It can be a long slog to get through this record sometimes, what with the self-serious air and grey rain that seems to be always falling. And that can be okay for some moods, but I'll be honest and say I'd never return if it weren't for those guitars. Ah that reverb. I'll always swear my undying love for a wave of distortion flickering around my brain, but a close second comes the ringing chimes of shimmering reverb sparkling out from the speakers. It can make one of the most depressing albums of the year seem almost joyous.
24. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Their shtick can be maddening in execution and I often want to smack their lead guitar player a few times to teach him to really let go and play a real goddamn solo with more than 5 notes. But though the music is technically simple, their tales of adolescent life are shocking and refreshing. Although they're as brash and ignorant as Oasis, they aren't afraid to let a song go past without an anthemic chorus or slow fade out. That kind of gall needs to be rewarded, especially when they can really lay it on when it counts.
23. The Beatles - Love
They have greatest hits collections but this one puts that on acid, which is all quite convenient because my favorite period of the Beatles is the 1966-1968 period they highlight here when they were nose deep in lots of drugs trying to write pop symphonies. Though it will never replace one of their albums, as it stands, this encapsulates what I love about the Beatles better than the Red Album, Blue Album, or that awful Beatle's 1 did. Sure, we do miss those 4 minutes that were chopped off "Hey Jude", and no one needs "Yesterday" with "Blackbird" tacked on the beginning. What we needed were more mashups like the "Drive My Car" medley. But I'll settle for a project that was far more interesting than it had any right to be even if most of the joy came from hearing the fab four in newly remastered glory.
22. I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends
I was sure I was going to hate this band. I don't have much patience for twee that teeters too close to children's cartoon shows and here was one man not from Barcelona singing infectious sing-a-longs with some 15 of his closest friends with nary a bad vibe throughout. And they come so close so often to that horrible edge that I had to turn on some guitar fueled rock to clear my system every once in awhile. But the melodies are contagious and bottomless. That choir changes this from an album of precious melodies to an album full of indie anthems that will stick themselves to your skull.
21. Ghostface Killah - Fischscale
I don't think if I've ever come even close to finishing this monster and I don't mind. I'm not here for the message, I don't need to know a kilo is a thousand grams, because that's easy to remember. I've got the first half stacked with singles 8 long to try and plow through where he never throws a bad rhyme. Unstoppable even at his most deplorable, it's hellishly long and all the skits are awful. Paired down to 10 and this would have plowed to my top 10. But rap albums aren't for music geeks worrying about the posterity of individual albums, and that's how it should be. Rap like this is an esacape from the maundane, and at 37, I think Ghostface even feels that way.