My Top 20 Albums of 2018 + Supplemental Lists

2018

Of the twenty-five components that comprise my annual top twenty album list (there are actually twenty-nine if you count ordering/re-ordering the individual lists as I write about them), this intro section is, counterintuitively, the one I tend to care about the least. It’s usually written very late in what, having traditionally started in early December and ending heaven only knows when, has by that point been a lengthy and fairly exhausting process. For this 2018 list, it came in dead last, which I admit might seem an odd way of putting your best foot forward as a writer. To be fair, and by way of context, I finished six other posts in the two months flat it took me to bring the following countdown through to fruition, comprising an approximate (and puny!) combined total of 11,000 (additional) words. I also supervised the fifth anniversary relaunch of my/this beloved little backwater, including its long-threatened change of address to the theoretically easier to say/type/remember URL www.darkadaptedeye.org, and the criminally overdue renovation of its former offensively junior varsity digs. Continue reading “My Top 20 Albums of 2018 + Supplemental Lists”

My Top 20 Albums of 2017 + supplemental lists

2017-year-end.jpg

In what has become something of an unfortunate tradition inside a tradition, once again it takes me until February to officially close up business for the prior year (though the Valentine’s Day publishing date was an unexpected coincidence). I don’t know what to tell you. There’s not a lot to recommend researching, compiling, writing up, and releasing a comprehensive top twenty music countdown without fellow contributors to help shoulder the workload. I write professionally in addition to running this little backwater, and I can tell you that there are days when the last possible thing on my mind is trying to fill yet another blank page with pop culture ephemera. There’s also a level on which I was probably too consistently consumed with national and world events in 2017 to let the year’s roster of music go about its transporting and soothing work to the degree it was needed. Lord knows I could’ve used the break. Continue reading “My Top 20 Albums of 2017 + supplemental lists”

My Top 20 Albums of 2016 + supplemental lists

2016-year-end

Introduction

Oh, I definitely know I’m late. Believe me when I say that I have no wish to belabor the foul memory of 2016 any further than is absolutely necessary. Truly, it was a vile year, brimming with breathtaking, heartbreaking upheaval on both a political and societal level, and a cavalcade, practically a mocking, extended holiday parade, of unfortunate mortal departures from the worlds of art and film and music, such that I’d never before quite experienced in my own four+ decades on this rock. Eventually, of course, you grow old enough that your heroes die. It’s as incontrovertible as the sunrise. 2016, then, was the year that stated that truism for the record unequivocally, then restated it, reinforced it, and underlined it like an unbalanced grade school teacher a thousand times in neon ink. Continue reading “My Top 20 Albums of 2016 + supplemental lists”

My Top 20 Albums of 2015 + supplemental lists

2015

Introduction

I have always had a procrastination problem. To hear my mother tell, it’s more like a birthright. My parents are both procrastinators and so I was hit with both barrels. I “never had a chance,” she’s told me more than once. At the conclusion of what I thought was a fairly banner second year, I closed up shop for DAE on December 18, 2015, leaving myself time off for all my various holiday travels and, in theory at least, building in enough room to comfortably finish my traditional year-end album countdown within the roughly three-week window. Or so I thought. Unlike last year, this vacation time did not especially cry out to be shared, plus I received a slew of unexpected bumps and priority adjustments that I did not experience in 2014. I still occasionally get annoyed that essentially taking the month of August 2014 off in order to write my “Iron Maiden Saved My Life” essay precluded me from reviewing Guardians of the Galaxy or paying my proper, bottomless respects to the late Robin Williams. Unless I have something at least under construction at all times, I can’t maintain the schedule I want for this blog, which is, roughly, to produce one reasonably thorough/polished piece per week. Continue reading “My Top 20 Albums of 2015 + supplemental lists”

The Top Ten (+5): New millennium stand-up comedy albums

summit

Obligatory disclaimer: What follows is my latest list of highly specific things I like, presented in the order I like them. This list makes no allowances for anyone’s taste but my own, nor for colossal, head-slappingly obvious omissions, of which, I’m sure, there are many. It’s pretty much as complete as it’s ever gonna get. By reading further, you absolve me, the author, from any liability related to your potentially scarred psyche – permanently furrowed brows, heart palpitations, etc. Feedback on your own favorites, or what I got wrong or right (or wrong), is both welcome and encouraged.  

In a different time, under different circumstances, I might have been one of those outdoor kids so romanticized in fiction, parenting guides, and modern television commercials touting youth activity (in my day, the NFL sadly couldn’t be bothered to help motivate my butt off the couch). Ideally, I would’ve been off running through a field somewhere, or climbing trees, catching crawdads down at the creek bed or building forts with my little friends. Instead, I was the shy latchkey kid of a hardworking, divorced parent, often left to my own devices and largely bereft of friends. So I spent my childhood diligently making my own fun. I liked watching sports, but didn’t play any except youth soccer and backyard basketball. I loved to read and listen to music, and spent an awful lot of time formulating what would become lifelong passions at the feet of MTV and HBO. I never felt deprived. HBO in particular would prove to be a seminal influence, and among its specialties in the 1980s were movies, boxing, and stand-up comedy. I’ve already spoken a time or four here on the first two topics, but comedy proved no less influential on me growing up. Continue reading “The Top Ten (+5): New millennium stand-up comedy albums”

My Top 20 Albums of 2014 + supplemental lists

2014

Introduction

The (now officially) annual list of the prior year’s top 20 albums is, and will continue to be, a post that holds extra significance for me. After all, spending the better part of two months researching and writing the 2013 edition, only to find no acceptable place to post it, was the impetus for me to launch this blog in the first place. That was the best snap decision I’ve made in quite some time. Even though I fudged some of the housekeeping around it, for all intents and purposes that 2013 edition was the original centerpiece and first post ever for this blog, darkadaptedeye, 8000+ words long and self-indulgent to a fault. That was exactly one year and, now, seventy posts ago. Continue reading “My Top 20 Albums of 2014 + supplemental lists”

“Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways”: an uneven soundtrack to a killer roadtrip

Sonic

Fearless independent filmmaker Werner Herzog is a passionate believer in what he has called the “voodoo of location”*, the notion that specific location filming not only naturally informs the look of a movie but also can appreciably influence how it feels, that history is so inextricably tied to a given place that it almost can’t help, on some level, but be absorbed into the production. Though he’s never spoken the exact words, lead Foo Fighter Dave Grohl is obviously at least a sympathetic mind. His 2013 documentary Sound City was a full blown love letter, equal parts celebratory and wistful, to the titular Los Angeles studio, which served over the course of multiple decades as home base for the recording of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes, and Nirvana’s Nevermind, among others. Grohl is the kind of music aficionado who turns amateur historian via happy accident, a product of deep-seated enthusiasm and wide-ranging experience, with no traditional academic reinforcement required. Continue reading ““Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways”: an uneven soundtrack to a killer roadtrip”