Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Among the things I need to do before the end of the year is determine my picks for the best films and albums of the year. The former is a professional obligation; the latter is personal choice.

In this age of digital music and iPods, I'm becoming aware that I don't tend to listen to albums as thoroughly as I once did. The ability to carry around hundreds of albums in your pocket provides so many options at your fingertips that there's always something else to hear. At one time I would have been likely to listen to a new album over and over for awhile. Now it seems like I'll rip it to iTunes, listen to it a few times, and then let it settle into the untamed mass of music on my iPod.

I've started relistening to albums that I'm certain are up for consideration as my favorites of 2010 and have been pleased to discover nuances that my few earlier passes through them didn't reveal.

For instance, I liked Arcade Fire's The Suburbs when it was released this summer, even if I did feel it tended to be a bit same-y from song to song. Listening to it a couple of times this week, I've been struck by how wrong that impression is. Yes, the songs sound of a piece, but each is distinctive. As a whole it works phenomenally well. Why have I not been listening to The Suburbs more since its August release? That's a question I hope to be asking myself as I dig into the year's other albums that I've enjoyed and then more or less set aside.

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