Tag Archives: Year-End Lists

In 2011, why bother with a midyear music list? Look at what’s to come

Entertainment Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

Everyone who writes about music loves compiling best-of lists. No exception here. I spent early July musing over a first-half Top 5 (in no particular order: Reptilians, Kaputt, w h o k i l l, Nine Types of Light, Within and Without) then lamenting the slew of other releases I like but would have to exclude.

Some really big guns released solid albums (The Strokes, Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, Lupe Fiasco, Peter Bjorn & John, Foo Fighters, The Decemberists, The Cars, Paul Simon, Danger Mouse).  Some growing or lesser known entities produced worthy listens I wanted to champion (Cut Copy, Yuck, Telekinesis, Cults, Tennis, Eleanor Friedberger, Lykke Li, Noah and The Whale) and some acts I don’t care for, despite recognizing their ability and success, continued to perform (Panda Bear, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver). Virtually any combination from the albums listed above could be justified as a compelling, valid list and my running first-half tally likely overlooks a number of underrated gems.

Despite all that, it’s entirely possible no album from the first half of the year will end up in a 2011-ending Top 10. Consider the following 10 albums slated for fall in light of their most recent releases (and corresponding Metacritic scores): Continue reading

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WFOETYLs #3: Twenty-five songs for 25-year-olds

Entertainment Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

I turned 25 in 2010. It’s an age you see as a landmark growing up…then it lacks a bit when you finally reach it and don’t really feel like you’ve moved on to some semblance of adulthood just yet. No matter what your perceptions of a quarter of life are, it at least gives you an ample amount of experience to look back on.

Music has been major interest and part of my life since I was young (first instrument at 6, recorder pride). To honor my relationship with music at 25, I decided a playlist was in order:  twenty-five songs for 25-years-old – one from each year I’ve been alive. As usual when I compile a list, here are the guidelines used to narrow things down: Continue reading

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WFOETYLs #2: Ten live sets from ’10

Entertainment Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

If you thought the top albums of 2010 were solid, the top shows really gave you reason to find a downloading means and put your funds towards tickets. Tons of big names came through CNY’s preverbial back yard (give it a 2.5hr driving radius) and I’m not even including Justin Bieber at the State Fair.

A few guidelines to start: Continue reading

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WFOETYLs #1: Five Underrated Albums for ’10

Entertainment Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

Why has year-end list season become a December staple rather than a January one? With all of the holiday shopping including plenty of  gift cards with music distribution capabilities (Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, iTunes, etc.), wouldn’t these lists be more helpful when you’re stuck deciding what album your $10 can buy you?

Some of the list making around here has already begun. A playlist of my top songs is circulating over at Songza (Note: I wanted the Ted Leo cover of Tears for Fears in there but it’s not available). Over at The NewsHouse you can find the 2nd Annual Syracuse Year in Music List as well as some Top 5s from notable music folks around campus.  I compiled but did not participate in that second project, but if I was asked I had a topic in mind… Underrated Albums of ’10. Continue reading

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Is 2010 the most blog-friendly music year ever?

Entertainment Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

Where the two circles meet in the Venn diagram of music lovers and bloggers, the inevitable debate of best albums of the year  arises.

I’m as guilty as anyone of indulging in this pleasure.  A passion for music means sampling plenty and sharing your favorites while a passion for blogging means making an opinion and presenting it to the world. Year-end music lists are a natural outlet for the intersection of these.

This year however, the millions of folks who engage in this subculture have their work cut out for them.  If the online year-end music list is a distinctly 2000s trend,  2010 threatens to be the most insanely loaded (and therefore insanely difficult) year-end list conversation we’ve ever seen.  Consider the following acts that have  released or are reportedly releasing albums this year found through just three different websites: Continue reading

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WFOETYLs #2: Top Nine Songs of ’09

Entertainment Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

I know, I know. This list is stale. It’s a week after ’09 and everyone has a top songs list – from other aspiring music writer friends to major sports writers.  By this point I could’ve done a “Top Songs List of ’09 List.”

Every year though you need to do either best albums or best songs though. They are the Ace and King of the music deck and anyone hoping to jump in on the game someday needs to know how to play them. With 2009 marking the end of the decade where a lot of influential voices are proclaiming this decade as the end of the album (due to things like iPods, iTunes, digital file sharing, etc.), songs seemed a fitting way to close things out.

As always, a few guidelines to start: Continue reading

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WFOEOTYL #1: Nine Music Sets of ’09

Entertainment Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

It’s tough to come up with a fresh take on year-end music lists. Top Albums gets done by everyone under the sun and the same can be said for Top Songs (we’ve done it before, we’ll likely do it again). I’m in the fortunate position of limited real responsibilities and enough discretionary income to make at least 1-2 shows per month. Central New York might not be a hotbed, but if you expand your territory by a few hours in each direction it’s possible to make a concert calendar that includes many of the must-see acts in a given year. Hence…why not a top individual sets of ’09 recap?

Maybe this list won’t be showing up on hip blogs (i.e. largehearted boy or Fimoculous) but it’s mandatory for any aspiring music/culture writer to offer their take on things. As a quick reminder, I’ve reviewed music in Albuquerque, Stroudsburg and Syracuse and throughout college. While it’s not quite SPIN Magazine, I do listen to/see a lot of music.

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