Showing posts with label lydia loveless. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lydia loveless. Show all posts

Monday, January 9, 2017

the top 25 best albums of 2016

And now, the final list, the one that always gives me the most anxiety but also the one that I'm always happy to have finalized by the end of the year - or by the first few days of next year, I'm going on vacation for the first week of January and I'm in a bit of a rush to get packed and ready on time, so this video might be a day or two late. 

But in an odd way that's kind of representative of 2016's albums as a whole, as I've definitely not seen a lot of common consensus surrounding picks - and fair warning, that'll be very true with these as well. Great records in 2016 came in fits and spurts, with a lot of big returns that didn't quite impress me, some debuts that blew me out of the water, and a predominant theme of endings that ran through a lot of albums that I covered and loved this year. I'm not quite sure if it's reflecting the tempo of the times or my personal feelings surrounding the year, but this list really feels all over the place, all albums I loved but coming from radically different locations, styles, and genres than I expected. In other words, there are albums that you will not recognize on this list, and a few major exclusions.

But it also runs deeper than that: for instance, this is the first year I've ever given out a perfect score on this channel - and then I did it twice. I'll get more into this when I talk about the albums at length, but I would recommend you consider my top two choices as interchangeable at best, I flip back and forth with them every day. There's also a whole bunch of albums that narrowly missed the cut, from punk veterans like Against Me!, White Lung and Jeff Rosenstock, to metal and experimental rock like Swans, Savages, Epica and Tarja to hip-hop powerhouses like clipping., Ka, LMNO, Elzhi, and Denzel Curry. And as I've mentioned a number of times, country had one of its best years in recent memory, and that led to some extremely painful cuts, from the superb pop country of Jennifer Nettles to the neotraditional tones of Cody Jinks and Mark Chesnutt to the stripped back indie starlets like Karen Jonas and Dori Freeman. Everyone I just mentioned dropped albums this year you can consider honourable mentions that I couldn't rank if I wanted to and are all worth your time, but now it's time for the list proper, starting with...

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

the top 50 best songs of 2016

I've gone on record that this list in particular is always the hardest to make. Refining a list of songs that I've covered on albums I've reviewed over the course of the year - which numbers in the thousands of songs - down to a select six hundred or so, then down to a subset of just under 200... and then the final fifty. Suffice to say, there's always a lot to cover.

But I have to say, this year felt easier than others. I'd say part of it is that I'm getting a better handle on my organization going into these lists, but that would assume I've got some inkling of what I'm doing here. I think the larger factor is that the truly amazing songs that monopolized my year - the top 35 or so - they fell into place remarkably quickly, and that made ironing out the details easier than I expected. Maybe it was because it was easier for me to get passionate about some of these tracks than before, because if you ventured away from the mainstream Hot 100, there was a lot of great music in 2016. Away from the charts there was great metal, rock, synthpop, hip-hop, and especially country, which had one of its best years in recent memory, and fair warning, there's going to be a lot of it on this list.

As always, the songs had to appear on any one of the albums I reviewed - singles or deep cuts, all are possible, so no more wasting time, we have a lot to get through! So let's start off crazy with...

Monday, September 5, 2016


Well, this finally happened. Long video to render, which is giving me the unsettling feeling that my computer is finally starting to give out on me - not a good sign, but given the problems I've been having with the processors, it's only a matter of time. Plus, in the meantime I've got so many reviews to cover before next weekend...

Eh, Billboard BREAKDOWN is next, followed by Travi$ Scott, Isaiah Rashad, Angel Olsen, De La Soul... suffice to say, I have a lot to cover, so stay tuned!

Monday, August 29, 2016

video review: 'real' by lydia loveless (VACATION REVIEW!)

Yeah, it's not pure 'country', but it gets under your skin in a way that so few albums like this truly do. It's one of those albums that hits you in the gut so well you can barely remember how you were without it - absolutely stellar, deserves so much more acclaim in a year where women in country/country-adjacent are doing incredible things.

But more on this later - next up, Glass Animals, Delain and (sigh) Florida Georgia Line, but also a new Billboard BREAKDOWN, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

video review: 'somewhere else' by lydia loveless

Well, this was a fun surprise. Glad I could get this out.

Next up is Beck. Stay tuned!

album review: 'somewhere else' by lydia loveless

So recently on my walk to the karaoke bar downtown I like to frequent, I discovered a new club has opened up on route - but not your typical overpriced downtown Toronto nightclub. No, this is a place that looks, for all intents and purposes, like a country bar. And every time I walk past that bar wearing my cowboy boots and my heavy leather coat, I always have to restrain a smirk at the massive line of people trying to dress 'country', or at least in a way that blends it with standard nightclub wear. Because let's be completely fair here: most of these guys and girls would not be listening to country music if it wasn't for Taylor Swift or the rise of bro-country, and I know that more than a few of them likely threw country music under the bus a good five or six years ago.

But if I'm being embarrassingly honest, I can't help but feel really quite happy at the popular revival among my generation that seems to be happening with country music. Because, sure, a lot of them are only jumping on the bandwagon for Luke Bryan or Florida Georgia Line (or, if they're in a more antisocial mood or want to be secure in their masculinity they'll go with Eric Church), but of that generation there will be an increased number of people who'll go deeper and find better country music beyond the popular trends, maybe in the past or in the alternative or underground scenes. And with more media outlets and critics starting to cover country music, it gives me hope that the under-served genre can be revitalized in the critical discussion.

So on that note, let's talk about Lydia Loveless. Her major label debut album Indestructible Machine came out in 2011 and immediately attracted some buzz because of Lydia's fusion of classic country and punk rock - and it is awesome. The best way to describe this album would be a fusion of Hank Williams III's production and acerbic wit, Danielle Bradbery's voice, and Exile To Guyville-era Liz Phair's brand of cutting, yet vulnerable and emotionally poignant feminism. It was raw, unbridled, and distinctly memorable, with sharp lyrics and even sharper delivery, so it was obvious I was going to be interested in her follow-up this year with Somewhere Else. How did it go?