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A Motive to Our Sadness
The Best of 2010
Albums (Metal)
HIM: Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice + Baudelaire in Braille
I'm a terrible nihilist. I love things too much. The sad, ebullient truth is that I listen to dark music not to align with any true kvlt conspiracy against all life, but because at its best this music has the potential to explain the void as air, to raise nuance from the contours of emptiness. I'm not trying to escape or obliterate anything, I'm trying to understand resistance as love. And thus yearning and catharsis are as metal to me as head-grinding and apocalypse, and love is always ultimately greater than death, and love metal is a perfectly tremendous idea. And of course a fearless gothic-romantic ode to joy can be both guileless roaring grandeur and unflinching invitational frailty.
Solefald: Norrøn Livskunst
"Extreme", most of the time, is as much a set of stylstics conventions as any other genre label. But occasionally it actually means what it means in English. Or in Norwegian, where apparently it has something to do with imagining what Trinacria might have sounded like as a project for Sigur Rós, Life Without Buildings and Thought Industry.
Agrypnie: 16[485]
But genre-boundedness is not inherently a virtue or a flaw, and anthemic apotheosis can be forged in iron and blastbeats as truly as in chaos and spark,
Kvelertak: Kvelertak
and there's a reason the Norse gods loved hammers.
Enslaved: Axioma Ethica Odini
And if I'm guilty of putting triumphant return over calm constancy, and novelty and surprise over confirmation of mastery, then only barely.
Triosphere: The Road Less Travelled
Classic virtues are the necessary context for dissent, and at least half of all revolutions are recenterings,
Kamelot: Poetry for the Poisoned
and sometimes the forgotten paths are found by the lost.
Agalloch: Marrow of the Spirit
Ludicra: The Tenant
We stand on coasts, silhouetting ourselves against featurelessness,
Celestiial: Where Life Springs Eternal
Ea: Au Ellai
or we hold still to show the trees how it can be a victory of will.
Sister Sin: True Sound of the Underground
And then we race each other back into the lights.
Albums (Non-Metal)
You should never trust a #1 that wasn't even on your first draft, much less one you hadn't even heard until after your first draft. Unless, I guess, the advance single was going to be your #1 song, and the album can change, in a week and a half, what kind of year you think you've had. This may be the chiming monument for gracious optimism that Del Amitri's Waking Hours was for tragic melancholy, or the reclaiming of Christmas music for impish paganism, and perhaps an even more profound testament than all that Norwegian metal that my experience of music has become not non-verbal but meta-linguistic.
Fefe Dobson: Joy
But how many times did we need to learn that lesson, anyway? That the words in music are less text than texture, and that like everything else, they scatter like seeds in order to carry a single truth?
Manic Street Preachers: Postcards From a Young Man
We travel in search of not better answers, but more expansive questions, or simpler dobuts,
Juliana Hatfield: Peace & Love
Jewel: Sweet and Wild (Acoustic)
and then the bravest thing we do is come back home to everything we know.
Jimmy Eat World: Invented
And if everything important is hiding somewhere inside of us,
Frightened Rabbit: The Winter Of Mixed Drinks minus "Swim Until You Can't See Land" plus "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
then our real journey is to follow our own blood,
Shakira: Sale El Sol
through its cadences
Shearwater: The Golden Archipelago
until we learn to hear its rush as silence.
Jónsi: Go
School of Seven Bells: Disconnect From Desire
Goldfrapp: Head First
And in that silence, a pulse is again the beginning,
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: History of Modern
Killing Joke: Absolute Dissent
and each time we begin again, we come closer to accepting what we have always believed.
Other Songs
Mandrake: "Save Us From Ourselves" (from Innocence Weakness)
Nevermore: "Emptiness Unobstructed" (from The Obsidian Conspiracy)
So these are some of our lessons, maybe: there's no reason you can't start with the chorus, but neither is there any reason the chorus has to be the best part;
Triptykon: "The Prolonging" (from Eparistera Daimones)
Sometimes you should just do the one thing you want to do most;
Editors: "Bricks And Mortar" (from In This Light and On This Evening (US))
Delays: "The Lost Estate" (from Star Tiger Star Ariel)
We are lingering disciples of patterns we used to mistake for gods;
BXI: "We Are Witches" (from BXI)
Kathaarsys: "Paralise, Fases Esquizoides, Locura Psicotropica Autoinducida" (from Intuition)
We are biographied in footnotes;
Alcest: "Percées de Lumière" (from Écailles de Lune)
Murmuüre: "Amethyst" (from Murmuüre)
We are most ourselves in the interstices between examined moments;
Belle & Sebastian: "Suicide Girl" (from Suicide Girl / Last Trip 7")
Manic Street Preachers: "Distractions" (from (It's Not War) Just the End of Love single)
We are collectors of forgetting;
Rotting Christ: "Demonon Vrosis" (from Aealo)
Immolation: "Majesty And Decay" (from Majesty and Decay)
We are stenographers of our own myths.
Deathspell Omega: "Apokatastasis Pantôn" (from Paracletus)
Negură Bunget: "Bruiestru" (from Maiestrit / Maiastru Sfetnic)
We spend half of our lives learning to encrypt our assumptions,
김여희: "나의 노래" (Kim Yeo-Hee/applegirl002: "My Music" single))
Marina & the Diamonds: "Shampain" (from The Family Jewels)
and can't always admit the simplest things we know,
HIM: "Love, the Hardest Way (Tiësto Remix)" (from SWRMXS)
Bryan Ferry: "Song to the Siren" (from Olympia)
but then somehow each time we ask ourselves who we are, we realize someting new about what we mean.
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