Hey, There’s a Bird in This Mirror!

Diversion Enthusiast Society, est. 2007

Music Marathon 2009 (Preamble)

with 2 comments

So we’ve changed the look of the blog yet again to help kick it out of its dormancy.  We’ll see how long this lasts.  In any case, this is the beginning of my annual music marathon – I re-listen to every album I got this year and waste your time with my blabbing.

So my preconceived notions before I start this thing officially… well, I’ve noticed two ongoing trends in the music released this year, and I think they’re positive ones even if, collectively, they didn’t add up to one of the better years in music this decade.

  • First off, the avant-garde (or what passes for it in indie rock or what-have-you) wants you to know it loves pop music, too.  Some of the more “challenging” (again, relatively speaking – we’re not exactly talking John Cage here) rock artists of the last few years released their best, most satisfying albums in 2009, and this has a lot to do with old-fashioned accessibility.  Who knew that the Dirty Projectors were Mariah Carey fans, right?  And who knew that Grizzly Bear could write a hook that could stick in your head?  And how in the hell did people love Animal Collective before Merriweather Post Pavilion?
  • Second, and please note that I don’t mean this in some “sisters are doin’ it for themselves/Year of the Woman/Rolling Stone with Sheryl Crow, Sarah Maclachlan, and Jewel on the cover” way, but, with only a few exceptions, women musicians ruled indie rock this year.  It hasn’t been acknowledged all that much, perhaps for fear of evoking the cheeseball sentiments I just mentioned.  And, after all, I was hesitant in my quite justifiable dismissal of the Vivian Girls last year, specifically because of a curious scarcity of great albums by women last year, so I understand not focusing on gender.  But women musicians were the trailblazers, the MVPs, and even the guilty pop pleasures of this year.  It wasn’t just Bat for Lashes and St. Vincent making good on the promises of their solid debuts with stellar sophomore efforts, but also the stellar contributions of the female members of the Dirty Projectors on several of the very best songs of the year, Shara Worden’s awe-inspiring guest turns on the Decemberist’s Hazards of Love, Neko Case and Regina Spektor continuing in their inimitable ways, and Paramore’s Hayley Williams and, yes, Kelly Clarkson churning out ultra-accessible, radio-friendly pop rock that’s simply too good to be snottily dismissive of.

Anyway, we’ll see if I hold to these shallow observations.  Other revelations, overblown statements, and progressively sloppy editing and layout await as we go forth with Dave’s Music Marathon 2009…

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Written by Dave

December 11, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Posted in feminism, Music

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2 Responses

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  1. Best of luck on the marathon. Can’t wait to hear your revelations.

    ~ C.H.
    Music news, artist reviews, and upcoming songs at the new Decibel Blog.

    C.H.

    December 11, 2009 at 6:50 pm

  2. I was noticing the upward trend of really solid female output this year too. Would add Florence + The Machine’s Lungs to your list, which is the album that got me pontificating on the subject in the first place. It’s album of the year material for me.

    Adam

    December 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm


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