Well, well, well, well, welly welly well, looks like I'm inching painfully toward a top ten WOO HOO in a year that's felt...uh, decent-ish? I dunno, nothing has grabbed me by the throat yet, except maybe Ke$ha, whose throat-grabbing is sloppy and unfocused save for clutch (pun intended) moments.
I've settled into Animal as the skankier, wonkier, funkier (as in "what is that funk growing in my refrigerator and can I still eat the cheese beneath it?") Secret Life of the Veronicas. I think it was Jonathan Bogart who called Ke$ha a bratty superhero, and I think the album hits hardest when she's somewhere between that and my image of her as a two-faced carnival barker a la the Mayor from Nightmare Before Christmas. Except on the frowny side she's also vomiting. And on the happy side she's also vomiting.
Speaking of vomit, my initial guess after like twenty listens without really being able to figure out is that Marina of the Diamonds is an utter dumbass who also happens to write skull-burrowing melodies. I didn't think it would be possible to like a denser Lily Allen (and hey, Lily's outsmarted me more than once, so who's the real dumbass? Not that it's a mutually exclusive distinction). Marina's social commentary is about as deep as Sagat ("Why is it that girls are expected to be skinny and eat yogurt and count calories? Man, FUNK DAT.") and I sometimes get the sense that she types her lyrics all caps into MySpace comment boxes before thinking of a killer tune for 'em. But I'm pretty sure I can hum every damn song on the album, and it's a frontrunner for the top 5.
Speaking of Top 5's, also digging the eminently comfortable Mose Allison album, his first in a while, which is exactly the same as every other Mose Allison album except the percussion is a little more thoughtful sometimes. It'll get by on nostalgia easy, and some of the songs are starting to grow on me, like in the one where not killing himself in his hotel room is a good day (and he's still flossing, so life can't be that bad). At eighty-something I can't help but read the song not as post-breakup, but post-widower, despite this explicitly not being the case in the song. I dunno, it just resonates more that way -- "I can't believe you left me" as frustration with death of a loved one with the down-to-earth hair-pulling usually reserved for "I can't believe you left me for him." And there's plenty overreaching social commentary stuff, like the less-than-thoughtful Maher-pop of "Modest Proposal," in which he wants Allah to buzz off so the Muslim ladies in burqas can develop their fashion sense.
Speaking of fashion sense, Golfrapp's uber-tasteful 80s/ABBA/[insert inappropriate point of comparison that means "upbeat melodic synth-pop thingy"] Head First is sleek and lovely. I do wish that "I Wanna Life," one of my favorites, was actually called "I Wanna Laugh," since it wouldn't be such an obvious dour counterpoint to the nimble hooks. It sounds like she wants to LAUGH, anyway -- and it would be nice if somewhere on the album she could actually do that, since "oh, I've got a rocket / oh, you're going on it" is a nice Looney Tunes false start to a sense of humor she doesn't really seem to have. But I'll take it.
Speaking of taking it, I've had a couple of pretty awesome job opportunities lately, and I have taken them. This partially explains my internet silence -- the other explanation is, as you will see below the masthead, I tend to post more in other places. Ever since my comments were eaten (they still exist and I've plugged a few back in but I'm still struggling to fix the problem) I've kind of lost some of my energy to post here. But there is a massive 2004 post in my drafts that I haven't looked at in a month that I'll try to finish at some point. It was a big year for me.