Thursday, December 01, 2005

list season: the cool kids table.

year-end lists are a tricky breed. some are informative and entertaining; others are errorenous and frustrating. however, most journalists make them, and most people read them anyway. as a satire of music journalism [which, let's face it, since i'm a musician, that's the entire basis of this blog, anyway], i am, just as promised, going to make a list in retrospective of 2005, EVERY DAY THIS MONTH.

today's list is on the slippery subject of "cool".

the word "cool" has meant a lot of things to a lot of different people over the years. when you think "cool", you immediately think of james dean or arthur fonzerelli. however, in the day and age of seth cohen, "cool" has changed lifeforms. no longer is it the alpha male that every man wishes he were, and every woman wishes she were with [or vice versa]. in the postmodern national pastime of irony, the only way to be cool is to be as explicitly uncool as possible. and being uncool is actually really punk rock. without further adieu, armchair novelist's "cool kids table of 2005":

10. julian casablancas:
like i stated about his inclusion on the nme cool list, he didn't do anything this year. well, he actually really did do things. he recorded the strokes' third album [which, from what i hear will be much like the other two, which is not a big deal. bloggers just like to complain for the sake of complaining. they complain when you make a drastic change in music, and they complain when you don't change at all], went on a couple of secret tours, and got married. getting married should have cool points deducted, but the fact that his vocals are just as slurry, julian has nothing to worry about.

9. liam gallagher:
he helped write oasis's best album in ten years. he went on a mega-huge world tour with his brother. he seemingly goes through music magazines with a highlighter to find a new band to talk shit about. the last point kinda makes him seem like a prick, but liam gallagher's just being honest. and honesty, my friends, is very cool.

8. jack white:
although he does a lot of uncool things [rants about radio station balloons, hates rap], jack white counteracts those with some of the coolest things that any musician has ever done [released his fifth-straight masterpiece; appeared on conan for a full week; got married. to a supermodel. on a boat. with a baby alligator; and knocked up his wife within three months of their marriage]. plus, like him or hate him, jack white is one of the most artistically relevant musicians in the world today.

7. sufjan stevens:
released what many people believe to be the album of the year [close, but not quite, i say]. is continuing work on his absurdly ambitious "50 states project" [i hear oregon's next and vermont might be an ep]. played five consecutive sold-out shows in new york with a different theme every night [my favorite being the one where he dressed as evel kinevel-- a little help with what night that was, please?], proving that with his sometimes overtly-serious music, sufjan really does have a sense of humor. and not many secular indie artists claim to be devout christians, which scores him points for the disregard of other people's opinion.

6. ryan adams:
although he had ANOTHER injury and had to cancel shows, ryan adams is this year's most prolific artist, releasing three very good albums in 2005, unseating the ridiculously-prolific mf doom, who only put out one album this year. that means he's put out more good albums this year than the past three years [for the record, the only good album he's put out in a while before these three was love is hell]. erratic behavior has been kept to a minimum, and people actually like ryan this year.

5. devendra banhart:
released the best album of his career, with a song about having chinese children-- EVEN IF HE LIVED IN RUSSIA. with at least three songs sung exclusively in spanish [including my favorite non-english song of all-time, "in niel"]. and most notably, with a song sung from the perspective of either micheal jackson or oscar wilde, "little boys".

4. jenny lewis:
spent the whole year getting more shine than her bandmates in rilo kiley, working on her solo debut [which ensures her spot on this list next year due to its 2006 release date], and remaining the most goregous woman in alternative music.

3. owen pallett:
because he spent the entire year in relative obscurity although he made one of the year's best albums. that's the textbook definition of "keeping it cool". and he does a MEAN cover of bloc party's "this modern love".

2. colin meloy:
from my inclusion of the decemberists as the top band in america:

[arguably] america's best songwriter started off the year with a well-recieved solo tour with an outstanding morrissey covers ep, that's not only probably selling for ghastly amounts on e-bay, but further heightened his legendary obsession with [arguably] the world's best living songwriter. in march, he and his troop of vagabonds came to seattle and put on one of the best shows i've ever seen in my life [with people singing along to the then-unreleased album, which wouldn't be out for another four days]. our hero released the album, traveled the world, brought paper whales on stage, and covered fleetwood mac with death cab for cutie in new york. colin meloy should be having the best year of his life.

the sheer fact that he could kick anyone's ass in scrabble on his worst day is a good enough reason.

1. mf doom:
for the sheer fact that he had the entire independent music scene twitching in anticipation for his critically-acclaimed collaboration with danger mouse. only good old metalface can have cartoon characters all over his album and still have it sound cooler than any other rapper that would even think about trying it. and even though the mask ain't brand spanking new ["what happened," you ask? it got rusted from drankin' all the brew], doom is still cooler than your five favorite rappers combined, for the same reason colin meloy is the coolest indie rocker in the world today: the coolest thing you could possibly do is be uncool.


Blogger nicola six said...

i agree with your number one choice.

2:12 PM  

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