Hey hey hey, y’all! Simon here! Hope everybody had a Merry Christmas! Simon rocked a 10-6 last week, for a season total of 148-91. But I’m feelin’ GOOD about this week’s picks! Lets’ see if I can hit ’em out of the park, y’all!
Carolina at Atlanta: Cam Newton is gonna make it rain dollah dollah bills at the Georgia Dome, y’all! And the Panthers’ defense will keep the pedal to the metal, squashing the Durty Burds all over the pavement, yo! Ain’t gotta be a football genius like me to see that the Panthers will win this one!
Baltimore at Cincinnati: It’s a bad week to be a bird, and a good week to be a kitty, you guys! Those poor ratbirds (hehehe!) ain’t that good on the road, and those big, bad Tigers are gonna FEAST on bird this week! Take the Bengals, kids!
Houston at Tennessee: A challenging game between two Southern teams no one cares about, and who have no hope of going to the playoffs! Woo-wee! FUN! Take the Titans. Better yet, take a whiskey and a Valium and enjoy your nap!
Jacksonville at Indianapolis: Speaking of snoozers… Take the Colts to win this one. If you’re one of the markets that has this game, consider taking a walk instead, or take your friends out to brunch!
New York Jets at Miami: Could this be Rexie’s last game as head coach of the Jets? Let’s hope not: that gross toe-sucker is just too inadvertently amusing. Rex leaving would leave sports writers feeling like late night talk show hosts after GWB left office…. a big, gaping void. The game? Oh yeah… Take the Dolphins.
Detroit at Minnesota: It’s MOTOR CITY versus… Cheese City? The City With a Lot of Nice People But Not a Much Else? Swedish City? Who knows. Hopefully the Lions will keep the Week of the Cat™ going and pull out a win against the sexy (but hapless) Vikings!
Well hey, y’all! Simon here! Oh my! Jingle-Jingle Time is almost here, and I’m SO BUSY! I didn’t have time to write out my full commentary for this week’s games! So I’ll just give you the picks! I went 8-8 last week, and am 138-85 this season. Is The Simon losing his touch? Enjoy the picks, and have a HO-HO-HO-Holiday! Love y’all!
It has come to my attention that my site has been displaying the mobile interface for all users for the past couple of days, and feeds might not be updating on your RSS clients. I have tracked down the issue to the Quick Cache plug-in, and have temporarily disabled it until a working version of the plug-in is released.
I’d like to apologize if you had a sub-par experience with the site, and hope you’ll come back now that it’s up and running again.
If you’re a frequent visitor to this site, you’re probably sick of me exalting the virtues of Last.fm. And I wouldn’t blame you for that. But these “best of” lists generate a lot of traffic from new visitors, so forgive me if I offer a brief explanation of the service.
Last.fm is a website that keeps track of the music you listen to. You sign up for an account and download their software for your computer, smartphone or tablet. The software then uploads the names of the tracks you listen to; the site calls this “scrobbling”. You can then find artists similar to the bands you like, or find other users with similar tastes and see what they listen to. The site offers streaming radio based on several categories, including a particular artist you like, a genre you like, or your overall music preferences. And, if you’re a statistics junkie like me, you can just play around with the numbers. Go ahead and check out my profile if you wish.
Below is a bunch of information about my music listening habits of the past year, collected from December 15, 2012 until December 2013.
Here are my top artists of 2013. The number in parenthesis is the total number of times I’ve listened to the artist this year:
1) Marsheaux (741)
2) Saint Etienne (379)
3) The Raveonettes (317)
4) Washed Out (183)
5) CHVRCHES (130)
6) Owl Eyes (110)
7) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (96)
8) Roxy Music (95)
9) Emilíana Torrini (66)
10) Le Blonde (55)
A couple of interesting points here: Owl Eyes and Le Blonde, two artists absent from my Best Albums of 2013 list, make this list, largely because of one song each. I listened to Owl Eyes’ song “Nightswim” over and over again, but the rest of the Nightswim album wasn’t nearly as good. And Le Blonde hasn’t released a full-length album yet; their only official release is a kickass cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Sisters of the Moon”, which I played over and over again the latter part of the year (this season’s American Horror Story: Coven helped).
Although Saint Etienne and The Raveonettes didn’t release new albums this year, it’s nice to see them hanging on to the #2 and #3 spots on the artists list. And Roxy Music is still hanging on after all these years, coming in at #8 with 95 plays during the year.
These are my most popular songs of the year, with the number of times played in parenthesis. This list is not limited to songs from 2013.
