December 16, 2024

Top Ten Albums of 2024

Written by your guest blogger Brian:

I had planned on posting another part of my Anachronism series—this one about Google, Derrida, and the obsessive nature of the internet--but I thought better of it, for fear that I might bore you, dear reader. Additionally, my own bout of Archive Fever prevented me from writing as cohesively as I would have liked. Besides, this is a blog, not a friggin’ course in advanced literary theory.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to fall back on an old blogger’s standby: making lists. ‘Tis the Season…

Top Ten Albums of 2024

1. The Arcade Fire, Funeral
It’s the best record of the year because every song, start to finish, rocked. Lead singer Win Butler’s nasal croon cuts through tracks about death, neighborhoods, death, driving, and death. Their show at the 400 Bar last month also ranks in my top ten live acts of the year. They’re multi-instrumentalists! And they’re Canadian!

2. Xiu Xiu, Fabulous Muscles
The latest album from crypto-queer singer/songwriter Jamie Stewart features the best lyric of the year on the title track, "Fabulous Muscles:" “cremate me after you cum on my lips, honey boy / place my ashes in a vase beneath your workout bench.” Another great live show.

3. Modest Mouse, Good News for People who Like Bad News
This was the summer album of 2024, and it seemed like everywhere I went it was being played. Modest Mouse isn’t so modest anymore. Now they’re playing on Saturday Night Live. I remember seeing them in Green Bay back when I was in high school in front of fifty people with my friend’s band opening. Times change. And it doesn’t hurt that “Float On” is catchy as shit.

4. Best Friends Forever, s/t
Best Minneapolis band this year. This band is currently getting buzz and could have gotten huge if Bree hadn’t gone to Germany and Jess moved to Milwaukee. A great band to dance to. They are into costumes, puppets, and funk-pop guitar stylings. Plus, Jess hand screen-printed all the album covers. Here’s to a reunion in ’05.

5. Hayden, Elk-Lake Serenade
This is the album I’ve been waiting for Hayden to make ever since his 1995 debut Everything I Long For gave me a soundtrack for late nights in my bedroom feeling lonely. Nine years later, he’s delivered. Beautiful acoustic guitars, harmonica, and that gorgeous voice.

6. Joanna Newsom, The Milk-Eyed Mender
Speaking of voices, I think the reason I like Joanna Newsom’s so much is because it sounds like Carol Channing. That and the songs are quirky and expertly crafted. Everything about this album feels intricately stitched together by hand.

7. The Plastic Constellations, Mazatlan
Local teen rock heroes return from hiatus with a party album. The CD release show featured inflatable palm trees and confetti. You get the picture.

8. Mirah, C’mon Miracle
“Jerusalem” is the protest song of the year. She just keeps putting out smart, pretty folk-pop records and this one is no exception.

9. P.O.S., Ipecac Neat
The only hip hop record on the list, although it owes a lot to the *shudder* spoken word movement. Stef’s lyrics are brilliant and his delivery is quirky enough to keep him a step above most of the crap you hear on the radio. Another Minneapolis musician that is going places.

10. The Magnetic Fields, I
It’s really tough to follow-up the epic 69 Love Songs, but Stephen Merritt makes a valiant effort on this disk filled with—surprise—catchy love ballads. The gimmick this time? Every song begins with the letter "i." This album took some time to grow on me, but it won me over in the end

Posted by at December 16, 2024 07:28 PM