band's 2012 release was more political than others and given the climate of the country, I think he deserves a lot of respect for putting his words out there for everyone's consumption.
No. 7: Taylor Swift - Red
I am not one who judges an artist based on his/her fan base or their age when the first release an album. If they write quality songs, I love to sit back and enjoy them. I don't care what MTV says or what indie rock fan thinks of me for placing Taylor once again on this list. The fact is that "Red" is a very interesting album. Sure, Taylor has gone 100% pop outside of 1 or 2 tracks on this album and I'm ok with that. I'm not ranking country albums here. This record literally has something for everyone. My favorite track (below) happens to be the country track but there are great pop hits on there as well.
No. 6 The Lumineers - Self Titled
The debut album from this Denver, CO band took off in 2012. Folk music has always been a huge love of mine, and this album filled with tremendous acoustic guitar-driven songs. Sure, this band's sound is not unique. There are others who do it better actually but this album is a nice listening experience and I recommend picking it up if you don't have it.
No. 5: Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
Many, including Rolling Stone magazine, picked this album as their top pick for 2012. I will not argue with that as "Wrecking Ball" is simply fantastic. I will simply say that I liked others more, but that does not take away from this album's influence this year. Super Storm Sandy slammed New Jersey and this album could not have been more perfect for those people affected. Bruce campaigned heavily for Barrack Obama but was seen publicly praising Gov. Chris Christie for his efforts to help those in need on the Jersey Shore. As Bruce says below, we take care of our own.
No. 4: Of Monsters and Men - My Head is an Animal
If you don't know about this band yet - you must. Sure, Iceland is an odd place to find a indie pop group but this group was my favorite find in 2012. My bride-to-be's older sister is actually who introduced me to them and I love this album. There are several big hits with many more to come. If you are Mumford fan or Arcade Fire fan - you gotta check out Of Monsters ...
No. 3: Mumford and Sons - Babel
Another year, another top 3 record pick for me and Mumford. If you loved Mumford first album, you will seriously have a love affair with this one. It's not that the album is bad, but it's just not a huge departure from what made "Sigh No More" a international hit. The album debuted at No. 1 in the UK and sold the most albums in the first week of release than any other album this past year.
No. 2: The Avett Brothers - The Carpenter
These guys are from North Carolina and aside from putting on a tremendous show in the south end of Boston in 2012, they became one of my favorite bands last year for their sound, energy, and love of music. One of the leaders of current Americana music movement, the Avett Brothers released the best album of the genre last year.
No. 1: Keane - Strangeland
I do not expect many of you to agree with this selection but this is my list and my opinion. You make the slam that they are just a copy-cat version of U2 or they lack original sound ... blah, blah, blah. I love Brit-pop and I love Keane. After dropping 2 albums that did not exploit Tim Rice-Oxley's depth of songwriting, "Strangeland" hits you with one great track after another. It's long too - 16 tracks on the deluxe edition. Below is the song that I think best represents what 2013 will be for me .... in a lot of ways ... it's my "Starting Line".
Thanks for reading!!!