1) Marsheaux – “Secret Place” (102)
2) Marsheaux – “So Far” (96)
3) Owl Eyes – “Nightswim” (91)
4) The Raveonettes – “She Owns The Streets” (57)
5) Le Blonde – “Sisters of the Moon” (56)
6) Marsheaux – “To the End” (55)
7) Washed Out – “All Over Now” (49)
8) The Raveonettes – “The Beat Dies” (48)
9) CHVRCHES – “Recover” (44)
10) The Raveonettes – “You Hit Me (I’m Down)” (41)
As mentioned in my Best Albums of 2013 list, Marsheaux’s “Secret Place” really is my favorite song of the year! “So Far”, off the band’s 2009 album, Lumineux Noir, comes in a close second. Owl Eyes makes her sassy self known at #3, while The Raveonettes’ hit from last year’s Observator comes in at #4. The previously-mentioned Le Blonde cover comes in at #5. Two 2013 tracks from Marsheaux and Washed Out come in at numbers 6 and 7 respectively, while “The Beat Dies” (from The Raveonettes’ 2007 album Lust Lust Lust) is the oldest track on the list. I drove my girlfriend crazy with CHVRCHES’ “Recover”, which comes in at #9, while one more track from Observator, “You Hit Me (I’m Down)”, closes out the top 10.
These are my top overall albums in 2013. They are not limited to 2013 releases. The first number in parenthesis is the number of plays, the second is the year of release.
1) Marsheaux – Inhale (383, 2013)
2) Marsheaux – Lumineux Noir (203, 2009)
3) Washed Out – Paracosm (145, 2013)
4) The Raveonettes – Observator (137, 2012)
5) CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe (116, 2013)
6) The Raveonettes – Lust Lust Lust (108, 2007)
7) Owl Eyes – Nightswim (108, 2013)
8) Saint Etienne – Words and Music by Saint Etienne (82, 2012)
9) Marsheaux – E-Bay Queen Is Dead (69, 2012)
10) Emilíana Torrini – Tookah (53, 2013)
These are my top overall albums of the year limited to 2013 releases only. The number in parenthesis is the number of plays,
1) Marsheaux – Inhale (383)
2) Washed Out – Paracosm (145)
3) CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe (116)
4) Owl Eyes – Nightswim (108)
5) Emilíana Torrini – Tookah (53)
6) Nightlife – Days in Other Days (49)
7) Soft Metals – Lenses (43)
8) Postiljonen – Skyer (43)
9) Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe (43)
10) Clubfeet – Heirs and Graces (32)
More single-track shenanigans are at work here. In addition to Owl Eyes and “Nightswim”, Nightlife makes this list on the strength of the track “Worried Bird”, and Clubfeet make it for the song “Everything You Wanted”.
2013 might go down as the year synthpop absolutely dominated my music life.
Maybe that’s because I’m 42 years old.
I grew up listening to bands like Duran Duran, Human League, ABC, OMD and the Thompson Twins. And synthpop takes me back to those happy days, only this music is new. Don’t get me wrong: I love the 80s and 80s music. But sometimes I wish 80s music would just go away. I’ll be out at a club or restaurant somewhere and hear some 80s song I’ve heard a million times, like The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” or The Smith’s “How Soon Is Now?” and I’ll twitch, twitch because those songs have been run into the ground. How can I be nostalgic for something that never really went away? Synthpop bridges the gap: new music that sounds like something from 1982.
On the other hand, a lot of new music these days is… meh. Except for a brief period when I was a teen, screaming guitars have never really been my thing, and these days loud guitars just give me a headache. Loud guitars and cheap beer is a guaranteed headache.
What’s worse, as I approach middle age, I just don’t give a damn to hear rich 19 year-olds tell me how bad life is. Oh no, someone broke your heart, Taylor Swift? Cry me a river! Get in your private jet, fly to Rome and drown yourself in gelato for all I care. Love sucks? No shit. Welcome to an exclusive club called “The Human Race”. We’ve all been dumped before; if you feel the need to talk about it, there’s a group that meets at the Y on Tuesday evenings – bring cookies. Miley Cyrus? One Direction? Blech. People listen to this manufactured, over-produced crap? Really? And by “over-produced” I mean “Martin Hannett is rolling over in his grave”. Arctic Monkeys? The Strokes? Better, but too damn loud. The Lumineers? Arcade Fire? Mumford & Sons? Do people actually listen to these bands when not trying to get a girl in a sack? The 1975? Are these guys old enough to get into a R-rated movie by themselves? Justin Timberlake? You mean the guy who gets to sleep next to Jessica Biel on a bed stuffed with $100 bills? Yeah, that’s relevant to my life!
I don’t know. I mean, I just feel weird. I’m obviously “too old” for MTV and Capitol Records to give a damn about me, and I’m fine with that. Relieved, actually. But I also feel waaaaayy too young to be joining the Michael Bublé fan club. I’m not ready to shop for records at Cracker Barrel, thank you very much. So synthpop is where I find myself at the moment.
