Wow, posts look really weird without a 300×300 pixel album cover leading off.
Well, we’re halfway there. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know if I was going to make it past the first week when I began this project, and here we are, 186 albums later. I need to commemorate reaching the halfway point in some way—I would have had this out earlier in the week, but school just started and I’ve been a little busy. So, without further ado, here are the Top 5 records of Swole’s first half—look out for the Bottom 5 tomorrow.
I really thought that I’d never have to type out this ridiculously stylized band name again. Oh well, Merrill Garbus’ ridiculously catchy glitch-indie makes it all worth it. Honestly, this spot is more symbolic of the tUnE-yArDs project as a whole—both w h o k i l l and BiRd-BrAiNs are fantastic albums. w h o k i l l earns the spot because of Gangsta, though. The record’s second single gets a listen from me almost daily, and it hasn’t lost any of its zest or infectiousness yet. When I burn a copy of a CD for my car after only hearing its first half, you know it’s good.
No, an album does not have to be great driving music in order to make this list, despite what records 4 and 5 may want you to believe. All Day really is one of the most replayable records of all time. From the intense/hilarious opening pairing of War Pigs and Ludacris’ Move Bitch, to the fitting and beautiful close with Imagine by Lennon, All Day never seems to lose its charm. This record shows why Girl Talk is, and will always be, the king of the mash-up.
This record works surprisingly well as driving music too, believe it or not. You’ve got to be in the right mood, though. I’ve found that the unexplainable hybrid of stress and fury only felt when stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for extended periods suits People best. AJJ’s talent of blending depressing, dark, but somehow optimistic lyrics still amazes me. I’m very thankful that I don’t view the world the way lyricist Sean Bonnette does, but I’m also thankful that he’s decided to write about the way he sees things.
There are a few factors that led to Pains earning the top spot here:
- The sick white vinyl edition of this album that I got for preordering.
- The conversation that I had with Kip—the lead singer—before a show of theirs in April—I make awkwardness an art.
- The fact that this album really is amazing.
I still haven’t gotten over the one-two-three punch that Belong opens with—three amazing new-wavey synth-pop songs on a level that Pains’ imitators can only dream of one day reaching. Heart in your Heartbreak is one of the catchiest songs in existence, with some of the most depressing lyrics that I’ve ever heard. How this band doesn’t get radio play is beyond me.
Most importantly, Belong works as a whole—perhaps more so than any record that I’ve listened to so far. Every track flows beautifully into the next, and the slower songs both serve to accentuate the record’s earth-shattering highs, and stand alone as amazing as well. If I hear a record better than this before the end of Swole Ear, I’ll be very surprised. Plus, it’s great to drive to.