Saturday, January 31, 2009


The Top Ten Albums of 2008

Rilo Kiley, Under The Blacklight
Rock |
One. Listening to this whole album makes me afterglow.

Beck, Modern Guilt
Rock |
Two. Dreamy album's silence says just as much as the notes in between. Amazing and fresh.

The Blow, Paper Television

Glitch Pop |
Three. Seduction has never sounded so appealing as when it's wrapped up in irregular beats and sung by Khaela.

The Kooks, Inside In/Inside Out

Pop |
Four. British college musicians form band as a project for class. Whole world wants to kiss the professor.

Ani DiFranco, Red Letter Year
Folk |
Five. Angry feminist rocker loses the anger, shows what else she's got.

Metric, Live It Out
Rock |
Six. Emily may be a lot of things, but who can tell, under all that metaphor? Catchy and joyful, maybe.

Belle and Sebastian, Tigermilk
Folk Pop |
Seven. Beautiful songs for school days.

The Hush Sound
, Goodbye Blues
Pop |
Eight. Bouyant female lead takes this band places no one was expecting.

The Killers, Day & Age
Dance Rock |
Nine. The Killers just got it, you know?

Honeyhoney | First Rodeo

Folk Rock |
Ten. Passionate "I love you"'s coupled with equally passionate "Fuck you"'s from a very verbose couple.

Jenny Lewis | Acid Tongue
Folk Rock | Last .fm
Honorable Mention. Probably one of my favorite albums of 09, but I got into it January 2nd, so what are you going to do?

Compiler's Note: Yeah, not compiled by what came out this year, in case you haven't noticed.

Life Story

Life Story
by Tennessee Williams

After you've been to bed together for the first time,
without the advantage or disadvantage of any prior acquaintance,
the other party very often says to you,
Tell me about yourself, I want to know all about you,
what's your story? And you think maybe they really and truly do

sincerely want to know your life story, and so you light up
a cigarette and begin to tell it to them, the two of you
lying together in completely relaxed positions
like a pair of rag dolls a bored child dropped on a bed.

You tell them your story, or as much of your story
as time or a fair degree of prudence allows, and they say,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, until the oh
is just an audible breath, and then of course

there's some interruption. Slow room service comes up
with a bowl of melting ice cubes, or one of you rises to pee
and gaze at himself with the mild astonishment in the bathroom mirror.
And then, the first thing you know, before you've had time
to pick up where you left off with your enthralling life story,
they're telling you their life story, exactly as they'd intended to all along,

and you're saying, Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, the vowel at last becoming
no more than an audible sigh,
as the elevator, halfway down the corridor and a turn to the left,
draws one last, long, deep breath of exhaustion
and stops breathing forever. Then?

Well, one of you falls asleep
and the other one does likewise with a lighted cigarette in his mouth,
and that's how people burn to death in hotel rooms.

Love After Love

Love After Love
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Praise Song For The Day

Praise Song for the Day
by Elizabeth Alexander, Inaugural Poet

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others’ eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer consider the changing sky; A teacher says, “Take out your pencils. Begin.”

We encounter each other in words, Words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; Words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, “I need to see what’s on the other side; I know there’s something better down the road.”

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.