Below are my Top 10 Albums for 2013. Remember, this list is about complete albums, not albums with just one or two tracks I really liked. More on the individual tracks I liked in a “Music By The Numbers” follow-up post, scheduled for 12/16.
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#10: Au Revoir Simone – Move In Spectrums
Brooklyn-based Au Revoir Simone formed in 2003 and have put our four studio albums, including one of my faves from 2009, Still Night, Still Light. London’s The Times newspaper called their music “a collision between The Waitresses, Stereolab and Kings of Convenience”, while one of their biggest fans, director David Lynch, called their music “innocent, hip and new”. This album certainly is new. While their previous albums were an unconventional take on conventional pop music, this album is… lighter, airier and freer than any of their previous efforts. About halfway through the album, the music seems to lose structure completely. And that’s not entirely a good thing. On the one hand, if you like experimental music, it’s right up your alley. If you don’t, you’ll be likely to skip the rest of the album, starting at about track 6. It’s still a good effort, though. Even though it goes off the rails, it’s good to experiment. But maybe they’re just not the band to do it.
#9: Emilíana Torrini – Tookah
Of course I was excited when I heard that Emilíana Torrini was releasing her first new album since 2008’s Me and Armini. And when I heard the first single off the album, “Speed of Dark”, I became SUPER EXCITED… because it reminded of her 1999 album Love in the Time of Science. If you know me, you know that Science is one of my all-time favorite albums. Produced by Roland Orzabal of Tears For Fears, Science was one of the best electronic albums, well.. ever. But then some bad things happened in Torrini’s life, and 2005’s Fisherman’s Woman was a mostly acoustic mopefest. It was still good, mind you. ANY Emilíana Torrini is a good thing. But I missed, so missed, the electronic Emilíana. The aforementioned Me and Armini was kind of more of the same: good, but not the artist I loved so much. It’s almost like… imagine if Human League decided to do slow, acoustic versions of their songs all the time. Maybe it would be good, or maybe it wouldn’t. But it’s not the sound you fell in love with. And sadly, Tookah is mostly more of the same, plodding Torrini we’ve come to know over the past few years. “Speed of Dark” is the only really “electronic” song on the album, except for perhaps the title track. The bulk of the album – “Caterpillar”, “Autumn Sun”, “Home”, “Elizabet” – is the same downtempo stuff she’s been doing for years. Which is fine. But not what I wanted. Having said that, it’s still good, though.
#8: Carla Bruni – Little French Songs
Confession Time: I’ve fallen in love with songs sung (in French) by French girls. But it’s more specific than that. Oddly, the singers must be French; French Canadians, Belgians and Swiss need not apply (which is odd, I know, since Bruni was born in Italy). And the music must be mostly voice and guitar, with perhaps a few violins or accordions thrown in from time to time. This album is the perfect example of what I’m looking for. I first fell for Bruni’s music with “Quelqu’un m’a dit” from the album of the same name, as used in Hans Canosa’s 2005 film Conversations with Other Women. And this album is almost as good. maybe even better. Mostly written by Bruni herself, the album is light and breezy. If you speak French, you might find that the music is actually quite clever at times. For the rest of us, don’t fear: it’s lovely. In fact, the music on this disc is exactly what it says on the tin: “Little French Songs”. And that’s a good thing!
Hey, y’all! Simon here! Wow… Was Week 14 WILD or what? There were 104 touchdowns scored last week – a new NFL record! It’s like defense doesn’t exist any more in the NFL… or at least Pittsburgh! And speaking of wild, my main main Antonio Brown was a couple inches away from a WILD finish of his own! I went 11-5 last week, same as the week before, making me 130-77 for the season.
San Diego at Denver: For once, an interesting Thursday night game! I don’t know if Pey Pey is going to let loose the hounds, but I’m pretty sure the Broncos will win this one!
Washington at Atlanta: Oh Gawd! What a TERRIBLE game this will be! Word on the street is that the ‘Skins are going to start KIRK COUSINS over RG3! That’s not a good sign at all. I say take the Falcons, because SOMEBODY has to win this game… unless it’s a tie.
Chicago at Cleveland: Poor Cleveland. Ya know, Pittsburgh fans feel sorry for folks in Cleveland. They had their team taken away from them, and a really crappy team put in it place. They deserve better. But they ain’t gonna get it this week… Take the Bears to win.
Houston at Indianapolis: Oh my! The big, strong sexy Texans continue their death spiral this week. Although Indianapolis hasn’t totally been up to snuff lately, I think the Colts will win this one!
New England at Miami: The Boys from Beantown come to South Beach this week, and assuming Robert Kraft’s checks to the officials clear the bank, expect the Patriots to win this one. And Tom? You won’t need the Uggs down there, honey!